Celebrating 100 Years at Manitoba Education Resources Library

Man­i­toba. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion & Training

School Pro­grams Divi­sion
Edu­ca­tion Resources Branch


1181 Portage Avenue
Win­nipeg, Man­i­toba   R3C  0T5  Canada

 100th Anniver­sary   20 June 2016

A Short History

Com­piled by
Ger­ald R. Brown

First let us acknowl­edge that we are on Treaty One and Metis Land, and let us rec­og­nize that we are here to respect the con­tri­bu­tions of all cit­i­zens and to improve the lives of each other.

It take a whole vil­lage to raise a child”. Granted that while this is a com­mon African proverb, it applies to us in Man­i­toba, and it gives a per­fect frame of ref­er­ence for the scope of school library ser­vices in the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion in Man­i­toba.  The whole vil­lage must come together to pro­vide the best qual­ity ser­vice possible.

When we wish to review the his­tory of an insti­tu­tion such as Man­i­toba Edu­ca­tion Library on this sig­nif­i­cant 100th anniver­sary, we must remem­ber that we got here by “stand­ing on the shoul­ders of giants who came before us”.  As we look around today, let us think about some of these giants.

“Tra­di­tion is, not to pre­serve the ashes, but to pass on the fire.”  - Gus­tav Mahler

We are in the Robert Fletcher Build­ing named in honor of the first Deputy Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion (1908–1939).  It was dur­ing his term in office that the School Library Depart­ment was opened, as reported by Edgar Burgess* in the Depart­ment Report for the year 1916, thusly:

The pur­pose was to admin­is­ter, in the form of books approved by

the super­vi­sor, the library grant that is now made to schools.

There were 1409 one-room schools with no high school standing.

They were to receive $10.00 per year per teacher.”

It was noted that there was an empha­sis on pub­li­ca­tions from the UK.

The library was opened in July 1916 in the Leg­isla­tive Build­ing (Room 138).  Myr­tle Tay­lor Lewis* was the first librar­ian.  She served from 1920–1955.  Ms Lewis was born at Wakopa, near Kil­lar­ney MB.  She attended Man­i­toba schools, and then grad­u­ated from the Uni­ver­sity of West­ern Ontario with an Hon­ors degree in Eng­lish and His­tory.  From the out­set Ms Lewis was respon­si­ble for see­ing that the book pur­chas­ing grants of $ 10.00 were spent wisely for new library mate­ri­als.  She reviewed the items avail­able from pub­lish­ers, and pre­pared an annual selected list from which the teach­ers in one-room rural schools (Gr. 1 – 8) could choose their mate­ri­als.  Con­sid­er­ing that many items cost less than 10 cents, sev­eral titles could be obtained.  Exam­ples might include:

Nelson’s Pic­ture Read­ers, with titles such as

A Box of Toys, Neddy Bray’s Story, Mary had a lit­tle lamb,

and Our Rail­way Ride, each cost­ing 3 cents

The Three Bears  -  5 cents

The Ugly Duck­ling  -  7 cents

The Great Explor­ers of Canada  -  20 cents

Essays for Girls and boys – A First Guide to the Study of the War - $ 1.50

Book of Knowl­edge (20 vol. ency­clo­pe­dia)  -  $ 40.00

The school col­lec­tions were always small, and, accord­ing to Inspec­tor reports, usu­ally well-worn.  Over the years, while school boards were expected to increase the funds for library mate­ri­als, money was often not read­ily avail­able.   When new schools were opened, gift col­lec­tions were fre­quently sup­plied.  When the Depres­sion hit, new books were not avail­able.   The grants were sus­pended from 1930–1935.  Some Inspector’s Reports lament the lack of books for plea­sure read­ing in many schools dur­ing this time.  The pre-selection pro­gram con­tin­ued until the late 1960s. The library grant itself lasted until 1981, when it was incor­po­rated into the cur­rent block grant system.

Another giant from that era was Mar­garet John­son *(1882–1921) who is remem­bered as the first school librar­ian at the Win­nipeg Col­le­giate (then housed in Isaac Brock School).  She was rec­og­nized as a leader in pro­vid­ing resources for a rich Eng­lish and His­tory pro­gram in those early years.  Ms John­son and Ms Lewis were close friends, and worked steadily to improve the lot of libraries in schools.

