Mount Allison University graduate David A. Jonah was the keynote speaker at the 13 August 1960 opening of the Tweedie Annex, an extension to Mount Allison’s Memorial Library.  As Librarian at Brown University for many years, he was well-positioned to speak about academic libraries.  He noted:

“The history of a college or university library is much more than an account of the building of the successive halls which have served as a home for the university’s ever growing collection of books; it is more than an account of the acquisition and cataloguing of these books. It is concerned with the buildings and the books and more.” 1

He further stated that the history of an academic library reflects the history of the institution that it serves and that librarians have to be extraordinarily sensitive to all changes in educational policy, new programs of study, and new methods of instruction in order to maintain the library’s central position in the academic program.  As the intellectual heart of the university, the library serves many communities – students, faculty, administrative officers, alumni and members of the greater municipality in which it is located.

In 2010, Mount Allison University’s Ralph Pickard Bell Library celebrates its 40th anniversary. But the Bell library is only the latest edifice to house the books, expertise and other resources that have supported and contributed to Mount Allison’s academic program since its beginning as a boys’ academy in 1843.

This website provides a glimpse into Mount Allison’s early libraries and the faculty members who established and supported them. It highlights the changes in acquisitions policies that accompanied the pedagogical shifts of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and documents significant milestones in the history of the University, such as the provision of the first dedicated library building, the Memorial Library, as well as the demands that made it a necessity and the men that it honoured. The site also revisits the pressures exerted by the Baby Boom on student numbers, the generosity of Ralph Pickard Bell and the resultant plans for the library building that was ultimately named for him, the growth of the music collection that led to a dedicated Music Library, and the establishment and growth of a University Archives.

The staff members of the Mount Allison Libraries and Archives welcome you to this virtual exhibit and hope you enjoy learning about the long tradition of academic libraries and librarianship at Mount Allison.


1 Mount Allison Record, Fall 1960, p. 70