Library News

Letters from afar: First World War Christmas cards offer rare glimpse into the past

Submitted by balche on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts
Several dozen Christmas cards from the First World War, circa 1914-1918, are located in The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections in Mills Memorial Library. 'Greetings from the Western Front,' reads one of the cards from 1915. 'With best wishes for a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.'

Several dozen Christmas cards from the First World War, circa 1914-1918, are located in The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections in Mills Memorial Library. 'Greetings from the Western Front,' reads one of the cards from 1915. 'With best wishes for a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.'

Hamilton Spectator reporter Mark McNeil recently visited the archives in Mills Memorial Library, and surveyed a unique collection of Christmas cards from nearly a century ago.

Many of the cards, letters and photos were sent back to Canada and Great Britain from soldiers on the front lines during the First World War.

Read an excerpt from McNeil's story below:

Archivist Renu Barrett says the McMaster collection is made up of British and Canadian cards, and most were acquired as part of larger collections of war correspondence or personal papers.

Curiously, there isn't much handwriting on the cards. Usually there is just a name. Barrett says there may have been paper notes with some of the cards that have since gone missing.

But she says the pictures and the typography help capture the era from which they were created.

"And if you think about it, it's remarkable for them to have survived all this time."

Read the full story in The Hamilton Spectator.


Open call: University Library 'Faculty-Member-in-Residence'

Submitted by balche on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts

July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016

Are you looking for an opportunity to enhance your 2015/16 research leave experience in a local (on-campus) setting?

The University Library is seeking a faculty member interested in spending a portion of time during his or her 2015/16 research leave to serve as the University Library’s second Faculty-Member-in-Residence.

In addition to workspace in the library, the Faculty-Member-In-Residence will receive direct access to library expertise and research support services, including collections, technical infrastructure (storage and virtual servers), publishing services, GIS consulting, targeted digitization, and technology consulting. The Library offers these services in a variety of ways including via the Lyons New Media Centre, the Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, the Maps/Data/GIS department, and the William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.

In exchange, the chosen individual will be expected to:

  • Demonstrate clear use of library resources and/or services in their own research.
  • Encourage and support the research conducted by librarians and library staff.  This support could take many forms, both formal and informal.
  • Advise the library on issues related to faculty use of collections, services and facilities.  Tell us when we’re on the right track and where changes are required.
  • Become actively involved in at least one library project (could take the form of a small research project or participation on a work team related to the faculty member’s own area of interest).
  • Give at least one lecture or workshop for a library or campus audience on a topic of relevance to their experience as Faculty-Member-in-Residence.
  • Apply for at least one research grant involving library resources and/or services.

The opportunities are endless and the University Library is willing to consider innovative approaches to ensure that the experience furthers the library’s mission AND enhances the faculty member’s own research agenda.

Faculty members interested in this exciting opportunity should contact Vivian Lewis, University Librarian, at by December 31, 2014.

Read more about the research and experiences of McMaster University Library's first-ever Faculty-Member-in-Residence, Brian Detlor.

Library breaking down barriers for persons with disabilities

Submitted by balche on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts
A McMaster student in a wheel chair studies on the first floor of Mills Library









Did you know that 1 in 7 Canadians has a disability? Or that people with disabilities are half as likely to get a university degree as those without disabilities?

Most of us are aware of physical barriers, such as stairs and entrances, but how many of us have ever given thought to students who for any number of reasons can’t read their required textbook? Or can’t sit at a computer, read the screen or use the keyboard?

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, McMaster Library is highlighting important services that remove some of the barriers that make it difficult for students to get or use the information they need for their coursework or research.

Each year, Library Accessibility Services provides assistance to some 100 students with disabilities, ranging from getting textbooks and other materials in alternate formats, to providing assistive software and equipment, to providing accessible study and consultation rooms.

Nancy Waite, TD Coordinator for Library Accessibility Services*, knows the impact of these services first-hand. “If we didn’t provide students with their required readings or research materials in alternate formats, they would not be able to complete their courses” she says. “Also, we can make a variety of library materials available to them so they have equal opportunities to do the research that they want to do on whatever topic interests them.”