The Open Shelf Library was intended to pro­vide sup­port for teach­ers and other lead­ers par­tic­u­larly in rural com­mu­ni­ties.  It included teach­ers’ ref­er­ence books.  The choice of books var­ied, but the empha­sis was on Psy­chol­ogy, Edu­ca­tion, His­tory, Biog­ra­phy and Travel.  Mate­ri­als could be sent by mail, if the teacher knew about the ser­vice and requested the assis­tance.  Teacher use of read­ing resources from the Open Shelf Library received an impe­tus from the ‘new’ postal reg­u­la­tions which made books avail­able for cir­cu­la­tion at a greatly reduced cost. This col­lec­tion grad­u­ally grew to include sam­ples of all the books that had been rec­om­mended for grant pur­poses between the years 1916–1968.  It also included doc­u­ments that were received from Edu­ca­tion Depart­ments in other provinces and inter­na­tional books and jour­nals. This was the begin­ning of the cur­rent ‘open shelf ser­vice’ which the pub­lic can access today.

The move to Room 42 in The Leg­isla­tive Build­ing pro­vided space for the Read­ing Room, which became the heart of the pub­lic ser­vice, with ref­er­ence ques­tions com­ing mostly from the Mem­bers of the Leg­is­la­ture and the civil ser­vants.  Teach­ers and cit­i­zens could also access this service.

Mr R. B. Vaughan* reported on the Trav­el­ling Library ser­vice from 1923–39 which was made avail­able to com­mu­ni­ties through the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.  Boxes of books would be sent to a com­mu­nity (where there was a per­son, store, or other agency to look after the cir­cu­la­tion.).  These books, usu­ally for adults, often dealt with agri­cul­tural top­ics, sci­ence issues, his­tory and biog­ra­phy.  This pro­gram was strongly sup­ported by the Women’s Insti­tute pro­grams across the province, and by the Home Econ­o­mist s who pro­vided work­shops and train­ing courses in many areas.  This pro­gram was later con­tin­ued by the Exten­sion Ser­vice of the Uni­ver­sity of Man­i­toba.  Mr George Noble worked in this ser­vice until the late 1960s.  I am per­son­ally famil­iar with this ser­vice, as it was the main source of read­ing mate­ri­als in my com­mu­nity when I was in sec­ondary school.

Visual Edu­ca­tion Branch reports may be found in Depart­men­tal Annual Reports.  By 1938 the use of 16 mm films was in place in urban areas, and by offi­cers who could take pro­jec­tors with them to rural events (where elec­tric­ity was avail­able.)  Mr E. (Ted) Arm­strong* headed this ser­vice from 1942 until 1971.  He was rec­og­nized by the Asso­ci­a­tion for Media and Tech­nol­ogy in Edu­ca­tion in Canada as a giant and for his “pio­neer­ing work in this area”.  Cir­cu­la­tion of 16 mm film, film­strips and some kits were avail­able to rural schools by mail ser­vice. Bob Rose con­tin­ued to man­age this cir­cu­la­tion pro­gram in the 70s.  In the 1980s, Phyl­lis Barich* was named to be Head, AV Ser­vices as part of IRU.  She played a vital role in devel­op­ing the 16 mm film, video, kits and soft­ware col­lec­tion for use in schools and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the cur­ricu­lum con­sul­tants in the Depart­ment.  She was always open to sug­ges­tions for new mate­r­ial.  She attended the Banff Film Show­case on a reg­u­lar basis to become famil­iar with cur­rent releases.

In 1935, the Man­i­toba Library Asso­ci­a­tion was formed.  Ms Lewis was a mov­ing force in moti­vat­ing the library staff from schools, pub­lic libraries and uni­ver­sity ser­vices to come together and work as a team.  This orga­ni­za­tion was able to raise the voice of the cit­i­zens to the pub­lic ser­vants and politicians.

In 1938, the Man­i­toba Asso­ci­a­tion of School Librar­i­ans was formed, again with the encour­age­ment of Ms Lewis, and school lead­ers, such as Jean Miller* and other teach­ers and admin­is­tra­tors work­ing in sec­ondary schools in the Metro area.  They were an active group, who advo­cated directly to school board offi­cials and gov­ern­ment leaders.

