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Brian Gordon Campbell

b. Oct. 16, 1943, Cabri, SK; d. Dec. 27, 2016, Vancouver, BC


1966 BA (University of British Columbia)
1977 MA (University of British Columbia)
1981 MLS (University of British Columbia)


1967-1968 Research Associate, Narcotic Addiction Foundation
1969 Research Associate, Dept. of Interdisciplinary Medicine, University of British Columbia Medical School
1970-1972 Regional Coordinator, Company of Young Canadians
1973 Research Director, Canadian Scientific Pollution & Environmental Control Society
1973-1976 Sessional Lecturer, University of British Columbia (Sociology of Knowledge); Douglas College (Introductory Sociology) and Langara Community College (Canadian Society, Social Stratification)
1976-1977 Research Consultant (BC Dept. of Highways, Canada Manpower Outreach, Extempora Music Society, Metro Human Resources, BC Federation of Labour)
1977-1979 Sessional Lecturer, University of British Columbia (Sociology of Education; Canadian Society; Distance and Community Education Programs)
1980-1983 Consultant, Automated Circulation Systems, Vancouver Public Library
1984-1990 Systems Librarian, Vancouver Public Library
1987 Lecturer, University of Washington Library School (taught in Graduate Diploma Program, Information Technology)
1987-1988 Automation Consultant, North Vancouver District Public Library
1989 Lecturer, UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (taught Introductory Library Issues)
1990-1997 Director of Systems and Planning, Vancouver Public Library
1997-1998 Lecturer, UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (taught Politics of Information & Telecommunications Policy)
1997-2005 Director of Systems and Technical Services, Vancouver Public Library
2005-2006 Director of Systems, and Special Projects, Vancouver Public Library


Campbell, Brian (1998). “Universal access, electronic public space sustainability [Information Rights Week].” Feliciter 44, no. 3: 20-23.

Campbell, Brian (1998). “The politics of universal access.” In Understanding telecommunications and public policy: a guide for libraries, edited by Karen Adams and William F. Birdsall. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association.

Campbell, Brian (1999). “Put people in the picture [Information Rights Week 1999].” Feliciter 45, no. 1: 38-40.

Campbell, Brian (2000). “Gutstein’s e.con: do public libraries have a future? [E.con: how the internet undermines democracy].” Feliciter 46, no. 2: 66.

Campbell, Brian (2000). “Libraries at the WTO Third Ministerial Conference, Seattle, 1999.” Feliciter 46, no. 2: 73-76.

Campbell, Brian (2002). “Library transformation goes beyond individual libraries.” Feliciter 48, no. 6: 258.

Campbell, Brian (2002). “Media concentration and the role of libraries in promoting a diversity of voices.” Feliciter 48, no. 6: 275-277.

Campbell, Brian and Barbara J. May (2004). “A message about the media.” Feliciter 50, no. 5: 184-185.

Campbell, Brian (2004). “Consider the alternatives: libraries and the media.” Feliciter 50, no. 5: 186-189.

Campbell, Brian (2005). “We need to reach the others.” Feliciter 51, no. 6: 257-258.

Campbell. Brian (2005). “’In’ versus ‘with’ the community: using a community approach to public library services.” Feliciter 51, no. 6: 271-273.

Campbell, Brian (2008). Community-led libraries toolkit. Vancouver: Vancouver Public Library Working Together Project.


