Special public lecture on Borges by McGill visiting scholar Alberto Manguel

Image of Alberto ManguelSpecial public lecture by internationally acclaimed anthologist, essayist, novelist & McGill visiting scholar

Alberto Manguel

Sherlock Holmes in Buenos Aires: Borges & the detective story

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 6pm

RSVP: 514-398-5711 or rsvp.libraries@mcgill.ca

Birks Reading Room, 3520 University St., 2nd floor

Free admission

About the lecture: Jorge Luis Borges believed that the detective story was at the true heart of every fictional narrative and he filtered through this genre metaphysical ideas, speculations about time and space, higher mathematics, literary theory, theology and historical events. “Literary genres,” he said, “depend perhaps less on the texts themselves than on the manner in which these texts are read.” This suggestion allows us to read the Odyssey or Don Quixote as if the hero of these works were not the troubled king of Ithaca and an old and deluded Spanish squire, but Sherlock Holmes and his faithful Watson.

About Alberto Manguel: Alberto Manguel was born in Buenos Aires in 1948, and counts as a pivotal experience reading to the blind Jorge Luis Borges when Manguel was sixteen and working at the Pygmalion bookshop. Manguel is now a Canadian citizen and has contributed regularly to Canadian newspapers and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as well as to the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times and the Village Voice, and the Svenska Dagbladet. In 1992, Manguel’s novel, News from a Foreign Country Came, won the McKitterick Prize. Manguel was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and honorary doctorates from the universities of Liège, in Belgium and Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge, UK. He is an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France).



Schulich Library of Science & Engineering: 5th floor closed temporarily week of September 22

The 5th floor of the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering will be temporarily closed the week of Monday, September 22 in order for workers to install temporary walls around the masonry work being done at the Macdonald-Stewart Library Building. The floor is expected to reopen the week of Monday, Spetember 29.

All other floors are available for study.

If you require materials located on the 5th floor, please visit the Library Services desk, call 514-398-4769 or email schulichloans.library@mcgill.ca

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

For more information on the masonry work being done at the Macdonald-Stewart Library Building, please click here.

Masonry work at Macdonald-Stewart Library Building (Schulich Library of Science and Engineering) & FAQs

Please scroll down for FAQs.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

From Robert Couvrette, Associate Vice-Principal (University Services) and Colleen Cook, Trenholme Dean of Libraries

We would like to advise you that work involving an in-depth investigation of and some repairs to the masonry walls of the Macdonald-Stewart Library Building, which houses the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering, will begin on Monday, September 15.

This work will result in some disruption and noise for Library users between now and December, when the project is scheduled to be completed. It will mean shifting some materials and adjusting study spaces. The Library will remain open for the duration of the project and we anticipate maintaining the same number of study seats.

During the recent roof replacement, deterioration in the 120-year-old building’s exterior stone wall was observed, prompting McGill in early 2014 to commission an investigation into the state of the building. The subsequent report, from an outside firm of architects and a structural engineer, revealed that the deterioration of the stone structure was more advanced than previously known and that McGill must move quickly to prevent further deterioration, especially avoiding the freeze-thaw cycle in the winter that leads to the accelerated degradation of old stone work.

Construction crews will erect interior walls in some places on all floors to create a space between the building’s interior and its exterior walls to facilitate the masonry investigation and expedite any immediate repairs required. Scaffolding will also be erected around the building and we ask that everyone respect security personnel who will direct pedestrian traffic in the vicinity of the building.

We will attempt to minimize the disruptive effects of the work, but there will definitely be more noise than normal, especially during the mornings. We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause and we will work with staff, students and faculty to find solutions to any problems as they arise.

Please see the FAQs below or contact reno.library@mcgill.ca with questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why must this work be done now?

Facilities received a report commissioned earlier this year, which indicates that some steps needs to be taken before this winter sets in to avoid further deterioration.

  1. How serious is it?

It is fairly serious but not dangerous. Necessary steps are being taken to make sure it won’t become dangerous. Stone deteriorates in an accelerated way. The more water infiltrates cracks in the stone and freezes in the winter, the larger those cracks become. It’s a spiraling cycle. The larger the cracks become, the more water infiltrates. McGill has had considerable experience with this issue on the downtown campus. 37 of our buildings were built before 1900. The Macdonald-Stewart Building that currently houses the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering was built in 1893.

  1. How will this affect Library users (i.e. students, faculty, staff)?

Some study spaces will be relocated within the building and some rarely used materials will be shifted within the branch. Some low-use bound journals will be retrievable from our Currie Gym storage facility. Total number of study spaces in the library should be maintained. During this period there will be noise most mornings. Interior walls will be erected to seal off work areas and reduce dust and/or cold. Temporary walls should be in place on all floors by mid to late September. The work is expected to be completed sometime in December.

