Dentistry Library History

In 1897 the Royal College of Dental Surgeons (original name of the Faculty of Dentistry) created a room that was well supplied with daily papers, magazines and dental journals. Thus was born the School's library.  In the same year a Committee was put together to arrange for an index to the library materials. Staff members continued to manage the library collection, but it was evident in 1898 that a librarian needed to be appointed to take better care of the collection.Later in 1898, the personal collection of Dr. W. George Beers was purchased, most of which is still available at the library in our rare book section. In 1899, the first "librarian" was appointed by the RCDS' Board, Dr. W.L.G. Spaulding, an appointment that was renewed until 1906. In 1902, the library grew to 700 volumes, 600 of which were bound periodicals. A card index was available and items were circulating. In 1906, Dr. W.E. Cummer becomes the second "librarian" and curator of the museum.

In 1919, Dr. W.E. Wilmott donates his personal library, adding 75 volumes to the collection. In 1925 the Harry Randolph Abbott library was founded upon a bequest from Dr. Abbott's sister to establish and maintain a dental library. This collection was differentiated from the rest of the Dentistry Library by marking the items purchased with the H R Abbott fund with an insert. The two libraries however, have always been interfiled. There is a painting of Dr. Abbott in the Alumni Reading Room by Curtis Willamson, to commemorate his gift to the library. 

As Canada’s oldest Dentistry Library, our collection is extensive, with over 10,000 monographs, 600 journal and serial titles plus videos and CD-ROMs. The collection also includes items dating back to the earliest years of organized and academic dentistry. Three-hundred and seventy-five items from the dentistry rare books collection are available to the public through the Internet Archive. Fragile or extremely rare dental books are housed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, which is the largest rare book library in Canada. It includes extensive Canadiana and History of Science and Medicine collections dating back to 1600.

In 2007, the library became part of the Central Libraries System at the University of Toronto Libraries, one of the largest library systems in North America. The operations of the library are now managed by main campus rather than locally at the Faculty. The library is the only free-standing dental library in Canada and has the largest dental collection in Canada.

In 2013, the Dentistry Library received the Dr. Sydney Wood Bradley Library Fund. This fund will be used to expand our collection and services in order to better serve all our users. Our first effort to put this fund to use is the Literature Search Service

List of Faculty Librarians 

·    1899 to 1906 Dr. W.L.G Spaulding

·    1906 to 1910 Dr. W.E. Cummer

·    1910 to 1912 Dr. C.A. Kennedy 

·    1912 to 1913 Dr. A.D.A. Mason 

·    1913 to 1915 Dr. C.A. Kennedy

·    1915 to 1917 Dr. Wallace Seccombe

·    1917 to 1930 Dr. C.A. Kennedy

·    1930 to 1938 

·    1939 to 1948 Dr. E.W. Paul

·    1949 to 1954 Dr. J.H Johnson

·    1954 to 1978 Phyllis Margaret Smith, BA, BLS

·    1978 to 1997 Susan Goddard, BA, MLS

·    1997 to 2003 Stephanie Walker, BA, MA, MLS

·    2003 to 2007 Margaret Fulford, BA, MLS

·    2007 to present Helen He, MEng, MLIS