75th anniversary of Viola Desmond challenging racial segregation

On November 1946, Viola Desmond, an African-Nova Scotian businesswoman, challenged racial discrimination when she refused to leave the segregated whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. After being forcibly removed from the theatre by police, arrested and charged, she refuses to accept the charges against her and takes her case to Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court, where she loses her appeal. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Viola Desmond challenging racial segregation, the Nahum Gelber Law Library presents an exhibition on her life and her struggle for rights in Canada. The exhibition was curated by Sonia Smith. On display until December 2021.

Daniel Boyer elected Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law

Mtre Daniel Boyer’s work over the past two decades as Wainwright Librarian at the Gelber Law Library, McGill University and beyond has been once again recently underscored: in its most recent elections this July, the International Academy of Comparative Law elected him an “Associate Member”.

Led by Daniel Boyer, the Gelber Law Library’s Comparative Law holdings have supported and grown in tandem with the development the Law Faculty’s innovative transsystemic teaching programme at McGill University. In bestowing the Advocatus Emeritus (Ad.E.) honour to Daniel Boyer in 2018, the Barreau of Québec noted “[…] à la barre de la Bibliothèque Nahum Gelber depuis 2009, il en fait un modèle parmi les bibliothèques de droit comparé du monde.” In addition to his publications and conference presentations on Comparative Law, he has advised numerous law libraries, notably in France, Sweden and Switzerland, and has lectured extensively in Vietnam with the late Professor H. Patrick Glenn. In recognition of his service with the International Association of Law Libraries (I.A.L.L.), he was elected “Honoured Member” of the association in 2019. He currently is a Full member of the Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law, and is working on comparative citations protocols.

Daniel Boyer’s interest for Comparative Law is long-standing. During his articles, he published a comparative study on the role of taxing officers in Common Law jurisdictions at the behest of the Barreau du Québec and, shortly afterwards, studied in England with the noted comparatist Professor Clive Schmitthoff. He was subsequently awarded a van Calker Fellowship by the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law.

Based in Paris, the International Academy of Comparative Law was founded at The Hague on 13 September 1924. The International Academy of Comparative Law brings together jurists from all over the globe. In addition, it undertakes the universal diffusion of publications which take into consideration all legal orders and all legal systems. The International Academy of Comparative Law is a body of legal scholars that primarily aims, according to article two of its Statutes, at “the comparative study of legal systems.” It currently has more than seven hundred members across the world.

Bright Views at Law

Nahum Gelber Law Library staff is looking forward to welcoming students back this fall with clean views via some freshly washed windows.

The Law Library is privileged to boast an abundance of natural light, although in recent years our impressive fenestrations have become a little cloudy. Studies have shown that natural light improves both productivity and mental health(1) – both of which are top priorities for library staff in serving McGill Law Students.

We are looking to the future with hopeful anticipation of study spaces filled with engaged students enjoying our beautiful library with some of the cleanest views we’ve seen in years.

(1) The effects of exposure to natural light in the workplace on the health and productivity of office workers: a systematic review protocol, JBI Library of Systematic Reviews: Volume 8 – Issue 16 – p 1-19

Sonia Smith & Mila Bozic Erkic Receive CLLR Feature Article Award

The members of the Law Library would like to congratulate Sonia Smith, Liaison Librarian and Mila Bozic Erkic, Senior Circulation Clerk of the Nahum Gelber Law Library on winning the Canadian Law Library Review Feature Article Award for their article “Does a Wellness Collection Have a Place at a Law Library?”.

The CLLR award is presented annually by The Canadian Association of Law Libraries / L’Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit (CALL/ACBD), to the author of a feature length article published in Canadian Law Library Review / Revue canadienne des bibliothèques de droit to recognize outstanding contributions to the association and the profession of Law Librarianship.

Sonia and Mila’s forward thinking “Wellness Collection” and subsequent article, have been a huge success with students. This project started in 2018 in response to several studies discussing the particularly high rate of stress and mental health issues among law students. The authors had no idea what a vital resource this would become during the widespread mental health crisis that students would face during the 2020/2021 pandemic. While in person, students were able to relax by taking advantage of a “de-stress corner” where they could take a much needed break from rigorous academic pursuits. Over the past year students have benefited from the thoughtfully curated Wellness Resources for Law Students Libguide. Now more than ever we appreciate Sonia and Mila’s hard work and dedication to McGill Law students.

Merci et félicitations, Sonia et Mila!

Daniel Boyer Elected Honorary Member of IALL

Congratulations to Mtre Daniel Boyer, Ad. E., Wainwright Librarian and Head Librarian of the Nahum Gelber Law Library, on being elected an Honorary Member of the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL).

