Tara Mawhinney

Tara.Mawhinney [at] mcgill.ca 514-398-4764

McLennan Library Building
3459 McTavish Street
Montreal, Quebec H3A 0C9


  • Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • TISED (Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design)

Liaison librarian

Responsible for providing information services and collections to support the Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.  


  • Master of Library and Information Studies, McGill University, 2005
  • Bachelor of Arts, English and French Literature, University of British Columbia, 1999

Areas of interest

  • Virtual reference services
  • Information literacy competencies in science and engineering
  • Collection development
  • Services for international students
  • Discovery search tools

Professional activities



McGill Library

  • McGill Library Brown Bag Lunch Series
    • Co-organizer, 2013-2019

Selected publications

Mawhinney, T., & Hervieux, S. (2022). Dissonance between Perceptions and Use of Virtual Reference Methods. College & Research Libraries, 83 (3), 503-525. doi:10.5860/crl.83.3.503

Zhao, J.C., & Mawhinney, T. (2020). Effectiveness of Vernacular Library Orientation Videos in Comparison with the English Language Equivalent. College & Research Libraries, 81 (7), 1107-1122. doi:10.5860/crl.81.7.1107

Mawhinney, T. (2020). User Preferences Related to Virtual Reference Services in an Academic Library. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 46 (1), 1-8. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2019.102094 (PDF icon free version)

Mawhinney, T., & Kochkina, S. (2019). Is the Medium the Message?: Examining Transactions Conducted Via Text in Comparison with Traditional Virtual Reference Methods. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 13 (1-2), 56-73. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2018.1499236 (free version

Mawhinney, T., & Zhao, J.C. (2017). Implementing a Peer Support Program for International Students: A Case Study at McGill University Library. In S. Arnold-Garza & C. Tomlinson (Eds.), Students Lead the Library: The Importance of Student Contributions to the Academic Library. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. (free version)

Côté, M., Kochkina, S., & Mawhinney, T. (2016). Do You Want to Chat?: Reevaluating Organization of Virtual Reference Service at an Academic Library. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 56(1), 36-46. doi:10.5860/rusq.56n1.36 (free version)

Bain, C., Colosimo, A.C., Mawhinney, T., & Houle, L. (2016). Using WorldShare Collection Evaluation to Analyze Physical Science and Engineering Monograph Holdings by Discipline. Collection Management, 41(3), 133-151. doi:10.1080/01462679.2016.1208132 (free version)

Zhao, J.C., & Mawhinney, T. (2015). Comparison of Native Chinese-Speaking and Native English-Speaking Engineering Students' Information Literacy Challenges. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(6), 712-724. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2015.09.010 (free version)

Spence, M., Saundry, A., Mawhinney, T., Dooley, S.J., & Barsky, E. Minding the Gaps: Comparing Engineering Research Output and Library Holdings at Four Large Universities. American Society for Engineering Education Conference, Seattle, WA, June 14-17, 2015.

Zhao, J.C., & Mawhinney, T. Identifying Challenges Faced by Chinese Undergraduate Engineering Students in Acquiring Information Literacy Skills – A Report on Survey Findings. American Society for Engineering Education Conference, Indianapolis, IN, June 15-18, 2014.

Barsky, E., Dooley, S., Mawhinney, T., Peterson, Z., & Spence, M. Influence of Discovery Search Tools on Science and Engineering E-books Usage. American Society for Engineering Education Conference, Atlanta, GA, June 23-26, 2013.

Spence, M., Mawhinney, T., & Barsky, E. (2012). How Much is Enough? Examining Computer Science and Civil Engineering Data to Inform Collection Development and Retention Decisions in Three Large Canadian University Libraries. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship 71. doi:10.5062/F4ZS2TF7

Mawhinney, T. Social Network Sites for Engineers: A Necessary Distraction? Canadian Engineering Education Association Conference, Kingston, ON, June 7-9, 2010. doi:10.24908/pceea.v0i0.3111

Lebowitz, A., & Mawhinney, T. (2010).  The World Outside: The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute.  Access 16(1), 32-33.

Selected presentations

Mawhinney, T. The ACRL Framework and Integrating ChatGPT Into Academic Library Work. Panel entitled: "New Roles for Info Pros." Paper presented at the Internet Librarian Connect Conference, online, October 17, 2023.

Mawhinney, T., & Hervieux, S. Leveraging UX for Virtual Reference & Online Course Accessibility. Paper presented at the Internet Librarian Connect Conference, online, October 26, 2021.

Zhao, J., & Mawhinney, T. Assessment of Multilingual Library Orientation Videos. Paper presented at the International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference, Glasgow, Scotland, June 18, 2019.

Mawhinney, T., & Kochkina, S. Is the Medium the Message?: Examining Transactions Conducted Via Text in Comparison with Traditional Virtual Reference Methods. Paper presented at the Distance Library Services Conference, San Antonio, TX, April 12, 2018.

Zhao, J., & Mawhinney, T. Peer-led Library Services for International Students. Chinese American Librarians Association Annual Poster Session, Orlando, FL, June 26, 2016. Poster presentation.

Zhao, J., & Mawhinney, T. Information Literacy Challenges Faced by Chinese Students. Paper presented at the 13th Annual Concordia Library Research Forum, Montréal, QC, April 10, 2015.

Badia, G., Colosimo, A., Mawhinney, T., & Zhao, J. Enhancing Librarians' Roles in an Undergraduate Communications Course: An Evolutionary Timeline. Congrès des milieux documentaires du Québec, Montréal, QC, December 1-3, 2014. Poster presentation.



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