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Richard Edwin Crouch, B.A., LL.D., 1894-1962

Richard Edwin Crouch, B.A., LL.D., 1894-1962
Plaque no. 25
Date of plaque unveiling
13 November 1981
The plaque was originally unveiled on the newly renovated second floor of the Central Library, 305 Queens Avenue, London, Ontario. It was moved to the Crouch Branch Library on February 1, 2003.
Speakers
Rev. Orlo Miller
Location
550 Hamilton Road, London, Ontario (present site of Crouch Branch Library, London Public Library)
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History

Richard Edwin Crouch was born in 1894 and studied political economy at the Western University of London, Ontario, interrupting his studies to serve in the First World War with No.10 Stationary Hospital in France.

He returned to Western, and then attended the universities of London and Paris on an Ontario government scholarship.

In 1923, Crouch succeeded Dr. Fred Landon as Chief Librarian at the London Public Library.

His career was marked by vision and innovation. He developed the library as a multimedia institution, lending books, films, film equipment, recordings, and art. By the 1930s the late Victorian library was carrying several times the weight of books it was built to house, and cracks had appeared in the foundations. Once Crouch was in the library basement when the building shifted and the ceiling above him dropped two inches.

Despite the fiscal constraints of the Great Depression, Crouch successfully appealed to the city for funds for a new library. The London Public Library - Elsie Perrin Williams Memorial Art Gallery and Museum opened in 1940 at 305 Queens Avenue.

Crouch was an early advocate of life-long learning, and worked closely with the Canadian Association for Adult Education. Its pioneering work with the radio programs Citizens’ Forum and Farm Forum were copied by governments in Asia and the Middle East.

He believed deeply that learning gave meaning to the freedom of the individual, that libraries informed citizens, and that informed citizens could build a better society.