Also in 1938, the Mar­garet John­son Memo­r­ial Library col­lec­tion, which had been started in her honor by Win­nipeg Teach­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (WTA), and which had been housed at the City Library, was moved to the Read­ing Room of the Man­i­toba Edu­ca­tion Library.  The mate­r­ial was avail­able to per­sons able to come to the Leg­isla­tive Build­ing to access the books.  There was a sig­nif­i­cant his­tor­i­cal col­lec­tion of mate­ri­als that were con­sid­ered impor­tant for teacher prepa­ra­tion for aca­d­e­mic study, for back­ground prepa­ra­tion of gov­ern­ment exams, and for teach­ers prepar­ing for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.   In 1970, this col­lec­tion was moved to the Man­i­toba Teach­ers Society’s McMas­ter House.  The Librar­ian at that time was Susan Rogers.  When the MTS library was closed in 1978, and when the mate­ri­als were being dis­persed, staff from Man­i­toba Edu­ca­tion Library selected some of the mate­r­ial to be returned to the 1181 Col­lec­tion, thus com­plet­ing the cir­cle.  Archival ser­vices and research ser­vices are now under­taken by the MTS officers.

Another sig­nif­i­cant giant step, still in the time of Robert Fletcher, was the begin­ning of the Man­i­toba School Jour­nal (1938–1974).  It was a method of report­ing pro­gram changes, inno­v­a­tive meth­ods, build­ing design sam­ples, teacher edu­ca­tion prac­tices and pro­grams, and stu­dent work.  From an his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, “this doc­u­men­ta­tion is gold”.  It tells us what was hap­pen­ing, and the vision that was dri­ving edu­ca­tion of the time.  Over the years, dur­ing her term in office, Ms Lewis con­tributed reg­u­larly to the pub­li­ca­tion. She often listed titles of par­tic­u­lar inter­est for school pur­chase or for cen­tral loan.  In addi­tion, she posted items about forth­com­ing events.  In a 1953 edi­tion, there was a notice of Young Canada Book Week (an event which is still observed today), as a vehi­cle to pro­mote Cana­dian pub­lish­ing and to encour­age read­ing widely.

Edu­ca­tion Man­i­toba (1974–2015) became the sub­se­quent offi­cial pub­li­ca­tion, and was a vital tool to keep teach­ers and admin­is­tra­tors attuned to cur­rent devel­op­ments.  The cov­er­age of pro­grams, peo­ple, places and events was an excel­lent record.

Con­cur­rent with these above events, Ger­tude McCance* was appointed to the School Broad­cast Branch. From 1943–1975, she became a giant, a leader and a role model in the ‘shar­ing of infor­ma­tion field across Canada’.  She was suc­ceeded in this office by Glenn Har­ri­son.   SBB was a vital con­nec­tion to many urban and rural schools using the CBC, with the early radio pro­grams pro­vid­ing music and art edu­ca­tion to schools where many teach­ers had lim­ited train­ing in the field.  Later, the pro­gram expanded to include tele­vi­sion offer­ings, as well as audio and video dub­bing ser­vices.  The pro­grams were quite exten­sive, cov­er­ing many sub­jects and grades, and pre­sent­ing exem­plar teach­ers demon­strat­ing qual­ity instruc­tional meth­ods.  Man­i­toba pro­grams were highly applauded by other provinces, and awards were received to rec­og­nize their excel­lence.  Nego­ti­a­tions were car­ried on across the provinces to share pro­duc­tions too.  In 1965, McCance worked closely with schools in St. Vital to estab­lish a school-based tele­vi­sion experiment.

In 1955, the library had out­grown the facil­i­ties at the Leg­isla­tive Build­ing.  It was moved, along with the­Man­i­toba Text­book Bureau, to 146 Notre Dame Avenue, where more spa­cious quar­ters were found on the third floor.  While the new facil­i­ties pro­vided more space, some­thing was lost in the abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate eas­ily and directly with the offi­cials in the Department.