American Library Association:
LITA Committee on Technology and Access, Chair 1987-1989
LITA Committee on Emerging Technologies, Vice-Chair, 1987-1988
LITA Committee on Emerging Technologies, Chair, 1988-1989
ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, Committee on Media Concentration
ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, Committee on Civic Dialog

British Columbia Library Association:
Intellectual Freedom Committee, Founding member and Chair, 1987-1992
Information Policy Committee, Founding member and Chair, 1993-2003
Third World Libraries Interest Group, Executive member, 1988-1990

Canadian Library Association:
Information Policy Task Force (later CLA Information Policy Committee), Founding member and Chair, 1994-1999
International Trade Committee, Founding Vice-Chair, 1999-2000

Canadian Legal Information Centre (Legal Information Ideals Access Working Group, member, 1991)
BC Freedom of Information & Privacy Association (BCLA Representative, 1991; Vice President , 1992-1994)
Vancouver FreeNet (later Vancouver Community Network), Founding President & Board Member 1992-1997
BC Coalition for Information Access, Chair, 1996-1998
BC Minister's Advisory Council on Information Technology, member, 1996-1998
Seriously Free Speech Committee, Vancouver, Co-Founder, 2008-2016
People's Co-op Bookstore, Board of Directors, 2013-2016
Media Democracy Day Committee, Vancouver, Founding member, 2001?
B.C. Coalition for an Open Government
Canadian Government Depository Programme Advisory Committee
Public Library Services Branch Gateway Project Advisory Committee
Campaign Steering Committee, Right to Privacy Campaign
OCLC Canadian Advisory Committee
City of Vancouver Technical Architecture Committee


1990 BCLA Honourary Membership for educational and advocacy work associated with intellectual freedom
1992 BCLA Honourary Membership for advocacy work and government lobbying on behalf of freedom of access legislation
1997 UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, Distinguished Alumnus
1997 CLA Canadian Association of Public Libraries, Outstanding Public Library Service
2000 British Columbia Library Association President’s Award for Outstanding Library Service
2004 Canadian Library Association Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award
2005-2006 British Columbia Library Association Helen Gordon Stewart Award
2015 Canadian Library Association Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award


“Brian had a distinguished library career lasting more than 30 years. He was a fearless and tireless champion of intellectual freedom and equality of access to information. He devoted much of his career to ensuring that marginalized people had access to libraries and information. He was concerned that access to information would increasingly demand access to technology and so he was the primary builder of the Vancouver Community Network, originally called the Vancouver FreeNet. He initiated the BCLA Information Policy Committee because of his concern for the risk that technology would erode the public’s right to information. And he spearheaded the national Working Together Project, which helped connect vulnerable people with library services. In the 1990s, thanks largely to Brian’s vision and efforts, the BC Library Association lobbied libraries and government to introduce free public access internet stations and training into public libraries. BC was the first jurisdiction to provide free access to the Internet in all public libraries. No single effort resulted in such a broad increase in access to information for the general public.” He also “took on challenges like the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code and the Customs Tariff regarding pornography. He helped shape BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, fought the campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services.”
“Brian believed in equity and inclusiveness of opportunity all through his life and fought for these goals in his library career. The library did not exist in a world where ideas did not have to struggle for expression. His was always a politically nuanced world. He tried to read the writing on the wall and to face up to it. He ran for mayor of Vancouver for the NDP in the early 1970s, fighting for better public transportation and social housing and warning against the 'executive city' that Vancouver has become. As he fought for freedom of speech and the right to information in the library, so he fought for this in politics and on the streets. His was a coherent life, integrated in thought and action.
The Seriously Free Speech Committee was one of the last organizations he co-founded and their online obituary makes clear his recognition that free speech and freedom of information are not academic abstractions. They have real life consequences and cannot be maintained without struggle.”
“Brian helped organize the SFSC [Seriously Free Speech Committee] in 2008 …[which advocates for the free expression of views about issues relating to Israel and Palestine] and spearheaded numerous SFSC campaigns. Brian Campbell lived to make the world a better place.”


British Columbia Library Association. A tribute to library leader Brian Campbell. (BCLA Perspectives vol. 9 (2017) issue 1). Accessed Aug. 13, 2018.
YouTube online ceremony — Remembering Brian Gordon Campbell 1953-2021 posted September 29, 2021
Biography contributed by Gillian Campbell.

biographies/brian-gordon-campbell.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/09 14:24