Library News

SHEC’s Exams Stressbusters - Pet Visits at Mills

Submitted by pottier on Filed under Library News:  Mills
Pet visits to Mills during Spring exam period

Stressed about exams? SHEC’s got your back! We’ve teamed up with various campus and Hamilton organizations to put together events to help you deal with the craziness of the exams. Remember that stress can cause a productivity decline, but taking a break can actually improve your efficiency.

On April 17, 22 and 24, SHEC is working with the Hamilton Burlington SPCA to bring animals in to Mills Library (L113)! We’ll be there from 12 – 1 PM with some adorable dogs who can’t wait to help ease your stress. You don't even have to leave the library to reduce your stress levels.

In addition to pet visits, we have events like a knitting circle by Threadwork, a Cootes hike by MacGreen, and daily coffee, hot chocolate, tea and cookie drop-ins by Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) McMaster and the Chaplaincy Centre. Check out or for a full event listing.


Late Night Studying in the Libraries

Submitted by pottier on Filed under Library News:  Alerts

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 April 9th to April 28th.   The Reactor Café will be open 10am to 10pm. Don't forget there is an ATM at 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, with the 2nd floor designated as Quiet but more difficult to enforce due to noise floating upwards from the 1st floor. There is now also a small Silent Study Room on the lower level of Thode.

Mills Library moves to extended hours this 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 April 28th.

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 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 this 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 Friday: All three libraries will be open, but no food service will be available from the Student Centre. The only available food will be in Centro (in the Commons Building). The Reactor Café at Thode will be closed on Good Friday, but My Mini Mac and Need a Pita will both be open in the Mary Keyes residence. More information about available food sources during exams can be found on the Hospitality Services website

Good luck on your exams!

A Life Revealed in Archives

Submitted by penfold on Filed under Library News:  Archives & Research Collections Mills
Western Art and the New Era. Photo of a decorative table lamp.

Western Art and the New Era. 

During the course of a normal day, we create many kinds of documents:  letters, photographs, grocery lists, notes, scribbles and maybe even a diary entry.  Many of these personal documents are ephemeral in nature but we keep what is really important to us. It is such documents, which exemplify the pattern of an ordinary life and one that is interrupted with personal events and meaningful turning points that are found in the Margaret Watkins archive housed in the McMaster Archives. Watkins’ life and sojourns can be traced in three cities – Hamilton, Ontario, New York City and Glasgow, Scotland. 

Best known for art and advertising photography executed in New York in the 1920s, Watkins was active in the Clarence White School of photography and in the movement from pictorialism to modernism. The William Ready Division acquired the Watkins archive with the aid of Mary O’Connor, Professor of English and Cultural Studies in 2002. O’Connor relates the story of how the archives came to McMaster: Watkins, who lived in Glasgow during her later life looking after two aunts, gave her neighbor, Joseph Mulholland a box, and asked him not to open it until after her death. "He obeyed her wishes and when he opened the box -- this was in the early 1970s -- he found these stunning photographs. She had never spoken about her art at all”. As Dr. Mary O’Connor recalls of first seeing Watkins’ photographs exhibited in Ottawa: "They had seven of her photos and I was really struck by three of them -- of her kitchen, the bathroom -- wonderful still life images in her home that were a combination of modernist abstraction and a statement on women's labour and the every day routine of women," says O'Connor. Selections from the Margaret Watkins archives were displayed at the McMaster Museum of Art on March 13 to highlight the occasion of the Author’s Talk given by Mary O'Connor and Katherine Tweedie, co-authors of Seduced by Modernity: The Photography of Margaret Watkins (2007) in conjuction with the current exhibition at the McMaster Museum of Art, “Margaret Watkins: Domestic Symphonies.

Written by Renu Barrett

Human Library

Submitted by moorer on Filed under Library News:  Events Lyons New Media Centre Mills
Haman Library

Are you interested in having a conversation with a human book? Coming this Thursday March 13th, 2014 from 11am-2:30pm, McMaster Library and the Office of Human Rights & Equity Services (HRES) are hosting the Human Library event in the Lyons New Media Centre of Mills Library.