Recog­ni­tion for the work of Myr­tle Tay­lor Lewis as a library leader was given at a spe­cial recep­tion in her hon­our in 1955.  She was truly one of the giants in devel­op­ing school library ser­vices for the province, and pub­lic access for indi­vid­u­als, who needed assis­tance by mail or drop-in con­nec­tions.  Scott Bate­man, Deputy Min­is­ter (1954–68) spoke glow­ingly of her contributions.

Frances Meilke (1955–1961), the sec­ond librar­ian, con­tin­ued many of the pro­grams already estab­lished.  The selec­tion of mate­ri­als for the small school grant took con­sid­er­ably more time, and the qual­ity of resources improved as pub­lish­ers pro­vided more sam­ple copies.  A sig­nif­i­cant increase in the num­ber of indi­vid­ual ref­er­ence ques­tions was reported, and more requests from rural schools were filled if pos­si­ble.  Sup­port was also pro­vided to per­son­nel work­ing in sec­ondary schools.  Dur­ing this time, the library was moved to the sec­ond floor of the Robert Fletcher Build­ing.  Now it was closer to the admin­is­tra­tive and cur­ricu­lum staff who used it more, and who could rec­om­mend famil­iar mate­ri­als to their co-workers and field workers.

Mar­garet Bal­dock (1961–1970), the third librar­ian, was a grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­sity of British Colum­bia School of Library and Archival Sci­ence.  She brought new ideas to the library pro­gram.  She rec­og­nized the need for out­reach to the com­mu­nity through exhibits for work­shops, sup­port to pro­gram offi­cers who trav­elled dis­tances to do pre­sen­ta­tions, and dis­cus­sion with Inspec­tors to help respond to local needs.  The book col­lec­tion was moved to Room 206, 1181 Portage Avenue in 1964.  It grew sig­nif­i­cantly dur­ing this time, and some small for­mat items began to appear with more reg­u­lar­ity.  Ms Bal­dock did many pre­sen­ta­tions for teachers-in-training and for the sum­mer pro­fes­sional pro­grams that were offered in the “Old Ford Plant” build­ing. She was very active in both the MLA and MASL, and pro­vided liai­son to both orga­ni­za­tions. [Ms. Bal­dock left the ser­vice to become the Edu­ca­tion Librar­ian at the Uni­ver­sity of Saskatchewan, and later an admin­is­tra­tor in the Uni­ver­sity of Saskatchewan libraries.]

Mary Mus­tard, from the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto, pre­sented a series of work­shops in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion, MLA, MASL and Uni­ver­sity of Man­i­toba lead­ers.  Library advo­cates in the province appre­ci­ated that it was dif­fi­cult for indi­vid­ual libraries to con­sis­tently train work­ers to meet their cler­i­cal and tech­ni­cal needs.  Admin­is­tra­tion at Man­i­toba Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, our MIT (not the Mass­a­chu­setts one) was encour­aged by library lead­ers to ini­ti­ate this pro­gram as an alter­na­tive career lad­der in all types of libraries.

For­mal edu­ca­tion for library tech­ni­cians in Cana­dian edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions was started in 1962 byGertrude Per­rin* at the MIT in Win­nipeg, with six­teen stu­dents in the first grad­u­at­ing class in a one-year pro­gram.  This pro­gram has con­tin­ued at Red River Col­lege, and is now offered as a two-year pro­gram - Library & Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Pro­gram, and a Dis­tance Edu­ca­tion pro­gram — the Library Train­ing Pro­gram (started in 1989) at the Princess Street cam­pus.  The Depart­ment library per­son­nel were active on the Advi­sory Com­mit­tee for this program.

About this time (1963), another giant Harry E. New­som* became the Super­vi­sor of School Library Ser­vices in The Win­nipeg School Divi­sion No.1.  In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Vic Dot­ten*, Pres­i­dent of the MB Home & School and Par­ent Teacher Fed­er­a­tion, they started the move­ment for orga­nized ele­men­tary school libraries, with and trained teacher-librarians and good col­lec­tions.  The idea spread quickly across the urban divi­sions. Sup­port from the Min­istry Library was greatly appre­ci­ated. Train­ing pro­grams at the Uni­ver­sity of Man­i­toba were rec­og­nized. Agnes L. “Nan” Flo­rence* (1964–78) and Ger­ald Brown (1965–92) suc­ceeded Harry New­som to evolve the WSD ele­men­tary school pro­grams, and to upgrade the sec­ondary library ser­vices. A dynamic con­sul­ta­tive team, includ­ing Jean Bap­tist (1972–1991) pro­vided lead­er­ship both locally and nation­ally.  Pro­grams in WSD have been con­tin­ued by Glo­ria Her­sak (1992–2006), Kevin Mowat (2006 — ) and Laura Cowie (2006 -  ).  Teach­ing courses at U of M evening and sum­mer ses­sions were impor­tant vehi­cles for estab­lish­ing the new phi­los­o­phy of school librar­i­an­ship in the province.

