Showing posts from 2011

Happy Holidays!

From all of us to all of you.

Sure this term has been tough. Late nights. Anxiety-ridden deadlines. Lots to learn. But that's in the past. Forget about it and just enjoy the time off. Next term will take care of itself. Worry about it when it gets here.

In the meantime, you've got a few weeks to relax, eat well, maybe watch a few movies, play a few (or more than a few) games, spend time with those you like to spend time with.

And we'll be here waiting for you when you come back. It'll be 2012. Endless possibilities.


Those three words just seem to go together. They have a history.

Libraries fit in there too. December and April are two of our busiest months as students fill every vacant seat in search of a place to get ready for those multiple choice/essay/take home barometers of their progress. Some exams are wake up calls, some are pleasant surprises, some are satisfying affirmations. All of them are tough.

So if, in the next few weeks, you're among those crowded into the first floor (I'm not talking about those angels on the upper floors working silently away like so many sixteenth century monks), how about turning the volume down a bit? Have some compassion for your fellow students. Maybe they're an hour away from their third exam in four days. An hour to squeeze as many facts, ideas, concepts and professor's opinions as possible into their heads. Notice the beads of sweat forming on their brow, the haunted look in their eyes, the nervous twitching. Try whispering.

And do…

Extended Hours Start Saturday

For most students the next month is not their favourite time of the year. Papers and then exams to write. Lots of research and studying. Lots to do before they can take that well-deserved Christmas break.

There's not a whole lot that the Library can do to ease that burden. But there are a few things: Staff at the Reference Desk can help with your research. And we can stay open longer hours so you have a place to go to study.

Which is what we'll be doing starting this weekend. As of this Saturday and continuing every day until December 19, the Library will remain open until 1:00 in the morning. Even though the Circulation Desk will close at 11:00, the rest of the library will be open so that students will have a quiet place to cram (or use the computers).

For a full schedule, right into the new year, go HERE.

And good luck with your exams (and papers).

Closed Remembrance Day Morning

Tomorrow is November 11, the day when Canadians honour those past and present members of the armed forces who served and protected their country. Remembrance Day is a statutory holiday so that people can attend the various ceremonies held in communities across Canada, including Halifax, to mark the occassion. Most of these ceremonies are held in the morning.

In recognition of this, the Patrick Power Library will be closed that morning. We will open at noon and stay open until our usual 11:00pm.

Reference Books Online

Sometimes Wikipedia works just fine - if you need a quick, simple introduction to a topic. And you don't care how well it's written or who wrote it...

But sometimes Wikipedia just doesn't cut it. Like when you need an authoritative description and analysis of a subject, written by a recognized expert in the field. Like you'll find in reference books (encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, etc.).

Of course, one of the reasons for Wikipedia's great popularity is its ease of access as a web-based, 24/7 resource, always just a few mouse clicks away. Well now you can have "the best of both worlds": e-reference books. These are electronic versions of standard, high quality reference works, available remotely from the library web site. To access them, you just have to go to our e-books page, available HERE.

Some of them are available as part of a collection. For example, Access Engineering contains hundreds of handbooks and encyclopedias on civil, industria…

Like Our New Art?

With all the recent renovations to the Library, especially on the main floor, we thought it would be a good idea to add some more visual interest to the space. Hence the arrival of some new art installations.

The first, a 6'x16' mural, was created by Nova Scotian artist Jamie Baxter in 1993. It makes a bold statement on the brick wall near the Information & Research Desk, as pictured here. It is an impressive, imposing presence.

The second, entirely different work, is a ceramic sculpture created by American artist Matt Wedel. Entitled Blue Flower Tree on Orange. it was part of an exhibition of the artist's work by the Saint Mary's University Art Gallery in 2009. About 4' high and 3' wide, it adds a splash of colour among the armchairs in front of the glass wall looking out on to the quad.

If you're interested in samples of other work by these artists, go to a Facebook page HERE or a web site HERE.

And let us know what you think of these latest enhancem…

Water pressure problems today

Apparently there is a water pressure problem throughout Halifax which the water commission is busy trying to repair. Which is why the washrooms in the library and many other parts of the campus need to be closed.

