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Category: News

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Survey: Teaching with streaming media and DVDs

Do you use streaming media and DVDs for instruction? TMU Libraries is conducting a survey to learn more about multimedia needs for teaching. Fill out our brief survey (15 – 20 mins) and let us know about your current usage, challenges, and costs.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help to better inform our collection development priorities and licensing needs. 

Fill out survey: Teaching with streaming media and DVDs

The survey deadline is May 31, 2023.

Library withhold: winter term 2023

We hope everyone is having a successful exam period – the Winter term is almost complete!

· Please clear any outstanding fines and return overdue items as soon as possible. Visit the renewals page to see if you have overdue items or fines greater than $25. Students with fines greater than $25 will not be able to view their grades until their accounts are cleared.

· All fines can be paid to TMU Libraries at the Circulation Desk either by VISA, MasterCard, American Express or with your OneCard. TMU Libraries also accepts credit card payment by phone – please call 416-979-2149. We do not accept personal cheques.· We understand that this is a trying time, if you have questions or concerns about fines or overdue items, please contact Library Circulation

CUPE 233 labour update

CUPE 233 has informed the university that the union will be implementing work to rule, effective April 13 and will initiate a strike as of April 17.

If visiting TMU Libraries prior to your exam, or if planning to take an online exam at the library, we encourage you to leave extra time to make it through picket lines on time.

Please see the full update for more details

TMU Libraries now home to massive collection of theatre history

Theatre aficionado saved over 4,000 theatre programs making it one of the largest personal collections

Article by: Michelle Grady

Theatre aficionado Paul Christie, who worked at the Elgin-Winter Garden Theatre for over 25 years, donated his large personal collection of playbills and theatre programs dating back to 1952 to the TMU Libraries Special Collections. Photo by Jaye Huynh


TMU students and faculty interested in the history of Canadian theatre will now have access to one of the largest private collections of theatre playbills and programs from Toronto, Broadway and London’s West end dating back nearly 70 years.

Theatre aficionado Paul Christie, who was well known in the theatre community in Toronto, amassed a huge personal collection of playbills and programs dating back to 1953, which has kindly been donated to the TMU Libraries Special Collections.

“Before Paul passed in 2021, he and I were talking one day and I asked him, ‘what would you want done with your collection when you’re gone?” says Arnie Lappin, Christie’s close friend and colleague at the Elgin-Winter Garden Theatre, where he worked as an usher for 25 years. Christie’s collection is extensive, dating from 1952 to 2020 and it includes approximately 4,000 theatre bills and programs, as well as ticket stubs, reviews and images from performances.

The collection is open to the TMU community and the public upon request of TMU Libraries Special Collections. Photo by Jaye Huynh


After extensive research and consideration, Lappin connected with the TMU Libraries’s Special Collections, where students and researchers at the School of Performance, as well as the general public, could access this extensive archive of theatre materials and dive into a great historical record of theatre in Toronto.

“It was really important that these go somewhere where they would be accessed by students and that they would be used and appreciated and have a life in research,” says Alison Skyrme, special collections librarian. She and her team at the Special Collections have been busy cataloguing and digitizing Christie’s collection, which will be ready for full access come summertime.

A theatre buff and mentor

Paul Christie’s deep love of theatre is evidenced in his expansive collection of theatre bills and programs dating back to 1953.


Christie had a deep personal interest in theatre productions, says Lappin. “Paul’s knowledge of the performing arts was peerless, and he unconditionally supported the careers of generations of emerging actors, singers and writers.”

Though he worked as a court reporter professionally, he also worked and volunteered for over 25 years at various Toronto theatres, including the Elgin-Winter Garden Theatre, where he met Lappin. “All during his life he was a mentor to hundreds of aspiring performers, writers and directors – attending their shows, events, reading their books and scripts. As he neared retirement he began working at Toronto theatres as an usher and eventually worked at the Elgin-Winter Garden Theatre Centre in that capacity for 25 years.”

