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The Locations of GSLIS

The Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, in its several forms, has been located in various buildings throughout McGill's downtown campus (or the immediate area).

The Redpath Library

Redpath Library in 1893 (JPG 32kb)
The "new" Redpath Library in 1893. (McGill University Archives pr038031)

The Library was bestowed upon McGill in 1893 by the Redpath family. It would become the main library at McGill and would be extended several times.

The Library School would be located in the basement of the new library. The Library's main attraction would be its large reading room whose acoustics caused much echoing. Students were asked to maintain absolute silence in order that they not bother their colleagues.

 

The Redpath Library Extension

The Nobbs and Hyde extension to Redpath Library in 1921 (JPG 31kb)
The Nobbs and Hyde extension to Redpath Library in 1921 can be seen to the left of the photograph. (McGill University Archives pl032160)

In 1921, the architects Percy Nobbs and George Taylor Hyde designed an extension to the Redpath Library which incorporated the design of the original building.

The School would actually be located above ground in its new home.

The Redpath Library "New" Extension

The 1952 extension to Redpath Library (JPG 26kb)
The 1952 extension to Redpath (McGill University Archives pr020337)

The 1952 extension to Redpath Library, which did not attempt to replicate the original design, also caused the School to move to more spacious surroundings which provided larger, more modern instructional facilities.

The new extension housed several special collection libraries including the Blacker-Wood Library of Zoology and Ornithology.

Martlet House

Martlet house was home from 1966 to 1969 (JPG 38kb)
Martlet House (also known as the Hallward mansion) became home for a few years in the late 1960s (McGill University Archives pr035354).

Certainly a grand mansion in typical Montreal style, the "Hallward" mansion was not particularly suited to an academic department but its wood interior did have its charm.

Martlet House was a temporary location for the School from 1966 to 1969 until special facilities were built in the new McLennan Library building.

McLennan Library Building

McLennan Library looking north c. 1969 (JPG 32kb)
McLennan Library Building with GSLIS at street level (McGill University Archives ps005028k).

Named for McGill benefactor Isabella McLennan (and not the writer Hugh McLennan) the McLennan Library has been the campus' main library since 1969.

The School moved to its McLennan premises in 1969. The new premises included a Library Science Library located which was located on the same floor as the School, immediately across from the Student Lounge, and provided a practical learning area for the students.

The School remains at McLennan to this day although space reductions (the Library Science Library was closed in the mid 1990s) and increasing enrolment may necessitate a change of scenery in the not too distant future.

NB: The majority of the text on this page is excerpted from Virtual McGill at the Canadian Architecture Collection of McGill University.

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Yes, we had our own library

One would think that a library school program would have its very own library so that students could practice their pending career in a suitable environment. However, the School's library was closed in 1994 with the collection moved to the conveniently located 6th floor of the McLennan Library building. Only a calendar description of the library remains from its final year:

"The Library and Information Studies Library, which is part of the Humanities and Social Sciences Area, performs a primary function of serving the School's students and faculty in curricular and research work and a secondary service function to the McGill community and practising librarians in the Montreal area.

The collection includes over 30,000 monograph volumes and holdings for some 500 periodical titles. In addition to the main body of professional literature ... there is a collection of rare children's books and current children's and young adult literature."

 

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