Some washrooms are available, including the Atrium, Science and Burke buildings. A bit of a hike but not too far. The library's packed today so hopefully the problem will be fixed soon.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience.

About that drilling noise

...for the past few days now a fairly loud drilling noise can be heard periodically in many parts of the library, some louder than others. We know it's disruptive and we know it's annoying. And we apologize profusely. But, unfortunately, there's no way around it.

This building is about 35 years old and some of the exterior is starting to show it's age. In order to prevent further deterioration and leaking, repairs need to be made to the brickwork. Which requires a lot of drilling. Which explains all that noise.

We wish it didn't need to be done but....

We've been told that the work is scheduled to be completed by October 21. For your and our sake we hope they're right. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

SMUSA's Education Week

...started today and the Library is a big part of it. Education Week is a series of events designed to inform Saint Mary's students about the various campus resources and services that are available to them. For more info and the full schedule, go to SMUSA's web site.

On Tuesday we will be offering workshops on how to use the library to get the books, articles and other materials your professors want and you need. We'll introduce you to the book catalogue and our journal databases as well as provide tips on getting the most out of the library's web site. If you want to learn how the library works, this is your chance.

Sessions are open to all, just drop by the new classroom at the far end of the main floor. They're being held 11:00-noon and 4:oo-5:00 (and "refreshments will be served").

Hope to see you tomorrow.

Are you a Forensics student?

If you are, be sure to check out our new Forensics Sciences LibGuide. You can find it in the "Get started in..." drop down menu on our homepage or by going HERE. Libguides are convenient, one-stop-shopping electronic introductions to a particular academic discipline. We have 30 of them, one for every department on campus.

The forensic science guide includes tips on searching for books (including e-books), reference sources, recommended relevant journal databases, even suggestions for other useful web sites. It also provides help with academic writing and style guides and citations.

While LibGuides were designed for those exploring a subject for the first time, experienced researchers find them useful as well. It really is a great way to "get started".

"Quiet" Computing Anyone?

As you know, most of the library's computers are clustered near the entrance. In the midst of a high traffic area. With the service desks close at hand. And study tables and working students just a few feet away.

Which means (as some of you have informed us) that computer users are frequently trying to work in the midst of a pretty hectic environment. It's true that there are more PCs at the far end of the first floor but they're pretty popular.

With that in mind, we recently made some changes to the IT services we offer:
6 computers have been relocated to the third floor. This, of course, is a "Quiet Zone" where no noise is permitted, assuring that some of you will be able to use a computer free of the distractions all too common on the main floor. 4 of them are along the right hand wall as you come on to the floor while the other 2 are in the far corner. And they are connected to the printers downstairs. Many students own a laptop, tablet or smart phone, al…

Welcome to a New Year

It doesn't matter whether you're just starting out at Saint Mary's or you're a seasoned veteran. September represents a fresh start. Grade 12 or your first (or second or third) year is history. Now there's new courses, new profs, new things to learn.

That's where we come in. The Library will be here whenever you need us. Got a paper to write? Can't find that one perfect article that will shine a light on a topic giving you fits? Need a quiet place to study? For you or your group? Need a computer? Need some advice?

We offer all those things. So drop into the library or drop by our web site. And if you can't find what you need, ask us. We're there to make your (academic) life just a little easier. Enjoy the year.

Weekend hours and beyond

We're just about to start the Labour Day weekend - the calm before the storm. Which means that the library will be closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday to give us a breather before the campus revs up for another Fall term.

On Tuesday we'll be open 9:00am-5:00pm. Because Wednesday is the first day of classes, that's when we'll move into the schedule we'll have for the rest of the semester:

Monday - Friday 8:00am - 11:00pm
Saturday 10:00am - 7:00pm
Sunday noon - 11:00pm

But in the meantime, we're going to enjoy these few days off...

ID Hours

It's that time of year! A new batch of incoming students is careening around the corner and they're all going to need an ID card. And not just any old card. The official Saint Mary's "get into football games, get your bus pass, check out library books, I'm now a real university student" card.

