Friends of the Library

On November 4, 2020, tune in to a virtual lecture with Stratford Festival Artistic Director, Antoni Cimolino. Entitled Shakespeare and the Weight of This Sad Time, this talk will explore the significance and impact of Shakespeare's oeuvre in times of uncertainty. 

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Friends of the Library

On November 19, 2019, one of Canada's leading theatre personalities delighted an eager crowd with his lecture, "Taking Ownership: Stratford’s Jonathan Goad talks acting, directing, and playing with Shakespeare". Presented in partnership with the Stratford Festival.

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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. 

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Friends of the Library

On November 13, 2018, a great evening of impromptu insights on the world of theatre was had as Canadian actors and couple Tom McCamus and Chick Reid delivered the 2018 Shakespeare Lecture. The Lecture is presented in partnership with the Stratford Festival and sponsored by Hilary Pearson and Michael Sabia.

Shakespeare Lecture

Friends of the Library

In September 2018, McGill Principal Emeritus, Dr. Bernard Shapiro delivered the F.R. Scott Lecture on the timely topic of "Freedom of Speech in the Ivory Tower" in the Faculty of Law's Maxwell Cohen Moot Court. The Annual F.R. Scott Lecture is sponsored by the Honourable John Gomery and Honourable Pierrette Rayle.

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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.

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Friends of the Library

Culinary books for sale at the fall 2017 Lecture, "Foodways & Fisticuffs: the Larger than Life Personalities who Shaped Quebec Cuisine" with renowned Montreal food writer, Julian Armstrong and food historian, Professor Nathalie Cooke.

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

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 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

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

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

Hugh MacLennan Lecture

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A Word From the Chair

Outstanding libraries have always been at the heart of great universities and McGill’s Library is no exception. The McGill University Library is considered among the finest in North America, with special recognition of its e-collections as one of the best in Canada and its internationally important Rare Books and Special Collections.

In recent years a sea change has taken place in how libraries are perceived and used by students, professors and the broader community. Fuelled by a wave of technological innovations making them more vital and vibrant than ever before, libraries are transforming themselves across the globe from being not only great repositories of accumulated knowledge, but also active centres of learning and teaching.

As a result the McGill Library has developed a bold new vision – the Fiat Lux, “Let There Be Light” project to transform the MacLennan-Redpath Library Complex into a vibrant teaching, learning and research hub for the digital age.

In the eighties, a volunteer group of advocates came together as The Friends of the McGill Library to promote and support this great treasure. Our mission has been to nurture community interest in McGill libraries, create awareness of its rich resources and raise funds to provide tangible support.

To this end we offer a program of three free endowed public lectures each year to which we invite distinguished novelists, actors, judges, broadcasters, and historians, among others to speak, as well as occasional smaller talks. And we have been strong supporters of the Library’s Fiat Lux building re-imagining project since its inception.

While the COVID-19 situation has restricted our ability to offer our Lectures on campus, we are happy to present our scheduled Lectures virtually via selected webcasts at https://www.mcgill.ca/library-friends/events. In addition many of our past outstanding lectures are available for viewing on YouTube here.

I invite you to join Friends of the Library and further, encourage other friends or colleagues to join with you. I am confident that you will enjoy being part of this group of library aficionados, the programs we offer, and most importantly, the wonderful resource and richness that is the McGill Library.

In the first edition of his dictionary in 1806, Noah Webster defined a friend as, “a dependable companion.” How wonderfully simple and wonderfully complete! The more dependable companions we have to support and sustain the initiatives of McGill’s great Libraries the better. I look forward to having you join The Friends of the McGill Library!


Ann Vroom, BA’67
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 members 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 our Membership 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

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