Life on Campus / Winter 2015
Erik Spicer was a Great Librarian

He modernized Canada‘s Library of Parliament, then helped other countries to do the same

Photo: Courtesy of the Spicer Family

Photo: Courtesy of the Spicer Family


Erik Spicer wasn’t only a great librarian – he was a great professional. The U of T alumnus (BLS 1949) served for 34 years as the Parliamentary Librarian at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, which was established at Confederation, and made it an essential source of information and non-partisan service for all parliamentarians.

The first professionally trained librarian to head the Parliamentary Library, Spicer is recognized for bringing the Parliamentary Library into the modern age, and credited with many advancements, including the establishment of a Research Branch and installing new technology. It was one of the first libraries in Canada to get a photocopier and it hosted Parliament’s first word processor and first network of linked terminals. Spicer retired in 1994 and was named to the Order of Canada that same year.

Spicer was dedicated to library associations and helped developing countries – such as Nigeria, Bangladesh, Trinidad and Tobago, Cameroon and Tunisia – to establish their own parliamentary libraries. He died on September 27, 2014, at the age of 88.

“The Faculty is saddened by the loss of this high-profile library leader who contributed so much to the field,” says Faculty of Information dean Seamus Ross. “He set the bar high as a well-respected librarian dedicated to providing information and research of the highest quality.”

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