And where and when can you acquire such a hallowed piece of identification? It goes like this:

August 25 - noon August 30: in the Library ID office (closed Sat. & Sun.)
August 31 - September 2 10am-4pm: at the Service Expo, Loyola 290
September 3-5 11am-3:30pm: at the Service Expo, Loyola 290
September 6-7 5 10am-4:30pm: at the Service Expo, Loyola 290
September 7 7pm-9pm: back in the Library
September 8 10am-9pm: Library
September 9 10am-5pm: Library
September 10> regular ID office hours resume

That should just about cover it. But if you have any questions related to the wonderful world of IDs, just call the Circulation Desk at 420-5547.

Do you use RefWorks?

Well, a new version of your (and our) favorite bibliographic citation manager is on its way.

RefWorks 2.0 will be unveiled on August 22. It will have a new, more intuitive interface but you will still be able to do all the things you've come to rely on. You can preview the new interface by logging on to your account and clicking the "RefWorks 2.0" link. The "classic" version will be supported until December. For more information, you can watch their introductory video here.

Not familiar with RefWorks and all it can do for you? Go to the library's RefWorks page and find out for yourself.

Hours this weekend

As most of you know, the first Monday in August (which, of course, is this coming Monday) is a municipal holiday in many cities and towns in Canada. And Halifax is no exception.

So there will be many government offices, etc. closed on Monday. But not the Library! Here are our hours for the next few days: Friday 8:30am-5:00pm, Saturday CLOSED, Sunday 1:00pm-9:00pm and Monday 9:00am-9:oopm.

Enjoy the weekend everyone (and Happy Birthday Halifax).

Popular science journals available

Nature and Science are two of the most influential and widely read journals in their field. And they have been for a very long time - Nature was first published in 1869 and Science in 1880. The Library still has dusty copies of those early issues (and subsequent ones) on our third floor.

But times change. And so do we. We're now able to provide Saint Mary's researchers with online 24/7 access to both of those publications. Including the very latest issues.

How to find them? Go to our Journals A-Z list, located in the middle of our web site's main page. Enter the title of the journal you wish to read, check "match exact title" and follow the links from there. You'll find all the content of the paper edition, going back a number of years.

Maybe you're a fan of these classic journals. Or maybe you hadn't heard of them till now. It doesn't matter. It's now easier for everyone to enjoy them.

Closed on Canada Day

Closed. Not open. Unavailable. There's no gentler way to say it. There are only a few times in the year when the Library is closed for a long weekend and this is one of them.

So celebrate, relax, enjoy. I just read (for what it's worth) that it will be sunny for the next four days. Cross your fingers...

Some changes to this page

Not a major overhaul, more of a re-shuffling of priorities. And at first glance it may appear pretty much the same. But we've moved a few links and added a few new ones. Among the highlights:
a direct link to our New Books page. Every month we'll post a new list of our latest titles (a fresh batch was put up just a few days ago)a link to some of the Library's official policies. This is new. We wanted you to be able to read our positions and procedures on various issues: Circulation (who can borrow what and how); Collection (how and why we acquire all those print and digital resources); Gifts (guidelines for donating books, etc.) and Noise (where you can talk, where you can't).easy access to the Mobile version of our site. If you have a smartphone you can search our catalogue, find articles and lots of other information.a prominent link to our Facebook page. Why not join us? Search: Patrick Power LibraryAs usual, if you have comments or questions on any of this, …

The Washrooms are Back!

Yes, the moment you've all been waiting for. The renovations to the washrooms on the main floor are finally finished. No more treks upstairs or to the Atrium. They're ready to go.

And that, I believe, is the last of the work to be done on the first floor. Maybe a few finishing touches. But otherwise, that's it. We think (and we hope you'll agree) that it was very much worthwhile. It certainly looks far different than it did before.

None of us will miss the noise, debris and general upheaval of the past year or so. Now we, and September's new students, can just enjoy it. Thanks for your patience.

Open on Victoria Day

From 9:00am - 9:00pm.

There are many days throughout the year when the university is "closed" - no classes, administrative offices aren't staffed - but the library is still open. And this Monday is one of those. So if you need help with your research, want to borrow a book or use one of our computers or just need a quiet place to study, drop by. We'll be here.

