Brief history

FLSL, FLISL, & the FIS Libraryfloor plans of the library in 1986, with the 5th floor lobby area designated as the smoking area!

The Faculty's library has been in existence for decades.  Collection building began in the 1930's at the University of Toronto Library School, the predecessor of the Faculty. The first full-time librarian was hired in 1962.  

The library became known as FLSL, the Faculty of Library Science Library, when the Library School became a Faculty in 1972.  We moved to the newly-built Robarts Library complex, with the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library to the south, and the Faculty (Claude Bissell building) to the north, at 140 St. George Street. The library occupied the entirety of the 4th & 5th floors.  

By 1978, we maintained a staff of eleven, four of whom were librarians, and a collection of  60,000 volumes. When the Faculty changed names in 1972 and 1982, we became the the FLIS Library, then the FIS Library, respectively  Image: 1986 floor plans

The Inforum

In 1996, under the leadership of Dean Lynne Howarth, a task group was formed.  Mandated to consult extensively, the group was tasked with designing and building a modern information facility to be known as the Faculty of Information Studies Information Studies Laboratory. The FIS Info Lab would combine customized library services with information technology, and a state-of-the-art instructional services electronic classroom. Documentation of the Task Group on the Info Lab (1996-1997) is available via the Internet Archive.

view of the Inforum from the 4th floor front entrance looking in, circa 2010

By Summer 1997, a new name, a new look, and a new model of library services came into being. A student contest to name the new incarnation resulted in our current name, 'Inforum'.  'Info' expresses the coming together of information resources, services, facilities, and technology combined with 'forum' to express the community nature and philosophy of the new library. The Inforum would be one of the first libraries at U of T to manifest the Information Commons concept.
Image: Looking in from the 4th floor entrance circa 2010.

Information Services

In 2008, the formation of a new administrative unit under Dean Brian Cantwell Smith brought Inforum staff, IT staff, and web staff together, reporting to the Information Services Director. The Information Services unit was made up of the Inforum as a physical space, information technology services, and web services. This concept is fully described in Smith (2008), and was in effect until 2015.

The Inforum today

About twenty years after the formation of the Inforum, the work of the Task Force on Strategic Directions for Information Services (2013), the UTL/iSchool Partnerships Working Group (2014/2015), and iReno, the 4th & 5th Floor Renovation Committees (2015/2016), produced the sparkling new Inforum of the 21st century.

Inforum today


  • Bassam, Bertha (1978). The Faculty of Library Science, University of Toronto and its predeccessors 1911-1972. Toronto, ON: FLS, University of Toronto/University of Toronto Press. Find it in print.
  • Internet Archive WayBack Machine (crawl for 1998, January 14) for www[dot]fis[dot]utoronto[dot]ca/library.
  • Land, R. Brian (1980). "Toronto. The University of Toronto Faculty of Library Science." in Allen Kent, Harold Lancour, and Jay E. Daily (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Vol. 30 (472-491). New York: Marcel Dekker Inc. Find it in print.
  • Ridley, Michael (Chair). (2013). Task Force on Strategic Directions for Information Services. [PDF].
  • Smith, Brian Cantwell. (2008 June). Information Services @ the Faculty of Information. [PDF].