Founded in 1959, IALL is an international association dedicated to comparative legal librarianship. It has over 400 members in more than 50 countries on five continents. Members come from all types of law libraries, including academic, corporate, government, and court libraries. Honorary members are elected annually by the Association’s Board of Directors in recognition of “outstanding and distinguished service”.

Daniel publishes and presents regularly on comparative law, and has acted as a consultant for law libraries in Switzerland and Vietnam. He has long history of service with IALL, including serving most recently on its Board of Directors for two terms, from 2013-2016, and from 2016-2019. During this time, Daniel represented IALL at the annual meetings of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries.

The Board of IALL elected Daniel an Honorary Member at its Board Meeting held in conjunction with the IALL’s 38th Annual Course on International Law Librarianship in Sydney, Australia. However, as a result of the pandemic, Daniel only just received the good news.

Bravo et félicitations, Daniel !

Canadian Copyright Act Anniversary

By Riley Klassen-Molyneaux, étudiant à la Faculté de droit de l’Université McGill, assistant de référence à la Bibliothèque Gelber.

On June 4th, 2021, the Canadian Copyright Act will be turning 100. While the modern Copyright Act can be traced back to the British Statute of Anne (1709), it wasn’t until 1921 that Canada created its own statute, the statute that we are celebrating this year.

La Loi sur le droit d’auteur canadien est intéressante parce que, même si elle est de compétence fédérale sous l’article 91(23) de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1867 — et en principe une loi anglaise — elle s’inspire à la fois des traditions britanniques et continentales. Elle est une loi proprement transsystémique.

D’une part, la Loi Loi sur le droit d’auteur s’inspire de la tradition anglaise — austère et utilitariste — pour accorder à l’auteure des droits économiques, les droits classiques qui récompensent son talent et son jugement (CCH c. Barreau du Haut-Canada). D’autre part, la Loi s’inspire du droit continental pour lui accorder des droits moraux. Ces droits sont de nature extrapatrimoniale et permettent à l’auteure de contrôler comment on emploie son œuvre (Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd).

The Copyright Act is designed to protect and inspire creativity. And it protects creativity in its most organic form without any kind of formality or registration requirement. But the creativity of artists and performers is precisely what challenges the Act’s definition of a work, constantly pushing the boundaries of what copyright protects, of what amounts to a product of skill and judgment.

Here’s to hoping that the Copyright Act can keep up with artists and performers for another 100 years!


À la découverte: La bibliothèque du Code civil de la province de Québec

Par: George Yeryomin, étudiant à la Faculté de droit de l’Université McGill, assistant de référence à la Bibliothèque Gelber

Le droit civil en tant que tradition juridique s’étend sur plus de deux millénaires et demie d’histoire depuis la fondation de Rome, et ses principes et sa doctrine se trouvent contenus dans un grand nombre de lois et écrits monumentaux : les lois royales, la Loi des XII Tables, la codification monumentale de l’empereur Justinien, dont est issu le jus commune européen, élaboré et enrichi continuellement par tant d’œuvres et commentaires de jurisconsultes illustres, qui a subsisté pendant des siècles en tant que système de droit vivant jusqu’aux codifications nationales récentes (au XIXè siècle). La multitude des écrits formant la tradition et la doctrine civiliste est donc énormément riche et nombreuse. Mais cela veut-il dire que ces ressources doctrinales ne sont qu’accessibles à un nombre très limité de chercheurs? Bien au contraire, il y a une façon assez simple d’avoir accès aux extraits les plus pertinents de anciens docteurs et jurisconsultes qui ont servi de sources pour les compilateurs du Code civil, dont la lecture peut être d’une grande utilité pour comprendre le raisonnement derrière les règles expliquées de façon assez succincte par les codificateurs. Car il faut se le rappeler, le droit civil n’est pas issu du code, mais plutôt le code est l’expression synthétisée du droit civil.

La méthode que l’on vous propose comporte deux étapes, et aura pour but de vous faire découvrir une œuvre monumentale de la doctrine civiliste québécoise du XIXè siècle, La bibliothèque du Code civil de la province de Québec par Charles-Chamilly de Lorimier et Charles-Albert Vilbon1.

Première étape : trouver la concordance entre le CcQ et le CcBC
Une des façons de le faire est sur le site du CAIJ : https://elois.caij.qc.ca/CCQ-1991

Entrez l’article à propos duquel vous faites la recherche. La page consacrée à cet article vous indique l’équivalence dans le Code civil du Bas-Canada, s’il y en a une.

