Showing posts from 2012

Have a Great Holiday!

In a few hours, the Library, and most of the University, will close up shop.  Someone will shoo out the last hangers-on, staff will wish each other well, a security guard will lock the gate, the lights will be turned off.

So it's the perfect time to wish all of our users, the students, faculty and staff of Saint Mary's, a relaxing and satisfying holiday.

It's been a tough term (and not the last one) for many students. But you got through it.  Another notch on your belt.  Another step closer to graduation. 

So enjoy your few weeks of freedom.  Take it easy.  Rest your body and mind.  And we'll see you in 2013.

Free hot drinks tonight!

And every night until the last exam has been written.  Courtesy of Dr. David Gauthier, Vice President, Academic & Research.

Studying for exams can be stressful at the best of times. But a nice cup of coffee (or some hot chocolate) can go a long way to making the experience a little more bearable. 

So beginning this evening at 8 o'clock, and right through the weekend, we'll be setting up a table near the Library entrance so that students can help themselves to a hot drink of their choice.

And thanks to Dr. Gauthier for remembering what it's like to be a student.  Think of it as an early present.

We're On Pinterest!

You know what Pinterest is, right?  It's one of the most popular social media sites around.  It's basically just a place where people can share photos and information on their favourite "things" on the web: fashion, food, design, hobbies, music and....books.  Which is where we come in.

The Library has created it's very own Pinterest page to highlight the wonderful, often overlooked, books in our collection (you'll be surprised what we own).  Titles are grouped in categories like
Graphic Novels & MangaAtlantic Canada novels Banned or Challenged booksSMU Faculty AuthorsFrom Book to Film LGBT fictionPopular ScienceBiography & Memoir But the best way to find out what's in there is to pay it a visit. And keep going back because we'll be adding new titles all the time (look for the Pinterest icon on the Library's homepage). If you see something you would like to read, just click the "" link below the book's image to get…

Who Needs RefWorks?

Anyone who does academic research.

Are the sources for your next paper scattered all over your gmail account, Blackboard, a flash drive and some scraps of paper in the bottom of your backpack?  Have some disappeared, never to be found? Does it drive you crazy trying to remember whether a citation's title is underlined in APA? 

RefWorks can help with that (and a whole lot more).  It's an online citation manager, available via the Library's web site, which helps collect, organize and format (APA, MLA, etc.) bibliographic references: books, articles, just about any source you might use.

Because we think RefWorks is so helpful, and because we think you're going to love it, we're offering introductory workshops all next week - for everyone and anyone.  Here's the schedule:

Extended Hours Start Saturday

It's that time of year! Sorry, but exams will be starting soon. Which means that the Library will be extending its hours to accomodate the studying hordes.

As of this weekend, and right through to the last exams on December 16, the Library won't close until one o'clock in the morning.  And we'll be open earlier on Sundays too (10:00am) for those early risers.

Here are our hours, not just for the exam period, but all the way to 2013 (that's right, 2013):

November 19 - 25
Monday-Friday 8:00am-11:00pm
Saturday 10:00am-1:00am
Sunday 10:00am-1:00am
(Circulation Services close at 11:00pm)

November 26 - December 16
Monday - Saturday 8:00am 1:00am
Sunday 10:00am-1:00am
(Circulation Servcies close at 11:00pm)

December 17 - 21
Monday 8:00am-1:00am
(Circulation Services close at 11:00pm)
Tuesday 8:00am-7:00pm
Wednesday-Thursday 9:00am-5:00pm
Friday 9:00am-12 noon

December 22 - January 2 CLOSED

Monday's Hours

As most of you know, this Sunday is Remembrance Day.  Ceremonies will be held across the country to honour those who served Canada in wars or peacekeeping over the years.  And as you probably also know, because it is a mandatory holiday in Nova Scotia, the University will be closed and there will be no classes on Monday. 

But the Library will be open.  Our hours will be noon-11:00pm.  Something else you should know.

Author Leo McKay Jr. to Read at Library

Join us this Wednesday, November 7 at 7:00pm as Truro author Leo McKay Jr. reads from and discusses his novel Twenty-Six.  The event will be held in Room LI135 (main floor of the Library).

Twenty-Six, based on the Westray mining disaster, has been read by thousands of Nova Scotians over the past few weeks as part of One Book Nova Scotia.  This is an initiative of Libraries Nova Scotia, a consortium of university, college and public libraries, the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage and the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia.

Wednesday evening will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the book, the events which inspired it and the process of writing it. 

Everyone is welcome.  Hope to see you there.

