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Margaret Susannah Gill

Margaret Gill c.1945. Credit Library Journal 1945.

b. Dec. 10, 1897, Colorado Springs, Colorado; d. June 28, 1974, Sannichton, BC


1919 BA (University of British Columbia)
1921 BS in Library Science (University of Washington Library School, Seattle)


1921-1924 Librarian, Vancouver Public Library
1925 Librarian, Seattle Public Library University District branch
1927 Children's Librarian Kitsilano branch, Vancouver Public Library
1928-1957 Head, National Research Council Library, Ottawa


Gill, Margaret S. (1944). “Canadian university and reference libraries in wartime.” College and Research Libraries 5, no. 2: 99-104.

Gill, Margaret S. (1944). “The Dominion to the North: the Canadian scene.” Wilson Library Bulletin 19, November: 169-170.

Gill, Margaret S. (1945). “Canadian Library Advisory Board [of ALA].” American Library Association Bulletin 39, no. 10: 358.

Gill, Margaret S. (1945). “Trade, Profession, or Occupation?” Canadian Library Council Bulletin 1, no. 3: 19.

Gill, Margaret S. (1947). “Very random thoughts inspired by UNESCO.” In: Proceedings of the Canadian Library Association, held at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, June 24-26, 1947. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association. p. 6-9.

Gill, Margaret S. (1950). “CLA-CCRU Book Project Committee [March of Books].” Canadian Library Association Bulletin 7, no. 2: 51-52.

Gill, Margaret S. (introduction) and Marjory Meleghy, comp. (1957). Union List of Scientific Serials in Canadian libraries. Ottawa: National Research Council.

Gill, Margaret S. (1968). “C.L.C. to C.L.A..” In: Librarianship in Canada, 1946-1967: Essays in Honour of Elizabeth Homer Morton. Victoria: Canadian Library Association, 1968. p. 11-19.


Library Association of Ottawa, President 1940-1941
Canadian Library Council, Chair 1944-1946
Canadian Library Association (honorary), Past President 1946-1947
Ontario Library Association, President 1946-1947
University Women's Club of Ottawa, President 1954-55


To formally recognize her work, Margaret Gill’s photograph was unveiled in her honour at a ceremony in the lobby of the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (now know as National Science Library, building M-55) where it joined those of her two successors, Dr. Jack Brown (1957-78) and Mr. Elmer Smith (1978-91). – NRC Sphere, July/Aug 1992, 5.


Margaret (Madge) Gill chaired the opening of the first conference of by the Canadian Library Association held at McMaster University, Hamilton, in June 1946 with the following words:

“I hope that you all feel as I do, that this is really a very thrilling occasion. The older librarians will know that this is the culmination of a great many years of effort to give Canada a national library association. There have been various attempts in the past, and they have not succeeded in getting beyond the very first stage of good intentions. Today and tomorrow we are going to see something more effective.”

The formation of CLA with the theme ‘Libraries in the Life of the Canadian Nation’ was due in good measure to her resourceful wartime preparatory contributions as chair of the Canadian Library Council. After her national work, she was elected President of the Ontario Library Association for 1946-47. During this time Gill attended the first plenary session of UNESCO as an official Canadian delegate in Paris. In this capacity, she later became the chair of a cooperative effort by CLA and Canadian Council for Reconstruction responsible for the ‘March of Books,’ a national campaign that collected and distributed thousands of books to postwar libraries in Europe, Asia, Ethiopia and Trinidad in 1949-50.

During her thirty year tenure at the NRC library, the collection grew by 350 times its original size, reaching 20 kilometres of shelf space. After Gill retired in 1957, the NRC library began to assume to role of a national science library for all libraries in Canada with a collection of 350,000 books. The same year marked publication of project she had laboured on for some time, a union list of holdings for scientific serials in major Canadian libraries which was subsequently updated and published in a number of editions prior to becoming a computer-based resource.


“The Canadian library profession is indeed fortunate to possess a Margaret S. Gill in this critical pre-reconstruction period.” – Isobel Mair, 1945.


Mair, Isobel C. (1945). “A Canadian Library Service Designer; Margaret S. Gill,” Library Journal 70, January: 51 and 62-63.
Stuart-Stubbs, Basil (2004). “1934-46: the Long Last Lap [CLA Established],” Feliciter 50, 3: 112-15.
ELA biography compiled by Lorne Bruce

biographies/margaret-susannah-gill.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/23 23:42