  1. What materials are you putting in storage?

Bound journals, for the most part, which will still be available if requested

  1. What if the engineers and architects determine, once they start the work, that things are worse than they thought?

If at any point there is an indication that part of the building does not meet McGill’s very strict safety standards, the area will be closed off immediately. That would extend to the entire building, if the situation were to call for it.

Hold requests for alumni and community members now available

McGill Library Membership Card

All Library users with a McGill Library borrowing card (i.e. alumni, community members, or faculty and graduate borrowers from Quebec universities with CREPUQ consortial card) can now place a total of up to 20 holds on regular loans, journal loans, audio/video material, maps and scores from any McGill Library branch and from Currie Storage for delivery to any McGill Library branch, whether or not the material is on the shelf or out  to another user.

Exception: Undergraduates from Quebec universities are limited to a total of 3 holds of on-the-shelf material or items in Currie storage.  Undergraduates from Quebec universities cannot place holds on journals or material that is out to other users.

Please note that the above changes do not affect McGill students, staff or faculty members.

For more McGill alumni borrowing information click here.

For more information regarding community memberships, click here.

Borrowers from Quebec universities other than McGill can find more loans information here.

Osler Library of the History of Medicine space & collection temporarily inaccessible until January 2015. Other services continue to be offered.

Osler Library of the History of Medicine

A major renovation of the McIntyre Medical Building’s HVAC infrastructure is underway. This project, funded through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, involves extensive roof work directly above the Osler Library off the History of Medicine as well as a replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems throughout the Library and the McIntyre Building.

In order to protect the Osler collection, the rare and circulating collections from the Osler Library of the History of Medicine have been relocated to secure, environmentally controlled storage area. The Library and the collection is now estimated to be available at the start of the Winter Semester in January 2015.

Some rare material has been relocated to Rare Books and Special Collections, and a limited number of circulated books are available as well.  Please check the catalogue for availability.

Material may be requested through Interlibrary Loans. Osler staff members will also help to find alternative material.

Please note that the Osler Library continues to offer other services to researchers and students during the whole renovation , including reference and course support.

For more information or assistance please call 514-398-4475 ext. 09873 or email osler.library@mcgill.ca.

For more information regarding Library services and resources at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences Library please visit: http://www.mcgill.ca/library/branches/osler.

Questions regarding this renovation project? Please visit: http://www.mcgill.ca/facilities/management

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Photo: Klaus Fiedler, McGill Library


All Library service desks and most branches closed on Monday, September 1


All service desks at the McGill University Library will be closed on Monday, September 1 for Labour Day. All branches will reopen with service on Tuesday, September 2.

The Humanities & Social Sciences Library will be open for study on Monday from 8 am to midnight. All other branches are closed.

Please check individual branch pages for specific opening and service hours.

Photo: Klaus Fiedler

Film Screening: The Wanted 18

Date: Friday, September 26th at 5:30pm                                                           Location: Tuesday Night Café (room 017), Morrice Hall, 3485 McTavish (H3A 0E1)

Frame from The Wanted 18

Synopsis: Through stop-motion animation, drawings and interviews, directors Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan recreate an astonishing true story from the First Palestinian Intifada: the Israeli army’s pursuit of eighteen cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared “a threat to the national security of the state of Israel.” – summary from Toronto International Film Festival 2014 programmes information.

Presented by the Islamic Studies Library.

Post screening discussion moderated by Dr Esmail Nashif, professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben Gurion University (Israel).

Summary of new services, service changes and renovation work at the Library

Library website on laptop, McLennan Library Building, main floor. Credit: Klaus Fiedle

New or enhanced services

  • Journal Article/Book Chapter Scanning Service allows McGill students, faculty and staff to request scanned copies of journal articles or book chapters from the print collection of the McGill Library. Scanned material is then sent to a McGill email address. For more information, click here.
  • A new feature is now activated that facilitates submitting interlibrary loan (ILL) borrowing requests through the Colombo Interlibrary Loan system. Bibliographic elements (title, author, etc.) will now automatically transfer into the Colombo ILL system and populate the ILL request form. For more information, click here.
  • A new webpage dedicated to Copyright at McGill is now online. It includes FAQs and local, Canadian and international resources. For more information, click here.
  • The McGill Library offers digitization services for research needs. Services include on-demand digitization and project and collection level digitization. For more information, click here.

Service changes

  • Accessing Library electronic resources through WorldCat Local and Classic Catalogue was streamlined over the summer months. Currently, Library materials can be accessed in two ways: 1) All library resources (e-resources and physical items) can be found in the WorldCat Local catalogue. 2) Books and physical items can now be found in the Classic Catalogue.  For more information, click here.
  • eResearch Gateway is no longer available. The eResearch Gateway provided alternate ways of searching for articles, databases, and other electronic resources. This functionality is now provided by WorldCat and the Library’s subject guides.
  • If you use Google Scholar to search for articles, you will need to update your settings to use the new WorldCat Link Resolver to access articles that are available through the Library.
  • Change in overdue item fine. Students will be blocked from borrowing, or from in-person McGill registration, if $30 or more is owing to the library, or one overdue recalled item. Faculty and staff will be blocked from borrowing if $100 or more is owing to the Library or one overdue recalled item. For more information, click here.

