International Talk Like a Pirate Day – September 19th, 2021

Ahoy, me library hearties! For just a barrel o’ fun, we’ve created a tab on our Library Leisure Guide for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th, 2021).

From general history and classic pirate books in our collection (It that Long John Silver yonder?) to pirate-themed movies in our library databases (It’s CAPTAIN Jack!), check it all out before we sail away!

International Talk Like a Pirate Day tab

Library Leisure Guide

Indigenous Conversations and the Library – Library Guide

We are pleased to launch a new library guide called Indigenous Conversations and the Library.

The purpose of this subject guide is to provide a general source of information for current Indigenous conversations, issues and social movements. 

Where possible academic resources via the university library have been provided, but external sources are also noted for general information and research.  This guide is a living resource and will be updated whenever possible.

The guide can be found here:

Image courtesy of Arlysse Quiring. Read more about artist Martha Tawiyaka and their work here.

Library Leisure Guide – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Rosh Hashanah will take place from Monday September 6 to Wednesday September 8 (2021) and Yom Kippur will take place from Wednesday September 15 to Thursday September 16 (2021).

We’ve created a new tab on the Library Leisure Guide Holidays & Celebrations tab! Check out information about the traditions, try your hand at a few recipes, and more!

Holidays & Celebrations Tab

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Tab

Library Leisure Guide

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Archer Book Club – Fall 2021

The Archer Book Club team is delighted to offer three reading selections and meetings over the Fall 2021 semester:

September 22, 2021: 12-1pm, Title: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

October 27, 2021: 12-1pm, Title: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (50th Anniversary). Professor Marcel DeCoste (Department of English) will join us for the discussion.

November 24, 2021: 12-1pm, Title: Dog’s Best Friend? edited by John Sorenson and Atsuko Matsuoka

To attend please reply directly to this email (please do not reply all), OR visit the Archer Book Club page and contact us there: Please note that all book club meetings will continue on Zoom for the Fall 2021 semester. We will be sending out Zoom information closer to the time for all those who have signed up.

More information about September’s selection (including how to access it), discussion points, etc. can also be found at the above page (vote for future book selections too!)

Staff, faculty and students are all welcome!

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Meet Michael Shires

Meet Michael Shires, Col­lec­tion Devel­op­ment and Sub­ject Librar­i­an at the Dr. Archer Library & Archives

The following post is based on excerpts of an interview conducted by Ellen Paulley, Communications Officer for URFA, and it is published with permission.  The original interview is available at

What is a Col­lec­tion Devel­op­ment and Sub­ject Librarian?

First, I’ll men­tion that all librar­i­ans and archivists at Archer Library hold fac­ul­ty sta­tus, so there are 14 in-scope librar­i­ans. Regard­ing col­lec­tions, I coor­di­nate review­ing some fac­ul­ty requests for new phys­i­cal and e‑book pur­chas­es. Deci­sions are based on var­i­ous cri­te­ria: price, if it sup­ports teach­ing, research and cur­ricu­lum development. 

I also over­see phys­i­cal book dona­tions, but we do get the odd dona­tion of music records and items that might be suit­able for place­ment in spe­cial col­lec­tions, like old­er mate­ri­als. We can often be gift­ed with unique titles, or at times we’re rely­ing on fac­ul­ty requests for new items to sup­port cur­ricu­lum and research. When fac­ul­ty retire, they often will think of the library and donate their mate­ri­als. I love dona­tions work. It’s real­ly inter­est­ing — it’s kind of like get­ting gifts, so it’s fun. 

Regard­ing being a sub­ject librar­i­an, I pro­vide library sup­ports, which include instruc­tion and show­ing how to use our online resources and ser­vices, pro­vid­ing research and ref­er­ence assis­tance to stu­dents and fac­ul­ty in dif­fer­ent depart­ments and fac­ul­ties. Part of that library sup­port involves, espe­cial­ly with stu­dents, instill­ing a knowl­edge of infor­ma­tion lit­er­a­cy which involves devel­op­ing crit­i­cal think­ing skills and eval­u­at­ing sources used in the library’s many databases. 

Part of your work is explor­ing and ful­fill­ing requests for new resources. Do you also seek out new resources or materials?

For col­lec­tions, we have a com­mit­tee called CAT, or the Col­lec­tions Assess­ment Team. CAT includes the Head of Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices and Col­lec­tions, myself, and oth­er sub­ject librar­i­ans. We meet reg­u­lar­ly through­out the year and assess data­base license renewals. Deci­sion-mak­ing is based on var­i­ous cri­te­ria includ­ing usage sta­tis­tics, cost per down­load and how resources sup­port teach­ing, research, and cur­ricu­lum devel­op­ment. When funds are avail­able, offers for one-time pur­chas­es of spe­cial­ized online his­tor­i­cal col­lec­tions are discussed. 

How has your work as a librar­i­an been impact­ed by COVID-19 and what adap­ta­tions have you made?

Like every­body else, we quick­ly and fair­ly suc­cess­ful­ly piv­ot­ed to serv­ing the uni­ver­si­ty com­mu­ni­ty online last March. But it was­n’t much of an issue for the more than 50 librar­i­ans and library staff. One of the main rea­sons is that many of our resources have been online for decades; you can access them from any­where. One chal­lenge was how peo­ple could request to loan mate­ri­als in our phys­i­cal col­lec­tions when those areas in the library build­ing were closed.