Dans l’exemple ci-dessous, nous cherchons les sources de l’art 1401 CcQ :

Une autre façon de trouver l’équivalence est d’aller voir l’édition Wilson-Lafleur du CcQ. En bas du texte de chaque article, l’article équivalent au CcBC est donné, s’il y en a un. Sinon, il y a aussi une table de concordance qui offre la concordance pour chaque article du CcQ.

Voici la même démarche à propos de l’art 1401 CcQ dans l’édition Wilson & Lafleur :

Veuillez noter que l’édition Yvon Blais n’offre pas la concordance en dessous du texte de chaque article du CcQ, et la table de concordance à la fin est classifiée selon l’ordre des articles du CcBC, ce qui rend la recherche un peu plus compliquée si notre point de départ est le CcQ.

Deuxième étape : trouvez l’article du CcBC dans La bibliothèque du Code civil
L’ouvrage auquel l’on fait référence est La bibliothèque du Code civil de la province de Québec par Charles-Chamilly de Lorimier et Charles-Albert Vilbon, qui est accessible dans son entièreté sur le site de la bibliothèque de McGill: https://www.library.mcgill.ca/hostedjournals/civilcode.html

Non, La bibliothèque du Code civil n’est pas une bibliothèque au sens propre, mais un ouvrage s’étendant sur plusieurs volumes contenant les autorités et les sources utilisées par les codificateurs pour chaque article du CcBC, allant des lois romaines en passant par les grands jurisconsultes français comme Du Moulin, Pothier, et plusieurs autres, terminant par les nouveaux codes, celui de Napoléon et celui de la Louisiane. Ainsi, cet ouvrage est une mine d’or servant de lien entre la tradition civiliste millénaire et le droit civil contemporain.

Pour vous faciliter la recherche à travers La bibliothèque du Code civil, voici une liste de tous les articles du CcBC contenus dans chacun des volumes de La bibliothèque :
• Vol 1 : 1–122
• Vol 2 : 123–307
• Vol 3 : 308–466
• Vol 4 : 467–565 (début)
• Vol 5 : 565 (suite)–718
• Vol 6 : 719–857
• Vol 7 : 858–1026
• Vol 8 : 1027–1149
• Vol 9 : 1150–1265
• Vol 10 : 1266–1384
• Vol 11 : 1385–1501
• Vol 12 : 1502–1603
• Vol 13 : 1604–1714
• Vol 14 : 1715–1809
• Vol 15 : 1810–1897
• Vol 16 : 1898–1975
• Vol 17 : 1976–2078
• Vol 18 : 2079–2196 (début)
• Vol 19 : 2196 (suite)–2233
• Vol 20 : 2234–2266
• Vol 21 : 2267–2277

Dans l’exemple ci-dessous, nous essayons de trouver les sources de l’art 993 CcCB (l’équivalent de l’art 1401 CcQ) dans La bibliothèque. Grâce à la liste ci-haut, on voit que cet article se trouve analysé au volume 7.

Les deux premières pages à partir d’où l’art 993 CcBC est abordé nous offrent un extrait du Digeste de Justinien (le signe « ff » signifie Digeste) et un extrait de Pothier. Dans les pages suivantes, on peut lire d’autres extraits tirés de Domat et un article du Code Napoléon.

Des questions ? N’hésitez pas à nous contacter : law.library@mcgill.ca.

1Charles-Chamilly de Lorimier et Charles-Albert Vilbon, La bibliothèque du Code civil de la province de Quebec (ci-devant Bas-Canada) : ou recueil comprenant entre autres matières, Montréal : Cadieux & Dérome, 1871-90.

Access to Jus Mundi database, thanks to the Wainwright Fund

Thanks to the generosity of the Wainwright Fund, the library is pleased to announce yet another new database subscription, this time to Jus Mundi – Academic Research, by Brill.

Subscribing to this new and innovative award-winning database was a priority for the library, as it caters directly to two of the Faculty of Law’s research strengths: Arbitration and International Law. Jus Mundi contains “over 16,000 international law and investor-state arbitration documents, including treaties, ICJ, PCIJ, PCA, ITLOS, ICSID and other arbitration institutions, UNCITRAL, IUSCT documents (judgments, arbitral awards, orders, pleadings, etc.), and decisions of the Mixed Claims Commission.” Importantly for our bilingual Faculty, the database offers a multilingual search engine, with several advanced linguistic features.

Jus Mundi is accessible from the Arbitration section of our International Law subject guide, here. Law Faculty and students wishing to book an appointment with a law librarian to receive training on this new database should email reference.law@mcgill.ca.

