Fonds UA-23 - Dalhousie University Libraries fonds

Dalhousie College library catalogue Photograph of the Halifax Infirmary The Halifax Infirmary Vederala's notebook Photograph of the interior of the Kellogg Library Photograph of the circulation desk in the Kellogg Library Photograph of the staircase and stacks in the Kellogg Library Photograph of back offices in the Kellogg Library Photograph of a meeting room in the Kellogg Library Photograph of work stations in the Kellogg Library Applications and regulations Patterson Travelling Library Book List for 1931-1938 Patterson Travelling Library Catalogue

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Dalhousie University Libraries fonds

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  • Textual record

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Dates of creation area


  • 1914 - 2014 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

50 m of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

Dalhousie Library was established by order of the University Senate on 24 April 1867. The library, first housed in the “new” Dalhousie College (renamed the Forrest Building in 1919), was beset by financial difficulties during the early decades, especially after the Board’s 1890 decision to withdraw all library funding. During this period the collection grew only through sporadic donations, although 1894 witnessed both the advent of the class memorial book gifts and expanded hours of library service, increasing from two to seven hours per day, five days each week.

In 1916 the library was renamed and moved into the MacDonald Memorial Building, due to the generosity of Professor Charles MacDonald, who bequeathed $2000 to the library for books, a gesture that triggered an eponymous fundraising campaign. Despite several renovations and later additions, eventually the collection and its user population outgrew the space, and in 1971 the Killam Library was opened.

Currently the University Libraries encompass five distinct units, including the Sir James Dunn Law Library; the Kellogg Health Sciences Library; the Sexton Design & Technology Library; the MacRae Library, at the Faculty of Agriculture Campus in Truro; and the Killam Library, which remains the administrative heart of the Libraries and houses the office of the University Librarian.

Each library has its own Head Librarian, who also serves as an Associate University Librarian across service areas including Scholarly Communications, Access Services, Learning and Curriculum Support, Discovery, and Resources. These broad areas are reflected in various units, which have shifted and evolved in both name and purpose over time. However, much of the University Libraries’ work continues to be accomplished through committees and working groups created to deal with initiatives and issues pertaining to particular library functions.

Past University Librarians include: Reverend Dr. William Lyell (1876-81); John Forrest (1881-85); Jacob Schurman (1885-86); William Alexander (1886-89); James Seth (1889-92); Walter Murray (1892-1902); Archibald MacMechan (1906-31); Ivy Prickler 1940-47; Dorothy MacKay (1947-51); Jean Carter (1951-52); Douglas G. Lochhead (1952-60); J.P. Wilkinson (1960-66); Louis G. Vagianos,(1966-79); William F. Birdsall (1981-97); William R. Maes (1998-2010); and Donna Bourne-Tyson (2010- ).

Custodial history

Records were donated to the Dalhousie University Archives in 42 accessions through departmental transfer between 1984 and 2018, and a donation by Ian Colford in accession (2004-004) in 2004.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of administrative and departmental documents pertaining to the Dalhousie University libraries between 1914 and 2014.

Notes area

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Language of material

  • English

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Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions on these materials. All materials are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

Finding aids

Finding aids for a portion of the Library fonds had previously been prepared by the 2009 archive class. The finding aids were split up based on the boxes of materials provided to the students. Some of the information provided in these finding aids could be applied to the material which was re-accessioned in 2013, but the much of the materials recommended for disposal were not, while other materials were transferred out of the Libraries fonds (ie: School of Library and Information Studies materials)

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Further accruals are expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Dalhousie University Libraries fonds, UA-23, Box [box number], Folder [folder number], Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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2015 (creation)
April 2020 (revision)

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