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Lois M Bewley

April 3, 1926

August 28, 2023

Lois M. Bewley (née Crook), aged 97, passed away peacefully at the Royal Ascot Care Centre in Vancouver, BC, on August 28. Born in Regina, Sask., in 1926, she was preceded in death by her six siblings, as well as close friends Sylvia Crooks and Alice Bacon. Fondly remembered by her nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and dear friends, Lois leaves behind a lasting legacy. She was known for her passion for teaching and her commitment to the establishment of a public library system. With degrees in Library Science from U of Toronto and U of Illinois, Lois dedicated her career to academic excellence and advocacy for intellectual freedom. Renowned for her contributions to the field, she received numerous prestigious awards and recognition for her outstanding achievements. Lois will always be cherished for her vibrant personality, love of books, and zest for life.

Born on April 3, 1926, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Lois M. Bewley (née Crook) passed away at the age of 97 on August 28, at the Royal Ascot Care Centre in Vancouver, BC. She leaves behind a rich legacy of dedication to the field of library science and a lifelong commitment to intellectual freedom. Lois earned post-graduate degrees in Library Science from U of Toronto and U of Illinois after graduating from UBC. Her teaching career took her to the U of California, Berkeley, where she played a significant role in establishing a public library system and a statewide program for continuing professional education. In 1969, Lois joined the UBC library faculty, where she made her mark for the remainder of her career.

Lois M. Bewley actively contributed to the development of libraries and library legislation across Canada. As a respected consultant, she provided her expertise to various provinces, including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Her unwavering commitment to intellectual freedom led her to establish the Intellectual Freedom, Education and Defense Fund, announced at a BC Library Association (BCLA) AGM in the late 80s. In recognition of her extensive career and her influence in promoting intellectual freedom, the BCLA renamed the fund in her honor in 2007. Lois served in leadership roles, including as President of both the BCLA and the Canadian Library Association (CLA), and chaired the Vancouver Public Library Foundation. She was also an accomplished writer, contributing articles and delivering speeches on intellectual freedom, censorship, and the freedom to read.

Lois M. Bewley received numerous accolades for her exceptional contributions to the field of library science. Notably, she was honored with the Helen Gordon Stewart Award for “Outstanding Achievement” by the BCLA, the “Outstanding Service to Librarianship” award by the Canadian Library Association, and the “Outstanding Public Library Service” award by the Canadian Public Library Association. UBC recognized her teaching and dedication to public service by establishing a graduate student scholarship named after her. Among her most cherished awards was the “Just Desserts” award from her students at UBC Library Students’ Association.

Remembered by friends and family for her vivacious spirit, Lois embraced life with a feisty demeanor, a delightful and sometimes audacious sense of humor, and an insatiable curiosity. She enjoyed traveling, had a deep passion for music, particularly opera, and engaged in various activities such as golfing, fishing, sailing, curling, lawn bowling, and walking. The family expresses heartfelt gratitude to the caring and compassionate staff at Royal Ascot for their support during Lois’s final journey. In loving memory, donations can be made to the Lois M. Bewley Intellectual Freedom, Education and Defense Fund through the BCLA, or to a charity chosen by the donor.

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