Grace d’Arcy* was appointed Super­vi­sor of School Libraries (1967–74), and became the out­reach arm for the Edu­ca­tion Library to influ­ence edu­ca­tors across the province on the need for qual­ity school library pro­grams.  She was a tire­less worker, strong advo­cate, spokesper­son, recruiter, and promi­nent mem­ber of the pro­fes­sional asso­ci­a­tions.  She under­stood that “com­mu­nity involve­ment” was a sig­nif­i­cant part of school library ser­vices out­reach. She work closely with the librar­i­ans and staff at 1181 Portage Avenue.  Mrs d’Arcy worked with the Min­istry to estab­lish schol­ar­ships and bur­saries for train­ing in school librar­i­an­ship, which were very suc­cess­ful.  Sev­eral can­di­dates went to other provinces for advanced train­ing.  Grace cer­tainly qual­i­fies as a giant in school library devel­op­ment in Manitoba.

Dr Geoff Chap­man (1968–73) was appointed as the first full-time instruc­tor in the Fac­ulty of Edu­ca­tion U o M, to pro­vide courses for the equiv­a­lent of a one-year train­ing pro­gram in school librar­i­an­ship at the Bach­e­lor or Master’s lev­els to qual­ify teach­ers to work in MB schools.  These pro­grams were very suc­cess­ful and pop­u­lar.  Many sum­mer pro­grams and evening classes were filled.  Dr Dave Jenk­in­son (1973–2009) con­tin­ued, expanded and enriched these offer­ings.  At the same time Dr Denis Hlynka (1968 -   ) and Dr Jim Welsh* (1973–2008) pro­vided par­al­lel options in Audio Visual and Media Edu­ca­tion.  Many staff mem­bers from the School Library team from the Depart­ment assisted or taught in these pro­grams.  Tours of the Robert Fletcher facil­ity were reg­u­larly arranged to have these stu­dents expe­ri­ence the resources avail­able at 1181 Portage Avenue.

The phi­los­o­phy of school library and infor­ma­tion ser­vices, as advo­cated by the Min­istry under Bate­man, Dal­ton, Lorimer, Duhamel, was evolv­ing quickly across the urban divi­sions.  Dur­ing the years 1969–71, the­Man­i­toba Asso­ci­a­tion of Resource Con­sul­tants was com­prised of some of the fol­low­ing lead­ers who were par­tic­u­larly active with the Depart­ment in shap­ing the pro­grams and enun­ci­at­ing needs from the field.  They were:

M. Far­rough & A. Brown* & Wayne War­ren , St. James-Assiniboia SD,

B. Left­eruk* & M. Stim­son, Assini­boine South SD,

H. Allen*, St. Boni­face SD,            F. Lech­ner, Fort Garry SD,

P. Heintsch, St. Vital SD,               N. Guil­bert, River East SD,

D. Davies, Seven Oaks SD,             M.A. Piper* & T. MacLaugh­lan, Transcona SD,

A. Way­good*, Seine River SD,     E. M. Ingalls* & G. Hodges, Mys­tery Lake SD,

M. Hume, Bran­don SD,                 Sr. Odille St. Pierre, Lakeshore SD.

These pro­fes­sion­als worked closely with the School Library Ser­vices to advance the pro­grams, espe­cially related to tech­no­log­i­cal change and dis­trict resource cen­tre ser­vices.  Over the years, some school divi­sions have changed their con­sul­ta­tive staffing to meet local needs.  The Depart­ment staff mon­i­tored the changes and encour­aged the new staff to work closely with them.  Those were the Golden Years.  Admin­is­tra­tors and staff in schools had a clear philo­soph­i­cal frame­work empha­siz­ing the crit­i­cal impor­tance of school library pro­grams for youth.

