Update #4: Osler Library of the History of Medicine

Display case in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine
Published: 3 May 2019

Background: As a result of the water infiltration and recovery efforts related to McIntyre Medical Building fire incident in July 2018, the Osler Library space in the McIntyre Medical Building continues to be closed until further notice. The Osler recovery team has restored most materials, and holdings from the Osler Library of the History of Medicine collection are now accessible to users.

Space Update: The Library is pleased to report that the Osler Library of the History of Medicine will be rebuilt as per pre-fire conditions. Reconstruction work will be coordinated by Facilities Management and Ancillary Services in collaboration with the Library and the Faculty of Medicine.

The scope of reconstruction work includes:

  • Reinstallation of finishes and components including dismantled woodwork, bookcases and cabinetry as per pre-fire conditions
  • Repairing all damage caused by the dismantling and fire (i.e. water & soot)
  • No changes to room layouts

The timeline and schedule of work is to be determined and subject to change. It includes:

  • Completion of remediation work
  • Ingestion of books and other materials into the library


Collection & Staff Update: Osler materials continue to be accessible and Osler staff are available to assist users. To recap:

  • Osler’s Circulating and Rare Collections: Osler materials continue to be accessible. The Osler Library's circulating collection continues to be accessible by request. In January 2019, card key access to circulating collection materials was provided to members of the McGill community who need to access the collection directly (e.g., SSOM faculty members, graduate students, and other students in history of medicine classes). Osler books can also be requested directly through the catalogue. It was determined that 600 volumes from the circulating collection have been damaged beyond repair; a further 800 need repair. A timeline regarding the accessibility of these materials will be announced soon. In the meantime, circulating collection material that is unavailable on site can be requested by McGill students, faculty, and staff through Interlibrary Loans. Additional copies of books can be acquired should faculty members require them for teaching purposes. Please direct requests to osler.library [at] Rare Osler items prior to 1840 and Robertson materials are currently available for review upon request on the 4th floor of the McLennan Library Building.
  • Osler staff members continue to be based from the 4th floor of the McLennan Library Building (3459 McTavish Street) and are available to handle reference requests when possible. Please send inquiries to the Osler via email at osler.library [at] ( )or call 514- 398-4711. Library users can also visit in person. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 10 am-6 pm. Click here for more information.

Thank you for your patience during this time. Please do not hesitate to reach out for assistance.


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