McGill does Ottawa

On the weekend, I went to Ottawa with some classmates to visit a few libraries. What better way to feel inspired about librarianship than to actually visit some of the most beautiful and interesting libraries in the country? I’m lucky that Montreal is so close to Ottawa, but I’m sure anyone could find some interesting libraries within driving distance.

We started with the Library of Parliament, which is absolutely gorgeous, and one of the librarians gave us a full tour, including the less than glamourous but still interesting basement stacks. Library of Parliament

After lunch, we visited the library at the National Gallery of Canada, which is less impressive architecturally but fascinating from an information perspective (especially for my classmate Rosanne, who has a special interest in art history). The librarian who showed us around even gave us a whole stack of meticulously designed pamphlets advertising past exhibitions. Library of the National Gallery

Finally, we were shown around the Ottawa Public Library. More than one of the librarians expressed frustration with the lagging plans for a new facility, and indeed, the building was far from photogenic. We did, however, meet a number of librarians from different departments, each with a unque perspective on the roles of the library, and we left with our bags full of promotional materials for the library so we could learn more about the programs they offer.

This was a great opportunity, and I highly recommend organizing this kind of trip. Feel free to let me know about experiences you’ve had touring libraries, and for more photos, click the ones above to find my Flickr stream.

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7 thoughts on “McGill does Ottawa

  1. Think I might have preferred your field trip. The Library of Parliament is gorgeous! Am I understanding correctly that y’all organized the trip yourselves?

  2. My classmate Meghan did most of the organizing – she contacted a student who had organized a similar trip last year, so she didn’t have to start from scratch in terms of figuring out how to set up the tours. She took on the responsibility as part of her role in the McGill Library and Information Studies Student Association’s executive, and she has since written up a report with recommendations for how such a trip should be organized next year.

  3. The New York Public library has a great tour. It’s a beautiful building and has lots of historic exhibits. We hung around to chat for a few minutes with the librarian giving the tour afterwards, who turned out to be a fellow Georgian.

  4. Thanks, Jason – I’ve actually been thinking about popping down to NYC between the end of school and the beginning of my summer job, so if I have the chance, I’ll check out the library for sure.

  5. If you do go to NYC, be sure to go to the Morgan Library & Museum as well. The room JP Morgan built for his books is absolutely beautiful, and the museum often has good book-related exhibits. When I was there last year they had a very interesting one on the development on the concept of a “best seller” during the Victorian era.

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