Accès à la Bibliothèque numérique Dalloz, grâce au Fonds Wainwright

La bibliothèque tient à remercier le Fonds Wainwright pour sa contribution à l’achat de deux accès simultanés à la Bibliothèque numérique Dalloz.

Given the importance of Civil Law research at McGill’s Faculty of Law, we determined that had to make more digital legal materials from France available to our users. This was particularly pressing given the impact of the global pandemic on access to our physical print collections. Access to these digital materials therefore comes at a critical time for our community.

La Bibliothèque numérique Dalloz donne accès à 1 500 ouvrages, incluant les Codes Dalloz, Dalloz action, Lexiques, Précis Dalloz, les manuels universitaires, les ouvrages de révision, et bien plus, en version feuilletable. Cet accès est disponible depuis le 1er janvier 2021.

To access the Bibliothèque numérique Dalloz, please visit the Dalloz database from our French Law subject guide, here. Then, scroll down on the landing page and select either Ouvrages or, under “À feuilleter,” Dalloz Bibliothèque.

Looking back on 38 years of service: an interview with Anne Avery

After 38 years working in the McGill Library system, our colleague Anne Avery will be retiring at the end of the year. Anne came to the Gelber as a library assistant in October 2006 from the McLennan Library, and has been a pillar of our library ever since. Members of the McGill Law community will remember Anne as a friendly face at our circulation desk, always ready to help out, whether it be to check out a book on reserve or pick up a hold, navigate our catalogues, guide patrons around the library, solve a uPrint problem, or figure out how to work the microfilm reader, though of course Anne’s duties and impact on users extends far beyond circulation.

Before leaving, Anne was kind enough to sit down for a brief interview to talk about her experience working at McGill, and to share some fond memories about her time here. The following are summaries of Anne’s answers.

Career trajectory within the McGill Library system
Anne was first hired as a casual library employee in October 1981, working on the 6th floor of the McLennan Library, filing acquisition records. At the time, acquisition slips were printing in multiple copies. We’re not talking duplicate or triplicate here… more like upwards of 6 copies per acquisition! This was a one-month contract, after which Anne was hired to type updated subject headings on catalogue cards following Library of Congress Subject Headings. This required a “special typewriter with very small keys” (since you couldn’t adjust font size otherwise)! This job was also out of the 6th floor of McLennan. That position was abolished in July 1982, but just over half a year later, Anne was back, this time working in acquisitions at the Medical Library. In May 1983, Anne became a permanent employee.

In September 1984, Anne moved into a public-facing position in the Library School Library, then located on the ground floor of McLennan. This was a sessional job that followed the academic calendar. Anne worked at that branch for 4 years, before taking a one-year educational leave. When she returned in September 1989, Anne moved onto the Redpath Reserves. This is when computers were first introduced on the service side of the library, and when Anne started working with them!

In September 1991, Anne headed back to the Library School Library, which she managed for 3 years. With that branch library set to close, Anne then moved to the Microfilm service, a public-facing service located on the 2nd floor of McLennan. It is there that she first worked with the Gelber’s current supervisor, Elizabeth Gibson, who supervised the Microfilm service. An extremely popular service at the time, it was open 7 days a week, and during evenings. “That department was a gem source of information and included print newspapers and current serials, of course,” notes Anne. According to Anne, this was where she met the greatest variety of people.

In October 2006, Anne finally moved to the Gelber Library. At the time, the branch was also open evenings and weekends, and was “bursting with staff,” as this was before a lot of centralization of library services. Despite the many changes to the library system that occurred since Anne’s arrival at the Gelber, Anne stayed on at the Gelber for just over 14 years.

Upon reflecting on her 7 positions in the McGill Library system, Anne remarked: “It’s great to move around and meet different people!”

At the Gelber circulation desk, circa 2007.  From L to R: Anne Avery, Lisa Barrett, Mila Bozic Erkic, and Brock Cummings
At the Gelber circulation desk, circa 2007. From L to R: Anne Avery, Lisa Barrett, Mila Bozic Erkic, and Brock Cummings

In another life, another career path?
Who would have known that Anne worked as a surgical nurse in a veterinary hospital immediately prior to arriving at McGill in 1981? A lover of animals, Anne’s allergies contributed in part to her career change.

Our world traveler
And did you know that Anne has lived in 5 countries, and 3 cities in Canada (Vancouver, Thunder Bay, and Montreal)? In 1982, when Anne’s position was terminated, Anne and her husband benefitted from the extra time to go to France for les vendages, the grape harvest, an opportunity that her husband had heard of with l’Association Québec-France: “We were assigned to the champagne region near Reims on a family vineyard for 12 memorable days. We remained 4 months, following a theme of historical locations, living cheap, traveling by train, regional bus and ship, visiting many locations in France, zig zagging south through autumn, moving on to Florence and Venice, then Greece, and celebrating Christmas in Crete and New Year’s in Rhodes.”