Please visit the website at to read the Human book stories and reserve a book for conversation.  There are limited spots left so be sure to act fast to avoid disappointment.

A Human Library is where people from diverse backgrounds act as living books that are made available for 'loan' for conversation. Readers are encouraged to ask questions to learn more about that individual's experience of their culture, faith, gender identity, disability etc. The informal and interactive pedagogical approach uses direct dialogue as a means to dispel myths and stereotypes about members of historically marginalized populations. The event is free of charge to participants and open to members of the broader community of Hamilton. Human Libraries have been successfully staged in 27 countries across the world (, including some local universities (recently University of Toronto). 


Now Available for Research in the Division of Archives and Research Collections!

Submitted by plessla on Filed under Library News:  Archives & Research Collections Mills Research @ McMaster

Listed below are highlights of new archival, book and digital collections which have been described and catalogued over the past 10 months.


Literary: new collections

  • Juan Butler.  Butler’s original manuscript of his groundbreaking 1969 novel, The Cabbagetown Diaries.  Donated by Evelyn Jones.
  • Trevor Cole.  The archive of this award-winning Canadian novelist includes manuscripts of his novels, as well as material of various family members, including his father, stage actor William ColeDonated by Trevor Cole
  • Basil Johnston.  First Nations writer from Cape Croker, Ontario.  Includes manuscripts and material in the Ojibway language.  Donated by Basil Johnston.
  • Robert Sawyer. Multiple-award winning science fiction author.  Donated by Robert Sawyer.
  • Dianne Woodman. Recordings of Woodman’s interviews with leading figures in Canadian publishing. Donated by Dianne Woodman.

Literary: additions to existing collections

  • Pierre Berton.  The 15th accrual of the popular writer’s archive, including some early writings and rare Yukon photographs. Donated by Janet Berton.
  • Marian Engel. A small but significant addition consisting of 11 letters written by Engel to her McGill friend, Elizabeth Carroll, 1957-58.  Donated by Elizabeth Carroll.
  • Douglas Gibson.  More from the editor’s archive, including manuscripts of Alice Munro’s Dear Life and Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief.  Donated by Douglas Gibson.
  • J. Robert Janes. The 2nd accrual of the author the St. Cyr-Kohler mystery series.  Donated by J. Robert Janes.
  • Peter C. Newman. The 9th accrual of the writer’s archive, featuring material on his book When the Gods Changed: the Death of Liberal Canada.  Donated by Peter C. Newman.
  • We have also acquired the archive of Newman’s research assistants, Martin and Jane Lynch.  Donated by the Lynch estate.
  • Anna Porter. – The 2nd accrual of the writer-publisher’s personal archive, as well as the 7th accrual of of the archive of Key Porter Books.  Donated by Anna Porter. and
  • Writers’ Union of Canada.  The latest from the literary organization founded in 1972.  Donated by the Writers’ Union.

World Wars

  • Charles Hamilton Mitchell. A very rare archive of a Canadian First World War intelligence officer.  Donated by Stephen Traviss.
  • The Hamilton Spectator World War II Photograph Collection. Over 6,000 photographs compiled by the Spectator relating to WWII and other 20th century conflicts.  Donated by the Hamilton Spectator


  • Valerie Tryon.  Our first accrual from the celebrated pianist.  Donated by Valerie Tryon.
  • Alan Walker. The 4th accrual of the archives of the eminent Liszt scholar. Donated by Alan Walker.


  • Brian McFarlane.  The 4th accrual of the hockey writer and broadcaster, and the 7th of his father, Leslie McFarlane, the original author of The Hardy Boys mysteries.  Donated by Brian McFarlane. and
  • Skating Collection. A vast collection of photographs, ephemera and other material relating to ice skating and figure skating in Canada and around the world.  Donated by Carl Spadoni.