Christie organized his collection of about 4,000 theatre bills and programs in binders by date, and included reviews or images that appeared in the theatre section of the paper. Skyrme says the Library is keeping these materials as they catalogue everything.

“I think the history of theatre in Toronto is really held here,” she says. “There are programs from other cities as well, but it’s mainly focused on Toronto, and it’s really fascinating to see that there were theatres that no longer exist, including one called the Crest Theatre.”

Though there are databases online that contain information about theatre productions in Toronto, Skyrme says she isn’t certain how far they go back. “This collection has information that might not be available anywhere else.”

“The fact that it is so organized means that his intentions in the collection are very clear. We know exactly how he accessed them himself and how he wanted them to be catalogued,” she says. “So we tried to stay true to that and keep it as he had organized it.”

The collection will be available to view at the Library’s Special Collections this spring.


Article posted on TMU Today, March 23

Second World War-era comics see new life

181 comic books published during the 1940s serve as a trove of research possibilities

Olivia Wong, Special Collections curatorial specialist, takes us through the comics. Photo credit: Photos by Ryan Walker.

Everyone knows Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, but thanks to a generous anonymous donation, TMU students and researchers can get a glimpse of Canada’s own comic book history and heroes.

In February 2015, TMU received a donation of 181 rare Canadian comic books from the Second World War, featuring such legends of Canadian pop culture as Nelvana of the Northern Lights and Canada Jack.

“It’s the holy grail of Canadian comics,” says TMU Professor Andrew O’Malley, who has used the collection for his own research, including his project “Comic Books, Children’s Culture and the Crisis of Innocence, 1940-1954.” Classes in the English department have also used the collection for curations.

Read the full article by Michelle Grady in the latest issue of Toronto Met University Magazine.


Mark Robertson appointed chief librarian at TMU Libraries

As Toronto Metropolitan University’s Chief Librarian, Mark Robertson will support students, programs and initiatives as well as scholarly, research and creative activities, and the continued development of undergraduate and graduate programs.

Accomplished leader joins TMU from Brock University

From the Interim Provost and Vice-President, Academic

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Robertson as Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU)’s chief librarian effective July 1, 2023.

With more than 24 years of experience working in academic libraries, Mark joins us from Brock University where he has been university librarian since 2016. As a member of Brock’s senior administrative council, Mark developed a new strategic plan and master space plan for the library, saw the opening of a new makerspace and provided leadership for the establishment of an open access policy. Further, his work to strengthen the library acquisitions budget resulted in a significant rise in the library’s performance in the Maclean’s Magazine rankings of  comprehensive universities in Canada.

Prior to Brock, Mark spent 17 years at York University, including eight years as associate university librarian for information services.

“Over the years I have had opportunities to collaborate with such talented people at the TMU libraries,” said Robertson. “I have always been struck by the spirit of creativity and innovation. I am excited and honoured to be joining as chief librarian.”

In his new role Mark will work collaboratively with more than 100 internal library staff as well as academic units across the university and the external community to facilitate new opportunities for innovation and excellence in library services. His portfolio will support a growing academic community and provide crucial academic learning, creation and research resources, programs, services and spaces to the university.

“While I’ll be new at the university,” he said, “in many ways coming to TMU brings my career full circle. My first professional job was only blocks from the campus, and I’ve always felt deeply invested in Toronto. It’s exciting to me the way that the university has carved a unique niche for itself in its mix of academic programs, commitment to innovation, social justice, and for its role in city-building. I am thrilled to be joining the TMU team.”

An active member of the board of directors for the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, Mark also chairs the Canadian Association of Research Libraries Impact Framework Working Group and is a longtime member of the Ontario Council of University Libraries and Canadian Association of Research Libraries directors.

Mark earned his bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto, followed by a master of arts in philosophy from McMaster University, and a master of information studies from the University of Toronto. He attended the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians in 2009 before participating in the prestigious Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows Program.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dana Thomas, whose leadership as interim chief librarian has contributed greatly to our community.

