Timeline of United Library Services History
ULS is a privately-owned company incorporated in the Province of Alberta in the fall of 1987, welcoming its first customers on February 1, 1988. However, the Company can trace its history back to 1920.
- Leo Paperny, newly arrived in Calgary from Europe, opens a corner store in the Langevin area of the City. Leo, a great book-lover to whom literacy was very important, devotes a corner of his store to books.
- Alexander Calhoun, Chief Librarian of Calgary Public Library, approaches Leo and asks if the library could buy books from his store (the library’s patrons were telling his staff that books they wanted to borrow were available in Mr. Paperny's corner store, so why didn't the library have them?) Leo and Mr. Calhoun agree that the store will sell books at wholesale prices to the library.
Alberta Book and Novelty is formed and the company moves into a 400 sq. ft premises in 1939. The "Novelty" portion of the company's business derives from the fact that the company also sells toys and souvenirs. The "Book" portion of the company fulfils a role as a wholesaler to schools and libraries throughout Alberta, although the company also does business in the other western provinces.
Alberta Book and Novelty moves into its present facility at 7140 Fairmount Dr. S.E.
The company voluntarily withdraws from the toys/souvenirs portion of the business and changes its focus to being a book only wholesaler.
Staff from Alberta Book joins that of the "Educational Department" of United News to create United Library Services. Major renovations are undertaken in the Fairmount Drive building, and ULS welcomes its first customers on February 1, 1988.
Expansion into British Columbia occurs with the opening of a 6,000 sq. ft. showroom.
- Mid 1990s
The company ceases using commercial sources for cataloguing and creates an in-house "Value Added Services" department. ULS also incorporates major IT changes to accommodate growing needs for electronic methods of communication with customers and suppliers.
United Library Services acquires Great Pacific News’ educational customers.
United Library Services acquires the AB, SK, MB, Yukon and NWT customer base from National Book Service (NBS).
ULS’ 30,000 sq. ft. Calgary head office warehouse is expanded to 45,000 sq. ft.
ULS completes the acquisition for the western Canadian business and exclusive distributorship of Thorndike Large Print books from S&B Books.
Enhanced 9XX web services are launched.
28 new school library collections selected, acquired, catalogued and delivered.
32 new school library and 3 public library collections selected, acquired, catalogued and delivered.