Study Room booking now online

We've changed the way our (extremely popular) group study rooms are managed.  The process has just been automated so that students can reserve a room in advance via the Library's web site. 

You can find the link in the "How do I?" list on our homepage or just go HERE

The procedure is fairly straightforward.  But there's one thing you should know - the Barcode is that long number on your student ID card (2198xxxxx) and the Password is the last 4 digits of your phone number.  If you do need help, you can always phone 420-5547 or drop by the Circulation Desk.  The previous terms of use are still in place.

Because these rooms offer a quiet, separate space for groups to work on projects together, students really like them (I just walked through the building and all 9 of them were in use).  So take advantage of the new booking system if you want to make sure your group has a room when they need it.

One Book Nova Scotia

The Patrick Power Library is excited about being part of a new province-wide initiative titled One Book Nova Scotia.  It is being organized by Libraries Nova Scotia, a consortium of university, college and public libraries, the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage and the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia.  More information is available from the official web site.  

The idea is to get as many Nova Scotians as possible to share the experience of reading the same book.  This year’s selection is Twenty-Six by Leo McKay Jr., a novel based on the Westray mining disaster.  As one of the partner organizations, the Library is encouraging participation among as many Saint Mary's students, faculty and staff as possible.  In addition to our catalogued copy, we have 5 additional copies available to be borrowed.  Just ask at the Circulation Desk.  The book is also available at local independent and chain bookstores (and, of course, the usual online sources), in print an…

Atrium Open 24/7

You read that right.  The Atrium, with all of its comfortable chairs and its computers (and printer), is now open all day, every day.

As soon as the Library closes (most nights at 11 o'clock), Security will arrive and keep the Atrium open.  This should prove really popular with all those night owls whose brains don't seem to kick in until midnight approaches. 

Laptop not working? Printer out of ink?  Roommate driving you crazy? Not a problem.

But there are a few things you need to know:
It's for SMU students (and faculty & staff) only. You'll need to show your ID, so make sure you bring it with you.It will be a safe environment - University Security will be monitoring the space.No food, just drinksIt's the Atrium only - no access to McNally, Burke or Science buildingsYou'll need to use the entrance off of the Quad (facing the Student Centre) Security has a list of acceptable conditions of use (no excessive noise, disruptive behavior).  This, of course, is a…

Lighting Problems

As you may have noticed, some portions of the library aren't as bright as they should be.  Many of the lights in the main Reference area on the first floor and significant sections of the 2nd and 3rd floors are out. 

Needless to say, on an overcast day like today those areas are rather gloomy and not great places to work.

However, we have alerted the University to the problem and they will be working to fix it as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we apologize for the inconvenience.  Hopefully, the Library will be back to its old bright and inviting space very shortly.

Welcome Back!

Or if you're new to Saint Mary's, welcome to the Patrick Power Library (virtual edition).  We hope your summer was enjoyable, interesting, maybe even profitable.

We use this blog (and our Facebook page) to let people know what's going on here (libraries are changing rapidly these days and we're no exception) - new journals, books or databases, improvements to our services, changes to our hours, just about anything.

For example, even though this past summer was a relatively quiet one compared to the previous few years (construction of Atrium, renovations to the building), some things will look different. 

Our homepage has been refreshed and reorganized.  It has a new background photo and colour scheme and, more importantly, the middle and left-hand "windows" have been (we hope you'll agree) improved.  Of course, if you have any questions or need any help just ask at the Information Desk.

And if you're a frequenter of the second floor (with its quiet, &…

About IDs (and Bus Passes)

Here's the latest:  As of today, and for the next week, new IDs will only be issued at the Student Services Expo, being held in the Loyola Conference Hall, L270. 

The Expo's hours are:

Today & Thursday, Aug.30  10am-4pm
Friday, Aug.31  10am-3pm
Saturday, Sept.1-Monday, Sept.3  11am-3pm
Tuesday, Sept.4-Wednesday, Sept.5  10am-4:30pm

What happens after that? If you still don't have your ID, come to the Library to get it.

And if you don't have your bus pass, you can pick up that too. When we bring our equipment back from the Expo, SMUSA will be coming back with us and issuing bus passes at the Circulation Desk (watch for directions)

And the hours for bus passes and IDs will be:

Wednesday, Sept.5  6pm-9pm
Thursday, Sept.6-Friday, Sept.7  10am-9pm
Saturday, Sept.8  10am-4pm

On Sunday, Sept. 9 our regular ID Office hours will resume:
Monday-Thursday  10am-2pm, 6pm-8pm
Friday  10am-2pm
Saturday 1pm-5pm
Sunday  3pm-7pm (request service at Circulation Desk)

One final note -…

Want Your ID Card Now?

