Showing posts from 2009

Happy Holidays!

It's that time of year. With each passing day there are fewer students who still have a paper to write or an exam to prepare for, fewer students coming to the library in search of inspiration or motivation. Such is campus life in December.

For many of those desperate souls, it is the knowledge of a too-brief but beautiful Christmas break which allows them to grind out the last few hundred words of that last assignment, to push that exam mark just a little higher. A few weeks of freedom and turkey is just around the corner, a just reward.

So to all of you - the serious ones, the carefree ones, the driven ones, the doonlyasmuchasIhaveto ones - everyone here at the Library extends a heartfelt wish for a pleasurable and relaxing holiday. And we'll see you all in January when that great adventure called A University Education begins again...

Longer hours during exams

As if you needed (or wanted) to be reminded...exams start soon. And there's no better place to study for an exam than here in the Library. We've got lots of comfy chairs and quiet, private study spaces. No nagging kid brothers or noisy room-mates, no TV or video game temptations.

So, as we always do, we'll stay open more hours than usual until they're finished on the 19th. The big difference is on the weekends where we'll open earlier and stay open later on Saturday and open earlier on Sunday (go here if you want to see our full schedule into January).

Remember, just...a...few...more...weeks. You made it this far!

Remembrance Day - Open noon-11pm

Most of the University will be closed this Wednesday, November 11, in honour of Remembrance Day. However, the Library will be open from noon until 11:00 pm.

So, we'll open a little later than we usually do but we'll stay open until the normal time. You can use our computers, do your research, borrow books or study for a midterm (just don't arrive in the morning!).

A new way to find books (and more)

As of this morning you may notice a few changes to the Library’s web site. The welcome banner along the top now includes “& Global Commons” and a few links have been re-located or re-named. We’ve also added a link called “Borrowing our materials” which provides info on IDs and how to get, renew, return and generally access our resources.

But there has been another change which is quite significant. We have always used the Novanet catalogue to find out which books, etc. were available at Saint Mary’s or the other local academic libraries. Well now there’s another way to do that. It’s called SMU.worldcat and you’ll find a link just below the book search box. SMU.worldcat is part of a global initiative to improve access to library collections. Here’s what you should know:

A search of SMU.worldcat will retrieve both books and journal articles. This is a convenient option not available in Novanet. Of course, the specialized journal databases may still be your best bet. So if, for example…

You should see us now...

Remember those changes I was telling you about? Well, they arrived this morning! The curtains separating us from the Atrium were pulled back and you should see the difference it makes. Our entrance is filled with light and we can all see what the space is going to look like when the Global Commons is ready (in a few weeks).

We've spent the day moving furniture, supplies and people over to the 2 new service desks and everything and everyone is settling in nicely. The biggest change (other than the new desks) is that you can get to the Library from McNally again (everybody who's not in their first year knows what I mean). That's right - no more going outside. Plus, the other end of the Atrium is now open too so you can get here easily from either the Student Centre or Burke.

But the best thing is for you to see it for yourself. So drop over for a few minutes and look around. I'm sure you'll be impressed. And don't worry, the Just Us! coffee shop is on its way.


Want to know more about The Atrium and everything it will offer? Want to find out more about the relationship between the Atrium and the Library? Want to know what a "living wall" is?

Then all you have to do is go to This brand new site is full of information on the many different resources and services which students (and faculty and staff) will be able to enjoy once it is completed (the finishing touches are scheduled for late January/early February). By the way, the "living wall" has already been installed and it looks great!

As you know, the Global Learning Commons will dominate the Atrium's first floor and visitors will pass through that space to get to the library. Right now the guys in hard hats are pulling out all the stops to get the area ready so that our new entrance can open on October 1. All of the furniture and computers for the Commons should arrive just a few weeks later. Once that's done, with our new service desks s…

Statistics Workshop on Friday

Faculty and staff are invited to a special presentation:

Getting the Most from Canadian Census and Stats Canada Data at Saint Mary's This informative workshop will be held on Friday, the 18th, from 10:30-12:30, in Room L271. It will: highlight the broad range of information available from the latest census and the wealth of historical information in past census demonstrate how easy it is to access census information for use in your classroom explore advanced statistical research resources and in-depth census data sources available to researchers answer questions about the services offered through the Statistics Canada Atlantic Research Data Centre, as well as Data Liberation Initiative services offered on campus Presenters will be Sai Choi Chua, Atlantic Research Data Centre, Dalhousie University and Peter Webster, Systems Librarian, Patrick Power Library.To RSVP or for more information, contact Peter at or 420-5507