MARC com­bined with MASL to form Man­i­toba School Library Audio Visual Asso­ci­a­tion  (MSLAVA) (1971–93).  The orga­ni­za­tion had a very active mem­ber­ship, and was involved in many aspects of pol­icy devel­op­ment, com­mit­tee work on Min­istry projects and pub­li­ca­tions, recruit­ment, train­ing pro­grams, and work­shops.  The annual MSLAVA con­fer­ences gave vis­i­bil­ity to Depart­ment lead­ers across sev­eral cur­ricu­lum areas, to focus the direc­tions in which the whole range of ser­vices was mov­ing.  In 1993, another name change from MSLAVA toMan­i­toba School Library Asso­ci­a­tion (MSLA) (1993 — ) The doc­u­men­ta­tion for this asso­ci­a­tion has been well recorded in the archives and index­ing pro­vided by Ger­ald Brown.  These doc­u­ments are housed at the Provin­cial Archives of Man­i­toba, with indexes in var­i­ous edu­ca­tion libraries in the province.  Cur­rent pres­i­dent (2016–17) is JoAnne Gib­son, Fort Rich­mond Collegiate.

Librar­i­ans Mari­etta Por­ti­gal (1970–73),   Pat Bozyk (1973–75) and Ganga Dak­shi­na­murti (1975–76) were strong lead­ers at the Depart­ment for school library pro­grams, for build­ing expand­ing col­lec­tions, and for doing work­shops with teach­ers on how to access resources, and devel­op­ing cri­te­ria for select­ing them for var­i­ous grades and sub­jects.  They were also active pro­mot­ers for the chang­ing media for­mats that were becom­ing more com­mon. They mod­elled pro­fes­sion­al­ism in their involve­ment with the Asso­ci­a­tions and with the pub­lic library systems.

E.D.A.M. (Edu­ca­tional Dis­trib­u­tors Asso­ci­a­tion of Man­i­toba) has played a sig­nif­i­cant sup­port ser­vice to Man­i­toba Edu­ca­tion, both in the Library and the Cur­ricu­lum Branch, by mak­ing avail­able exam­i­na­tion copies of text­books, read­ing mate­ri­als, ref­er­ence mate­ri­als, and soft­ware.  These rep­re­sen­ta­tives are artic­u­late about who is writ­ing, who is being rec­om­mended, and who can be made avail­able to cel­e­brate read­ing events across the province. In addi­tion, they have pro­vided tremen­dous sup­port at exhibits, work­shops and con­fer­ences over the years.  Some of the old-timer names that nudge my mem­ory include:

Ken McKen­zie, Copp Clark; Jack McClel­land from McCLel­land & Stewart;

Mar­vin Mel­nyck from Cenco Eye Gate (film­strips & kits);

Ron Ben­net from Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­nica (books, film & filmstrips);

David Weiss from Soci­ety for Visual Edu­ca­tion (SVE);

Betty Sayer from Burns & MacEach­ern;   John Robert­son from Gage;

Jim Searle from MacLean-Hunter Books Services;

Ephram Bergman from Scholas­tic Book Services;

Ron Wescott from Nel­son Pub.;   Shirley Lewis from Shirley Lewis Books

and the list goes on…  The Asso­ci­a­tion of Man­i­toba Book Pub­lish­ers is the cur­rent man­i­fes­ta­tion for this qual­ity service.

In 1974 The Instruc­tional Media Ser­vice (IMS) was formed.  The name change was intended to bet­ter visu­al­ize the phi­los­o­phy of the change in library ser­vices in schools.  The ser­vice has had other des­ig­na­tions over the years, includ­ing Instruc­tional Resources Unit (IRU), and more recently Man­i­toba Edu­ca­tion Resources Library

Dr John Tooth (1976–2012) took over respon­si­bil­ity for the library, as the sev­enth librar­ian.  Grad­u­ally other related pro­grams such as School Film Ser­vices, Audio Visual and Video dis­tri­b­u­tion, and alter­na­tive form mate­ri­als were trans­ferred under his direc­tion.  Over the years, he held a vari­ety of posi­tions, with a vari­ety of titles.  All the while, he was focused on pro­vid­ing the best pos­si­ble access for teach­ers across the province.  He aimed to pro­vide resources to the great­est num­ber of chil­dren pos­si­ble. He under­stood the need for a wide vari­ety and media for­mats.  John had a par­tic­u­lar inter­est in shar­ing infor­ma­tion regard­ing gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments about which teach­ers might not be aware.  He also became the res­i­dent expert on all mat­ters related to copyright.

