Media Coverage in The Globe and Mail Newspaper


The Children's Department of the Public Library
Date: Saturday, February 8, 1913, p. 11
Description: "A busy, happy, smiling corner of the Public Library on College street is the children's department, and a busy, happy smiling person is the presiding genius of it, Miss Lillian Smith."

This is one of Smith's first introductions, having joined the Toronto Public Library the previous year. Less a profile of Smith than the children's department she was helping to create, she is nonetheless featured prominently in the article. In addition to encouraging children to join the book club, she is also depicted answering children's questions and promoting the story hour that they offered three days a week. Smith is quoted explaining that "the story is used always, of course, as a means to leading the child to read the book."

Boys and Girls and the Libraries
Date: Wednesday, March 13, 1946, page 9
Description: "At the head of the whole system of children's libraries in the city is Miss Lillian Smith whose enthusiasm and wisdom have had so much to do with the success of this important field of work."

In addition to citing the million and a half children's books that were circulated through the Central Public Library and its branches the previous year, the article notes the newer development of housing libraries in schools. This was one of Smith's initiatives to bring books to children wherever they might be found and also for safety considerations.

Books for Young Britons Flow From All Sources
Date: Tuesday, May 13, 1947, page 11
Description: Describes Smith's involvement with an initative to send books to Bethnal Green, London. The 1,537 volumes were donated from cities as remote as Calgary and Charlottetown and other groups collected money and made their own purchases for the cause.
Children's Book Week Aims at Better Reading
Date:  Saturday, April 17, 1948, page 19
Description: "To encourage more reading of worth-while books by more children at home, in school and at the library; to bring to the notice of adults the immense development in children's literature in recent years; to amke them aware of the great interest that is shown today in what children read - these are the purposes of Boys' and Girls' Book Week as outlined by Lillian Smith."

A collaborative effort amongst 20 educational and welfare organizations and publishing houses, the event included displays of the best children's books throughout the city and book stores displayed titled approved by the committee. A featured event was the special appearance by two award-winning New York illustrators and authors.

Extending the Love of Books
Date: May 30, 1951, page 6
Description: "The success of the children's library branches, which is far more than a matter of statistics, is very largely due to the remarkable organizing genius and magnetic personality of Miss Lillian Smith, the head of this division. Her capacity to inspire and maintain the enthusiasm of her staff has had no small influence in reaching the achievement that has been won."

The occasion for this praise was the opening of an addition on Boys' and Girls' House on St. George Street, the headquarters of the children's libraries in Toronto. Staff were no longer able to serve the children with programming and circulation and perform their administrative duties in the aging house which had been converted for library use. It was Smith's commitment to high standards of library service to children that prompted British book collector Edgar Osborne to donate his collection of children's books to the city. They were stored in the new annex for greater accessibility.

Head of Boys' and Girls' House Retires
Date: Tuesday, April 1, 1952, page 10
Description: "The Toronto Public Library today loses one of the most distinguished librarians who have ever served on its staff."

After 40 years of service to the city, Smith left her position as head of the boys' and girls' division. Some of her accomplishments that were cited included the unique Boy's and Girls' House library and children's libraries in 16 branches and 30 schools throughout the city. The article announces the forthcoming publication of The Unreluctant Years, her book on the standards of literary criticism in evaluation of children's literature which remains one of the most respected works on the topic.

Valued Librarian Retires
Date: Saturday, April 5, 1952, page 6
Description: "The retirement of Miss Lillian H. Smith...draws deeply merited attention to a remarkable career."

Thus begins an editorial that followed the publication of the previous article and continues to bestow great praise on the librarian who developed children's library services "to the point where they are now acknowledged to be the best in the world." She is praised for her administrative skill, her sympathy and understanding in dealing with others, as well as her love and understanding for children. Edgar Osborne's book donation is again cited as a direct and specific tribute to Smith's work. Notable here is the acknowledgement of the role played by the late Dr. George H. Locke, the former Chief Librarian "whose vision and encouragement first gave [Smith] her opportunity."

The Fly Leaf
Date: Saturday, February 14, 1959, page 16
Description: A reader writes to take issue with columnist William Arthur Deacon's previous criticism of Toronto children's librarians. The letter defends professional librarians and reminds him that most were trained under Smith who "received continent-wide acclaim for her books and articles on children's literature; few people are wiser concerning children's reading tastes and how they can be developed."

According to the writer's letter, Deacon had complained about the Toronto librarians' failure to purchase or supply the titles that he had mentioned.

Children's Books Get New Home
Date: Thursday, October 4, 1962, page 37
Description: Plans are announced for a new section to be added to Boys' and Girls' House to be named in Smith's honour. It would house a collection of children's books published after 1910 which had been amassed by Smith's successor Jean Thomson. The article notes that the previous summer she received one of the highest awards for a librarian, the Clarence Day Award, from the American Library Association. It was the first time this prize had been awarded to a Canadian, a children's librarian or a woman.
Library Program for the Schools
Date: Tuesday, April 9, 1963, page 7
Description: In an article lamenting the absence of school libraries, Smith and former Toronto Chief Librarian Dr. George Locke are credited with having established "a system of children's public libraries accepted by many as the best in the world."

The author notes that where public libraries did not exist in the immediate neighborhood, branches were established in schools and staffed once a week by professional librarians. In 1961, the decision was made to begin a full program of school libraries in Toronto. These would be under the control of the Board of Education with the Public Library Board to offer professional advice and assistance with this transfer of responsibility.

Toronto's Unique Treasure House of Books
Date: Thursday, March 23, 1978, page 7
Description: A profile of the Osborne Collection and Lillian H. Smith Collection of children's books. Readers are reminded that Osborne's generous gift was made as a tribute to Smith, whose work had so impressed him. The donation of his collection was made under a number of specific conditions. It was not to become a closed archive and at the time of the article's publication it had grown to five times the original size. Also, the children's librarian was to remain in charge of the collection. The Lillian H. Smith Collection was also established to recognize the first director of boys' and girls' libraries.