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Photo of Ernie Ingles

RIP Ernie Ingles

September 18, 2020

The Bibliographical Society of Canada shared this obituary (written by Merrill Distad) today:

Ernest Boyce (“Ernie”) Ingles, BA, MA, MLS, FRSC departed this life in Edmonton on Thursday, September 17, 2020, in his 71st year.

A graduate of the Universities of Calgary and British Columbia, Ernie Ingles was one of Canada’s preeminent academic librarians and library innovators. During a professional career spanning more than four decades, he served successively as the founding Director of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (now; University Librarian of the University of Regina; Vice-Provost & University Librarian and (later) Director of the School of Library & Information Studies at the University of Alberta. He served, usually in executive capacity, on no fewer than twenty-five professional associations, societies, government boards and committees, including as President of the Canadian Library Association (CLA); of the Bibliographical Society of Canada (BSC/SBC); of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL); and of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL).*

Mr Ingles also provided the inspiration and driving force in linking Alberta library resources and services through the creation of Alberta’s NEOS library consortium; of The Alberta Library (TAL) lending consortium of 300 libraries across the Province; of the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library; of the Health Knowledge Network (HKN); and the First Nations Information Connection. These initiatives changed the face of library service across Alberta, and provided a much-studied and imitated model of library cooperation and sharing for the rest of Canada, as well as abroad.

Concern for the future of the library profession led him to establish the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute (NELI) to expose recently graduated librarians who have shown leadership potential to an intensive exploration of vision, risk taking, creativity, communication, and differing styles of leadership. More than 400 librarians practicing in Canada have learned from their NELI experience. In recognition, the American Library Association presented Ingles with the 2017 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.

Mr Ingles’ work at CIHM/ led to the filming and later digital preservation of Canada’s printed, published heritage of books, periodicals, and pamphlets. It also inspired his creation of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Website at the University of Alberta containing full digital texts of many thousands of Western Canadian books and printed ephemera. His wide-ranging research in western Canadian history and bibliography, library history, library automation and management, and the preservation of the printed record, yielded ten published books, fifty-seven articles and chapters in books, and almost 200 conference papers and public presentations. These cumulative achievements garnered twenty-nine professional awards and four medals, including the Tremaine Medal of the Bibliographical Society of Canada. Of these many awards, he was perhaps most proud of his election in 2001 as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada – the first practicing librarian to be so honoured – and Red Crow College’s award in 2011 of the honorary degree of Blackfoot Eminent Scholar Kainai PhD, along with the Blackfoot title “Kaaahssinnin” (“Elder”). As a visionary, Ernie Ingles led and inspired many others to follow.

He is survived by his partner Mary-Jo Holash Romaniuk; his daughter Erin Moore (Jamie) and grandsons Matthew, Wyatt, and Linden, whom he cherished. Predeceased by his parents, Robert of Calgary and Muriel of Kelowna.

Memorial donations preferred to: the University of Alberta Peel Special Collections Library; University of Calgary Special Collections Library; and/or the University of Alberta Hospitals’ Organ Transplant Program.

*Correction: An earlier version of this page indicated that Ernie Ingles served as president of the Association of Research Libraries. ARL has informed us that while Ernie was active in the association and served on the Board (2010-2013), he did not serve as president.

4 replies on “RIP Ernie Ingles”

  • Michelle Ryan says:

    To the family, friends and colleagues of this inspiring librarian, please accept my sincere condolences!

    This is a huge loss to the library community. I am very saddened by this news.

    May his inspiration, passions, and actions live on in the rest of us.

    Michelle Ryan

  • Lynne Sutton says:

    Oh my goodness. I knew Ernie through his monthly calls to persons with Alpha 1, and meeting him at the Alpha 1 convention in Richmond. I had been thinking of him a lot this week as I knew he had had some complications. Condolences to his family.

  • Judy Kobsar says:

    I just read about the passing of Ernie Ingles. May he Rest In Peace. I had the distinct honour of working with him at the University of Regina as his Confidential and Executive Secretary in the 80’s until his departure to Alberta also in the 80’s. Sincere condolences to his loved ones. God bless you Ernie.


    I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn about Ernie’s passing. I am an Alpha-1, just as he was. We have had many thoughtful discussions about the subject when I was on his Western Canada Alpha-1 list for monthly phone calls. He was a genuine person and so very thoughtful. Shortly after my diagnosis he sent me a bunch of tulips and a card to cheer me up. He knew what I was facing. I am so grateful for his support and excellent service to the Alpha-1 community.

    My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. He was a wonderful human being who deserved much more than he got.🌷💔😢

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