Maybe you're a new SMU student who can't wait for that "It's official, I've got my Student ID!" moment. Or maybe you're a returning student who needs to update your card for the new school year and want to avoid the September lineups.

Whatever your story, we've made sure you can take care of it right now.  In July. Becauseour ID Centre will be open Monday to Friday, from 10am-2pm, for the rest of the summer.  And when the Library is open on Sunday (here are our hours), we can make them "on demand".  Just ask at the Circulation Desk.

2 things you should know:
 All new students will need to present government-issued photo ID in order to receive their university ID.Registered Saint Mary's students are welcome to use our online Library Card Application/Photo Submission Form, found at : (this is for new ID production, not renewals). If you have any questions about any of this you can always phone 420-554…

Second Floor Books Accessible

We're happy to report that the 2nd floor re-carpeting project is ahead of schedule.  As a result, you can now go up there to retrieve any books you need. 

However, all of the necessary cleaning still needs to be done so the study carrels aren't available quite yet (use those on the third floor instead). Be patient.  Just a few more days...

I can tell you that the new flooring is a welcome sight.  Gone is that old, faded pink carpet.  Replaced by nice and clean, right-out-of-the-box carpet tiles.  What a difference it makes!

2nd Floor Closed for Renovations

As of today, and for another 2-3 weeks, the library's 2nd floor will be unavailable.  But it's for a good reason -  the original, 35 year old carpet is (finally) being replaced!

This is a big, messy job so there was no alternative but to seal off the space until the work is completed.

Of course, the second floor is home to most of our book collection (call numbers A-PR3999) and this is the start of the summer session.  So we have implemented a plan for book retrieval for those who need a particular title during the project.  Staff will enter the area twice daily at 8:00am and 2:00pm, get any book you may need and hold it for you at the Circulation Desk.  You'll be able to pick it up later that day or the following morning.  For more information (or to arrange for a book), visit the desk or phone 420-5547.

Fortunately, the first and third floors are unaffected by this so there is still plenty of study space available.

Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.  …

Doug Vaisey Retiring

After 39 years of wonderful public service, Doug Vaisey will be retiring as head of the Library’s Reference Department next week. 
Doug joined Saint Mary’s shortly after graduating from Dalhousie’s Library School.  It wasn’t long before he was helping plan the move to the newly constructed Patrick Power Library. 
As the library grew, so did the Reference Department.  Under Doug’s leadership, it quickly developed its reputation for unparalleled reference service and dedication to the Saint Mary’s research community, a reputation it maintains to this day.  Doug didn’t just preach the importance of great service, he served as its model, whether helping a struggling student with their first paper or a graduate student with the most challenging research needs. Countless Saint Mary’s students, past and present, got better grades because of his involvement.  And countless library school students and library staff were the beneficiaries of his rigorous training, encyclopedic knowledge and …

Off-campus Access Problems

We are currently experiencing a technical problem which prevents off-campus users from accessing the Library's databases.  Currently, anyone who goes to the Databases A-Z page or the Statistics page from off-campus and clicks one of the database titles may not be successful.  We hope to have the problem fixed ASAP. 

If you are having this problem, there is a solution:
On our homepage you will see quick links to some of our most popular databases (ABI, Ebsco, JSTOR, etc.). Click any one of those links (e,g, Ebsco).  At the authentication prompt, enter your S# and password.  You will then gain access to the database Go to the Databases A-Z  page or the Statistics page.  From there, you will be able to access any of the other databases (Sage,Web of Science, CANSIM, etc.).  In other words, the authentication you give for one of the five databases on the homepage will grant you access to the others, for as long as your web browser is open. Please note: The white "Books/Articles/All…

Black & White On Orange

The Library's collection of dramatic art continues to grow.  The latest addition is a series of stunning black & white compositions, arranged on the "orange" wall on the main floor.

They are the work of artist Camille Zakharia, a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, via his native Lebanon and many points in between. 

Entitled Stories from the Alley, the photomontages describe a journey in the early 1990's through a village in the Middle East which was feeling the first impact of the wave of globalization which would sweep the area in the years to follow.  As one critic has observed, "Within this process is an exploration of home, identity and belonging in the context of a globalized condition."

Camille's many works have been and continue to be exhibited throughout Canada and the U.S., Europe and the Middle East and we are very pleased to host this collection in the Patrick Power Library.