Some of the services available at the Library include:

Students who would like to use these services must be referred by Student Accessibility Services. For more information on Accessibility at McMaster, see here.

*The Library acknowledges, with thanks, TD Bank Group for its generous support of this position.

Bike Library makes getting around campus a little easier

Submitted by balche on
Filed under Library News:  Mills
McMaster University Library has partnered with a student start-up initiative, to create the Mills Bike Library, a bike-lending service meant to provide students with equal access to sustainable transportation on campus.









Books aren’t the only thing you can check out of Mills Library; bikes have just been added to the list.

McMaster University Library has partnered with Start the Cycle,* a McMaster student start-up initiative, to create the Mills Bike Library, a bike-lending service meant to provide students with equal access to sustainable transportation on campus.

There are three bikes currently available for checkout, free of charge, as well as a selection of helmets to choose from. Students simply come to the service desk at Mills Library and, using their student card, check out a bike, just as they would sign out a book.

“We know not all students can afford to buy or rent a bike. This service provides students with another option,” says Anne Pottier, Associate University Librarian. “We are so pleased to support this McMaster start-up initiative and we hope students will take advantage of this unique service.”

If the program is successful, more bikes will be added in the spring of 2015.

Check out a bike with these 6 easy steps

  1. Take a look at the selection of bikes online, or in the compound behind University Hall..
  2. Visit the service desk on the 1st floor of Mills Library with your library card and tell them which bike you would like to borrow. You must fill out a waiver the first time you borrow a bike.
  3. You will receive a package of information and the keys to unlock the bike of your choice
  4. Safety first – you can borrow a sanitized helmet or bring your own.
  5. Use the bike for 48 hours! It will be due back by 4:30pm, 2 days from the date borrowed – if you need it longer, renew it through your library account online
  6. The helmet and key must be returned to the Service Desk, not the external Book Drop. Check Mills Library hours.

*Start the Cycle is a non-profit company that develops bike share programs for youth to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle by being active in their city. The company’s co-founders are Charles Burke and Justin Hall, two McMaster alumni.

Citation management tool, RefWorks, to be phased out

Submitted by balche on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts

McMaster is phasing out RefWorks, one of the University’s primary citation management tools.

As of August 15, 2015, McMaster faculty, students and staff will no longer have access to their RefWorks accounts. In preparation for this, it will no longer be possible to create new accounts as of January 1, 2015.

McMaster’s RefWorks license was negotiated as part of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) consortia. Earlier this year, OCUL announced that its members had opted not to renew this product, affecting a number of universities across the province.

“We understand that this decision will significantly impact our RefWorks users,” says Anne Pottier, Associate University Librarian. “To help ease this transition, McMaster University Library has identified a variety of citation tools that should meet the needs of most of our students, faculty and staff. We invite current users to explore the options and find the tool that works best for them.”

McMaster University Library has created a list of citation management alternatives and is encouraging users to begin the process of exporting their references from RefWorks into another software tool.

Users also have the option of purchasing an individual subscription to RefWorks.

Learn more about how to migrate your references and citations from RefWorks.

For more information contact Ines Perkovic, McMaster’s RefWorks coordinator.

Late Night Studying in the Libraries

Submitted by pottier on
Filed under Library News:  Alerts Innis Mills Thode
Late night hours image

This year you will once again have lots of options when it comes to late night studying during exams.

Thode Library will be open 24/7 from December 2nd to December 19th.   The Reactor Café will be open December 6th-18th from 10am to midnight. Don't forget there is an ATM to Thode so you will have easy access to cash for use at the café and the vending machines.

The lower level of Thode is the Quietest Study Area in the building. In addition there is a small Silent Study room on the lower level.

Mills Library moves to extended hours next week – the main library will be open 8am to 10:45pm, 7 days per week. 

The Mills Learning Commons (2nd floor) is open 24/7 until December 19th.

