Wednesday, July 13, 2022

History of librarians

Who knew librarians get honoured for their civic service?  At Charles Street near Church, the City of Toronto has a plaque in honour of James Bain, who "established and directed" the world's busiest library system.

Bain has a biography in the DCB, written by the magnificent Edith Firth. A few notes from it:

"The library board had to sue the city council for operating funds in 1900."

"Goldwin Smith and others had opposed the establishment of the library because taxes would be used to circulate novels."

"When the reference library’s catalogue was published in 1889, its Canadian section was much admired, especially the rare books. Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau thought the number of current French Canadian titles was “wonderful” and offered to help Bain find Quebec publications."

"His voracious reading and retentive memory gave him a knowledge of history, literature, and bibliography that was both extensive and precise; he also possessed “perfect patience with illiteracy,” so that he could give courteous, kindly, expert help to everyone. He was especially helpful to authors."

Photo "credit": me.  (Didn't expect so much sun shadow.) 

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