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May 25, 2005

Shelia Egoff dies at 88


Sheila Agnes Egoff, Officer of the Order of Canada, died on May 22, 2005 in her 88 th year at Vancouver B.C. Her multiple careers as children's librarian, professor of children's literature, and critic and advocate of children's literature had a profound impact on the development of academic teaching and criticism of children's literature, on the growth of Canadian publishing for children, and on Canadian public library service to children. Born in 1918 in Auburn, Maine, she grew up in Galt (now Cambridge) Ontario. Sheila's childhood in rural Ontario was marked by avid public library use and exposure to the children's books of the early years of the twentieth century. Her lifelong career as a scholar and critic of children's literature, and pre-eminent promoter of Canadian children's literature in particular, began at the Galt Public Library. After graduating from the University of Toronto and qualifying as a librarian at the University of London ( England), she worked at the Children's Room of the Toronto Public Library. As a children's librarian in the internationally renowned children's library service of the Toronto Public Library, Sheila Egoff was a disciple of Lillian Smith, a towering figure in early children's librarianship and a pioneer critic of children's literature. Sheila learned her philosophies of quality library service and stringent evaluation of children's literature under Smith. Sheila was instrumental in bringing the famed British Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books to the Toronto Public Library and was that collection's first curator. Her experience in serving the reading needs of contemporary children was balanced with learning about four centuries of writing, publishing, and illustrating books for children.

Posted by jason at May 25, 2005 10:00 AM


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