The entire 6th floor of Mills is designated as a Silent Study Areaand we will do our best to patrol this area.  Feel free to send an email to or use the online form if students in the area are not respecting the Silent Study guidelines (no talking, no socializing, no cell phones, no music). A large area on the  4th floor is  designated as a Quiet Study Area.  During exams, all seating areas on the upper floors (3rd – 5th) are considered Quiet Study Areas and will be signed as such.

Innis will also move to extended hours next week – Monday to Friday 8:30am to 10:45pm / Saturday 10:30am to 5:45 pm / Sunday 1pm to 7:45pm. 

You will find  more information on the various study spaces available in our libraries here.

All libraries have bookable Group Study Rooms.  Please remember that these are to be used by groups of 2 or more, and cannot be booked for more than 2 consecutive hours by one group. The library reserves the right to remove bookings which do not follow these guidelines.

Food and beverage vending machines in all libraries will be stocked daily during exams.

Good luck on your exams!

McMaster Libraries Host The Annual Toy and Food Drive

Submitted by penfold on
Filed under Library News:  Events Health Sciences Innis Mills Thode

Santa Claus winks in this image with a large white Christmas bulb next to him that reads "McMaster University Libraries Toy and Food Drive"McMaster's Libraries are once again pleased to host this year's Annual Toy and Food Drive, in support of the Hamilton chapter of the Salvation Army's Christmas Bureau. The Bureau collects and distributes new toys, gift cards, non-perishable food items as well as toys and food for family pets, all going directly to their clients in need of assistance here in our community. This year's drive runs from November 23 to December 17, with drop-off boxes in each of the 4 campus Libraries. 

The Toy Drive dates back to the mid-1970's--the purpose being to assist community residents in need; in partnership since then with the local branch of the Salvation Army. Each year, the Toy Drive Committee commemorates the contributions of one of the founding members, former Library employee Frances McCrone. She ran the drive for many years, and in fact was chosen for and received a President's Choice award in 1999 for her many years of work. There are many now-grown children in the community who have Frances to thank for making their Christmas season much brighter over the years.

One of our current Committee members is Sylvia Dion, who notes: "A few years ago, working with Frances, we expanded the drive to include non-perishable food items, as well as pet items, which has proven to be very popular--children love to give their pets something for Christmas. We've also included older children, teenagers to the age of 16, and gift cards have proved to be an excellent choice for them. Any donation for the drive is a big help, and is greatly appreciated!"

This year's Drive runs from November 23 to December 17. Donation bins are at all 4 campus Libraries. Gift card donations may be left at the Service Desks of any of the Libraries.

For further information, or for any inquiries, please contact Sylvia Dion or Kerry Jay at university ext. 22077.

New library research examines the power of digital storytelling

Submitted by balche on
Filed under Library News:  Research @ McMaster









Brian Detlor is a big fan of Hamilton. And now he’s working on a research project that he hopes will help change the way people across the region think about the city.

Detlor, the McMaster University Library’s first ever Faculty-Member-in Residence, is researching the power of digital storytelling to promote Hamilton as a place to live, work and play.

Detlor’s research focuses on “Love Your City, Share Your Stories,” a digital storytelling initiative spearheaded by The Hamilton Public Library and the City of Hamilton’s Tourism and Culture Division. The initiative, which launched last week, highlights people and places that have played a key part in Hamilton’s cultural heritage.

“The idea of researching the impact of digital storytelling resonated with me,” says Detlor, also an associate professor in the DeGroote School of Business. “Hamilton has very rich origins. People don’t always know its history and how it’s changed; telling these stories can help raise that awareness and convey a positive message about Hamilton.”

Over the past year, Detlor has been working in partnership with the City of Hamilton’s Tourism and Culture Division, the Hamilton Public Library and the McMaster University Library to study the Love Your City, Share Your Stories initiative, exploring the characteristics of an effective digital story and looking at how recent advances in technology and digital tools can be used to create, gather and share digital stories more broadly.

Detlor hopes the findings of this research will inform policy-makers and cultural institutions, providing them with insights on how to best use digital storytelling techniques to promote a city or region.

