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ARCHIVED - Celebrating Women's Achievements

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Marion Gilroy

Photograph of Marion Gilroy


Librarian, Historian


Marion Gilroy, a native of Nova Scotia, obtained her first degree from Acadia University. This was followed by a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto and a Library Science degree from Columbia University where she attended as a Carnegie Fellow.

She began her library career as Research Librarian for the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. During the Second World War she served simultaneously as Acting Director of the Nova Scotia Regional Library Commission and Director of the Atlantic Command Library Service.

In 1946, Marion moved to Saskatchewan to take up the position of Supervisor of Regional Libraries. This was a difficult and sometimes dangerous task as few libraries existed in Saskatchewan at that time. She had to cope with bitter Saskatchewan winters and gravel roads as she traveled around the province to persuade municipal councilors with vivid memories of the Depression that libraries were not a frivolity. She is perhaps best known for her pioneering efforts in the development of regional libraries.

She was elected President of the Canadian Library Association in 1951 and also served as president of the Maritime and Saskatchewan Associations. She performed surveys of library needs across Canada, in regions as diverse as Montreal Island and the Northwest Territories. She also hosted many radio and television broadcasts and had a stint as a movie star in the National Film Board production "Books for Beaver River".

In 1963, she began a new career as Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia School of Librarianship where she taught courses on book selection and evaluation, public libraries and readers' services. Her rich experience, coupled with her vivacity and good humour, made her a popular and highly effective teacher.

Marion Gilroy lived, studied and worked in nearly every region of Canada. She was a "woman with a vision, bright, witty, dedicated — an honour to her profession."


Braithwaite, Max. — Like being a millionaire. — [Prince Albert, Sask. : Wapiti Regional Library, 198-?]. — 83 p.

Pioneers! O pioneers! : the genesis of regional libraries. — [Regina] : Saskatchewan Library Association, c1979. — 12 p.

"Cat's cradles to tractors; books and libraries for the Northwest Territories." Canadian Geographical Journal. — Vol. LX1X, no.6 (December 1964). — P. 198-201

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