About the Library

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Welcome | Bienvenue

Welcome to the McGill University Library & Archives. Whether you’re a student or alum, faculty or staff, we are here to help shepherd you on your scholarly journey.

The Library is a nexus for students, professors and staff across all faculties, helping to inspire and stimulate the great minds of today and tomorrow. Whether you need a space for quiet study or group work, a public forum for broadening perspectives or a hideaway for quiet introspection, library spaces are here to help you reach the highest levels of academic excellence. If you’d rather access the Library from the comfort of home, the e-resources are accessible to you 24/7 from around the globe with just your McGill credentials.

The Library is at a crucial point in its history. In October 2015, we released the results of our Fiat Lux: Let There Be Light feasibility study. An homage to the Latin words emblazoned above the entrance to McGill’s first library, Fiat Lux is a prudent but ambitious vision to reimagine the Library to meet the academic needs of current and future McGill students, faculty and researchers.

Technology has reshaped the very mandate of today’s academic libraries, with user spaces and services firmly entrenched as a central priority. Fiat Lux addresses the physical limitations of the current library buildings with a bold reimagining of the McLennan-Redpath Complex—our most used branch—by incorporating the latest innovations and best practices of other world-class institutions.

In Fiat Lux the Redpath Library Building will be completely demolished and rebuilt using state-of-the-art technology and building practices, creating a stunning, eco-friendly facility offering a variety of interactive study, teaching and research spaces. To prioritize user space, an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) will be installed underneath the lower field, allowing millions of print volumes to be transferred out of the Library and valuable floor space to be liberated for other uses. Finally, the McLennan Library Building will undergo a light renovation to ensure it can handle the McGill community’s changing needs of today and those for decades to come.

As we step into the future, we haven’t lost sight of our primary responsibility: delivering the information and resources you need whenever, wherever and however.

Drawing on almost two centuries of resources, the McGill Library has accumulated one of the largest and most unique collections in North America. This priceless trove of accumulated knowledge will spark your ingenuity, whether you’re making your first visit to the Library or are a frequent user continuing your lifelong learning journey. We offer access to over 5 million print volumes and journals, 2.3 million e-books, e-theses and e-journals, and hundreds of thousands of sound and video recordings, musical scores, microforms and maps.

Don’t pass up an opportunity to visit the exquisite array of unique books and artifacts in the Rare Books & Special Collections, the Osler Library of the History of Medicine and our other world-class libraries. Explore early maps of the Canadian Fur Tradepore through 12th century Arabic manuscripts by celebrated physician and scholar Abu Ja'far al-Ghafiqi or become entranced by original versions from medieval Europe’s literary savants.

The Library’s staff members are here to help you navigate the information world, so please don’t hesitate to ask! We are here to assist you with everything the Library has to offer. Please feel free to visit one of our branches or reach us online.

C. Colleen Cook, Trenholme Dean of Libraries


Mission statement

McGill University Library advances teaching, learning, research and community service by providing outstanding collections, access to the world of knowledge, excellence in service and an appropriate library environment, all of which are client-focused and responsive to the needs of the McGill community.

The Library

  • Facilitates excellence in teaching, learning and research
  • Creates an appropriate environment to support teaching, learning and research
  • Anticipates and responds to student and faculty needs
  • Contributes to positive student and faculty outcomes and experiences
  • Provides the information resource infrastructure necessary for leading edge teaching, learning and research activity
  • Supports community outreach and community partnerships

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