In March 1977, the Library was moved to the main floor loca­tion at 1181 Portage Avenue, offer­ing sig­nif­i­cantly more space for the expand­ing pro­grams and services.

In 1980, School Film Ser­vices was inte­grated into the library pro­gram to pro­vide greater con­ti­nu­ity and con­sis­tency in ser­vice, and eas­ier com­mu­ni­ca­tion for the teach­ers and school staff for one-call-service.  In 1984, Library Net, and later Media Net for media book­ing ser­vices by phone, were imple­mented.  Sev­eral other devel­op­ments in this area have evolved to pro­vide bet­ter access and bet­ter ser­vice both over the web­site, by phone or in per­son at the Ref­er­ence Desk.

The need for con­sul­ta­tive assis­tance and lead­er­ship across the province meant the addi­tion of sev­eral staff mem­bers.  Among them were:

Mike Angel (1973–77) Super­vi­sor, with assis­tance from Judy Dilk, Vir­ginia Davis*, and Bob Piper.

Pat Black­burn (1979–85) became the Supervisor.

Bar­bara Kelly (1982–87) was the Media Consultant.

Later Super­vi­sors and Con­sul­tants included:

Idella Set­ter* (1983–84);               Susan Traill (1984–87);

Judy Dueck (1987–88);                   Glo­ria Her­sak (1988–92);

Bar­bara Poustie (1992–95)

These indi­vid­u­als pro­vided invalu­able ser­vice to the field.  They con­nected the library to the teach­ers, prin­ci­pals and super­in­ten­dents.  They inter­preted the tran­si­tion of libraries from ware­houses to teaching-learning cen­tres to learn­ing com­mons, where teach­ers worked in Coop­er­a­tive Plan­ning and Teach­ing (CPT) Pro­grams, ini­ti­ated Inde­pen­dent Learn­ing Skills (ILS) con­tin­uum & Problem-Solving pro­grams across the cur­ricu­lum, nur­tured Lit­er­ary and Cul­tural Appre­ci­a­tion (LCA)   pro­grams, and facil­i­tated change in the use of tech­nol­ogy as another teach­ing tool.  In addi­tion, they pro­duced newslet­ters, bul­letins, and a wide array of pub­li­ca­tions to sup­port the cur­ricu­lum, and to guide teach­ers.  They fre­quently rep­re­sented the Depart­ment at national con­fer­ences and workshops.

Ser­vice to oth­ers is the rent we pay for our room here on earth’.

  –Muham­mad Ali (1942–2016)

Par­al­lel ser­vices for French Lan­guage and Library Pro­grams were ini­ti­ated in 1977 at Direc­tion des resources educa­tives fran­caises (Library & Mate­r­ial  Pro­duc­tion Branch) DREF, located at 200 avenue de la Cathe­drale, Saint Boni­face, as part of the Col­lege St. Boni­face (now USB).  Over the years, staff has been under the direc­tion of:

Sis­ter Marie Melan­con* 1977,                Jean­nette Bour­gouin 1978,

Arsene Huberdeau 1982,                          Doris Lemoine 1994,

Hugette Dan­de­neau 2000,                       Lynette Chartier (2009 — )

Con­sul­ta­tive assis­tance is pro­vided to both Immer­sion and Dual Track schools, with col­lec­tion devel­op­ment assis­tance, pro­gram activ­i­ties, con­fer­ences and work­shops, and pub­li­ca­tions.  They have always been very respon­sive to school and divi­sional needs.  Heather Bry­don is the recently appointed librar­ian at DREF.

