Celebrating World Poetry Month at McGill

As we celebrate World Poetry Month this April, we wanted to bring attention to one of McGill’s own worldwide poetry endeavours.

Founded in 2010 by McGill alumnus Asa Boxer, the Montreal International Poetry Prize is an annual global poetry competition. With a prize of $20,000 awarded to one poet for a poem, the competition is judged by a jury of award-winning poets from all over the world, including Lorna Goodison, Heather Christle and Tanur Ojaide for the 2022 competition.

Since 2019, the Montreal International Poetry Prize has been overseen by McGill University’s Department of English. The following year, the international competition received nearly 5,000 entries from more than 100 nations around the world. Of these thousands of submissions from 2020, a select few were shortlisted and were combined to create The Montreal Poetry Prize Anthology 2020, available to students through the McGill Library.

With the 2022 competition having recently ended, the next competition of the Montreal International Poetry Prize will open for entries in January 2024.

For more great poetry check out our collection and the Redpath Book Display which has a great selection of poetry you can borrow. This display will be up for all of April 2023.

Studying at the McGill Library: Expectations vs Reality

When I started my first year at McGill, I had many presumptions about a library and its uses. I had a clear picture in my head of what the McGill Library would be; a quiet place to study surrounded by barely used books. However, after visiting the libraries and seeing the atmosphere, my expectations of the Library were off. Here is a short list of a few expectations possibly many other students have about studying at McGill, compared to the reality of it all!

The Methods of Research

Growing up, students were often told stories about the “good old days” by their parents. One variation of these stories was that they would have to physically go to a library to research for their projects, scanning through hundreds of books to find the perfect source. This deemed libraries as old-fashioned and useless now that we can access search engines like Google.

After studying for a few months at the McGill Library, it is clear that this is only sometimes the case. Although we do still have access to the thousands of valuable books within the libraries, we also have access to so many more sources. Students can access many resources through the McGill Library website, such as ebooks, videos, articles, guides, and more! No matter the project, the Library makes it easy for students to find exactly what they want.

The Librarians

In fiction, librarians are often portrayed in a mostly negative way. They’re just the strict old ladies that shush everyone in sight. These depictions are seen in most television programs, causing students to dislike these workers when they go to the Library. Librarians, however, are not at all like this. In reality, the librarians at McGill are the complete opposite! They care about all of their students and are always there to help. Whether it be to find the right resource, check out a book, or get help with a paper, the various librarians at the McGill Library ensure that students have a sound support system in their academic journey.

The Different Aspects of the Library

Although I have already mentioned the expectations of the research done within a library, there are also notable differences regarding the reality of the role of a library itself. Many people believe that the only thing a library is used for is studying and researching for projects.

The McGill Library offers many events and fun things for students and the community. These include monthly activities, such as Game Nights, various workshops on a multitude of topics, hosting events, and many more! There is always something interesting going on in the Library, making it much more purposeful than we make it out to be.

Study Spaces

Lastly, it is often expected that libraries are tranquil places to study. Students are usually limited to complete silence so as not to disturb people around them, making it difficult for people who prefer to study in a busier environment or want to do group projects with their peers.

To allow for a wider variety of study spaces, the McGill Library offers various study spaces for students to choose from. Whether you prefer complete silence, an area with some talking or a private room to study with your friends, the Library has you covered! Many Study Spaces are available for students all over campus, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for you!

An Interview With Ophélie – Une entrevue avec Ophélie

Ophélie Wang

This year, the McGill Library had the opportunity to welcome Ophélie Wang for part of the winter semester. Ophélie is a student at the École nationale supérieure des sciences de l’information et des bibliothèques (ENSSIB), a French grande école that trains librarians. As part of her training, she is at McGill to complete a six-week internship which began at the end of January. We had the opportunity to interview Ophélie to learn more about her and her experiences at the Library thus far

Cette année, la Bibliothèque de l’Université McGill a eu l’occasion d’accueillir Ophélie Wang pour une partie de la session d’hiver. Ophélie est une élève bibliothécaire à l’École nationale supérieure des sciences de l’information et des bibliothèques (ENSSIB), une grande école en France qui forme les bibliothécaires et les conservateur·rices de bibliothèques. Dans le cadre de sa formation, elle est à McGill pour effectuer un stage de six semaines qui a débuté fin janvier. Nous avons eu l’occasion de passer Ophélie en entrevue afin de connaître plus à son sujet et ses expériences à la bibliothèque jusqu’à présent.

Q : Qu’est-ce qui vous a incité à vouloir travailler dans ce domaine?

Ophélie Wang (OW) : Alors en fait, moi je viens du Droit, en particulier du droit d’auteur. Je pense que c’est à travers le droit d’auteur que j’ai d’abord compris qu’il avait beaucoup de questions de libre accès notamment et qu’il avait des gens qui dans les universités travaillaient vraiment sur ça et que c’était un métier. Je pense que c’est comme ça que j’ai découvert la profession de bibliothécaire et ensuite je me suis renseigné davantage sur ce que ça pourrait être et ça m’a vraiment attiré.

Q : Why did you choose to come to McGill?

OW : I asked for this internship specifically. I wanted to find out about another system because I’ve already worked in France and the French libraries so I wanted to see how it was done elsewhere. I was also interested by the specific status of librarians here, as they are sorted by faculty.

Q : What do you do here at the Library?

OW : I work with both the Humanites and Social Sciences Library with Michael David Miller in French Language Literature, and with the Law Library. I have two projects specifically; In French Language Literature I’m working on how to communicate about accessing books while they are not accessible and in Law I’m working on the benchmark on the Law Library’s workshops, so what kind of workshops are offered throughout Canada and what could inspire the Law Library here. The idea is that I’m also really integrated into the team, so I also attend meetings which is very useful for me to see how the team really works.

Q : Quel est votre partie préférée de cette expérience?

OW : Je pense que ma partie préférée c’est vraiment travailler avec l’équipe ici, donc apprendre à connaitre les différentes bibliothécaires et puis aussi vraiment me sentir intégrée dans et faire partie de de l’équipe.

Q : What have you learned here so far? Have you learned anything new?

OW: Oh yes, a lot. I think one thing that’s very useful for me is the role of Liaison Librarians. That doesn’t exist as such in France, but the way Liaison Librarians really cultivate their relationship with their faculty and their students – they often say like “my” students, “my” faculty – and the way they really build bridges with research and with teaching is really inspiring to me and I want to bring that back with me.

Q : Avez-vous une histoire intéressante de votre temps ici?

OW : Je ne sais pas si c’est une histoire, mais une autre chose qui m’a marqué ici c’est l’ouverture des bibliothèques universitaires sur la communauté et vraiment le désir des bibliothécaires de servir non seulement les étudiant·es et les professeur·es, mais aussi la communauté en général. Je trouve ça assez inspirant que je veuille essayer, pas de reproduire puisque les circonstances ne sont pas les mêmes, mais de m’inspirer dans mon futur poste.

Ophélie has been a great addition to the Library team and we would like to wish her luck in all of her future endeavours!

Ophélie a été un excellent ajout à l’équipe de la Bibliothèque et nous lui souhaitons bonne chance dans tous ses plans futurs!