Post-secondary Education Libraries

The first post-secondary education library in Saskatchewan was established at the University of Saskatchewan in 1909, developing from a handful of books to 51,013 books in 1933. Two special collections - the Shortt Collection of 5,170 volumes of Canadian and American History, and the Prairie Provinces Collection of 1,665 volumes - defined prairie history. Several affiliated theological colleges developed their own libraries, supplementing the main university library's general collection. By 2003, the University of Saskatchewan Library's collection consisted of more than five million items, and a growing collection of digital materials that served more than 20,000 faculty and students.

The University of Regina library began in 1911 as a small, unorganized collection of books housed in the Regina College. By 1920, the collection consisted of 505 volumes kept in locked glass cases in a room that doubled as a public waiting room. By 1965, the collection had increased to approximately 121,000 volumes. With the establishment of the University of Regina in 1974, the library developed a union catalogue for itself and the libraries of three federated colleges (Campion, Luther, and Saskatchewan Indian Federated College - now the First Nations University of Canada). In 2003, the library's collection exceeded two million items.

Long before there were technical institutes, library services informally supported technical training. By 1941, vocational and academic training centres were set up in Saskatchewan, and by the late 1950s Saskatchewan established technical institutes to provide credit training in a wide range of occupations. Since 1988, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) has been the pre-eminent organization providing such training. The four SIAST campus libraries have shown tremendous growth in resources and services since their inception. With campus libraries in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina, and Saskatoon, trained library staff now serve on- and off-campus patrons in every part of the province.

Expanding library services to meet the post-secondary education needs of First Nations and Métis peoples has been a unique Saskatchewan achievement. The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology, Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre, and the Dumont Technical Institute have provided services. The creation of the First Nations University of Canada in 2003 was a major development in the Aboriginal control of Aboriginal education.

Other specialized libraries providing targeted services for post-secondary education support are the libraries of the Centre for Co-operative Studies, and the Native Law Centre and Theological College libraries located at the University of Saskatchewan. Briercrest Family of Schools College Library, in Caronport, serves high school, college, seminary, and distance-learning students. Staff enthusiasm and a keen sense of co-operation have been key features of library services in Saskatchewan. The existence of local networks, and participation in the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), a consortium of twenty-two university libraries located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, help member libraries to co-operate and collaborate in order to enhance information services through resource sharing, collective purchasing, document delivery, and many other library activities.

Tej Harrison