While Montreal has been home for the past 31 years, Anne still calls the European cities she lived in “home” when she goes back to visit. Her favourite travel destination? “They’re all my favourite when I get there!”

Fun facts about the McGill Library, 80s edition & Anne’s career trajectory
To work in the library when Anne first started, one had to first pass a typing test. Now, we won’t mention how Anne did on the test, but Anne did want to give a little shout-out to human resources for helping her overcome that little speed bump!

When Anne started working at McGill, access to the McLennan library was limited to graduate students and the employees working there, with undergraduate students studying in Redpath instead. Consequently, a guard was stationed at the bottom of the McLennan stairs to confirm IDs! There were 25 library branches at the time, compared to the 11 we currently have. While students were not permitted to smoke in the library, library staff with individual offices could smoke in them.

Checking out a book? Some of us might remember the old index cards that we used to check out books on in elementary school, but in the 80s, McGill’s system was a little more sophisticated than that! Circulation staff would instead check out books using manual sliding card machines – like the ones used for credit cards!

Prior to coming to the Gelber, Anne worked with two individuals who would later become law library directors: Michael Renshawe and Bob Clark. By the time Anne moved to the Gelber, however, they had already left. Upon arriving at the Gelber, Anne reconnected with a former student who had attended library school when Anne ran the Library School Library: the current Head of the Gelber, Daniel Boyer! A helpful tip to anyone in the library system at McGill, considering the amount of internal movement here, but also really great advice for anyone in or entering the workforce: “McGill is a community; your working life will interweave with many individuals over the years so make the most of positive contacts and create a network of supportive connections.”

Library trends over time
From card catalogues to our newest catalogue that allows us to see not only our own holdings and availability of texts at McGill, but holdings in hundreds of thousands of libraries across the world, as well as availability of texts through the Quebec university library system “technology has changed things so amazingly,” says Anne. “It’s a huge difference,” Anne notes, laughing, when I ask her what surprises her the most about how library patrons use the library now versus in the 80s.

How librarians provide services has also changed. Before the explosion of databases, reference used to “all be in the librarians’ heads,” and if anything escaped them, they would consult index cards kept on reference desks. Now, a liaison librarian’s primary duty is to know how to find things in a database, and of course, know what database to use!

Matching at the Gelber, circa 2008.
From L to R: Mary Lourenço, Mila Bozic Erkic, and Anne Avery.

Funny stories involving law faculty
I was hoping for a good Overheard for the Quid Novi, but Anne is all class ‘til the end! She notes that she enjoyed getting to know law staff and faculty alike. One fun thing that happened as a result of chatting with a law professor at the desk was that she was able to get some family papers translated from Swedish!

Some unique Gelber finds
Looking for some neat Gelber discoveries? Anne recommends checking out the PN section on the 3rd floor. A quick catalogue search tells me that there’s a nice mix of freedom of the press in there and fun texts about lawyers and literature, for instance The lawyer’s cartoon book, by Pascal Élie and Lawyers’ merriments, by David Murray.

Anne also recently went through the Rare Books collection and found a number of gems there, including a book by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. She notes that the annuals in our collection are fantastic resources for “history buffs” interested in social history, thanks to the ads that precede and follow the main text.

Fondest memories working in the libraries
The chair of our social committee, Anne notes that what she’ll miss most is the camaraderie she shared with colleagues – with a special shout-out to our famous Gelber birthday parties – and socialising with patrons over the desk. Having had worked in 6 other library positions, Anne notes that it “really made a difference working in a satellite library.” Working at the Gelber, Anne had a variety of work, and also got to meet “people from all over.”

Throughout the years, Anne has been particularly impressed with the opportunities that our students have taken for study and work abroad. She pointed out in particular the students that have gone on to work with NGOs and in human rights advocacy.

Final farewell message to students
“Seize opportunities for personal enrichment… and go to all the library teaching seminars! You’ll need it!”

Photo from Library Matters, vol 3, issue 11 (November 2007)
Seated, front row from left to right: John Hobbins, Daniel Boyer, Jason Elsliger, Inge Hernandez, Veena Vohra, Brock Cummings, Carlos Rojas, John Kirkpatrick, and Kathleen Vandernoot. Standing, back row from left to right: Lisa Barrett, Mary Lourenço, Anne Avery and Louisa Piatti.