New Puzzle Table at HSSL

The next time you find yourself in need of a breather at HSSL, take a minute to pause at the new De-stress Station, a.k.a. the Puzzle Table.

Located in the passageway between the the McLennan and Redpath sections of HSSL, this new wellness initiative is brought to all HSSL users thanks to the SSMU Library Improvement Fund (SSMU-LIF). The concept is simple: We set out a large jigsaw puzzle and it is collectively completed by passers by, who spend as little or as much time on it as they choose.

Working on a puzzle is said to draw upon both the right and left hemispheres of the brain, making it is a great way to give your grey matter the equivalent of a good, all-encompassing stretch. Also, because it is considered an active pastime, it requires a level of focus that can allow you to really unplug from studying or working. So if you’ve got a case of writer’s block, or your study group is stuck on a problem, a quick trip to the Puzzle Table just might help.The funds from the SSMU-LIF have allowed for the purchase of a number of puzzles. Since 500-piece puzzles were being finished in a matter of hours, most of our collection is made up of 1000-piece puzzles at a minimum. There’s a Tetris-style wooden block puzzle as well, for something a little different.

We have a variety of styles and challenge levels, and we endeavor to keep things fun, and relevant when we can. The Puzzle Table hosted a winter scene during the snowstorm, and characters from movies and video games during reading week.
Judging by the frequency at which we are removing completed puzzles and putting out new ones, the De-Stress Station is a much appreciated new feature of HSSL. Next time you’re passing by, instead of rushing past, give yourself and your brain a different kind of workout. Spend a few minutes with the puzzle of the moment, and see if you can pick up on a theme.

Here’s our puzzle of the moment, put up on Thursday, March 15th, a small nod to Stephen Hawking’s passing the day before. It’s a tough one -come lend a hand!


What is the most popular work published by an Irish author?

Lavoie, Brian, and Lorcan Dempsey. 2018. An Exploration of the Irish Presence in the Published Record. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. doi:10.25333/C3WS6R

OCLC Research has just published a report investigating how many Ireland-related works exist in the “published record”.  Using computational analysis of the contents of WorldCat, a database of more than 16,000 library holdings worldwide, authors, Brian Lavoie and Lorcan Dempsey have used the catalogue’s descriptive metadata to identify the Irish presence and create a corpus of publications associated with Ireland and its people.

An Exploration of the Irish Presence in the Published Record  also highlights the “indispensible role of libraries as repositories and caretakers of the creative outputs of Ireland and all nations” (p.7).

Surprisingly, McGill University Library’s collection of Irish works places it in the top ten list of libraries in the world with the greatest concentrations of materials with Irish presence.

“An Irish university, Trinity College Dublin, leads the ranking as the institution with the highest number of publications from the Irish presence in the world (table 13). Two other Irish institutions place on the list—University College Dublin and University College Cork—as well as two UK universities, University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. The US leads with four institutions, including three universities and one public library, and Canada’s McGill University rounds out a strong North American presence on the list” (p. 24).

The most popular work published by an Irish author?

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift!

Read the full report here.


Japanese Manga and Anime Book Display

Manga means the Japanese term 漫画, referring to Japanese comics/cartoons created in Japan as early as 19th century. Since the 1950s, manga has steadily become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry.

Manga has been popular in North America for more than thirty years, since the first full-length manga stories were translated in America in 1987. During the past several decades, Japanese manga has attracted a great number of readers in many countries, especially among young people.

McGill students have great interest in courses related to Japanese popular culture such as Japanese cinema, manga and animation. Each term more students have registered for such courses than the classes could accommodate. To meet the needs of teaching, learning and research, our library has developed a strong collection in this field.

This display will highlight books by two famous Manga artists. Katsuhiro Otomo, is the most famous Japanese manga artist, screenwriter and film director. He was decorated a Chevalier of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2005, promoted to Officer of the order in 2014, became the fourth manga artist ever inducted into the American Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2012, and was awarded the Purple Medal of Honor from the Japanese government in 2013. Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989), another well-known Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator and film producer, was innovative in redefinitions of manga genres and was referred as “the father of manga”, or “the god of manga.”

The display will be up the entire months throughout March and April, so please take a break and browse the shelf. Just feel free to pick a book from the shelf and check it out!