For all of our hours, this weekend and beyond, visit this page.

Who Doesn't Like New Books?

Most of us do. They're interesting. They're stimulating. They look nice. They smell nice. O.K., I'm getting carried away now. But this is a library. In a university. Books seem so... natural.

And there are lots of them. Even in this digital age, there is still a flood of new titles being published at any given time, on any given subject. Some of them end up at the Patrick Power Library. They're here to support the teaching/researching/writing/inspiring/thinking being done at Saint Mary's.

There are a few easy ways of discovering exactly what new books the library has. The most comfortable (and highly recommended) way is to drop by our brand new reading area on the main floor (pictured). Enjoy the comfy seating, surrounded by bookcases housing our latest acquisitions (and a great collection of popular magazines and newspapers too). There's even a fireplace, to make it feel cosy and scholarly. Every few weeks, the books will be moved upstairs and a new…

So exams have started...

...and you have to study for them. Condolences/Good luck/Knock 'em dead, kid.

For students, this is a tough time. Even if you can see the (summer) light at the end of the tunnel, there's still those last papers to finish and finals after that. So there's some pressure, some frayed nerves, some long nights ahead.

Maybe we can't write those papers or exams for you, but the Library can help, in it's own reliable way...

Here's what we can do:
stay open until 1:00am every night - we've already started.
provide a quiet place to study. Most of the renovations are finished and we've postponed what's left until after exams because of the noise they make.create a comfortable reading area on the main floor, with new, inviting furniture. up newly renovated group study rooms. Check.
maintain the 2nd and 3rd floors as designated "Quiet Zones" where no talking it permitted. Always.and...

Here's what you can do:
be respectful of other student…

Extended Hours Start This Weekend

The first exams won't be written for another week but we're not waiting till then. We know you need extra time to get ready. That's why we're going to be open extra hours - starting this weekend.

So from this Saturday and right through to the end of the exam period, the Library will be open until 1:00am. For all of our hours, go here. And that's the entire library, not just the main floor.

After 11:00 there won't be any staff to offer help or check out books but there will be someone from Security to keep it open for studying/cramming. We think this will be particularly popular with residence students who will be able to find a quiet place to read while avoiding rowdy roommates.

As far as those exams are concerned, good luck! A few more weeks and it will all be over.

Group Study Rooms are Back!

Not all of them. But most of them. We have 7 available right now with more to come. And they're better than ever.

The changes to the library's main floor are not just cosmetic ones. Group study rooms have been built in what used to be the Reserve Reading Room at the furthest end. They've been designed to accomodate groups of students who want to work together on class assignments without being disturbed (or disturbing others). They've got new flooring, lighting, walls and furniture. And they're (fairly) soundproof. No more crowding around a table in the middle of the Reference Room. Drop in and have a look for yourself.

There are also new study rooms in the space previously occupied by the administration offices. And the large study room on the 2nd floor is still there. It's especially good for groups of 8-10 people.

To find out if a room is available, or to book one in advance, just visit the Circulation Desk or call them at 420-5547.

The Subject is Washrooms

Which do you want first? The good news? Or the bad news? Let's start with...

The Good: The renovations of the washrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors have (finally) been completed and they have reopened. New plumbing and fixtures, new walls and floors, new everything. They're not 35 years old anymore.

Followed by The Bad: Now that they've finished the upstairs washrooms, they can start working on the ones on the main floor. In fact, "start" means tomorrow, Wednesday, March 2 at 7:00 am.

Which means that for the foreseeable future there will be no washroom facilities on the library's first floor. But which may not be as dire as it sounds. It just means you will have to get some exercise (or take the elevator) traveling to the aforementioned nice new ones upstairs. And remember that there are also washrooms not so far away in the Atrium and the now-connected-to-the-library-so-you-don't-have-to-go-outside Burke Building.

Of course, and unfortunately, none …

Shorter Hours Friday, February 25

Not all students use the university study break to go home or go south. Some actually study. And I was pleasantly surprised by the number of students in the library this week. So, for them, here's a heads up that the library will have slightly reduced hours tomorrow. We will open at 9:00am and close at 9:00pm - not a big difference from our usual hours - unless you were planning to come by early to check out a book or to drop by late in the evening for reference help.

