W. (Bill) Colin Fraser

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W. (Bill) Colin Fraser, CHLA & HLABC health librarian pioneer 800px-Flag of Canada.svg.png
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"...it was always important to me to be in a service occupation," and advises new librarians to "be open to new ideas and to new roles... don't forget the human aspect of librarianship."

William (Bill) Colin Fraser (1925 – 2005), medical librarian, founding member of library organizations, mentor and teacher, was born and educated in Matsqui, British Columbia. During his career, his friends, colleagues and former students called him Colin or Bill. Fraser earned his library degree from McGill University in 1949 and initially worked in public libraries including a period as a reference librarian within the regional library system in Prince George, BC. By 1961, he had moved to Vancouver to become director of the BC Medical Library Service at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. After thirty years at the helm, he retired in 1991. Fraser had a major influence in the Pacific Northwest and Canadian health library communities. Due to his participation in a 1964 Seattle symposium, his ideas helped to form the Regional Medical Library Program (now the National Network of Libraries of Medicine). For many years, Fraser taught the health librarianship course at UBC's School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and many of his former students fill library posts across the country. In 1976, Fraser was one of the founders of the CHLA/ABSC (Canada) and remained one of its major advocates and leaders until his retirement. He also led the formation of the Health Libraries Association of British Columbia (HLABC) in 1978, and was elected to honorary life membership. Several awards are given to promising MLIS graduates in Bill's memory including the Fraser Award which is given to the graduating student at SLAIS who shows academic excellence and the most promise for a career in health librarianship.

About the C. William Fraser Prize

The C. William Fraser Prize is endowed by the College of Physicians & Surgeons, family, friends and colleagues in honour of C. William Fraser. The scholarship is awarded to a student in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies and made on the recommendation of the School in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Criterion: Graduating from the MLIS program and:

  • Success in courses in medical librarianship and/or health sciences
  • Background in health science
  • Demonstrated interest in medical librarianship (for example, choosing to do medical library related projects in general courses or doing the practicum in a medical library) and good performance in such work
  • Collegiality as a personal trait


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