The History of The SSLA
Early History and Programs
The formation of an association of school librarians in Saskatchewan is inextricably tied to the interest, abilities and professional leadership provided by Miss Lyle Evans, a native of Saskatchewan. Miss Evans was educated and later taught both elementary and secondary school in the province. This background together with her firm commitment that school libraries were an essential part of the school program led her to advocate through the university classes which she taught, workshops and special projects which she conducted, and to educators whom she met, the importance of the school library. Her appointment as Supervisor of School Libraries for the Department of Education (the first such appointment in Canada) in 1946 provided an opportunity to assist those who were interested in school library development to see the advantages of a formal organization of school libraries.
On Saturday, April 18, 1959, 15 individuals met in the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation building in Saskatoon “in association…” This meeting was called by Miss Evans and was the first formal organizational meeting. Tentative aims and objectives were formulated and plans were made for the preparation of a constitution.
From the very beginning the support and encouragement of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation was evident. The organizing committee wished the new association to be a branch for the Federation and it was to the Federation that the proposed constitution would be submitted for approval.
At the next meeting on Saturday, May 9, 1959 , the draft constitution was presented, discussed, amended and approved by the committee. A slate of officers was prepared and ratified. The term of office was to June 30, 1960 .
The constitution confirmed the name of the association as the Saskatchewan Association of School Librarians and that it was to be affiliated with the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation.
The stated aims included the promotion of the school library and school librarianship; the encouragement of the use of the school library within the curriculum and in the life of the school generally; and the encouragement of co-operation with all organizations concerned with strengthening the educational programs.
Full membership was open to any school librarian belonging to the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation and associate membership to those who did not. The credit for guiding the association through its first year goes to the executive and members of the original committee but in particular to the first president, John Wright, and to the continuing support and interest of Miss Evans.
The first annual conference was held at Valley Centre, April 1 and 2, 1960. The conference theme was “What is good library service for Saskatchewan schools?” The guest speaker was Hon. W.S. Lloyd, Minister of Education.
Almost immediately following the inception, SASL prepared Your Newsletter with Miss Enid Cooke as editor.
In 1964 Interim Standards for School Library Service in Saskatchewan was prepared and widely discussed.
A major endeavor was the Association's role in the Saskatchewan School Library Demonstration Project sponsored by the Department of Education. This project saw the realization of one of the Association's original aims – that of the co-operation with other organizations interested in school library development. In the next several years six schools which were deemed to have met the high standards of resource supported instruction were designated.
Recognizing the multi-media contribution which could be made by the school library led to discussions and negotiations with audio-visual specialists. In a press release dated January 29, 1970 , Mr. Phil Listoe, president of SASL announced: “The Saskatchewan Association of Educational Media Specialists is the new name selected by the former Saskatchewan Association of School Librarians. The aims of the reorganized association are broad enough to include all educational resource personnel in the province. This means that for the first time in the history of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation a single Special Subject Council exists which will include both library and audio-visual specialists.” At the same time the name of the journal was changed to The Medium.