Please make a point of experiencing them f…

Congrats to Graduates

Hundreds of young (and not so young) people are no longer Saint Mary's students.  They are now Saint Mary's graduates, Saint Mary's alumni.

Spring Convocation was held on Friday. And this important rite of passage was marked by a great crowd of very relieved people, finally able to see why all of that hard work and sacrifice was so worth it in the end.

So congratulations would seem to be in order.  From everyone here at the Patrick Power Library.  Not just for those we helped (with books, timely advice or a haven).  But all of you.  You deserve it.  Four years (or five or six) is a big chunk of your life.  Enjoy the rest of it.

A New Look For Us

Hard to miss the changes to our homepage, starting with the new background image. 

But the most significant difference can be found in the middle "window".  We've created a tabbed search box which allows you to find just books, just articles or everything we have (including DVDs, government documents, etc.).  Once you have the results, you should find easy-to-use links to the content.   It shouldn't take long to get the hang of it.

And you'll notice that we've maintained ready links to the Novanet catalogue, the "Journals A-Z" list (to find out whether we have a particular journal), and our most popular databases (like ABI or JSTOR).  We also offer a quick link to our statistical sources as well as comprehensive subject guides, from Accounting to Women's Studies.

We think this new format will improve access to our collections and make it easier to find whatever you need for your research.  But remember that if you have any questions, big or smal…

Open Easter Weekend

Just a reminder that, as promised, the Library will be open every day of the Easter weekend. To be precise, our hours will be:

Good Friday 8:00am-1:00am
Saturday 8:00am-1:00am
Easter Sunday 10:00am-1:00am
Monday 8:00am-1:00am

Of course, we'll be open because you have exams to study for. Which you will study for. And which you will do very well on. And which you'll be so glad to finish. And whose completion will mark the beginning of what may turn out to be the best in a long line of great summers. Good luck (with the exams and the summer).

Searching for Articles

A big part of what we do is link students and faculty with the articles they need for their research, whether in academic or peer-reviewed journals or magazines and newspapers.

Of course, as information technology and the Web have evolved, the number of journals in electronic format has exploded (I'm not sure exactly how many the Library provides but it's certainly 10,000+).

So we are constantly exploring better ways to organize and provide access to these important sources of the best, most current information, innovation and ideas. We also have to consider the fact that our users (from grad students and faculty to kids right out of high school) have varying degrees of experience and expertise when it comes to doing academic research.

With all of this in mind, we've been working behind the scenes to improve the options you have for getting your hands on the articles you want. On our homepage, this is what you'll see as of next week:
Instead of separate boxes for findi…

Extended Hours Start

Don't worry, final exams don't start for a few more weeks. Exactly 2 weeks in fact: Thursday, April 5.

But the Library always likes to give students plenty of time to get ready. Which is why, beginning this Saturday, we will be open until 1:00 in the morning every night till the last exam on the 24th. And we'll open a little earlier on Saturdays and Sundays too.

The Circulation Desk will close at the usual 11 o'clock but you'll still be able to study, use our computers or any of the other things you like to do in the Library for a few hours after that.

To save you a few mouse clicks, here are the hours for the next while:

March 19-25Monday – Friday 8:00am – 11:00pmSaturday 10:00am - 1:00am Sunday noon – 1:00amMarch 26-April 22Monday – Saturday 8:00am – 1:00amSunday 10;00am – 1:00amApril 23-24Monday 8:00am – 1:00amTuesday 8:00am-7:00pm April 25-May 7Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pmSaturday & Sunday CLOSEDAnd, of course, best of luck with those exams. You …

Undergrads & Technology Survey

Saint Mary's is part of a group of universities in the U.S. and Canada which is trying to find out how undergraduate students interact with information technology: what kind they use, how they use it and how often. Desktop, laptop or smart phone? Do you use Blackboard? How do you use the library's web site? Wish your profs used technology more?

These are the kinds of questions to be found in a new online, anonymous, "no more than 15 minutes" survey our undergrads are being asked to complete. If you are an undergrad you should have received your invitation and a link to the survey by now (check your e-mail!).

This feedback will go a long way towards shaping the kinds of information technology provided on our campus in the coming years. Which is why I'm urging you to take the time to participate.

The Saint Mary's part of the survey is being run by ITSS, the Library and CAID (Centre for Academic and Instructional Development) so if you have any questions g…

Those last assignments

You all have them. It's March 16. Maybe a paper or two. Or three. An in-class presentation to develop, a market survey to complete, another ten citations to gather for your thesis...

