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Margaret Armstrong Beckman

b. 22 Jan. 1925, Hartford, Connecticut, USA; d. 28 Feb. 2008, Waterloo, ON


BA 1946 Western University (Waterloo College)
BLS 1949 University of Toronto
MLS 1969 University of Toronto


1946-50 Teacher, Blind River, Ont.
1950 - Children's Librarian, Galt Public Library
1959-1964 Head, Cataloguing Department, University of Waterloo
1964-1966 Director, Technical Services, University of Waterloo
1966-1969 Systems Librarian , University of Guelph
1970-1971 Deputy Chief Librarian, University of Guelph
1970- Lecturer on Library Architecture, School of Library and Information Science, University of Western Ontario
1971-1984 Chief Librarian, University of Guelph, McLaughlin Library
1984-1988 Executive Director for Technology, University of Guelph


Beckman, Margaret (1961). “Experiment in the Use of the Revised Code of Cataloguing Rules.” Library Resources & Technical Services 5 (3): 216–20.

Beckman, Margaret (1964). “Why Not the Bobbsey Twins?” Library Journal 89, no. 20 (Nov. 15): 4612–13, 4627.

Beckman, Margaret (1965). “Size and Library Research Collections.” Atlantic Provinces Library Association Bulletin 29 (4): 143–49.

Beckman, Margaret (1966). “A Documentation Center at the University of Guelph Library.” Ontario Library Review 50, no. 4 (Dec.): 226–229.

Beckman, Margaret (1968). Derivation of a Simulation Model of a University Library System. Guelph, Ont. University. Library. Research Report, No.1. Guelph, Ont.: University of Guelph Library, 1968.

Beckman, Margaret (1969). Documentation System for the Organization of Government Publications within a University Library. Research Report - Library, University of Guelph ; No. 2. [Guelph, Ont.]: Library, University of Guelph.

Beckman, Margaret and Stephen Langmead (1970). New library design: guide lines to planning academic library buildings. Toronto: John Wiley.

Beckman, Margaret (1973). “Woman: Her Place in the Profession.” IPLO Quarterly 14, no. 4 (April): 129–134.

Beckman, Margaret (1974). “Library Networks in the `70’s: University Libraries.” Canadian Library Journal 31 (3): 197–198.

Beckman, Margaret (1978). “Automated Cataloguing Systems and Networks in Canada.” Canadian Library Journal 35 (3): 173–180.

Beckman, Margaret, and Tim Sauer (1980). “On-Line Acquisitions/Circulation Interfaces at the University of Guelph.” Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory 4, no. 1: 19–28.

Beckman, Margaret (1981). “Political Setting of Libraries in Post-Secondary Institutions.” Canadian Library Journal 38 (3): 145–47.

Beckman, Margaret (1981). “Political Setting of Libraries in Post-Secondary Institutions.” Canadian Library Journal 38, no. 3 (June): 145–147

Beckman, Margaret, Stephen Langmead and John Black (1984). The best gift: a record of the Carnegie libraries in Ontario. Toronto: Dundurn Press.

Beckman, Margaret and Ellen M. Pearson (1992). “ Understanding the needs of users: the timeliness factor.” Essen Symposium, 307-320.

Beckman, Margaret and John B. Black (1996).“The local library within the worldwide context: changes, directions, realities.” Essen Symposium, 78-87.


1960-1966 Trustee, Waterloo Public Library Board
1966-1968 Chairman, Waterloo Public Library Board
1964-1968 Chairman, Midwestern Regional Library Board
1964-1968 Chairman, CACUL Committee on Academic Status
1964-1965 Chairman ORTSG1966 Chairman, OLA Committee on Legislation and Grants
1968-1969 Member, AUCC Special Taskforce on Automation
1968- Member, Ontario Council of Health, Sub-committee on Information Services


1975 Province of Ontario recognized her as one of 25 outstanding Ontario women
1986 ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year (lst Canadian to win the award)
1987 OCULA award for outstanding contribution to academic or research librarianship
1987 Honorary Doctorate, University of Western Ontario
1990 Honorary Doctor of Letters, Laurentian University
1990 Honorary Professor, University of Essen, Germany (first Canadian and first woman to receive such an honour)1990 Information technology and library management: 13th Essen
Symposium: Festschrift in honour of Margaret Beckman. Papers presented at the International Essen Symposium (13th, Universität Essen Bibliothek‎, October 22-25, 1990)
2007 Honored by City of Waterloo for leadership contributions


President, National Research Council of Canada, Advisory Board on Scientific and Technical Information
President, Ex Libris Association, 1999
President, Canadian Library Association, 1972/73
Canadian representative at several UNESCO Library Buildings Conferences
Designed CODOC documentation system
Developed GEAC library system
Implemented a consultative management system

Other areas of activity:

Margaret lectured and acted as consultant to library planners in academic, government, school and public libraries throughout Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.


“In the early 1950's pregnant with her first child, she 'hid' in the basement of a university library cataloguing books, because pregnant employees were supposed to be fired. It was a humble beginning for the woman who would go on to become the chief librarian of the University of Guelph's McLaughlin Library in 1971. As the only woman heading up a university library in Ontario at the time, she was a pioneer.” Also she was “internationally known for her work in library planning, innovation in library management and the introduction of technology into libraries.”


Obit. Globe and Mail, March 1, 2008.
Directory of library & information professionals . .(1988). Chicago: American Library Association. v.1
University of Toronto Library catalogue (for a list of her reports)
The Kitchener Record, March 1, 2008.

history/biographies/beckman_ma.txt · Last modified: 2023/01/24 22:01 by lbruce