Historical Bits & Bytes: Role of the Library in Academia

In the report Graduate Studies in the University of Toronto (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965) by the President’s Committee on the School of Graduate Studies, the role of the Library was a central topic when assessing the future growth of graduate schools at the University. It is good to be reminded that those laying the plans for advanced research and teaching foresaw the value of the Library not just as a ‘service unit’ but an ‘academic unit’.  Some comments from the report:

“Every graduate programme depends on the library resources of the University. For some departments, the library may not be the central fact of their existence, their productiveness, and their reputation, but for others it is. This is so at least in departments in the humanities and the social sciences and, doubtless, in some others. This Committee is convinced that in such areas the University will never, in the final analysis, be more distinguished than its library resources. No matter how excellent the staff, the adequacy of the library is a fundamental and limiting factor.” (p. 107)

Members of the committee who wrote this were: H. Northrop Frye, John C. Polanyi, John C. Cairns, Harry C. Eastman, Kenneth C. Fisher, A.C.H. Hallett, Charles S. Hanes, Robert F. McRae, Ernest Sirluck, Willian C. Winegard, chaired by Bora Laskin.

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