Black History Month 2023: Virtual Display

February is just around the corner, and with it comes the annual celebration of Black History Month (BHM). The month marks a time of honouring the legacy and stories of Black Canadians and their communities around the nation. 

The McGill community takes this opportunity to engage in not just celebrations, but moments of acknowledgement and introspection on what it means to be part of a diverse community by coming together in love, support, and learning. 
In anticipation of BHM, the Humanities and Social Studies Library (HSSL) has curated a virtual display, bringing from deep within our collections, titles both old and new, literary masterpieces, and contemporary podcasts. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the titles on display:

Book cover for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

BHM would be incomplete without an ode to Angelou’s best-selling debut memoir of growing up black in the 1930s and 1940s.

Sent by their mother to live with their devout grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man — and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, and the ideas of great authors will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.


Book cover for Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam.

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated.

With spellbinding lyricism, they tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both. A young artist and poet’s prospects at a diverse art school are threatened by a racially biased system and a tragic altercation in a gentrifying neighbourhood.


Book cover for Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Few hold a place in the Black feminist canon like Lorde, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” who “dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.”

In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. 


Other notable mentions include Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son; Nathan Harris’ The Sweetness of Water an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances, and; Octavia Butler’s Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, which offers an unflinching look at our complicated social history, transformed by the graphic novel format into a visually stunning work for a generation of new readers.

Keep an eye on our socials (Instagram: @mcgilllib, Facebook: McGill Library and Twitter: @mcgilllib) for more exciting events and news related to BHM. 

Canada Reads 2023 at McGill

The 2023 list of Canada Reads finalists are out and we can’t wait to get our hands on these books. If you feel the same, check out the list below. Five of the titles will be championed by Canadian media personalities in a series of rounds to determine which of these books can truly change the way we see and interact with the world. More information about Canada Reads can be found on their website.

Books not immediately available can be requested via InterLibrary Loan in print format.

Impactful Reads: What is McGill Reading?

It’s that time of the semester again, Add/Drop’s just ended, and the assignments are already piling up in the calendar feature on MyCourses. So we’re all a little rushed, a little tired and a lot cold (it’s freezing outside!).

Alas, we’re afraid there’s not much we can do to decrease your workload or increase the temperature, but we’re hoping this little treat just might help boost your mood!

So for all those long metro and shuttle rides, the breaks between classes, or those few days you’ve accidentally slept in during a morning conference, here are some inspiring titles being read by your fellow students (courtesy of this r/mcgill Reddit™ thread):



To access the titles you wish to read, simply click on the relevant book cover and you’ll be taken directly to the library catalogue, so you can check out the book.

InterLibrary Loan


Do any titles catch your eye that aren’t in our collection? Worry not, because McGill students and faculty are allowed to borrow books or articles located in other Quebec university libraries and beyond through the InterLibrary Loan Service (ILL). The ILL is integrated into the Library catalogue and can help you access titles that aren’t available in our collection by searching libraries worldwide. Simply select “Libraries Worldwide” on the panel to the left which lists all the options to help you filter your search. For more information on how to use the ILL system, follow up on our services page here:

With such progressions, the bookkeeping world is getting smaller and flatter and we can’t say we mind it even a tiny bit!

Libby: The Overdrive App


Are you someone who prefers listening to books rather than reading? Perhaps you like staring out of the shuttle window as you see the snowy trees zoom past, pretending you’re in the middle of an adventure, a tragic love story or an intense breakdown of the stock market. Well, we’ve got a little something for you as well.

Check out our blog on Libby: The Overdrive App and discover our collection of audiobooks and ebooks directly from your phones/tablets! Along with an amazing user-friendly interface, the app keeps all your favourite titles a swipe away, making it the perfect personal library for students.

If you have any questions or general queries you may reach us at

Well, that’s all for now, folks,

Happy Reading!