The Canadian Library Association - Association canadiennes des bibliothèques (CLA-ACB) was a national association that over the years contributed substantially to the development of libraries, librarianship and Canadian society. Its early years are celebrated in Elizabeth Hulse's The Morton Years: The Canadian Library Association 1946-1971 (Toronto: Ex Libris Association, 1995). In recent years, the Association struggled with declining membership and attendance at its annual meeting. Regional and specialized library and information science bodies siphoned off members and conference attendees. CLA ceased to exist in 2016 but a new initiative, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) intends to continue speaking out on library issues at a national level.
Originally conceived as a bilingual organization, in reality the CLA was almost exclusively an anglophone association and in 1968 acknowledged this condition. Francophone libraries and librarians found a more appropriate home in the Association canadienne de bibliothécaires de langue française (ACBLF). (Hulse, 75)
In 1972, members of the association agreed to a new organizational structure that recognized five divisions representing different types of libraries: the Canadian Association of College and University Libraries, the Canadian Association of Public Libraries, the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services, the Canadian School Library Association, and the Canadian Library Trustees' Association. (Hulse, 89-90) Additionally, many interest groups formed and folded during the life of the association.
One of the legacies of the CLA was its sponsorship of three book awards: the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children (1947-2016), the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award (1971-2016), and, the Young Adult Canadian Book Award (1981-2016). In the fall of 2016, the CFLA announced that the historic collection of CLA Award Books was available for adoption by a research library that was willing to maintain them as a cohesive collection. In November 2016, Ryerson University Library and Archives was awarded the collection and the English liaison librarian set about filling in some of the gaps in the holdings. Copies of award winners were not always obtained and retained by the Canadian Library Association at the time the award was given. However, many of the older titles, especially from the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award collection, were subsequently donated to the archival collection as ex-library copies. Some titles are represented by cheaper paperback editions or foreign editions. A few titles were not represented at all. The first twelve years of the Young Adult Canadian Book Award were absent. With one exception, all of the titles received in the donation are in English. The one French title received is a translation of the English language version also included. Thus, the historic collection excludes the French language titles that were awarded prizes between 1954 and 1968. In fact, the record of the French language winners disappeared from the CLA's lists of award winning books published in recent decades.
It is anticipated that these three collections will be of particular interest to researchers in the English Department where they can foster research in children's literature in Canada including the study of publishing history. Students in graphic communications and early childhood studies may also find these works worthy of study. The books will be available to researchers in Special Collections sometime in early 2017.
The bibliographical descriptions for the award winning books on the following pages are cobbled together using a variety of sources including the books in hand, lists provided by CLA, the titles identified in Olga S.Weber and Stephen J. Calvert's Literary and Library Prizes. 10th ed. (New York: R.R. Bowker, 1980.), and catalogue records from Amicus and elsewhere. I selected bibliographical descriptions for editions published in Canada over foreign editions, even if the foreign editions are listed in the source.
The Canadian Library Association archival records have been transferred to Library and Archives Canada. Some documents were previously transferred in 1986 including records of the Young People's Section 1954-1967. See for example this description of the Canadian Library Association Fonds.