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Evans, Lyle (1907–92)

Miss Lyle Evans, Supervisor of School Libraries, June 1948.
Vern Kent (Saskatchewan Archives Board) R-A10789, Saskatchewan Film Board

Lillian Lyle Evelyn (Evans) King, known to most people as Lyle Evans, is responsible for the growth of school library services in Saskatchewan through her initiative, enthusiasm, and efforts to interest school boards, superintendents, principals, teachers, and teacher librarians in the need for better school library service in the province. Following Normal School, Evans taught from 1930 to 1939 in both elementary and secondary schools. She obtained a BA in 1940 from the University of Saskatchewan, a BLS in 1942 from the University of Toronto, and an MLS in 1952 from Columbia University. She worked in the Toronto Public Library and then the Graham-Eckes Private School in Palm Beach, Florida from 1942 to 1945. She returned to Saskatchewan in 1946 to become the first Supervisor of School Libraries in the province as well as the first appointed in Canada. She developed at the Normal School a course in the organization, administration, and use of the school library which in time became part of the College of Education program.

Lyle Evans was instrumental in establishing school library demonstration projects, from the first locally supported project in Cupar School Unit #28 in 1947 to the more elaborate Saskatchewan School Library Demonstration Project at Columbia School in Yorkton. Her efforts ensured that in 1947–48 the school curriculum included provision for school library services, including personnel, materials, programs, and standards of actual space for a library. She lectured at the College of Education, assisted in the production of radio programs, film, and book displays, and authored numerous articles and pamphlets. In 1962, she was appointed Associate Professor at the College of Education of the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, where she was responsible for the program in school library service until 1974.

Some of Evans’ other achievements involved being president of the Saskatchewan Library Association (1950–51); chair of the Canadian Library Association (CLA) Committee on Education for School Librarianship (1952); organizer for the first annual workshop on School Library Services in the province (1953); chair of the CLA Young People’s Section; director of the American Association of School Librarians (1958–60); chair of the organizing committee of the Saskatchewan Association of School Librarians (SSLA), in 1959; council member (1961–63) and later president (1969–70) of the Canadian School Library Association (CSLA); and CSLA’s Margaret B. Scott Award winner in 1978.

Gail Saunders

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