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Sheila Egoff

Photograph of Sheila Egoff


Children's Librarian, Author


Reading was a pastime and passion for Sheila Egoff since she discovered the public library in her hometown of Galt, Ontario at age 8. Her love of books lead to a lifelong career devoted to the promotion of children's literature and librarianship.

Sheila Egoff was educated at the University of Toronto, receiving a Diploma in Librarianship in 1939 and returning for a Bachelor of Arts in 1947. She completed her formal education with a Diploma in Librarianship from University College, London in 1948.

She worked at the Galt Public Library for four years as children's librarian before moving to Toronto to begin studies for her Bachelor of Arts. While studying, she also worked at the Toronto Public Library, and went on to become the first curator of the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books. She was also employed by the Canadian Library Association as editor of Canadian Library and Canadian Index. In 1962 she began to teach courses in children's literature and librarianship at the newly established School of Librarianship at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Sound scholarship underlines her many publications, including The Republic of Childhood. First published in 1967, it is the benchmark by which the study of Canadian children's literature is measured. In addition to her books, she has published in professional journals in Canada and abroad. Following her retirement in 1983, she prepared a bibliographic catalogue of early and rare children's books in the Special Collections Division at UBC and was able to focus on writing and speaking engagements.

Sheila Egoff received many awards and accolades. Upon her retirement, a conference on children's literature was held in her honour. In 1994, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, a fitting tribute to her work as an educator and author in the field of children's librarianship. Throughout her career, Sheila Egoff's enthusiasm and expertise has captivated and challenged many young children (and their parents), many aspiring children's librarians, and many "would-be" children's authors. Sheila Egoff died on May 22, 2005


Canadian children's books, 1799-1939, in the Special Collections and University Archives Division, the University of British Columbia : a bibliographical catalogue. — Compiled by Sheila A. Egoff ; with the assistance of Margaret Burke, Ronald Hagler and Joan Pert. — Vancouver : University of British Columbia Library, 1992. — 391 p. — ISBN 088865197X

Egoff, Sheila ; Saltman, Judith. — The new republic of childhood : a critical guide to Canadian children's literature in English. — Toronto : Oxford University Press, 1990. — xiv, 378 p. — ISBN 0195405765

Egoff, Sheila : Sutton, Wendy K.  -  Once upon a time : my life with children's books.  -  Victoria, B.C. : Orca Book Publishers, 2005.  -  163 p.  -  ISBN 1551433354

Notable Canadian children's books : un choix de livres canadiens pour la jeunesse. — An annotated catalogue prepared by Sheila Egoff and Alvine Bélisle for an exhibition arranged by Library and Archives Canada. Ottawa : Library and Archives Canada, 1973. — x, 91 p.

The republic of childhood : a critical guide to Canadian children's literature in English. — Second edition. — Toronto : Oxford University Press, 1975. — vii, 335 p. — ISBN 0195402316

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