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Martha Whitehead reappointed Vice-Provost and University Librarian

Posted: April 1st, 2016

Queen’s University has announced Martha Whitehead accepted re-appointment as Vice-Provost and University Librarian for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2016. The principal’s advisory committee unanimously recommended her reappointment.

Martha is recognized as a leader in her field with national and international profile. Her external activities position Queen’s as an active player in the research library landscape, and help build collaborations and develop new perspectives. She is President of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and she has served as Vice-Chair/Chair/Past Chair of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL).

For the full story, please see the Queen’s Gazette.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s I@Q a success!

Posted: March 16th, 2016

The 10th annual Inquiry@Queen’s (I@Q) conference was held last week, and we have been receiving rave reviews of the programming.

Congratulations to our undergraduate researchers! The Queen’s and Kingston community came together to celebrate their research achievements through presentations, posters, and events. Many positive comments have been received on both the quality of the research and the presentations. Other highlights included the keynote presentations by undergraduate researchers (including a play!), a Kingston Youth Group, and an address by Dr. Art McDonald, Professor Emeritus and co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, and a panel discussion on experiential learning.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a success by dedicating your time to organize and attend the events.

Please see our Instagram for photos, and feel free to share any that you might have.

See you next year!

ProQuest Materials Science Collection

Posted: March 14th, 2016

ProQuest Materials Science Collection is a materials-focused research tool with renowned indexes including Metadex plus full text. For research into materials including metals, polymers, ceramics, composites, and biomaterials. Facilitates everything from comprehensive literature reviews to simple Google-style searches retrieving full-text results.

Exhibit: Prison Sentences: Penitentiary Literature in Kingston

Posted: March 10th, 2016


Prison Sentences: Penitentiary Literature in Kingston is an exhibit that focuses on prison newsletters, or ‘joint magazines’ from Kingston area prisons. The exhibit provides an in-depth look at writings by prisoners. It examines the content and historical significance of these works, and draws attention to the quality of these publications, especially in the 1950’s and 60’s. It attempts to establish the context and tension in which these newsletters were produced.

March 2 – April 15, 2016

Curated by Kim Bell, W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library

Experiential Learning: a student perspective

Posted: March 9th, 2016

Inquiry@Queen’s is hosting a panel discussion on experiential learning on Thursday, March 10th, 11:30-12:30, in Speaker’s Corner, Queen’s Learning Commons, Stauffer Library.

The session will be moderated by Gemma Boag, Queen’s alumnus. The discussion will feature Queen’s undergraduates, Emily Lewis, Jamie Mowbray, Sean Price and Lauren Turner who will share their experiential learning experiences, which include studying in Cuba, working with the Lieutenant Governor’s Aboriginal Summer Reading Camps, participating in field courses in geological mapping and geophysics, and, working with The Stop, a community food centre in Toronto.

All are welcome to attend!

Celebrating a Decade of Promoting Undergraduate Research

Posted: March 8th, 2016

The 10th annual Inquiry@Queen’s (I@Q) conference is coming up this Thursday, March 10th and Friday. March 11th, 2016.

Please come out and celebrate the research achievements of a new generation of scholars as they present their research results via presentations, posters, and conference events in the Queen’s Learning Commons in Stauffer Library.

The keynote session is on Friday, March 11, 9:00-10:30 and includes presentations by undergraduate researchers, a Kingston Youth Group, and an address by Dr. Art McDonald, Professor Emeritus and co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The full conference program is available here.

We hope to see you there!

CARL issues new white paper: Canadian Universities and Sustainable Publishing

Posted: February 25th, 2016

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has issued a new white paper, Canadian Universities and Sustainable Publishing, authored by Martha Whitehead and Brian Owen. The paper is best described by its introduction:

The scholarly communications landscape in Canada is on the cusp of transformative change. Many factors are converging: the continuing impact of digital technology on teaching and research, the growing expertise of academic libraries in utilizing and supporting technology-based initiatives, the move towards policies of open access, the oligopoly of international academic publishers and the financial constraints of university budgets.

In Canada and worldwide, universities need to decide how best to invest in scholarly communications to support research today. The purpose of this paper is to outline the issues and potential paths forward, for discussion and planning with researchers and administrators of Canadian universities, in the international context. Our common goal is to enable research results to be as widely distributed and accessible as possible, internationally, in high quality publishing venues at the lowest possible costs.

CARL’s strategic priorities include fostering new knowledge creation and sustainable scholarly communication, including open access, and encouraging the role of the library in publishing, as well as facilitating collaborations to create, acquire, share, and preserve Canada’s research resources. The white paper is intended as a framework to stimulate conversations and collaborative action in support of these priorities.

