N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Convocation date: May 11, 1956
Discipline / contribution: research ; archives administration; librarianship
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor: I present to you William Kaye Lamb, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Laws, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, scholar and helper of scholars, distinguished public servant.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
As provincial librarian and archivist of British Columbia he reorganized one of the richest collections of historical records in Canada. He next returned to his native region and his own university, and for eight years guided the development of the University of British Columbia library with a success that made its collections and services the envy of other libraries and set them standards for emulation. He planned and saw completed an extension to his building that more than doubled its size. Not content with these accomplishments, he also served the infant Canadian Library Association as its second president. To this office he brought an invaluable combination of enthusiasm with a sense of the practicable, and concentrated with vigour and tact on the pursuit of essential objectives.
One objective of the association at this time was to persuade the government to establish a national library. Dr. Lambâ€™s stature became particularly apparent in his statements about the need for a national library, its functions, and the form which a national library for Canada should assume - statements in which large conceptions requiring time for their realization accompanied ideas for services that could and should be started immediately; statements clear and convincing enough to convince even a federal cabinet.
When in 1948 a Dominion archivist was needed, the obvious choice was clearly marked out by his competence and experience in archives administration, his own reputation as a historical scholar, and his record of service to other scholars. United to these qualities, Dr. Lamb possessed a statesmanlike grasp of librarianship in its local, national, and international aspects and equal fluency in French and English. The hour was come, and the man. The new archivist was assigned the additional task of planning Canadaâ€™s National Library.
He had his plan ready, and the first national library services were quickly inaugurated, soon enlarged, and followed in due time by their authorâ€™s appointment as national librarian.
His wise leadership is gratefully recognized by librarians throughout Canada; indirectly and directly it has benefited scholars and students and will benefit them more and more. He deserves well of Canada, and not least of the universities of Canada.
Eminent Chancellor, I ask that you confer the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on William Kaye Lamb, Dominion Archivist and National Librarian of Canada.
Degree presented by: D.C. Appelt, University Librarian
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