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Directors of GSLIS

Charles Gould: 1904-1919

Charles H. Gould, Library School Director 1904-1919 JPG (5 Kb)

Charles H. Gould was the McGill University Librarian when he established a librarian apprenticeship training program to help fill a need at McGill for people to do library work. It was not long before he saw that the need for librarians was as great, if not greater, in the community at large and so, with the urging of Melvyl Dewey, he established a Summer School for prospective librarians in 1904.

Gould's summer school was a success although it struggled for funding during its formative years. However, with the help of guest lecturers, especially from the United States, he established the idea that librarianship was a viable and necessary profession in Canada.

Gould would continue his dual role as Director of the School and McGill University Librarian until 1919.

Dr. Gerhard Lomer: 1920-1949

Gerhard Lomer, a McGill graduate and summer library school instructor during Gould's time, took over as Director of the School in 1920. With a background in English literature and teaching, Lomer would follow Gould in combining the Directorship with the title of University Librarian.

Gerhard Lomer, Director of the School 1920-1949 JPG (13 Kb)

His Ph.D from Columbia University and his exposure to the tradition of professional librarianship at that institution would eventually lead to McGill's Summer Library School becoming the model for Canadian library education.

Often referred to as the "true founder" of the School, Lomer would change the course of the School from a "summer" school, through a one-year diploma program, through to a post-Bachelor's program, all in the space of ten years.

Vernon Ross: 1949-1966

The first graduate of the School to become Director, Vernon Ross would also guide the School through its transition to a Master's degree program and into Canada's first two-year MLIS program.

Vernon Ross, Director of the School 1949-1966 JPG (8 Kb)

With a strong background in cataloguing and reference, Ross came "up through the ranks", first as a reviser from 1935, an instructor from 1937, then as a lecturer in 1942, an assistant professor in 1946, and an associate professor in 1950 as she assumed the directorship. In 1963 she became full professor.

Like Lomer, Ross had a strong belief in professional library education and an interest in maintaining McGill's Library School's status as second to none.

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Dr. Virginia E. Murray: 1966-1970

A long-time staff member, Ms. Murray was Assistant Director for four years before becoming Director in 1966.

Dr. Virginia Murray, 
  Director of the School 1966-1970 JPG (11 Kb)

Her twelve years as Placement Officer (1950-1962) also held her in good stead as she guided the School administratively through the tumultuous late 1960s.

Dr. Murray, another Columbia graduate to become Director of the School, was a professional librarian in the Cataloguing and Reference departments at McGill before becoming a member of the School's staff.

Dr. Violet Coughlin: 1970-1972

Dr. Violet Coughlin, Director
  of the School 1970-1972 JPG (14 Kb)

Violet Coughlin carved out a successful teaching and librarianship career before coming to the School in 1951. She had been the librarian at the Royal Victoria College Library from 1941 to 1951.

Professor Coughlin's Ph.D thesis Factors in the Development of Larger Units of Library Service in Canada with particular reference to the Maritime Provinces has become one of the standard tomes on the development of libraries in Canada.

Effie C. Astbury: 1972-1976

Effie C. Astbury,
  Director of the School 1972-1976 JPG (25 Kb)

An honours graduate of McGill in 1938, Ms. Astbury received her BLS the following year from the School and began her professional career in medical librarianship. She would go on to become head of the Medial Library's Circulation and Reference Department.

Ms. Astbury was an early proponent of the use of computers in libraries as she attended a landmark workshop on Computer Programs for Library Operations at the University of Illinois in 1964.

Vivian S. Sessions: 1976-1981

Vivian S. Sessions, Director of the School 1976-1981 JPEG (14 Kb)

Professor Sessions was the first Director of the School to become Director without a previous connection to the School as either a graduate, faculty, or staff member.

She was hired as School Director bringing with her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and a MLS from the University of Colorado. She was instrumental in bringing Dialog online searching into the LIS curriculum at McGill.

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Dr. Hans Möller: 1981-1984

Dr. Möller took over the School at a critical time in its history, beginning the process of faculty renewal. Under his tenure, John Leide (1981) and Diane Mittermeyer (1982) would become faculty members.

Dr. Hans Möller, Director of the School 1981-1984 JPG (26 Kb)

Dr. Möller was a librarian in the McGill library system and also had signed on as a sessional lecturer for the 1981-1982 academic year. However, under somewhat difficult circumstances, he answered the call to become the new director of the School that same year.

After his tenure as director, Dr. Möller would add the directorship of McGill Libraries to his list of accomplishments.

Dr. Helen Howard: 1984-1989

Dr. Helen Howard, Director of the School 1984-1989 JPG (14 Kb)

Dr. Howard was hired in 1982 as Associate Professor. With undergraduate and graduate degrees from Queen's and McGill (BLS and MLS), and a Ph.D from Rutgers, Dr. Howard was well-suited to guiding the School towards more of a technology and research focus.

She helped establish the Information Technology Laboratory as an going entity and created the position of Professional Associate at the School. She also hired Dr. Jamshid Beheshti who would go on to become a future director of the School himself.

Wishing to attract a broader range of students, Dr. Howard was instrumental in changing the name of the School (and corresponding degree) from the Graduate School of Library Science to the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.

Dr. Andrew J. Large: 1989-1998

Dr. Large would put GSLIS on the map in terms of research. Bringing with him a broad portfolio of publications and an expertise in information policy, language and information, and online information storage and retrieval, Dr. Large would not only raise GSLIS' profile in Canada but around the world.

Andrew J. Large, Director of the School 1989-1998 JPG (17 Kb)

During Dr. Large's time as Director, GSLIS would see the addition of a Ph.D program (Ad Hoc) and a post-master's Graduate Diploma.

GSLIS would also strengthen ties with Indonesia through its strong involvement in the Indonesia-Canada Islamic Higher Education Project funded by CIDA.

In 1998, to cap his accomplishments as Director, Dr. Large was named the first holder in Canada of the CN-Pratt-Grinstad Chair in Library and Information Studies.

Dr. Jamshid Beheshti: 1998-2004

Dr. Jamshid Beheshti, Director of the School 1998-2004 JPG (14 Kb)

Dr. Beheshti was appointed to the GSLIS faculty in 1985 as Assistant Professor but was also responsible for the Information Technology during his first few years on faculty.

During his six years as Director, Dr. Beheshti was instrumental in the hiring of Dr. Kimiz Dalkir, Dr. Eun Park and Dr. Joan Bartlett during a new round of faculty renewals.

GSLIS has also benefitted from Dr. Beheshti's encouragement of technology initiatives and equipment renewal for staff, faculty, and lab facilities. During his time as director, the Information Technology Laboratory expanded from sixteen to thirty-two computers.

In June of 2004 it was announced that the Faculty of Education had promoted Dr. Beheshti to the position of Associate Dean of Education, the first such promotion for a GSLIS director.

Dr. France Bouthillier: 2004-

Dr. France Bouthillier, Director of the School from 2004 JPG (10 Kb)

Having joined the School as a junior faculty member in 1994, Professor Bouthillier took on the role as director of the School in 2004 as Professor Beheshti was promoted to Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education.

During her time as director, Professor Bouthillier has overseen a major shift in the focus of the MLIS program from a traditional librarianship-based program to one which includes specializations in Archival Studies, Knowledge Management, and Librarianship.

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Getting the word out

Attracting students has always been an important part of the director's job. Print ads, telephone campaigns, alumni referral, and now the Internet are some of the many means of achieving high enrolment.

Library school 1921 advertising poster (16Kb)
An advertising poster for the 1921 summer school (GSLIS photograph) Enlarge



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