I’m an academic librarian and a bibliographer of Canadiana with a background in book history and information technology. Broadly, I’m interested in book history and bibliography, literature (especially Canadian), history, women and gender studies, urban studies, First Nations studies, and pre-World War II Polish intellectual history and cinema. I’m a graduate of library and information science, University of Toronto Faculty of Information, and the collaborative program in book history and print culture at Massey College. I live in Toronto, a city that has been my home for the last sixteen years, with a writer and three chinchillas.

I would like to acknowledge that the land on which I live is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. The territory was the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes.

This territory is also covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.

Today, the meeting place of Toronto (from the Haudenosaunee word Tkaronto) is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community, on this territory. 

Research Interests

I write and present research essays on the following topics:

  • history of Canadian books and publishing, with a particular interest in the Methodist Book and Publishing House, William Briggs, and the Ryerson Press
  • women in librarianship—in particular, Canadian women who served in the roles of academic librarians, library science faculty, chief librarians, and administrators
  • history of librarianship—history of the professionalization of librarianship and the effect of the process on library science education, practice, and professional identity, with special consideration regarding the role of technology in library education programs in Canada  
  • history of University of Toronto Faculty of Library Science and its predecessors and the University of Toronto libraries.

My research sources are included in a Zotero library


In Preparation

  • Barc, Agatha. History of Victoria University Library, monograph
  • –––. “The Architecture of Professionalism:  the Audio-Visual Method in Library Science Education, University of Toronto,” article in submission
  • –––. “Fields of Influence: Early History and Development of Library Science Education in the Province of Ontario.” 



Conference Presentations

  • Adamson, Constance, Agatha Barc, and Marc Richard. “The Responsive Librarian: How Are Academic Librarians Employment Policies Keeping up with Workplace Change?” TRY Library Conference 2016, Toronto, ON, May 3, 2016, 5 pp.
  • Barc, Agatha, Buchansky, Heather, Maistrovskaya, Mariya, & Slaght, Graeme. “Library Support for Student Journal Publishing at the University of Toronto.” TRY Library Conference 2016, Toronto, ON, May 3, 2016, 5 pp.
  • –––. “The Rise to Responsibility: B. Mabel Dunham, Winifred Barnstead, and Bertha Bassam Define Library Professionalism, 1911–1964 .” Ex Libris Association Annual Conference, Toronto, ON, November 2, 2015, 13 pp.
  • –––. “Professionalization and Gender Stratification in Librarianship: An Historical Perspective.” Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium, Toronto, ON, October 18, 2014, 20 pp. 
  • –––. “Early History of Library Science Education in the Province of Ontario, Canada.” IFLA International Conference History of Librarianship, Lyon, France, August 25–26, 2014, 32 pp.
  • –––. “Architecture and the Professionalization of Librarianship: Early Years of the Claude T. Bissell Building, University Of Toronto.” Canadian Library Association 2013 National Conference and Trade Show, Winnipeg, MB, May 29–June 1, 2013, 10 pp.
  • –––.  “Materiality, Memory and the Interface: Online Finding Aids For Special Collections.” Theory, Practice & Praxis: 2013 iSchool Graduate Student Conference, Toronto, ON, March 22–24, 2013, 6 pp. 

Guest lectures

  • –––. “What Makes a Book Rare?” Jackman Scholars in Residence @ Victoria College. E.J. Pratt Library, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, May 5, 2016 and May 3, 2017. 
  • –––. “Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story, or a Study in the History of Readership.” VIC159H: Rare Books. E.J. Pratt Library, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, March 10, 2016.

Creative projects

Major Exhibitions

Online Exhibitions (Design Only)

  • Barc, Agatha, and Abraham Lam. Vic in China. E.J. Pratt Library, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, 2015. 
  • Barc, Agatha, and Abraham Lam. Northrop Frye @ 100: A Centenary Exhibition. E.J. Pratt Library, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, 2013.  

Professional Involvement, Service & Committees


Questions? You can contact me at agatha.barc@gmail.com. Please note that any information and views expressed on this site are my own.