BTW, hours for the weekend are unchanged:
Saturday 10:00am - 7:00pm
Sunday noon - 11:00pm

And we're ready for the crowd's return on Monday...

Sorry about the Noise

The main floor renovations are coming along. That's the good news. The bad news (and you don't need to be told this if you've visited the library the past few days) is that RENOS=NOISE.

Yesterday afternoon was particularly difficult - with all kinds of drilling, hammering and general construction-related noises. We apologize profusely. And we hate it as much as you do. But unfortunately there's not a whole lot that can be done about it (at least the 2nd and 3rd floors are quiet).

When confronted with this very un-library environment, some of you (and some of us) have wondered, quite naturally, why this disruption couldn't have waited until a less busy time of year (say, July). The problem is that this work, like much of the other recent campus improvements, is being funded by Government of Canada infrastructure renewal money. Which means that the work is supposed to meet a March 31 completion deadline. And which is why it can't be put off until the library isn…

Saint Mary's History Goes Digital!

The Saint Mary's University Institutional Repository, a project of the Patrick Power Library, is a one-stop-shop to collect and provide web-based access to the resources created by our university community.

It includes more than 1,000 historical photographs on everything from varsity sports teams and Art Gallery exhibits to Drama Society productions and general campus events. It also features Yearbooks (from 1921), faculty publications, theses and other digital collections held in the University Archives.

The project not only makes it easier for the world to find these collections, it also serves as a showcase for the kind of high-level research undertaken at Saint Mary's, both currently and in the past. To explore this exciting new resource, just go to It is a work in progress with more material being added all the time. So if you have any comments or suggestions please send them along.

Wednesday, February 2-Library closed

Due to the the impending snowstorm, the University will be closing today at 11:30.This includes the Patrick Power Library. For updates please check the University's web site or phone:
Students/Public: 491-6263Faculty/Staff: 491-6264

Food for Fines on again

Fines for overdue library books. Everybody hates them. The people who get them and even the people who have to collect them. But they're a fact of everyday library life: without them some people would never bring back the books other people need.

So it's always good when something positive can come out of it. Food for Fines is an annual tradition at the Novanet libraries. If you have fines, just bring in a non-perishable food item. For every one you drop off at the Circulation desk, your fines will be reduced by $2 (maximum of $20). And all the food will be donated to the campus food bank so you'll be helping other students at the same time.

This year's campaign starts on Monday (January 17) and runs until the 28th. And everybody wins.

We've gone Mobile

More and more people these days access the Web with a hand-held device (think iPhone, BlackBerry or any number of other smartphones). A quick walk around the Patrick Power Library will tell you that many SMU students use and love them.

But navigating a web site on a 3 inch screen can be a challenge. Which is why there have been "apps" developed for just about everything under the sun. And which is why the Library now offers 2 ways to access our electronic self.

You can use our familiar, trusty web site or you can try our new mobile version. It's available at or just follow the "Mobile Access" link in the bottom left corner of the main site. You can search the catalogue and some of our most popular journal databases or get info on hours, contacts, document delivery and more. You can even read this blog!

We hope it's helpful. We hope it's handy. We hope it makes your life a little easier.

A reno update

I came to work yesterday and there was a giant orange wall running down the middle of my library. Fortunately, it is only made of wood and vinyl and it is very temporary. Let me explain...

Over the holiday break, the library's ongoing renovations kicked into a higher gear. While we were enjoying the time off, workers were busy demolishing the brick and glass wall which used to separate the Reference Room from the old lobby space. And while they were at it they took out a few offices too.

These, of course, are all part of the facelift which the main floor is about to undergo. In the coming weeks, the former lobby will get new flooring, new furniture, new washrooms and other improvements. Plus, the old Reserve Reading Room will be completely gutted and new group study rooms and an instruction lab installed.

Unfortunately, this means that, for the next few months, some previously-popular study areas, especially those conducive to group work, will be construction zones. We know this will…