In 1982 Joan McLaren* was appointed Co-ordinator of the Instruc­tional Media Ser­vices Unit.  Her role was to inte­grate the Library Pro­gram, School Film Ser­vices, School Broad­cast & Pro­duc­tion Ser­vices, Pro­fes­sional Devel­op­ment, Cor­re­spon­dence Branch, and Spe­cial Mate­r­ial Ser­vices (now called Alter­na­tive For­mats).  SMS con­tains mate­ri­als such as audio-tape text­books, Large Print text­books, Braille text­books, and com­puter soft­ware programs.

In 1984, Mul­ti­cul­tural Edu­ca­tional Resource Cen­tre (MERC) ser­vices were cre­ated, and added to the Library port­fo­lio.  This pro­gram exam­ined the diver­sity of mate­ri­als that were needed to respond to immi­grant pop­u­la­tions, and to encour­age pub­li­ca­tions appro­pri­ate for Eng­lish as an Alter­na­tive Lan­guage pro­grams. Yolande Hogaveen was the first librar­ian in this MERC project.  An Advi­sory Com­mit­tee involv­ing other related libraries and com­mu­nity cit­i­zens was cre­ated. The mate­ri­als have now been inte­grated into the reg­u­lar library services.

Read­ing is a key to learn­ing. Inspir­ing young peo­ple to enjoy the art and act of read­ing is a key­stone of the school library and infor­ma­tion ser­vices pro­gram.  To encour­age as many teach­ers to become activists with their teacher-librarians and library sup­port staff, the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with MSLAVA, Win­nipeg Pub­lic Library, and Provin­cial Library Ser­vices orga­nized a series of out­stand­ing con­fer­ences: Cana­dian Images Cana­di­ene (1986) (1990) (1994) and (1998).  These events drew atten­dance from all across the province, includ­ing authors, illus­tra­tors, poets, and per­for­mance artists from across Canada. The per­sonal and finan­cial sup­port from the Min­istry was deeply appre­ci­ated in these con­fer­ences.  The lead­er­ship from the IMS team was invaluable.

In 1997, the new Internet-based On-line Cat­a­logue was launched in both French and Eng­lish, includ­ing data on books, peri­od­i­cal hold­ings, videos, film CDs, and kits.  It was noted at that time that the IRU col­lec­tion was about 150,000 items, and the DREF col­lec­tion held approx­i­mately 60,000 items.

Leslie Wylie (2012–2013) suc­ceeded Dr. Tooth when he retired.  Dur­ing and since her time, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant upgrade in the facil­i­ties, and a seri­ous weed­ing of the col­lec­tion, with a par­tic­u­lar view to pro­vid­ing mate­ri­als in dig­i­tal for­mat where possible.

The Archives for Edu­ca­tion in Man­i­toba is acces­si­ble, and is a rich store­house of infor­ma­tion about how philoso­phies and prac­tices have changed in edu­ca­tion in Man­i­toba.  Thanks to the staff who have been so very help­ful in com­pil­ing this data.

The Cat­a­logu­ing and Pro­cess­ing Unit works tire­lessly behind the scene.  They pro­vide the access to the tools, so the rest of us can focus on work­ing with the learn­ers and the pol­icy mak­ers.   Assis­tance from this team has been help­ful in prepar­ing Cat­a­logu­ing Guides for Library Pro­cess­ing; for Micro-computer Soft­ware records, and more recently for RDA for­mat changes.  Thanks for your care­ful and patient work with the records so that the auto­mated sys­tems work con­sis­tently.  With approx­i­mately 10,000 active patrons, mainly teach­ers, teachers-in-training and Depart­men­tal staff, this library unit is an impor­tant com­po­nent in address­ing equity in the teach­ing / learn­ing process.

I hope you have found this review to be a help­ful per­spec­tive on how your tax dol­lars have been, and are being spent, to help your chil­dren become good learn­ers, excited read­ers, cre­ative respon­dents, and respon­si­ble citizens.

Gus­tav Mahler reminds us that Tra­di­tion is, not to pre­serve the ashes, but to pass on the fire.  And so to you we toss the torch ….

Look­ing to the future, teach­ers and admin­is­tra­tors count on hav­ing a qual­ity and dynamic lead­er­ship team here in School Pro­grams Divi­sion and the Edu­ca­tion Resources Branch.