  • Alan Mendelson.  Manuscript and research notes of his memoir, A Life in Briefs.  Donated by Alan Mendelson.
  • William Noble. An important archive of the former anthropology professor including records relating to archeological digs at various Ontario sites.  From the estate of William Noble.

Labour unions

  • Mark Krakowski.  2nd accrual relating to various Canadian labour unions. Donated by Mark Krakowski.


We have completed work on a number of partially-catalogued book collections, including:

Cataloguing is underway on several other collections of books as well:

  • Klaus Pringsheim collection ( music scores and books chiefly on music, and a collection of Chinese communist pamphlets
  • Macmillan Canada publishers collection
  • McClelland and Stewart publishers collection

All books catalogued for the Division of Archives and Research Collections can be found in the library catalogue. You can also browse the entire list of books catalogued over the last 10 months here:


  • Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance. We continue to add content to this website highlighting some of our Holocaust and Resistance collections. Created with support from Madeleine and Monte Levy.

SPIE Digital Library : Database Trial

Submitted by adling on Filed under Library News:  e-Resources

Through April 11, McMaster has trial access to the SPIE Digital Library, an extensive resource for research on optics, photonics, and optical engineering.

The trial provides fulltext access to journals, conference proceedings, and e-books published by SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering.

400,000+ proceedings and journal articles from 1962 to present

18,000+ new technical articles added annually

8,000+ volumes of Conference Proceedings (starting with Vol. 1)

Approximately 200 SPIE Press monographs, tutorial texts, and field guides (optional add-on)

Peer-Reviewed SPIE Journals:

1. Optical Engineering
2. Journal of Biomedical Optics
3. Journal of Electronic Imaging
4. Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS
5. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing
6. Journal of Nanophotonics
7. Journal of Photonics for Energy
8. Journal of Medical Imaging (new in 2014)
9. Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems (new in 2014)

Please send feedback on the value of this addition to Janice Adlington, Collections & Information Resources Librarian -

Lecture: Modern Myths of Muslim Antisemitism

Submitted by plessla on Filed under Library News:  Events

Mark Cohen, The Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, Emeritus, at Princeton University will deliver the 3rd Meyer-Schreiber Lecture on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 7:30 PM in CIBC Hall (MUSC, 3rd floor). The lecture is free and open to the public.

Cohen, an internationally renowned historian of the Jews in the Muslim world in the Middle Ages, is the author of several books, including Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages, which has been translated into Arabic, Czech, French, German, Hebrew, Romanian, Russian, and Turkish. He is a contributing editor of the recently published History of Jewish-Muslim Relations from the Origins to the Present Day (Princeton University Press), which has also appeared in French, and he appears in the new documentary film, “Jews and Muslims: Intimate Strangers.”  Professor Cohen has taught or lectured in Canada, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.  In 2010 he was the first winner of the Goldziher Prize for scholarship promoting better understanding between Jews and Muslims, awarded by Merrimack College’s Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations.

The Meyer-Schreiber lecture series, funded through a generous gift from the Herb & CeCe Schreiber Foundation, focuses on modern Jewish Studies, especially relations between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and commemorates the friendship between the late Ben Meyer, a professor from the Department of Religious Studies, and philanthropist and businessman Herb Schreiber.


JoVE General : New Resource

Submitted by adling on Filed under Library News:  e-Resources
JoVE logo

Sometimes the best way to learn it is to see it.  The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) provides over 1200 peer-reviewed videos demonstrating laboratory techniques in the life sciences and medicine.

JoVE is designed to help researchers overcome two of the biggest challenges facing the scientific research community today: poor reproducibility and the time and labor intensive nature of learning new experimental techniques.

Using a network of videographers, JoVE films and edits videos of researchers demonstrating techniques at international universities, allowing students and scientists to learn them much more quickly. 

