Friends of the Library

A fall 2021 update from Trenholme Dean of Libraries Colleen Cook includes a look back at an extraordinary year and a look forward as the Library reopens.

Read update

Friends of the Library

Student employees are actively involved in the McGill Library on a daily basis.

From digitization to organizing archival collections, researching artwork, and much more. 

Learn more

Friends of the Library

Meet the Unsung Heroes of the McGill Library. Their amazing work has a profound impact on the McGill community, past, present, and future.

Learn more

Friends of the Library

A new Bicentennial web page charts the Library’s remarkable history.

Since McGill’s founding 200-years ago, the Library has been at the centre of the teaching, research and learning enterprise at the core of the University’s mission.

Learn more

Friends of the Library

The Friends of the McGill Library salute and cherish the memory of a dear Friend, John Howard Gomery (1932-2021).

Read Tribute

Friends of the Library

On April 29, 2021, the Virtual Hugh MacLennan Lecture, Navigating Identity Through Storytelling, featured Danny Ramadan, a Syrian-Canadian author and LGBTQ+ refugee advocate whose work focuses on immigration, identity, and belonging. It was moderated by author, actor and playwright, Ann-Marie MacDonald. 

Watch now

Friends of the Library

AMAZE; A McGill A to Z Experience is an interactive alphabet book that celebrates McGill’s 200-year history with moveable surprises and insights into McGill’s extraordinary collections at the turn of every page. Available for online purchase through Le James Bookstore.

Learn more

Friends of the Library

On November 4, 2020, Stratford Festival Artistic Director, Antoni Cimolino delivered the annual Shakespeare Lecture virtually. Entitled Shakespeare and the Weight of This Sad Time, this talk explored the significance and impact of Shakespeare's oeuvre in times of uncertainty. 

Watch now

Friends of the Library

In September 2019, the F.R. Scott Lecture featured a lively conversation between The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, P.C., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and Shauna Van Praagh, Professor of Law at McGill University. 

Watch now

Friends of the Library

Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella speaks to a packed house at the 2016 F.R. Scott Lecture.

F.R. Scott Lecture

Friends of the Library

David Lank, Director Emeritus of the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies and curator of Every Stamp a Story, leads a full-day field trip of the exhibition for East Hill School 4th grade students in April 2017.

Every Stamp a Story

Friends of the Library

Internationally renowned mystery author, Louise Penny delivered the Hugh MacLennan Lecture on April 19, 2018 to a packed house of close to five hundred people. Pictured here with the lecture's sponsor, Don Walcot. Presented in partnership with Blue Metropolis International Festival.

Watch now

Friends of the Library

Author Anny Scoones discusses the life and work of her mother, the iconic Canadian painter Molly Lamb Bobak at the McGill Library Research Commons in the spring of 2016.

Friends of the Library

CBC Radio host, Anna Maria Tremonti delivering the 2017 F.R. Scott Lecture "It's Time to Take Our Journalism Back" to a standing-room only crowd.

F.R. Scott Lecture

Friends of the Library

Author Michael Ondaatje signs books for guests at the 2014 Hugh MacLennan Lecture.

Hugh MacLennan Lecture

Home Page

View past lecture recordings


A Word From the Chair

Greetings,

My name is Donald Walcot and I am very privileged to be this year’s Chair of the Friends of the McGill Library, a wonderful organization that I have had a long affiliation with, working closely with three exceptional Deans – Frances Groen, Janine Schmidt, and current Trenholme Dean of Libraries, Colleen Cook.

The mission of the Friends is to support a truly world-class Library – its ROAAr specialized collections, including Rare Books, the Osler Library of the History of MedicineMcGill Visual Arts Collection, and McGill Archives – is one of the very best in North America. And the Library’s digitizing technologies are truly cutting-edge, making collections available worldwide. With the design of a new technologically-advanced library building on the horizon under the Fiat Lux project, the McGill Library is poised to meet the work, access, space, and collection needs of 21st-century students. It is a privilege to be part of this pivotal moment.

Over the years, I have seen the evolution of a range of fun and impactful projects, from encouraging student employment at the Library and providing specialized books as teaching tools for professors to adding comfortable chairs for library users. (My appreciation of the latter stems directly from the fact that, as a general B.A., I spent a lot of time in the lower level of the library, sitting on old ratty chairs, longing for a more comfortable seat in which to read the assigned books of the introductory English course).

As Friends, we are able to share in the Library’s vision while supporting its many existing programmes and bringing in intellectual heft and discovery with our three annual lectures – the MacLennan LectureF.R. Scott Lecture, and Shakespeare Lecture.

While the pandemic has been a challenge, it is a challenge that has been successfully met by the Library, with the creation of student study hubs, ongoing circulation of print materials not otherwise available electronically, and increased reach via virtual events, including Friends lectures. Our audience has engaged with our programming like never before, extending further than the in-person lectures that physically allow for far fewer attendees. The 2020 virtual MacLennan Lecture has been viewed over 1,300 times while the 2020 virtual Shakespeare Lecture has been watched more than 900 times on YouTube. Thank you for supporting our efforts as we moved into this fully digital event space.

It is a real pleasure being a Friend of our extraordinary Library. I encourage you to take advantage of the many Friends activities – and keep up with exciting developments around the Fiat Lux project. Fiat Lux will be the true capstone for the whole Library system, and for McGill itself, as it approaches its 200th birthday.

I look forward to seeing you – virtually or in-person.

Until then, stay safe,

Donald Walcot,

Chair, Friends of the McGill Library


The Friends of the Library is a volunteer organization of McGill Library advocates. We raise awareness about the McGill Library’s extraordinary resources and we raise funds to provide tangible support.

Our Friends are McGill alumni, students, staff and faculty as well as a host of other Library and McGill enthusiasts from around North America.

The Friends of the Library Committee invites you to join and become a Friend of the Library! Please visit the Join page for more information.

The Friends host numerous lectures and special events over the course of the academic year. Please visit our Events page for a listing and to RSVP.

» Learn more about the Friends of the Library

Back to top