Jessie Robson Bothwell


SASKATCHEWAN LIBRARY TRUSTEES' ASSOCIATION

Tribute
To The Memory Of

Jessie Robson Bothwell

Legislative Librarian 1931-51
and
Provincial Librarian 1944-1951

A Life Member of the Canadian Library Association, a lover of books and a writer herself, she had the greatest sympathy for the many in Saskatchewan, during the forties, who had available only extremely limited or no library resources.

In 1945, after viewing the film "Library on Wheels", and hearing of the successful experimental regional library in British Columbia's Fraser River Valley, she immediately realized that regional libraries could be the solution to library problems in this province.

She had the vision and the foresight to urge upon the government the acceptance of the regional concept for future library development in Saskatchewan. She was most fortunate in gaining the interested and active support of the Premier and the Minister of Education. Both officials recognized the great need for library extension in the province and lost no time in furthering the idea.

A Library Advisory Council was formed late in 1945. Early in 1946 the Regional Library Act was passed and soon after a Regional Library Supervisor was appointed.

After a brief survey of the libraries in the province, the Prince Albert area was selected to become the first experimental region. Here, public support for a regional library began earlier, and had been far greater, than in any other section of the province. This was due, in part, to the fact that Jessie Robson Bothwell saw here an ideal situation for such an experiment. It was with interest and enthusiasm that she supported this regional development.

In 1950 the North Central Regional Library was organized, with headquarters in Prince Albert. This was the first regional library to be established on the prairies.

Regional library development in Saskatchewan might not have taken place as early, or as rapidly as it did in those first few years, had it not been 'sparked' by Jessie Robson Bothwell back in 1945.

In gratitude, we offer this belated tribute.

Prepared and read by Mrs. Betty Davis, Regina, 1975