Spaces & Renovations

  • The McLennan-Redpath Terrace is now smoke-free. Designated smoking areas have been established at the north end of the terrace near Morrice Hall and across from the McGill Bookstore. For more information, click here.
  • Study areas on main floor of Redpath Library Building will be closed until start of fall semester.The e-classroom (Room RM-23), Cyberthèque (basement level), Blackader area (2nd floor), and Writing Centre will remain open and are accessible via alternate routes. For more information, click here.
  • The two-storey curtain wall of windows located in the Redpath Library Building is getting a makeover. Renovation work is expected to run from August to mid-November. For more information, click here.
  • Première Moisson, one of Montreal’s favourite bakeries, will open an express outlet in the basement of Redpath Library Building. For more information, click here.

 Photo credit: Klaus Fiedler, McGill Library

Renovations: Replacement of Redpath Curtain Wall Windows

Redpath Curtain Wall Rendering

Project description:
The curtain wall is a two-storey set of windows on the east side of the Redpath Library Building. It was installed in 1952 and is nearing the end of its useful life.  Replacing the curtain wall will prevent water infiltration. This renovation work consists of replacing the curtain wall of windows, a small section of flat roof, and the masonry surrounding the curtain wall. The project involves the removal of asbestos/contaminants in the areas surrounding the windows. The affected area will be completely wrapped, sealed off and inaccessible to ensure that staff and students are not exposed. Contractors will follow all the asbestos removal regulations as per the CSST standards. Precautions will be put into place during the work to protect the new McLennan-Redpath Terrace, and to separate the activities of the site from passersby.  At no time will pedestrian circulation be prevented on the McLennan-Redpath Terrace.

August 5 to end of August
- Setup and preparation
- Build internal and external wall, set up scaffolding

End of August to the end of September
- Deconstruct existing window
- Asbestos/contaminant abatement

End September – mid November
- Install new, prefabricated windows and surrounds
- Remove interior walls
- Prepare space and final checks for handover

Impact on students and staff
- Seating will be available in the southern half of the “Fishbowl”.
- The north half of the “Fishbowl” will be inaccessible to students and staff.
- Construction noise will occur at different times throughout the project.
- The upper floors of Redpath, the main floor hallway, group study zones and Cyberthèque remain fully accessible.
- If additional heating is required, portable heating units will be installed.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for special renovation alerts and updates.

Every effort will be made to complete the project with minimum disruption to students, staff and services.

Questions? Please contact Francisco Oliva via email at reno.library@mcgill.ca.

Exhibit: The Persianate Literary Heritage

1 August 2014 – 31 January 2015 | Accessible during opening hours.
McLennan Library Building, main floor lobby, 3459 McTavish Street

The Persianate Literary Heritage: Hidden Treasures from McGill’s Collections celebrates McGill University’s rich collection of manuscripts, miniatures and lithographs in Persian (Farsi). From the Middle Ages onward, the use of New Persian, or Persian written in Arabic script, became widespread in the central and eastern lands of Islam, not only in Iran and Central Asia, but also in Anatolia and India. And, while Persian epic and mystical poetry remain particularly revered constituents of the Persianate literary heritage, Persian was also the language of choice for countless bureaucrats, historians, philosophers,  theologians and scientists throughout the centuries.

Laquer Case image

The Persian Literary Heritage exhibit highlights some of the most beautiful and unique pieces of literature, art, thought and history in McGill’s Persian collections. Indeed, the collection as a whole consists of 334 volumes and 81 fragments of primarily orphaned leaves. Many of these are illustrated and illuminated, testifying to the diversity,
elegance and scope of Persianate artistry. The collection ranges from the mid-14th century to the early 20th century, and geographically from Iran to Turan (Central Asia) to India. In addition, there is a representative collection of lacquer bookbindings and qalamadans (pen boxes). McGill’s Persian collection has a history that pre-dates the founding of the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) and the Islamic studies Library (ISL) in 1952. By the 1930s, the collection already included several hundred manuscripts, orphaned leaves and lithographs. The acquisition of Persian materials was the work of the University Librarian, Gerhard R. Lomer, and the private Montreal collector F. Cleveland Morgan who actively patronized the New York dealer Hassan Khan Monif. Furthermore, the distinguished Russian scholar of Ismailism, Wladimir Ivanow, was instrumental in developing the Blacker-Wood Persian Collection. Working for Casey A. Wood, the ophthalmologist, bibliophile and McGill Library benefactor, Ivanow brought together an exquisite collection of manuscripts on all aspects of Islam, including the natural and supernatural worlds; several of these manuscripts are included in this exhibition.

Curators: Sean Swanick (Islamic Studies Liaison Librarian) and Heather Empey (McGill School of Information Studies, graduate, MLIS’14)