> Full text of English document

> Full text of French document

Freedom to Read Week

Posted: February 19th, 2016


Every year in Canada books are challenged, censored or banned. Some challenges have been upheld while others have been rejected. Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about censorship and intellectual freedom.

You may be surprised to learn that these books have been challenged in Canada. How many have you read?

tiled books

Find out more about Freedom to Read Week.  Visit displays in Bracken, Education, Engineering Science, Jordan or Stauffer libraries. Drop by a pop-up event in Stauffer Library on Monday, February 22nd from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or on Wednesday, February 24th from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Attend a Harry Potter Reading event on Friday, February 26th from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the 1923 Reading Room otherwise known as the “Harry Potter Room” located on the top floor of Douglas Library.


Your organizing committee enjoyed selecting the various banned or challenged books in the displays across the library. Here are some of their further reflections on the questions: As you were researching Freedom to Read Week, were you surprised by any of the banned or challenged books? Do you have a favourite banned or challenged book?

Kim Bell, W.D. Jordan Special Collections I was extremely surprised to find that Braille books had been banned. Although Braille is a typeface and not a particular title, I was astonished to learn that c.1838, the director of the Institution for Blind Children, P. Armand Dufau, didn’t agree with Braille and burned some 73 books that had been embossed. To ensure that the students stopped using Braille, he also confiscated the slates, styli, and other Braille-writing equipment. The students rebelled, however, and secretly used knitting needles, nails and other implements. The older students taught the system to the younger students and, eventually, the ban was lifted. I am not a big fan of comic sans, but could never imagine burning books that contained it!

My favorite banned book is the Diviners. I had to read it in high school, and there was much discussion around it being banned in the 1970’s. There is nothing like telling a class of teen-agers that the supporters of the ban felt that the book “reeked of sordidness” in order to get them to read! I feel bad that it became a personal attack on Laurence—that never should have been allowed to happen.

Anne Newman, Adaptive Technology Centre, Stauffer Library I was surprised to learn that Laura Ingalls Wilders’ On the Banks of Plum Creek was challenged in 1997 by parents in the Fort Garry Division, Winnipeg concerned  the content of the book used offensive references to Aboriginal and First Nation individuals.  The School Superintendent responded that “stories like this are an important part of our history on this continent.  Simply eradicating them from shelves does not seem to be the answer”.

We have read the series of novels as a family.  I understand the concern regarding inappropriate references, and I understand the statement of the Superintendent.  They are valuable recollections from the past, the context of which should be respected by the reader.

Amy Rutherford, Education Library When looking for the children’s books that have been banned or challenged I was surprised to see Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop.  Apparently it was challenged by a patron of the Toronto Public Library who thought it promoted violence because it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.”  You never know what will offend people.

The Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munroe is a book that I have read at least twice in different English Classes.  It was not necessarily my favourite book, but one that has always stayed with me because it is so honestly written and provoking.  It was challenged because of its “explicit language and descriptions of sex scenes”.   I think it probably scared teachers at that time because she wrote a female heroine who was not “stereotypically feminine”.

Jillian Sparks, W.D. Jordan Special Collections I was surprised to find that Francois Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel was banned in the United States until 1930—four centuries after the first part was printed! It caught me off guard to find that classic and many other canonical works have been banned or challenged. My favourite challenged work is Captain Underpants (1997) by Dav Pilkey, a silly little novel that was the number one challenged book in 2012 and 2013. Apparently, some people just can’t appreciate a good fart joke.

Peter Waldron, Bracken Library It never surprise me that objections, complaints, and negative views seem to carry more weight and are of greater value than positive views.  This trend of a “culture of complaining” is both perplexing and tiresome.  My favorite challenged book is The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margret Attwood.  Got to love a good dystopia fiction.  If we are not careful such “Dystopian fiction” could become “Dystopian fact”.

Improved IT Services for Queen’s Libraries

Posted: February 19th, 2016

Stauffer and Douglas Libraries have been provided with improved wireless upgrades!


To learn more about these improvements in service, please read the story here.

Quiet Writing Time for Faculty and Post Docs: Registration open

Posted: February 18th, 2016

Registration for Quiet Writing Time is now open!

Monthly Friday mornings have been set aside at the Fireplace Reading Room, Stauffer Library, for faculty and post docs to get together and quietly write.  Dates include:

  • February 26, 8am-noon
  • March 18, 8am-noon
  • April 29, 8am-noon
  • May 27, 8am-noon
  • June 24, 8am-noon

Please visit the Quiet Writing Time registration page to register, and please share this information with your faculty and post doc colleagues.  Questions may be directed to Yolande Chan, Associate Vice-Principal (Research).

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