The Canadian association dedicated to people whose careers have been in libraries, archives, publishing, and information work

User Tools

Site Tools


Samuel Rothstein

Samuel Rothstein, n.d. Credit ALA Bulletin, April 1962.

b. Jan. 12, 1921, Shenyahova, a village near Bobrysk in Belarus (part of Russia at the time); d. July 8, 2014, Vancouver. BC


1939 BA in English and French (University of British Columbia)
1940 MA (University of British Columbia)
1947 BLS (University of California)
1954 PhD in Librarianship (University of Illinois). He was the first Canadian to hold a PhD in librarianship.


1942-1945 war service in
Canadian counter-intelligence
1947-1948 Reference Librarian, University of British Columbia
1948-1954 Head of Acquisitions, UBC
1954-1961 Assistant and Associate Librarian, UBC
1961-1970 Acting University Librarian and Founding Director of the School of Librarianship, UBC
1970-1986 Director and Professor of Librarianship, UBC
1986-2014 Professor Emeritus

Selected Publications:

Rothstein, Samuel (1955). The development of reference services through academic traditions, public library practice and special librarianship. Chicago: Association of College and Reference Libraries. Accessed Oct. 21, 2014.

British Columbia Public Library Commission. Special Committee on Library Education (1957). Training professional librarians for Western Canada: report. Victoria: Public Library Commission. [Samuel Rothstein was a member of the Special Committee]

Rothstein, Samuel (1961). “Reference Service: The New Dimension in Librarianship.” College and Research Libraries 22: 11-18.

Rothstein, Samuel (1964). “Measurement and Evaluation of Reference Service.” Library Trends 12 (3}: 456-472.

Rothstein, Samuel (1964). La bibliothèque au service de deux cultures au Canada – the library and the two cultures in Canada: Discours - par Edmund Deroches – avec commentaires – de Samuel Rothestein – Bertha Bassam – Vernon Ross, le 30 novembre 1963 à une reunion générale de L'Assocation des bibliothécaires du Québec, Montreal: Québec Library Association.

Gilroy, Marion and Samuel Rothstein (1970). As we remember it: Interviews with pioneering librarians of British Columbia. Vancouver: University of British Columbia School of Librarianship with the co-operation and assistance of the Library Development Commission of British Columbia.

Rothstein, Samuel, Richard Blackwell and Archibald MacLeish (1972). The university … the library. Papers presented at York University on the occasion of the dedication of the Scott Library, 30 October 1971. Oxford: Shakespeare Head Press.

Rothstein, Samuel (1972). “From Reaction to Interaction: The Development of the North-American University Library.” Canadian Library Journal 29 (2): 111–115.

Rothstein, Samuel (1977). “Across the Desk: 100 Years of Reference Encounters.” Canadian Library Journal 34 (5): 391-399.

Rothstein, Samuel (1982). “Where Does It Hurt? Identifying the Real Concerns in the Ethics of Reference Service.” The Reference Librarian 4 (summer): 1-12.

Rothstein, Samuel (1983). “The Making of a Reference Librarian.” Library Trends 31 (3): 375-399.

Rothstein, Samuel (1984). “The Hidden Agenda in the Measurement and Evaluation of Reference Service, Or, How to Make a Case for Yourself.” The Reference Librarian 11: 45-52.

Rothstein, Samuel (1985). “Why People Really Hate Library Schools.” Library Journal 110 (6): 42-43.

Katz, William A., Charles A. Bunge and Samuel Rothstein (1989). Rothstein on reference … with some help from friends. New York: Haworth Press.

Rothstein, Samuel (1990). “The development of the concept of reference service in American libraries 1850-1900.” The Reference Librarian 11 (1): 7-31.

Rothstein, Samuel (1990). “The hidden agenda in the measurement of evaluation of reference service, or, How to make a case for yourself.” The Reference Librarian 11 (25): 351-358.

Rothstein, Samuel (1990). “Reference service.” The Reference librarian. 11 (25):161-172.

He also wrote for several encyclopedias, contributed many articles and reviews to professional journals, gave lectures and talks and served on editorial boards of several encyclopedias and journals.


American Association of Library Schools (AALS), President
British Columbia Library Association (BCLA)
Pacific Northwest Library Association (PNLA)
Canadian Association of Library Schools (CALS)
American Library Association (ALA), served as an officer
Canadian Library Association (CLA)
Bibliographical Society of Canada
Councillor, BC Medical Library Service
Canadian Council of Library Schools (CCLS)
1969 Consultant, for Science Secretariat of Canada
1969 Visiting Scholar, University of Hawaii
1970-1977 Consultant for various libraries
1970 Visiting Professor, University of Toronto
1973 Visiting Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
1979 Librarian-in-Residence, University of Toronto
1981-1982 Research Fellow, University of Toronto Centre for Research in Librarianship
1962-1972 Board Member and President of the Jewish Community Centre
1987-1988 President, Vancouver Public Library Trust
1992-1995 Divisional Chairman, Vancouver Combined Jewish Appeal
1993-1999 Board Member, the Jewish Federation of Vancouver


1951-1954 Carnegie Corporation Fellowship
1970 Helen Gordon Stewart Award, British Columbia Library Association
1971 Honorary D.Litt., York University
1986 Canadian Library Association Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award
1988 American Library Association Beta Phi Mu for distinguished service to education in librarianship
1988 ALISE Award for Outstanding Professional Contributions to Library and Information Science Education
1989 Honoured with an entry scholarship for those with promise of success in librarianship
2011 for the 50th anniversary of SLAIS he was honoured with the Sam Rothstein award for the graduating student who exhibits the innovative spirit that Sam had when opening the school in 1961


“Sam founded the Faculty of Librarianship at UBC and he served as its first Director from 1970 to 1986. He was internationally recognized for his pioneering work as a reference librarian and he was a leader in developing the discipline of Library Science internationally over four decades.”


Samuel Rothstein Fonds, UBC Library Archives [PDF download]
Biography written for his fonds held in the archives of the UBC Library
Obit., Globe and Mail, July 9, 2014
There are biographies listed in several biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias including: Canadian Who’s Who, Who’s Who in America, ALA Yearbook of Library and Information Services, and Who’s Who in the World

biographies/samuel-rothstein.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/31 20:03