Thank you to all committee members  for their significant contributions to this successful search:

Kelly Kimberley
Acting Associate Chief Librarian, Teaching and Learning

Richard Lachman
Associate Professor, The Creative School; Director, Zone Learning; Research Development; Experiential Media Institute

Raquel Lashley
Student, Master of Nursing

Lisa Levesque
Assessment Librarian, Law Library

Rosalynn Mackenzie
Archival Technician

Jen McMillen
Vice-Provost, Students

Jason Nolan
Associate Professor, Early Childhood Studies

Nazia Sheikh
Business Liaison Librarian

Fangmin Wang
Computer and Data Science Liaison Librarian

Please join me in welcoming Mark to TMU and offering best wishes in his new role.

Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano
Interim Provost and Vice-President, Academic


Open Education Week at TMU


This year, TMU Libraries, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and the Chang School are celebrating Open Education (OE) Week, March 6-10, 2023, by highlighting work being done at the university in support of open education.

Join us for a series of OE week events. Hear from faculty who have developed open textbooks and course materials, explore the latest open educational resources in your discipline, and learn more about how to create new and innovative open teaching materials that can improve students’ educational experience.


OE Week events at the Library

Open Education Resources (OER) and treats

Date: March 7
Time: 1 p.m. –  2 p.m.

Students are welcome to drop by the OE Week Table (main floor of the Library) to grab a treat and learn more about Open Education Resources, including free textbooks and teaching resources that are high quality and can save students money. 


Now is the time for open educational resources hackathon  

Date: March 8
Time: 10 a.m – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom

Discover open educational resources (OER) to use in teaching. Learn how to search for the latest open educational resources in specific disciplines, and contribute to the online book of OER related to TMU curriculum: Now Is The Time For Open Educational Resources. 


Other OE Week events at TMU: 

Open education matters: panel discussion with TMU open champions

Date: March 9
Time: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

This panel discussion, moderated by Sean Kheraj, Vice-Provost Academic, brings together open champions from around TMU to share their experiences developing or supporting open educational resources (OER).


Sean Kheraj, Vice-Provost Academic


Cynthia Holmes, Associate Dean, Faculty & Academic, Ted Rogers School of Management

Nadia Prendergast, Assistant Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing

Megan Omstead, Graduate Program Coordinator, School of Nutrition


The Chang School’s Virtual Lunch & Learn: Let’s Talk OER! 

Date: March 7
Time: 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

The Chang School’s Teaching & Learning Committee and Open Education at TMU team invites you to a virtual Lunch & Learn on Tuesday, March 7 at 12:00 p.m. During this hour-long session, hear from panelists who were awarded The Chang School’s Open Education Resource (OER) Grants. These grants support creation and/or adaptation of Open Textbooks and Open Educational Resources in collaboration with students and colleagues across disciplines. The panel will share their experiences in actively creating OER, as well as their perspectives on using OER in their teaching. Please RSVP.


2023 International Love Data Week, Feb. 13 – 17

International Love Data Week is a global event held annually in February to raise awareness of the importance of research data management, sharing and reuse. 

This year’s theme is Data: Agent of Change – a prompt to think about how data can be used to bring about positive impact and change. 

Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries is hosting the following workshops during Love Data Week 2023:


An Introduction to Open Data

Monday, Feb. 13, 12 p.m.- 1 p.m.


Planning for Data Sharing: Writing a Data Management Plan  

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.


Who is counted? How to use the Census of Canada timeline to search for ethno-racial and Indigenous identities

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.


An Introduction to Scholars GeoPortal and SimplyAnalytics 

Thursday, Feb. 13, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.


Please join us if you love data!