For the most part, the library’s main floor has been open by appoint­ment where peo­ple can book a time and come in for books that we can­not pro­vide as an e‑book. We have a dig­i­ti­za­tion ser­vice where we can scan, based on copy­right laws, a cer­tain per­cent­age of a book and then it can be uploaded onto an instructor’s read­ing list in UR Cours­es. This ser­vice was in place before COVID, but knowl­edge of that, and demand, has increased tremendously. 

The library has pro­vid­ed access to many more e‑books tem­porar­i­ly that oth­er libraries have scanned. It’s kind of a con­sor­tium of libraries shar­ing their resources.

In my case, with dona­tions, that’s crawled to a halt. I’ve reviewed one major dona­tion but there are many box­es I need to go through, some­thing I can­not do at home. A lot of my meet­ings with col­leagues and some library instruc­tion ses­sions, I have done online, which has advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages, but it works. Like oth­ers, I miss the hall­way con­ver­sa­tions, the face-to-face.

The com­mon mis­con­cep­tion is that the library closed. We phys­i­cal­ly were closed for a while, but we’re avail­able through Zoom, chat and email every day, sev­en days a week.

Is there a unique or obscure book or item in the col­lec­tion you can highlight?

Our old­est book is in spe­cial col­lec­tions. It’s in Latin and I’ve got the Google trans­la­tion: In the Hebra­ic Ques­tions on Gen­e­sis as well as over the twelve to take the expla­na­tion of the Divine Jerome the younger and the four prophets, by his par­ents, with the priv­i­lege of the new­ly impresse Com­men­taria in the Bible by heart. It was pub­lished around the year 1497 CE. The binding’s been redone but the pages are orig­i­nal so it’s a mas­sive book. There’s only one copy in the world and we own that copy.

Next thing unique to Archer is we have a great col­lec­tion of dif­fer­ent edi­tions of the nov­el Robin­son Cru­soe. The book turned 300 years old in 2019. We have one of the biggest col­lec­tions of Robin­son Cru­soe nov­els in Cana­da, get­ting back to like the 6th edi­tion up to copies in dif­fer­ent lan­guages; we have a copy in Pit­man shorthand. 

There are so many books. How does a library decide which nov­el to collect?

That’s real­ly part of col­lec­tion devel­op­ment and donat­ing. When I was giv­en this assign­ment of spe­cial col­lec­tions, it was deter­mined that Dr. John Archer, who was the head of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na Library at the time back in the ear­ly 70s, pur­chased many old books on dif­fer­ent sub­jects. He pur­chased this col­lec­tion from a book­seller in Mon­tréal in the ear­ly 70s and it includ­ed all of these Robin­son Cru­soe titles.

What do you find the best part of being a librarian?

I real­ly enjoy the one-on-one ses­sions with stu­dents — you can real­ly spend a lot of time and answer the ques­tions and do some search­ing with them. And then there is that moment where they begin to under­stand, it’s a cycli­cal process of defin­ing your research top­ic, nar­row­ing it down, choos­ing a data­base, devel­op­ing a search strat­e­gy, find­ing rel­e­vant arti­cles, maybe going back and revis­ing. It’s a cir­cu­lar, cycli­cal process. And if stu­dents can under­stand that, then I’ve been successful.

I want to try and instill in stu­dents that we have lots of infor­ma­tion to help you. I’m here to help you nav­i­gate a path­way through using those mate­ri­als and it’s a chal­lenge, but I enjoy it.

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Meet Our New University Archivist, Alyssa Hyduk

This summer a new University Archivist, Alyssa Hyduk, joined the Archer Library family. We asked Alyssa to tell us three things she enjoys about being an archivist:

1. You get a true, authentic feel for life outside of your own time. Seeing how people spoke, reading the handwriting, understanding what they valued and what motivated them-I think it’s all brilliant, and it really does put your own life in perspective while simultaneously connecting you to the past.

2. You never know what you’re going to get. I’ve been going through collections about ornithology when I suddenly came upon naked pictures of the researcher. I’ve had to chase silk-worm pupae across the floor because it’s fallen out of a textile scrapbook. You truly never know what you’re going to find in a collection, so the thrill, (and shock), of discovery never goes away!

3. I love connecting the dots for people, especially in genealogical research. It’s such a wonderful thing to see the joy, shock, satisfaction, (and sometimes even horror), on people’s faces when they finally find that missing piece of the puzzle; when they find the branch on the family tree, or the passenger records of their ancestors, or the birth certificate of an unknown family member. Things like that, which are 100% human, unfiltered reactions, make my job incredibly worthwhile.

Welcome to the U of R, Alyssa!

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Hyduk.

July Book Club: #Notyourprincess

This month’s book club features an anthology of works called #Notyourprincess, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale. Including stories, poems, photographs, essays and more, the book can be viewed online through the university library system here:

Join us Wednesday July 21st at 12pm for online conversation via Zoom. To sign up, please visit our page here (email info on the home page):

For information about the book, discussion points and more, visit the July tab (Check out our summer reading list too!):

Staff, faculty and students are all welcome!

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Summer Reading

Looking for something new to read? Interested in reading more about a hot topic? Craving a cozy movie night with a literary adaptation? Well, the Archer Book Club has a new Summer Reading page!

We have three sections of books:
-Hot Topics and Critical Conversations (non-fiction and fiction)
-Classic Summer Reading (all available through the university library)
-For the Beach and Rainy Days (all fiction)

Not only that, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the page we’ve got a few ideas for newer literary adaptation films (all movies available through our databases)!

Whenever possible we have listed items available through the library, but if not each book has a link with more information about it, and we encourage you to consider options like your local public library.

Check it all out on the Archer Book Club page here:

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