“Promotion of a city is important,” says Detlor. “You don’t just want to send people to a fact sheet; you want something that has emotional resonance that draws people in to learn more. Many of these stories are intrinsic to Hamilton’s identity. We want to flesh them out and help people to better understand the city and the potential impact those stories have in terms of promoting Hamilton.”

Detlor developed this project last year while on a research leave, serving as the McMaster Library’s Faculty-Member-in-Residence (FMIR). The program, the first of its kind in North America, is designed to give a faculty member the chance to work full-time with the Library on research projects of their choosing.

He says his research would not have been possible had he not been working closely with the library.

“I knew I wanted to connect my research to the Hamilton community, but I didn’t have a defined project. The library helped to brainstorm ideas and provide me with opportunities to try things and take advantage of projects that came along. It was enriching, it opened up my mind to new experiences and different projects.”

McMaster University Librarian, Vivian Lewis, says working with Detlor helped to connect the Library with the research mission of the University.

“Not only have we been able to support Brian on his research projects, but his expertise has provided us with a chance to better understand how the library can undertake and support scholarly research,” says Lewis. “We hope the FMIR program will help faculty engage with the library in a new way, as more than a place where you get your information, but also as a place where you can do leading edge, impactful research.”

An open call for this year’s FMIR is currently underway. Detlor hopes that Faculty will take advantage of the opportunity to work and research with the library.

“When I look back on my career at McMaster, this research experience will be one of the highlights,” says Detlor. “I hope the next person is someone completely different than who I am and makes it their own. I want people to look forward to the call.”

Learn more about the McMaster University Library’s Faculty-Member-in-Residence program and how to apply. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2014.

7 Reasons to Visit Your McMaster Libraries

Submitted by plessla on
Filed under Library News:  Innis Mills Thode

It’s mid semester now and we hope you’ve settled into your classes. It’s also about time for those midterm and final assignments to roll around.  You may not know where to begin, but the library has a vast array of resources for you to use for research purposes, study spaces, printing and much more! We’ve compiled a list of some of the things the library can offer you:

  1. Need Help?

At some point we’ve all been stuck not knowing how to begin a research assignment, but we have some great librarians who are here to help you.  Here are all the ways you can ask for help (, don’t be shy!

  1. Study Spaces

Head on over to ( to see a list of study zones that cater to group spaces, conversation friendly spaces and everyone’s favourite, silent study spaces.

  1. RACER

This is a great resource if you’re looking for material not held by McMaster University Libraries. You can request it at no charge through RACER. Head to ( for more information.

  1. Technology

The library offers tons of tech resources for students. You can borrow projectors and use software you may not otherwise have access to. For more information visit:

  1. Lyons New Media Centre

This section of the library is a gold mine for media resources. You can borrow cameras, use the green room or even take a break in the games room. Head over to ( for more information.

  1. 3D Printing

The Lyons New Media Centre has recently purchased a 3D printer and it’s free for all students to use. You can find more information here:

  1. Not a Book Club Events with Writer in Residence Hal Niedzviecki

If you’re someone who’s interested in writing, this is a great resource for you to start. It’s “an opportunity for anyone working on and thinking about a creative writing project—no matter how small or big—to get feedback and vital encouragement.” Find more information here:

Written by Ayesha Nisar.




Santa Claus is Coming -- To Mills Library!

Submitted by penfold on
Filed under Library News:  Events Health Sciences Innis Mills Thode

A vector-based drawing of Santa Claus. Illustration created by Kelly Penfold.Santa Claus has taken time out of his very busy schedule and will be joining us again this year for a couple of visits at Mills Library. He is assisting us in our annual Toy Drive by offering to have his photograph taken with you--for a price of only $2 per person! All the money raised will go directly to the Hamilton chapter of the Salvation Army. All toys, food, pet gifts, gift certificates and money are distributed by them to less fortunate members of our local community for the holiday season.

We have been running the Toy Drive for at least 38 years now from the campus Libraries and luckily Santa has agreed to help us out once again this year. So come and get your photograph taken with Santa on November 24th or 25th, both days from 1:30-3:30PM in the First Floor Lobby of Mills Library. You'll be helping out families in our community and will get to meet Santa!


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