Of course, we can help with that. It's what we do - link students with the sources they need: books, articles, statistics. Or maybe you just need some suggestions, fresh ideas or a "second pair of eyes" to give you that boost you need to get a paper started or finish off a stubborn one.

Whatever you need, just head for that desk near the Library's entrance with the big "Information & Research" sign above it. Or you can phone (420-5544) or email ( us with your problem/challenge. There's someone there from early in the morning till late at night. Just waiting to help.

Yes, we're open on Friday

Different students use study week for different things. Some stay in Halifax and hit the books, some go home to wherever home is and hit the books. Some don't do much of anything, taking a break from all things academic, conserving their energy for that final push at the end of the term.

At Saint Mary's, staff also get a bit of a break. The last day of study break (tomorrow) is a day off. Most offices on campus will be closed. Not many services offered.

But we just wanted you to know that, in spite of all that, the Library will be open. We won't have our regular hours but we will open at 9:00am and stay open until 9:00pm.

So if you need a place to study tomorrow - or use a computer or borrow a book or get help with an assignment - don't worry. We've got it covered.

Our Mobile Site is Bigger and Better

Well, not bigger in that sense. It will still fit on your smart phone. It's bigger because we've added a lot more information, a lot more links, a lot more ways to access our resources. We've improved the overall "look and feel" as well.

Not only can you search for books, you can also retrieve articles from some of our most popular databases, like ABI, Ebsco, JSTOR and Web of Science. You can also find out when we're open, get contact information, read our blog or get live help with your research questions. All from the comfort of your hand held device.

Just look for the "Mobile" icon on our homepage or go HERE. Technology can be a wonderful thing...

The Study Rooms are for Students

Not library staff. We made sure they were included when the building was renovated. We talked about how big they should be, how students would use them, the kind of furniture they should include. We designed them. For students. So they could work on group projects together or just study together. We have 9 of them, they're pretty nice and they're pretty popular.

Which is why we're so disappointed that, for the second weekend in a row, one of the study rooms got trashed. Yeah, I know. Hard to believe. Cups of coffee deliberately spilled over the table, bottles and wrappers everywhere, chairs put on shelves, gouges in the walls. I've seen the photos.

When the study rooms haven't been booked by anyone we leave them open for groups of students to use. Because we trust them, that they are mature, responsible adults. Apparently some aren't.

We don't want to adopt more restrictive policies for using the study rooms. We'll see. But our cleaning staff…

Food for Fines is here again

Every year around this timethe Novanet libraries, including this one, give borrowers the opportunity to clear their overdue fines while also helping local food banks. The campaign is called Food for Fines and here's how it works:

For eachnon-perishable food item you donate, $2 will be deducted from any outstanding fines you may have (to a maximum of $20). So if, for example, you owe $16, just bring in 8 items and your slate will be wiped clean. Donations can be dropped off at the Circulation Desk at the Library's entrance (and of course you can make a donation even if you don't have any fines). They will then be given to the campus food bank to help Saint Mary's students And cash is also welcome.

This year's campaign runs from January 30 to February 10. So don't miss this chance to save some money (you'll have to pay off those fines some time) while contributing to a great cause.

Need your University ID?

A lot of new students (and a few professors too) arrive at Saint Mary's each January. They may have transferred from another school, they may be upgrading their education after being in the workforce for a while. Perhaps they're here to learn English at our TESL Centre.

The one thing they have in common is that they'll all need an official Saint Mary's ID card. And you get those at the Library. It's not only a handy thing to have, it's needed to get the student bus pass, to use The Tower, to qualify for discounts around town and, of course, it's also your library card.

There's an office for producing ID cards on the main floor of the Library. And it's open:

Monday 10-2, 6-8
Tuesday 10-2, 6-8
Wednesday 10-2, 6-8
Thursday 10-2, 6-8
Friday 10-2, On demand
Saturday 1-5
Sunday 3-7

Bring your best smile.

Nice to see you back

The library's starting to fill up. Things are picking up where they left off.

But January is very different from December. You don't have the holidays. But you don't have exams or those big end-0f-term assignments either. Some 1/2 credit courses are over and done, already fading into memory, some are just getting started (new stuff to learn, new profs to learn from). And those loooong September all the way to April full credits? Well, at least you know what's in store. You know what you signed up for.

And remember, whatever the course, whatever the assignment, whether you're in the midst of your first year, or your last, we can help. Got a paper that won't write itself? Don't know where to find those journal articles your professor insists upon? Don't know what a journal article is? Go to the Library's Information Desk and just ask. That's what they're there for. It will make the term, and your life, a lot easier.

Hope you had a…