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:http://www.mcgill.ca/library/about/planning/master-plan

Anonymous feedback on any library-related topic can be relayed at anytime by visiting: http://www.mcgill.ca/library/about/planning/master-plan/feedback

McGill Library Visitor Survey: A one-day census to find out more about our users!

Survey icon designed by Brennan Novak from the thenounproject.comDuring library service hours on Tuesday, November 18, the McGill Library will be holding its first survey of visitors to the Library.

For one day only, the Library will ask everyone who enters our spaces during service hours to tell us:

  • Their status (e.g., McGill undergrad, member of the public, etc.)
  • Their faculty, if applicable
  • Their primary reason for coming to the Library that day

The survey is very short (3 questions!), and will capture a one-day snapshot of McGill Library users, and their use of space, collections & resources.

The survey will be conducted by library representatives at the entrances to the following McGill Library buildings/branches:

  • McLennan Library Building entrance
  • Schulich Library of Science & Engineering
  • Nahum Gelber Law Library
  • Marvin Duchow Music Library
  • Birks Reading Room
  • Islamic Studies Library
  • Macdonald Campus Library

Thank you in advance for helping to make this one day event a success!

Questions or suggestions? Please contact Dr. Lorie Kloda, the Assessment Librarian, at assessment.library@mcgill.ca

Survey icon designed by Brennan Novak from the thenounproject.com

November 11: southwest section of Cyberthèque closed from 1:30-5:30pm


Please note that the south west section of the Cyberthèque that houses banquettes and study tables will be closed from 1:30 – 5:30pm on Tuesday, November 11 for the Town Hall on libraries.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

From 4 – 5:30pm, all are welcome to attend the Town Hall in the Cyberthèque.

For more information regarding the Town Hall please visit: http://blogs.library.mcgill.ca/channels/november-11-town-hall-on-libraries/

December 5 film screening: Return to Homs

Movie Poster: Return to HomsFriday, December 5 at 6pm
Tuesday Night Café,
Morrice Hall, room 017
3485 rue McTavish

Review: How differently people might remember the Alamo had there been a camera crew there to observe it. Talal Derki’s “Return to Homs” represents a remarkable achievement in immersive conflict-zone filmmaking, fearlessly taking auds to the front lines of the Syrian civil war and embedding them alongside soccer star turned resistance leader Abdul Basset Saroot, a charismatic nonviolent protestor pushed into taking up arms against the oppressive regime. What the film lacks in context it gains in visceral eyewitness value, its countless tragedies serving as a potential rallying cry to supporters wherever this Sundance World Cinema docu winner unspools abroad.
excerpt from a review by Peter Debruge, Chief International Film Critic, Variety

Official site and trailer: http://www.returntohoms.com/

A post-screening discussion will be moderated by Vincent Romani, Professor of political science, UQAM. Director Talal Derki will take part in the discussion via Skype.
Presented by the Islamic Studies Library.


November 11: Restored Book of Remembrance digitized and on display

Book of RemembranceNovember 11, 2014
10am to 4pm
McLennan Library Building           3459 McTavish Street, main floor lobby

The McGill University Archives is pleased to announce two events in commemoration of Remembrance Day.  On November 11, a digitized version of the newly restored Book of Remembrance will be launched on the McGill Remembers website. In addition, attendees at the Remembrance Day Service are invited to view the original Book of Remembrance on temporary display from 10am to 4pm in the lobby of McLennan Library Building.  This event will be followed by the official unveiling and long-term display of a replica copy on November 13 at 4:30PM.

The illuminated Book of Remembrance records the names of the nearly 700 students, staff and faculty who lost their lives in World War I and World War II.  Each name is handwritten in calligraphy and the parchment pages are illuminated with vibrant reds, blues or greens, as well as silver and gold.  The Book is bound in red leather with the McGill University emblem emblazoned with silver and gold on the cover.

The Book was first unveiled during the official opening of Memorial Hall, now part of the Currie Gymnasium Complex, on November 26, 1950.  Memorial Hall was to be the permanent home of the Book of Remembrance and commemorative artifacts such as the battalion flags and the portrait of the Unknown Soldier, as well as the site for future Remembrance Day ceremonies.  By the mid-1980s, Memorial Hall was no longer used for these activities, and the illuminated Book of Remembrance was becoming a distant memory.

In February 2014, the Book of Remembrance was removed from its original casing in Memorial Hall to be restored and digitized.  As a result of this project, a replica of the Book was made and will be housed in a special display case in the pedway connecting the McLennan and Redpath Library Buildings. A digitized version will be launched on the McGill Remembers website, and the original will be made accessible for viewing in the Rare Books and Special Collections, and Archives Reading Room on the fourth floor of the McLennan Library Building.

Library blogs and other sites unavailable October 28, 7:30pm to 9pm

Due to scheduled maintenance, several Library websites and services will be offline next Tuesday evening, October 28, 2014 between 7:30pm and 9pm.

The following sites and services will be affected:

We apologize for any inconvenience.