Here's the latest

It’s been about 3 weeks since we last “talked” about everything going on around here (see Changes & more changes). But by now you’ve probably moved into residence and met your roommate or moved into your apartment and met your 4 roommates, you’re ready to hit the books and you’re wondering when you’ll be able to start enjoying the benefits of all these renovations. So, with that in mind, let me tell you what we know, as of today, about the completion dates for the various projects within and adjacent to the library:
The library’snew entrance & service deskswill open September 30– that graffiti-covered temporary wall in the Reference Room will be coming down very soon, unveiling the new entrance and our impressive new service desks. The new flooring will be completed and all of the furniture and computers will be in their new homes. The migration to the new desks will follow.The Global Learning Commons will open in late October – the first floor of the Atrium will feature a stud…

A (lib)guide for International Students

Libraries around the world have a lot in common - books, computers, desks, good looking staff....

Which is not to say that they're all exactly the same. There are small ones, big ones, gigantic ones. Some have a thousand books, some have a million, some are on wheels!

Students come to Saint Mary's from more than 80 countries so their experiences with libraries can be, literally, "all over the map". Perhaps they took a bus to the nearest rural public library when doing homework research. Or maybe they lived around the corner from the national library in the capital city. For many first year students, their exposure to libraries is confined to the (usually small) one in high school.

So the adjustment to a comparatively large, relatively complex library such as this one can be a challenge for many. International students are used to challenges - it takes a lot to move to a new country and get a university education at the same time! So we've tried to make the li…

Changes & More Changes

Where to begin? As you probably know by now, this has been a hectic summer here at the library (and there are 3 hectic weeks left) . Lots of things have been going on, most of them dictated by the construction of the new Atrium next door. So now that work has been progressing and the start of classes is (gulp) just around the corner, this is a good time to update you on where we are, where we hope to be on the 8th and "a bunch of other stuff". We have to start somewhere, so...
The Atrium is coming along nicely. But, of course, it will be home to a variety of public, administrative and classroom spaces, not all of which will be ready right away. As far as the library is concerned, the main thing is that there will be access via the first floor student space, to be called the Global Learning Commons. Which brings us to big change #2...The new entranceto the Library (the old entrance will be filled with public washrooms). While people get used to the new entrance we'…

Hello LibGuides

Naturally, the spring and summer months are less hectic for us here at the library. Which gives us a chance to take a fresh look at our resources and services, even to develop new ones. This year Collette Saunders and Kate Stewart, from our Information Literacy program, have been busy creating what we think is a great new resource that Saint Mary's researchers are going to love.LibGuides are custom-made online research guides, tailored to the needs of our students, faculty and staff. We have them for 30 academic departments or programs, from Accounting to Women’s Studies! Each one lists subject-specific reference materials, journal or statistical databases, recommended web sites, new or featured books and highlighted e-books. They also include dynamic content such as videos, podcasts, images and RRS feeds as well as writing and research help, links to citation and style guides and tips on writing annotated bibliographies.You can find the LibGuides on the library's homep…

Closed Canada Day

This is just a heads up that the Library will be closed on Wednesday, July 1 because of Canada Day. We will, of course, return to our regular hours the very next day (for all of our summer hours, go here.

Changing the subject entirely, we'd like to apologize for the dismal lighting currently being "enjoyed" throughout the library's public space. As part of a campus-wide initiative to install better, more efficient lighting, about half of our light fixtures have been removed and we are waiting for new ones to arrive. Hopefully, it won't be much longer. We've been assured that you'll love the new lighting - better intensity, better "colour" and, of course, better for the environment.

And, in the meantime, work continues on the adjoining Atrium. And, behind that huge, drywalled corner of the reference room, our new entrance and service desks are also progressing nicely. It will be an interesting September...

How's our new site?

As you've just discovered, the Patrick Power Library has a brand new web site!
This new site represents many months of planning and discussion aimed at providing the Saint Mary’s research community with easy and intuitive access to the Library’s increasingly diverse resources and services. Along with the obvious visual changes to layout, colour and graphics, highlights include:
- an emphasis upon the book and journal article search functions which draw most visitors to the virtual library
- a box for quick keyword searches of the Novanet catalogue
- a choice of options for accessing our journal collections, including a box for a simultaneous keyword search of 7 of our largest and most popular databases
- a more prominent link to the latest in library news, linked to our blog
- an improved Contact Us page

Like any web site, this new one is not intended to be static. We will continue to look for ways to improve it in response to the feedback we receive from our users. So if you have an…

Reno Update

Have you been to the library lately? A lot can happen in a few weeks. So, here's where we are circa May 12:Remember the entrance to the Library? Well it's no longer the entrance to the Library! Because of the modifications dictated by the Atrium project, a temporary door has been installed in the Reference Room. So, for the rest of the summer, you can only enter the library from the quad (that's the green area bound by the Student Centre, Burke Building and the library. In other words, if you were leaving the SUB you would be looking right at it.The book drop has also been relocated, near and to the left of the new entrance.The Reference Room is, how should I put it, "under construction". All of the books and indexes, etc. in the reference collection are gone (to their temporary home in the reserve reading room). One entire corner has been walled-off. About half of the computers have been mothballed (but there are still a few dozen accessible). And the ref…

The Renovations have begun

Progress on the Atrium has reached the point where they are now ready to start connecting it to the Library. This means that a temporary entrance will need to be built, near the southeast corner of the Reference Room, while construction continues elsewhere. This also means that we will need to protect our computers from all the inevitable dust and debris.

