An Update from Friends of the McGill Library Chair, Donald Walcot

From left to right: Lenore Harris, Louise Robertson, and Don Walcot at the McGill University Collections Centre holding up books in front of red wall.
From left to right: Lenore Harris, Louise Robertson, and Don Walcot at the McGill University Collections Centre, August 2023. Credit: Joseph Hafner.

The new academic year has already started, with students appearing, and reappearing, on campus, using our ten different library locations, and the terrasses outside! The nervous smiles, the obvious pleasure at being welcomed to such a student-friendly space, shows that the Library is doing its job of educating and supporting the McGill staff and student body. And, as our organizational name implies, we volunteers too are working to be a Friendly face for the McGill libraries.

Much was accomplished in the first half of this year – both in terms of the basic borrowing and returning of books and other social media vehicles, the completed renovation of the Schulich Library, and the continued progress in the modernization and reimagining of our largest facility – the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex – through the Fiat Lux project.

But, for me, the most exciting event that has taken place is the completion of the new book Collections Centre in Valleyfield. I was fortunate, at the beginning of September, to have an early preview of the building, its operational systems (including the robots) and its storage facility, before the books start to arrive en mass starting in October – including the book I chose to be part of the early trial period – The Pilgrim’s Progress. It is truly an extremely well designed and thought-out building – we on the tour were frankly blown away at the high construction standards, its operating efficiency, and attractive design. It will be massive job to move over 2 million books, rare and general, there. It is good that we have such competent and knowledgeable librarians in charge of this project – a reflection of our library staff generally – I am continually impressed at their knowledge, professionalism and willingness to be helpful. I cannot say enough good things about them!

In summary, I think we have an outstanding library system, and staff, at McGill – one of the best in North America – and getting better and better all the time.

I am so proud to be a Friend of the Library – please join with me this year in continuing to support it, to advocate for it, and to be ambassadors of it – in Montreal, across Canada, and now with so many our graduates living and working abroad, around the World.

Have a great ‘Friends’ year.

Don Walcot, Chair

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