Library Update from Dean Colleen Cook

Architectural detail on the Redpath Library Building.

Dear Friends of the Library,

The 2020-2021 academic year was one for the books in more ways than we can count here at the McGill Library. After completing a full year under these exceptional circumstances, I want to take a moment to check in with Friends from around the globe who have supported our efforts over the years.

During the year, we continued to offer electronic resources and virtual services while implementing two new initiatives. The McGill Study Hubs and Library Pickup Service played a pivotal role in serving the McGill community on campus. Finding a quiet place to study is difficult in the best of times, but during the year many favourite study spots on & off-campus were off-limits to students. Students who needed to escape the distractions of t.v., roommates & noise, found safety and solace at one of the few places opened on campus – the McGill Study Hubs. On September 8, 2020, a re-imagined, safe alternative to the traditional library experience was launched.

As of May 2021, the Study Hub has had 49,418 check-ins over three branches. McGill students, faculty, and staff based out of Montreal also took advantage of the Library Pickup Service for print materials not available electronically. 10,210 items were checked out from its July 2020 launch to the end of the Winter term. I am very grateful to all Library staff members who have demonstrated a boots-on-the-ground, user-focused approach to service delivery including our student workers who have helped us to keep things running. Access this great piece written by development officer Steven Spodek to learn more about the student face of Library services.

The fall semester is almost upon us and there is a sense of excitement as we look forward to a more widespread return of in-person learning. I was recently asked by our outreach student workers to share some thoughts about this orientation time and although many questions still need to be answered, one thing is certain – at the Library, we will be opening doors to more spaces including exhibition areas. On September 29, we would be delighted to welcome you back to campus virtually and possibly in person with a vernissage of “McGilliana: 200 Years of Student Life,” a bicentennial exhibition that highlights memorabilia and more from the McGill University Archives. In the meantime, if you are looking for more ways to walk down McGill memory lane with the Library, why not visit our timeline of milestones, celebrate the Unsung Heroes of the McGill Library or test your wits via ROAAr’s virtual trivia game Quiz that So?! Finally, look out for more fall event information regarding the Friends’ F.R. Scott Lecture and McGill’s At-Home Homecoming featuring a special conversation between key players at the School of Continuing Education’s McGill Community for Lifelong Learning and the McGill Library who explored how different COVID responses fostered community in a time of real isolation.

I very much look forward to the time we can safely see each other again on campus. Until then, I wish you all a great summer filled with rest, play, sunshine, and a pile of good books.

Colleen Cook, Trenholme Dean of Libraries

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