McGill Library


Since the founding of the University two centuries ago, the McGill Library & Archives sits at the centre of the teaching, research and learning enterprise that is at the core of the University’s mission. The Library serves as the virtual and physical repository for generations of collective knowledge and a home away from home for thousands of scholars. Information experts continue to innovate services to reflect the evolving needs of higher education.

Four Notable Contributions

Building a community of learning through excellence in service and outreach

Excellence in service and outreach to the community is at the heart of the Library’s mission. Since 1829, McGill Library has advanced teaching, learning, research on campus. Thousands of students, staff, and faculty members have taken part in Library interactions like research consultations, workshops, and tours. The Library also fosters lifelong learning and knowledge sharing with the wider community. It is embedded in the fabric of Montreal’s arts and culture scene – public art tours, special events, exhibitions and a robust lecture series including three named lectures organized by the Friends of the McGill Library are just a few of the initiatives programmed throughout the year. In addition, thousands of items from McGill Library’s rare, archival, and special collections have been loaned out and showcased at cultural institutions around the world, creating moments of discovery with McGill, its people, its stories, and its extraordinary collections.

Preserving & sharing heritage collections

Since the 1850s, the McGill Library has been recognized among many of its peer institutions for the scholarly strength and depth of its unique, rare, archival, and special collections, whose vast and impressive holdings have been carefully amassed through gifts and acquisitions. More than 250,000 items are not held anywhere else in the world. Preserving, stewarding, and sharing all treasures with students, faculty, visiting scholars, and the community continues to be of paramount importance.

Soaring to digital spaces

Since 1996, McGill Library has digitized millions of pages featuring McGill’s rare, unique, archival, and special collections that are in the public domain by making them available online, for free, to users around the world. The creation and preservation of quality digital surrogates enhances the usability of our collections opening up new ways of textual searching, analysis, or manipulation. McGill’s digital exhibitions and collections can be accessed by scholars and the general public on the Library’s website and major international repositories such as the Internet Archive and HathiTrust.

Expanding & evolving e-resources

From the founding of McGill in 1821 to 2003, the McGill Library catalogued two million items; in the past 18 years that amount has quadrupled to over 8 million holdings. McGill now has more e-resources than print materials. Scholars can access information from anywhere in the world making the Library an indispensable partner in research.