Symposium to tackle library’s role in teaching, learning and research


Vivian Lewis’ work as a librarian has changed dramatically in a career that has spanned more than two decades.

“We used to take care of physical collections and allowed access in whatever ways we could, mainly to support research,” says the acting University Librarian. “Now, the library is the whole world. The walls came down years ago, and we’re responsible for providing access not just to physical collections, but to the global literature.”

Lewis says that task has been extremely exciting – and challenging.

That’s why more than 100 faculty, staff and visitors will gather at McMaster Friday for a special symposium on the library’s future role in teaching, learning and research.

Speakers include the Education Advisory Board’s David Attis, Queen’s University’s Martha Whitehead, the University of Alabama’s Heidi Julien and McMaster’s Parminder Raina. They will discuss everything from the move to digital services and data management to information literacy and the power of research library partnerships.

“The library is a vital part of any research-intensive institution like McMaster,” says Provost David Wilkinson. “The symposium will help us better understand how information technologies have and will continue to impact the nature of a university library so that it can best serve the needs of the community.”

“We know there are now many ways for the library to deliver research assistance and other services to students,” says Lewis. “After Friday, we hope to get a better sense of the realities we face.”

Looking Forward: Re-imagining the academic library’s role in teaching, learning and research, takes place March 1 in Council Chambers, Gilmour Hall Room 111.