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Born in Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador (formerly Newfoundland) in 1906, Jessie Mifflen was instrumental in the establishment of regional libraries throughout Newfoundland and Labrador (formerly Newfoundland). After graduating from Memorial University and Mount Allison University, she served as a field worker with the Newfoundland and Labrador (formerly Newfoundland) Commission of Government's adult education division. This was followed by service in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.
In 1950 she accepted a position as director of the fledgeling Newfoundland and Labrador (formerly Newfoundland) Public Library Service. At that time there were few public libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador (formerly Newfoundland), especially in the many outports and remote communities. Jessie Mifflen's mandate was to visit and establish public libraries in various parts of the province. In the early days, her visits were made by dogteam, bush plane, small boat and coastal steamer. Many of her trips took days and, in some cases, weeks. However, when she retired in 1972 more than 50 new libriares had been established throughout the province.
Her contributions outside Newfoundland and Labrador (formerly Newfoundland) included serving as President of the Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA) and Vice-President of the Canadian Library Association (CLA). In 1966 she was one of five Canadian librarians selected to observe libraries in the U.S.S.R. She was awarded a Canada Council Centennial Medal in 1967 and was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1973. She was also awarded the Canadian Library Association Outstanding Service to Librarians prize and holds honorary degrees from both Mount Allison University and Memorial University.
A great storyteller and raconteur, Jessie Mifflen used her talks and articles as a basis for three books published after her retirement (see below). She also wrote radio scripts and broadcasts for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
"Jessie Mifflen, a pioneer librarian who helped establish regional libraries throughout Newfoundland". — Feliciter. — Vol. 40, no.5 (May 1994). — P. 47-48
"Be you a library missionary, Miss?". — St.John's : Harry Cuff Publications, 1981.
A collection of memories. — St.John's : Harry Cuff Publications, 1989.
Journey to yesterday in the out-harbours of Newfoundland. -- St. John's : Harry Cuff Publications, 1983.
Penney, Pearce B. — "Jessie B. Mifflen — a tribute". — Ex libris. — No.16 (Autumn 1994). — P. 9-11