Therefore, beginning this Monday, April 27, all of the computers in the Reference Room will be turned off, covered in plastic and unavailable.

This unfortunate, but unavoidable, disruption may last one week, maybe two. There will still be the 8 computers in the lobby and there are 2 on each of the second and third floors if you just want to check Novanet or the journal databases. But we are encouraging you to use the labs in McNally and Loyola.

If you have any questions about this, ask at the Reference desk. We know how popular the library's computers are, so hopefully the work will go smoothly and we can return them to you as soon …

Goodbye Papers, Hello Exams

The world (the academic world at least) is divided into 2 kinds of people: those who prefer writing papers over exams and those who prefer exams over papers. Both sides can make compelling arguments for their preferred mode of sweat and misery.
Of course, students have little (read:no) choice in how the relative quantity of these pleasures are determined by the faculty gods and every April finds university students everywhere fighting through their fated allotment of both.
But by mid-April most papers (or groups presentations or research projects or marketing surveys or theses) have been, for better or for worse, signed, sealed and delivered. It's exam time now - when every student (except perhaps for the very brilliant or the very delusioned) studies like mad to raise that A to an A+ (or that D to a C-, whichever shoe fits).
And where better to study than the Library? We're open from 8:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night from now until the last day of exams (except for Su…

And the winner is...

Syndell Goode, a 3rd year Commerce student, was the winner of the Dell Mini laptop which was awarded as part of the library's recent LibQual survey. Shown here, left to right, are Marie DeYoung, University Librarian, Ms. Goode, and Ron Houlihan, Promotional Services.
Other students won University Bookstore and Aramark gift certificates. Thanks again to the more than 1,100 members of the Saint Mary's community who completed the survey. We have already begun analysing your responses and comments. So far, it seems like your needs are fairly humble. All you want are more books, more journals, more computers, new furniture, new web site, longer hours and less noise. Not much... We'll keep you posted.

Another successful survey...

Our survey closed on Friday and we just wanted to thank all those of you (1,144 to be exact) who took the time to complete it. The response from the Saint Mary's community was, once again, very gratifying.

Of course, now the real work begins. In the coming weeks and months we will be analyzing the data from the questionaire and considering the written comments which many of you opted to include. And we'll be putting it all together to figure out how to best meet your information and research needs.

The timing was right for this survey. The Atrium Project, still plugging along outside our doors, will dictate some fairly fundamental physical changes to the Library (how about a new entrance and new, relocated Reference, Circulation and Services Plus desks for starters-even new washrooms!). On the virtual side, we will be launching an entirely new library web site in the not too distant future (a preview will be available to you for your feedback). Plus, we are still adding to our l…

So what do you think?

Some of you may recall the survey the library conducted back in 2006. Well a lot has happened since then so we've decided to do it again.
It's our way of finding out exactly what you like (and don't like) about everything we do - our book collection and online journals, the way we help you at the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk, even the lighting and furniture.
It's an easy survey, only takes about 10 minutes, you can add your own comments as well and, as a thank you for participating, one Saint Mary's student will win a handy Dell Inspiron Mini 9 XP laptop (and there are smaller prizes too). For more info, go to our survey web page. Thanks and good luck!

Food For Fines

There's no shame in having overdue library books. It's a part of student life. It's a part of growing up, learning responsibility - like cleaning your room, paying rent, paying your cell phone bill on time (o.k., bad examples). After all, last term is now a distant memory. It was easy to forget that you borrowed those books on Jane Austen, postmodernism and the Aztecs (not for the same paper). Or you asked a friend to return them for you (they never do). Or they found their way under the bed/table/desk/pile of unfamiliar coats you and your roommates wore home from the Cunard Centre on New Year's eve.

But that's o.k. because the library's annual Food for Fines campaign was started to help people like you (and others). You see, for every non-perishable food item you drop off at the Circulation Desk between January 15 - 25, we will reduce your fine total by $2 (maximum $20). Plus, the food goes to the campus food bank so you're helping other Saint Mary's st…