Searching for data on Indigenous and ethnoracial identities

Our goal in developing the guide on Indigenous and ethnoracial data was to contribute to building and designing equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist data communities - Data Librarian Kevin ManuelExposing the complex history of data collection and the Census of Canada

Looking for data to support research on racialized people and Indigenous groups in Canada? It might be worth a long scroll through the history of the Census of Canada–its origins, practices, terminology and evolution as it defines, in part, how we view and explain Canada. 

Data Librarian Kevin Manuel, with co-authors Data Services Coordinator Alexandra Cooper, Queens University Library, and Data Services Librarian Rosa Orlandini, York University Libraries, recently had their 2022 research article “Who is counted? Ethno-racial and indigenous identities in the Census of Canada, 1871-2021” published in the open access journal International Association for Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST) Quarterly’s special issue on Systemic Racism in Data Practices.

Outlining obstacles researchers face when looking at datasets, the authors review the Census’s modifications to terminology and the ways in which it has asked entho-racial origin questions, noting that “the collection of racial, ethnic, or Indigenous data has changed throughout the years and from Census to Census.”

Since 1871, the Census has been used to collect socio-demographic data, and as a tool to understand where, how and who lives in Canada. Information collected is used to help direct funding for resources and inform policy. However, who is included and how, has significantly impacted the snapshot(s) of Canada, and has created obstacles for researchers working on understanding Indigenous and racialized groups, and their experiences.

Going back to the beginning, Manuel et al., examine when and how Indigenous and entho-racial identities started to be included, and how. In 1911, the Census began collecting information on new settlers, but excluded racialized and Indigenous groups. As it evolved, data collection expanded to include ethno-racial groups and with it changes to terminology and questions. Terms, at different times, included: place of origin, racial origin, ethnic origin, ethnic or cultural group, but distinctions between these terms has not been clearly defined. While expanding, confusion regarding what that meant, remains.

For researchers looking to the Census for data specifically on Indigenous groups, understanding its history is equally important. It wasn’t until 1986 that questions related to Indigenous identities were asked separately from racial and ethnic origin questions. Previous to 1986, questions regarding Indigenous identity appeared under ‘origin’ as ‘Indian.’ A term in which immigrants from India would have also related.

Further confusing datasets, the Census required Indigenous peoples to follow ancestral lineage, but how varied from year to year. For example, in 1941 and 1951 respondents could mark ‘Indian’ or ‘Eskimo’ based on their father’s origin. Other years, ‘origin’ was based on maternal ancestry. 

It is important to note that today Métis, Inuit and First Nations are recognized as Indigenous peoples. 

As a data librarian, Manuel is all too familiar with the complexities and systemic racism present in collecting, finding, researching and understanding how data is organized, as well as how it varies between sources and from country to country (there are no international standards).

“It is challenging for researchers comparing Census data over time to examine Indigenous and ethno-racial data as the classifications have changed significantly from the colonial era to the present,” says Manuel.

To help address some of the issues in researching historical data, Manuel, Cooper and Orlandini created a ‘Data on Racialized Populations’ guide available publicly on the Scholars Portal.

The guide is “a curated list of datasets that include ethnicity and race variables which can be used to facilitate anti-racism research in Canada,” and is intended as a starting point for researchers.

“Our goal in developing the guide on Indigenous and ethnoracial data was to contribute to building and designing equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist data communities,” says Manuel.

While the guide provides an invaluable resource, there remains much work to be done in identifying and understanding systemic racism in data collection and bringing about change. In addition to this work, Manuel is the program co-chair of this year’s IASSIST 2023 Conference. The theme of the 2023 conference is Diversity in Research: Social Justice from Data. 

In continuing to work towards building more equitable data communities, the conference’s theme intends to address issues in data collection, and shine a light on obstacles faced in searching datasets. “We hope to achieve greater inclusivity of presentations and discussions about data that is collected regarding people that are marginalized, and set a precedent for embedding more diversity in our conferences going forward,” says Manuel. 


