A Special Update from Dean Cook

Dear Friends,

A McGill librarian's "at work from home" station

A McGill librarian’s work from home station

These are such unprecedented times with daily life changing so dramatically in the last few weeks. Ensuring the safety and security of our students and staff has been paramount from the outset.

One after the other, like dominoes, universities announced that they were suspending classes because of COVID-19 and then pivoting to remote learning. The McGill Library responded very quickly and our staff made the necessary adjustments almost immediately to provide services remotely. This includes library staff answering questions and assisting students & researchers by phone appointment, online chat, teleconferencing, email or text.

The library’s electronic resources continue to be available from home – users can still search and find articles, e-books, e-journals and other material. The library’s databases are also accessible, as well as a host of other information resources. In addition, there have been a number of very welcome moves by publishers, vendors and others working with libraries to temporarily open access to content during the closure period.

Colleen Cook at her work from home station.

Colleen Cook at her work from home station.

While we are very grateful to be able to serve the McGill community in these ways and at this time, we are saddened that we can’t open our doors each day and interact with thousands of people who normally visit the Library in person each day. There is no substitute for the relationships we have developed with students, staff and the public and we cannot wait to be back in full service as soon as possible.

As higher education and most of daily life has withdrawn from physical spaces and shifted to a fully online environment, libraries and librarians are even more important as trusted information specialists. They play an important role in supporting the medical and first responder communities and slowing the spread of misinformation.

Lastly, I want to share how very proud I am of the work our staff has accomplished in this time – we have adapted quickly and creatively in very difficult times. Staff members are able to conduct these services while working from home – a tremendous short-term achievement in its own right. I invite you to stay current on the Library’s efforts. Visit our website or follow us on social media for updates.

These are difficult days all around. Please be well and safe and I look forward to updating you further as things progress.

With kind regards,


Colleen Cook, Trenholme Dean of Libraries

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