Our subscription gives us access to the JoVE General collection.  Check out some of the videos filmed at McMaster:


Student art hanging in Mills Library

Submitted by pottier on Filed under Library News:  Mills

A selection of works from the Winter 2012 2nd year painting course Studio Practice and Criticism are now hanging in the main staircase of Mills Memorial Library. The self-portraits were painted under the supervision of John Ford.

More information can be found on the Daily News

Alumni share library love stories for Valentine's Day

Submitted by plessla on Filed under Library News:  Events

"Love in the library, quiet and cool

Love in the library, there are no rules

Surrounded by stories surreal and sublime

I fell in love in the library once upon a time"

-- from “Love in the Library”, written by M. Mccanally & Jimmy Buffett

In honour of Valentine’s Day, we asked McMaster alumni to submit their stories of falling in love in the library once upon a time. Here are some of the great stories we received. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did! Happy Valentine’s Day—hope you fall in love in the library once upon a time. 

“I fell in love in the library once upon a time. It was during second year of the undergraduate biochemistry program and it happened gradually over the course of a few months. It was Dr. Werstiuk’s organic chemistry class that sent us to McMaster’s Health Sciences Library so frequently, well, the disciplined students at least! If I hadn’t been so intrigued by my love interest, I never would have gone. Despite my efforts to play it cool, the aromatic hydrocarbons just couldn’t hold my interest; I was interested in a different kind of chemistry! He seemed to genuinely enjoy explaining those electron shifts to me. He was patient, kind, a great tutor and handsome too! Over those cold winter months he was always a gentleman escorting me home late at night after our study sessions. Sometimes he would come in for some warm apple cider. Our love that had its beginning in the library has endured 20 years and produced two wonderful children. Clearly the chemistry was there!”

 --Submitted by Megan Coombes

“I was in my last term of an Electrical Engineering and Management degree in winter 1979, and had conveniently gotten most of the difficult courses out of the way early, and had only a light load of ‘bird’ courses for this last term.  I also had the security of a job offer upon graduation, so it was a time of relatively few worries, and the freedom to turn my mind to finding a serious girlfriend that might become a life partner.  Being an engineer, with a logical mind, of course I figured it would be easier to find such a girl in the university environment, than it might be in the work environment, living on my own in a new city.  Appropriately analyzing the problem, and considering all the young women I was at the time aware of, I realized that Mary (Crowley) had that right combination of looks, brains and personality that I really felt I was looking for.  She’d been part of the group I’d hung around with for a couple of years, but she’d been dating another member of the gang for much of that time, so I really hadn’t considered her in that way before.  But they’d broken up now.  I set my sights on her.

Mary was in her final year of BioChemistry, with a more difficult last term than I had.  She and a group of her girlfriends from BioChem regularly studied between classes in the Medical Centre Library.  So I took to hanging around the library too.  Although I didn’t have a lot of studying to do that term, I got to reading a series of historical novels (by John Jakes, I believe) that were circulating amongst our group, that gave me a reasonable thing to be doing in a library, as well as a conversation starter.  Mary may have been puzzled for a while why she kept running into me in the library, but she didn’t seem to mind.

We started dating in early April, but we tried to be secret about it until exams were over - Mary’s roommate was a past girlfriend of mine, and we thought her reaction might possibly create stress unhelpful to studying!  Sneaking around in my bright yellow van was a challenge, but we imagined we had big sun glasses on it!  Well I wouldn’t be writing this if love hadn’t blossomed.  We’ve now been married over 32 years!”

--Submitted by Paul (and Mary) Amirault

“The time was 1971 and the snow drifts were deep.  I was an Arts student and the library was a warm and quiet place to do my course reading.  It was also where my boyfriend liked to do his work to prepare for classes.  He especially liked to sit in what was then called the Documents section in the university library. While working there, he met one of the librarians and enjoyed chatting with the librarian during quiet moments.

One day, I went into the Documents section to meet my boyfriend.  As you may have guessed by now, I was introduced to the friendly librarian. That librarian and I have now been married for over 40 years!”

--Submitted by Merri (Meade) Curtin








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