Data Librarian Kevin Manuel is hosting a presentation and discussion (Feb. 16) during Love Data Week titled: Who is counted? How to use the Census of Canada timeline to search for ethno-racial and Indigenous identities

Learn more and register



Three undergraduates receive the 2022 Virginia Edinger Walker University Library Research Award for excellence in scholarly work


2022 Virginia Edinger Walker University Library Research Award recipients.

“Research is about building on previous knowledge and expanding on new ideas,” says psychology student Omega L. who received one of three 2022 Virginia Edinger University Library Research Awards.

The award recognized student achievement in original research with a special focus on the critical use of library resources and research skills. Established by Petros Dratsidis and TMU Libraries for the 2021/2022 academic year, the prize celebrated Dratsidis’s late wife Professor Virginia Edinger Walker– an art historian who taught at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) for more than 20 years.

Recent TMU graduates Omega L.,Tara R. and Carmina T., were selected for their outstanding 2022 essay submissions, receiving an award of $2000 each. While honouring the legacy of Professor Walker, the award also shone a bright spotlight on the academic excellence of these three students.

Omega L.

Described by her supervisor, Professor David Day, as having a passion for learning and the motivation to work hard, Omega L received the prize for her thesis that examined domestic assault by a female perpetrator and the perception of the severity of the incident, attribution of blame and the similarity of effects on the study participants. Omega’s work was “a unique study in a literature that has previously only examined such defined characteristics as gender, age, and ethnicity/racialized groups as the independent variables,” says Day

Making extensive use of library resources, Omega conducted a comprehensive literature and critical review of the established research. In doing so, she learned the effectiveness of a literature review in providing a coherent account of current research and data. “It helped to further develop critical thinking skills when analyzing the methods used in articles and assessing the articles’ strengths and weaknesses,” she says. The review ultimately helped her develop a new area of investigation.  

Tara R.

Recent TSRM graduate, Tara R. submitted her fourth-year paper, in which she argues that the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) should be amended to address representation gaps. The paper not only thoroughly impressed her professor, but also the award adjudicators. In her letter of support for Tara’s submission, TRSM Professor Pnina Alon-Shenker reflects that her “paper demonstrated outstanding research skills and allowed (Tara) to advance an argument, which was well supported by rich and compelling literature on the subject matter.” 

Tara feels the experience of writing the paper helped her refine research skills, which she’ll continue to use in future academic work. “This paper informed my scholarly development, inquiry, critical thinking, and research skills by challenging my ability to conduct comprehensive research,” she says.

Carmina T.

Carmina T. was selected for the undergraduate honours psychology thesis stream and worked on a research project and paper with Professor Sarah Dermody. Her paper titled Examining the Relationship between Drinking Motives and Minority Stress in Transgender Adults who Drink, received top marks for its demonstration of outstanding research and quality of paper. Dermody describes Carmina as “highly skilled in identifying relevant research literature from TMU Library resources and incorporating them into a cohesive and convincing narrative,” noting that her literature review was one of the “best [she’d] reviewed” by an undergraduate student. Carmina also notes that “writing the thesis proposal was a great learning experience in terms of research adequacy and preparation for graduate school.”

For all three undergraduate scholars, the Virginia Edinger Walker University Library Research Award rewards their pursuits in undertaking rigorous, new research. The skills acquired in searching, finding, reviewing and analyzing studies in order to understand and build new areas for inquiry, are celebrated with this award. 

“Papers and studies are often recognized, but the research skills, resources and work undertaken for those papers and studies is often overlooked, particularly with regard to awards,” says Dana Thomas, interim chief librarian. “The Virginia Edinger Walker University Library Research Award celebrates that work in pursuit of academic excellence. We are so pleased to be able to acknowledge these young scholars in honour of Professor Walker.”


TMU Libraries offers monthly research skills workshops. Open to all TMU students, workshops are designed to instruct students on topics that range from understanding literature and systematic reviews to managing data to search skills for specific databases and online resources. To learn more and register for upcoming workshops, visit: TMU Libraries – Workshops