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Peter James Bassnett

b. Nov. 16, 1933, Sutton Coldfield, UK; d. Feb. 23, 2008, London, ON


1956 A.I.Q.S. Intermediate (Hammersmith Sch. of Architecture and Building)
1963 ALA (Northwestern Polytechnic School of Librarianship); 1971 FLA (Library Association)


1958-1964 Quantity Surveyor Godfrey & Burgess, London, Eng.
1964-1966 Librarian-in-Charge Haringey, London, Eng.
1966-1972 Reference Librarian, Calgary Public Library
1972-1975 Director of Systems and Management Services, North York Public Library
1975-1995 Chief Executive Officer, Scarborough Public Library


Bassnett, Peter J. (1970). “Spatial and administrative relationships in large public libraries [microform] an investigation into the planning of municipal libraries serving populations exceeding one hundred thousand.” Thesis (F.L.A.) Library Association.

Bassnett, Peter J. (1972). “Library Research in Canada.” Canadian Library Journal 29, no. 4: 307–309.

Bassnett, Peter J. (1980). A Review of charges for public library services: some implications and an approach to a resolution. Scarborough, ON: Scarborough Public Library.

Bassnett, Peter J. (1981). “Implications: charges for public library service.” Canadian Library Journal, 38 (April): 57-63.

Bassnett, Peter J. (1982). Ontario public libraries: the provincial role in a triad of responsibilities: the report of the Ontario Public Libraries Programme Review for the Minister of Citizenship and Culture. Toronto [s.n].

Bassnett, Peter J. (1985). ”Mission, dollars, service: an exchange of perspectives: a conference for public librarians, publishers and wholesalers, Toronto, September 26th and 27th, 1985.” Data collected and prepared from the membership of the Council of Administrators of Large Urban Public Libraries. [s.l: s.n].

Bassnett, Peter J. (1986). Canadian public libraries, public policy and the political process: an Ontario experience. [s.l: s.n].

Associations / Committees:

1952-1954 Served with the RAF
1980-1982 Executive. Coordinator, Ontario Public Libraries Programme Review for the Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Culture
1968-1969 President, Alberta Library Association
Member: Library Association (UK), Private Libraries Association; The Powys Society


On June 25, 2009, a room in the Goldhawk Branch of the Scarborough Library was named the Peter J. Bassnett Meeting Room in Peter’s honour.
Peter J. Bassnett Award for Professional Development. “Recognizes Peter’s contribution to the development of public library services by supporting library staff pursuing a career in public libraries and rewarding eligible staff for outstanding achievement in the areas of library information studies, public administration and/or management studies.”


At Scarborough he built seven new branches and introduced computer technology into the system and introduced multilingual services including the development of a Chinese language catalogue. “Peter was a strong voice for effective public library service in Ontario . He was appointed to oversee the Ontario Public Libraries Review in 1980 and travelled across Ontario. His recommendations laid the ground for the 1984 Ontario Public Libraries Act… Supporters … described him as ‘forward thinking’ in that he believed that to be effective, Ontario public libraries must work together and connect their technologies in order to share information.
The Committee, chaired by Peter J. Bassnett, undertook, a major review of the province’s public library services under the existing Act and prepared a report, known as The Bassnett Report, which resulted in new legislation. The recommendations would ensure that the people of Ontario would continue to have one of the best public library systems to be found anywhere and it formed a major part of the province's new Public Libraries Act.


Canadian Who's Who, 1984, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. “Bassnett, Peter J.” p. 67.
Toronto Public Library.Briefing Note: About Peter J. Bassnett . PDF accessed June 18, 2013.
University of Toronto Library catalogue.
Peter Bassnett, Globe and Mail, September 1, 2008 [accessed April 14, 2024]

biographies/peter-james-bassnett.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/14 15:02