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About the SLA

A Brief History of the McGill University SLA Student Group

by Professor John Leide
February 14, 2006

McGill University established the first student group in Canada in the 1970s under the able direction of Miriam H. Tees, a graduate of the program and sessional lecturer while Chief Librarian of the Royal Bank of Canada. She had been President of the Special Libraries Association in 1975/1976, became a Fellow in 1987, and was inducted into the SLA Hall of Fame in 1988. Upon her retirement from the Royal Bank in 1979, she joined the faculty full time and continued as faculty advisor of the Student Group until her retirement in 1988. She was succeeded by John E. Leide.

In the early days the McGill University Student Group welcomed members from l'École de bibliothèconomie Université de Montréal many of whom enrolled in the Special Libraries course at McGill. When the Université de Montréal established its own student group, joint activities continued with the support of the Eastern Canada Chapter of SLA whose jurisdiction includes three schools, Dalhousie, McGill, and Montreal, each of which now has a student group.

The Student Group has always been and continues to be student driven. It exists for and is run by the students of the School's master's program to enable them to pursue their interests in special librarianship in the widest interpretation of subject and context. Programs include visits to special libraries and information/media centers and other information organizations as well as speakers from a variety of work environments according to the interests of students in any given year. The Student Group has been an active participant in the Mentoring Program of the Eastern Canada Chapter and has frequently hosted the Chapter for a meeting in the Spring to further networking with practicing professionals.