Friends of the Library

The McGill Library offers exceptional events on a wide range of subjects. Events are currently virtual but in-person and hybrid events will resume when possible. We hope to see you there!

Library news and events

Friends of the Library

The Friends of the McGill Library in partnership with Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival were delighted to welcome Rosemary Sullivan as the 2022 Hugh MacLennan Lecture speaker May 4, 2022.

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Friends of the Library

On February 3, 2022, the Annual Shakespeare Lecture featured a virtual conversation between Antoni Cimolino and Siamak Hariri on Stratford Festival's new Tom Patterson Theatre.

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Friends of the Library

The Friends of the Library's Annual General Meeting offers the opportunity to recap the year’s activities, highlight future plans and connect with one another.

The 2021 Virtual AGM took place Thursday, December 9, 2021 and was an opportunity to celebrate the year's achievements and toast the future.

 

Friends of the Library

The Friends of the McGill Library were delighted to welcome Daniel Mendelsohn, critic, essayist, translator, and internationally bestselling author, in conversation with Allan Hepburn, James McGill Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature for the F.R. Scott Lecture on November 4, 2021.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Friends of the Library

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

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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

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.

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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

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Visible Storage Gallery wall featuring colourful artworks.

Library news and events


An Update From the Chair | April 2022

Greetings,

As Chair of the Friends of the Library, I am concerned that you may not always be fully aware of all the interesting and educational events that are going on at the McGill Library. So this will be my second semi-annual update, designed to bring you all up to date on what is happening at the Library this spring.

We are all aware of the many challenges facing our society – COVID-19, war in Ukraine, inflation, equity in Canada – but through it all, your Library has continued to operate, and very successfully.

Students are still being welcomed to and intensively using, all of the Library’s many facilities as we near the end of final exams. The Library tries to be even more sensitive to student needs when nerves are stressed – with attractive and useful facilities, longer opening hours (made possible thanks to student groups), de-stress activities, and digitization of materials, making them accessible virtually around the world. McGill has found that its achievements in this area have been particularly helpful during COVID and we are considered amongst the most advanced in this realm, with ready access to all the Library's collections.

The second highlight is the upcoming transfer of books not checked out for five to ten years or more to a new Collection Management Facility. What I find exciting, as a bit of a nerd, is the computerized system for book retrieval that is being installed – little robots will buzz around, finding the book quickly and moving it to the user within only a day or two. I am personally helping to acquire one of those robots – to be called Wally, after my nickname at McGill!

Thirdly, Fiat Lux, the reimagining and renovating of the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex, continues apace. More announcements on this project are expected soon – do watch out for them. It will be a spectacular, as well as a very functional space!

Those are only some of the Library highlights. I am so proud to be a Friend, and to be associated with what I personally believe to be a world-class operation with great and various facilities, an outstanding rare books collections, and, most importantly, supported by an outstanding, caring, and knowledgeable staff.

And I would be remiss not to mention what the Friends of the Library organization itself has been doing. We are working hard to update our website, so it is easier for you to find out all that is going on at the Library, and how you can best participate; reaching out to those McGill alumni located in the United States and around the world (with so much now virtual, libraries are truly world-wide institutions); and continuing our (currently virtual) lecture series with the Hugh MacLennan Lecture on Wednesday, May 4 with Rosemary Sullivan, the well-known, award-winning Canadian author. I hope to see you there.

Stay safe and please do check out our website and events calendar to see all that is on offer for your education and enjoyment.

Don Walcot

Chair, Friends of the McGill Library


A Welcome From the Chair | March 2021

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.

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.

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.

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

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