McGill Library update on: Redpath doors, smoke-free terrace, Redpath cafeteria, accessibility & gender-neutral washrooms

Whiteboard with feedbackOver the last few weeks, white boards were placed around the Humanities and Social Sciences Library by the SSMU Library Improvement Fund (LIF) Committee. The goal was to collect feedback and ideas and explore how these funds could be used to improve McGill Library. The LIF Committee and the McGill Library would like to address a number of questions that arose from the consultation.

1. Why are the doors to the Redpath Library Building closed?

The Library’s administration recognizes that the situation is less than ideal and would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused. Like every department at McGill, the Library has been forced to deal with funding cutbacks while minimizing disruption of services to all members of the community. Having the Redpath Library Building doors function in a non-emergency exit capacity would require an additional full-time security agent posted at the entrance during opening hours at a cost of $210,000 per year. With reduced staff and a decreased security budget we are unable to afford the cost of a security guard stationed at the Redpath entrance. For these reasons only, we took the step to reduce the number of entrances to one and to transform the Redpath entrance into an emergency only exit. We will continue to work to find a solution that is practical for the entire community.

2. Why was the Redpath Cafeteria changed to a Première Moisson?

McGill Food and Dining Services manages the Redpath Cafeteria located next to Cyberthèque. We understand that some members of the McGill community have concerns and ideas and encourage building users to submit them directly to McGill Food and Dining using the following link:

For more details on the change in food service provider

3. The McLennan-Redpath Terrace was recently designated a non-smoking space however there are still people smoking in the tunnel underneath the bridges. Are other options being proposed to resolve this issue?

Creating this smoke-free area was a first step. Since this is a community effort in support of a cleaner living, learning and working environment for all, the hope is that people will respectfully self-enforce. It is up to all of us to ensure that the terrace area around the McLennan-Redpath Library complex remains smoke-free. On-site and patrolling security agents have been notified to redirect smokers to the designated areas.  Word of mouth continues to be the best way to get the word out.

The area in front of the McLennan doors has improved significantly since the launch of the campaign. There is less tobacco waste in the area but there are still improvements to be made. Library users who smoke have suggested that larger ashtrays, benches and an awning/shelter be available in order to address inclement weather conditions. The project team will continue to gather feedback over the next few months and will look at addressing the needs of all our users.

4. Is there an update on the Redpath Library Building main floor washroom project co-funded by the SSMU LIF and the Library?

The Redpath Washroom project team, made up of Facilities experts, Library staff and student representatives,  has been meeting on a regular basis since August. The project is in the final stages of design and will be implemented in the upcoming summer months. The project team is very excited about the design overall, the expansion of the existing washrooms and the addition of a gender neutral/universal washroom. We look forward to completing this project and paving the way for more universal washrooms in other buildings and future library projects.

5. How can those with limited mobility or other disabilities access the libraries?

The Library works in partnership with the McGill Office for Students with Disabilities to ensure access to McGill Library branches and resources. To learn more and provide feedback, please visit:


Have an idea on how to improve the Library?

The Library has initiated a Feasibility Study to examine how to transform and improve the Library and address critical user needs.  We are and looking to build a better Library for all members of the community and would love to get your input!

To submit ideas and feedback for the Library Master plan:

To learn more about the SSMU Library Improvement Fund:



Resolved: Problems with McGill WorldCat, Find Full Text – Tuesday, December 2

Update 3:10pm: The McGill WorldCat catalogue, Find Full Text service and other services provided by OCLC are back online and functioning as expected.

We are currently experiencing connection issues with several Library services including:

Please ask us if you have any questions, while these issues are being resolved. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Update 11:40am: The latest news from OCLC, who hosts these services, is, “OCLC has determined and resolved the cause of the service issues. We are in the process of bringing services online. The complete restoration may take a few hours.”


Several Library websites and services unavailable December 2, 7pm to 9pm

Due to a scheduled upgrade, several Library websites and services will be unavailable Tuesday, December 2, from 7pm to 9pm. These include:

Some digital exhibitions and collections sites:

Some online journal sites:

Other McGill Library sites and services:

We apologize for any inconvenience.


Exhibit: Ibrahim Müteferrika and Ottoman Incunabula

Arabic heading

Free admission. Open Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm
1 December 2014 – 31 July 2015
Islamic Studies Library

Printing by means of movable type is thought to have developed in 11th century China, after which it later spread throughout the world and had a significant impact on Europe starting in the 15th century. Its invention was a fine example of the confluence of cultural and technological developments. Movable type is created by cutting lead into individual letters, setting these on a metal frame in reverse order, and applying ink to the surface in order to transfer the information to paper. The art form of the printing press and the texts they produced — from the layout of the page to the elegant typefaces that resulted – are fundamental to the history of the arts of the book in Arabic script, whether written in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish or Urdu.

The printing press is known to have existed in the Middle East amongst non-Muslims as early as the 16th century but it was not until 1729 that a Muslim, Ibrahim Müteferrika, began printing texts via this method. Müteferrika, based in Istanbul, secured a ferman (edict) in 1727 from Sultan Ahmed III permitting him to print works of a non-religious nature. Müteferrika’s press, called the Dârü’t-tıbâ’ati’l-ma’mûre, but more widely known as the Basma Khāne (printing house), would print 23 texts on grammar, history and other non-religious subjects over the course of its history. In total, Müteferrika produced approximately 13,000 physical volumes.

The Basma Khāne operated between 1729 and 1742 though its initial reception was greeted with trepidation. Calligraphers were the principal opposition to the
printing press after the ferman had been issued. Calligraphy was seen as a pious and devotional act whereas the printing press, with its ability to mass produce texts, was regarded as a threat to the livelihood of many calligraphers.

The Basma Khāne laid the foundations for the development of moveable type printing presses in other Muslim countries, e.g., the Bulaq Press in Egypt. These presses, in response to a host of events and developments in the nineteenth
century, allowed for the increased printing and dissemination of newspapers, journals, books and ephemera in the region.

Rare Books and Special Collections possesses 14 of the 23 publications of the Basma Khāne. All of these are on display, each one showing different aspects of the artistic development of the press, from elegant naskh type-setting to different woodcuts for the basmala to the inclusion of maps and other images accompanying the text.

November 20: Centraide bake sales at Schulich Library of Science and Engineering & McLennan-Redpath complex

JPG_anglais_centraide_mtl_noir_1Please mark your calendar! The McGill Library is organizing two bake sales in support of McGill’s Centraide campaign!

When: Thursday November 20 from 11:30am to 4:00pm

Where: McLennan Library Building entrance and the Frank Dawson Adams Building entrance (just outside the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering)

Baked goods will include brownies, cookies, cupcakes, banana breads, pizza, and more! All items donated by Library staff members. All proceeds will go to Centraide of Greater Montreal.



View November 11 Town Hall on libraries

Thank you to all who attended the Town Hall on libraries on Tuesday, November 11.

The Town Hall was recorded and can now be viewed here.

For more information, please visit the website dedicated to the feasibility study:

Anonymous feedback on any library-related topic can be relayed at anytime by visiting: