Robertson Library History and Description

University Librarian:
Donald Moses
550 University Ave.
Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3
Voice 902-566-0460
FAX 902-628-4305
Robertson Library

The Robertson Library was named for Samuel Napier Robertson, B.A., M.A., LL.D., 1869 - 1937. A classical scholar and educator, Dr. Robertson was the principal of Prince of Wales College, Prince Edward Island, from 1901 to 1937. Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan’s University were the founding institutions of the University of Prince Edward Island.

The University Library provides a major research base for the Province of Prince Edward Island. Constructed in the mid-1970s, the Robertson Library is evolving with the rapidly developing information technologies and the changing concept of information. The challenge for the Library is to provide a local collection which is supportive of the University‘s curriculum and to provide access to worldwide research-related resources. The main part of the building comprises some 70,000 square feet, with another 9,000 square feet in its Basement, and 15,000 square feet in its Annex. During the Fall/Winter Semesters, the Library is open 92 hours per week. Research advice is available at the Service Desk 68.5 hours per week and instruction for information literacy is available in-person or virtually through the Library’s Instructional Services.

The holdings of the Library as of 2023 include over 1,400,000 books and e-books; and tens of thousands of print and electronic serial subscriptions, as well as over 100,000 streaming video and audio recordings. Many research databases can be searched in the Library, from offices and computer labs on campus, or by authenticated access via the Library’s proxy server. Computers with full Internet access are available throughout the Library. The Library Catalogue is open to all users on the Internet. In addition, the Library has digitized and made accessible thousands of items through The Library also stewards the University's scholarly output through and

Special features of the Library include a Multimedia/ Collaboratory, a Library learning classroom (LINC), Special Collections area, research rooms, and a mixture of seating in the form of study carrels, tables, and group study rooms which can accommodate a total of 740 patrons at one time.

The Library also hosts the Writing Centre and a satellite assessment space for Student Affairs. 

We are happy to share our strategic plan for 2023-2026

The history of the Robertson Library was documented in 2000 as part of its anniversary celebrations.

Samuel Napier Robertson, B.A., M.A., LL.D., 1869-1937

The Robertson Library is named after the classical scholar and educator Samuel Napier Robertson. Dr. Robertson was Principal of Prince of Wales College from 1901 to 1937.

Born at Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island on July 6, 1869, Samuel Robertson was the son of Captain Scottie Robertson and Isabella Carruthers. He received his early education in North Bedeque, P.E.I. and entered Prince of Wales College in 1884 and graduated in 1887. He continued his education at Dalhousie University where he received both his Bachelor of Arts and his Master of Arts degrees. As a scholar and educator, he was honored by St. Francis Xavier and Dalhousie Universities with a degree of Doctor of Laws.

In 1892 Dr. Robertson became Principal of Alberton High and in 1893 he was appointed to the faculty of Prince of Wales College. He became Principal in 1901, a position he held until his death in 1937.

In 1922 he married Anna Laura McGrath, a high honours graduate of PWC and a summa cum laude graduate of Dalhousie University. She taught under him at the College prior to their marriage. While himself a strict Calvinist, his wife was a devout Roman Catholic.

As a classical scholar and educator, his love for libraries was always evident. The story is told of the cold February night in 1932 when there was a major fire at Prince of Wales College in which the College building burned to the ground. Dr. Robertson arrived at the College from his home on Upper Prince Street just in time to see his beloved private library go up in flames. So great was his distress that he had to be restrained from entering the building to save some of his books. It was not until the new College building went up in 1933 that there was an actual library at Prince of Wales College. Dr. Robertson had often lamented the fact that PWC did not have a Library until the new building was built in 1933.

Samuel Napier Robertson is buried in the Sherwood Cemetery, just opposite the main entrance of the Charlottetown Airport. His headstone, which is located in a picturesque corner of the cemetery, bears these appropriate words "Blessed are all that knew thee, and were honored with thy friendship."


Suggested Reading

MacEwen, Horace F. Samuel N. Robertson, Educator. Charlottetown, 1978. (PEI LE 3 .P62.7 1901)

Moments in Time and Other Memories : A Compilation of Stories by Island Centennial Scholars. University of Prince Edward Island Extension Department, n.d. (PEI PS 8235 .S4 M65 1989/90)

Sellick, Lester B. Some Island Men I Remember. Lancelot Press, 1980. (PEI FC 2605 .S45)

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