Learning Commons

  • Exhibit: Letters & Correspondence from the Archives Historic Documents.

    Stop by the Library Learning Commons and check out our most recent exhibit of selected letters & correspondence from the Archives & Special Collections‘ historic documents. Highlights of the exhibit include a note linking St. Catharines to the Underground Railroad, two letters from World War I, and a demanding missive from the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The exhibit was inspired by the One Book, One Niagara selection: Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures (Ivan Coyote), exemplifying how the written word can have lasting (even historic) significance.


    Categories: Archives, Featured Collections, Learning Commons

  • Spotlight on Trans titles

    In support of International Transgender Day of Visibility, held March 31st, Brock Library presents a newly updated  selection of books and e-books by and about trans people on a diversity of genres and topics such as allyship, memoir, poetry, and history.

    Included in the collection are several titles by Canadian author, musician, and performer Ivan Coyote whose recent book Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures was selected as the title for the inaugural One Book, One Niagara event. As the grand finale of the event, Ivan will speak at Brock University on Wednesday, March 29 at 7pm. 

    Browse the collection, and reserve your ticket to see Ivan @ the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre this month.




    Categories: Featured Collections, Learning Commons

  • Reading Pride Week at the Library

    Brock University 2S&LGBTQ+ Pride Week is just around the corner and we have the resources to support the annual celebration.

    This curated book selection takes an intersectional approach to examining queer life and issues such as race, disability, class and politics. A sub-collection of films features documentaries and drama.

    Wishing everyone a very happy Pride Week!

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    Categories: Featured Collections, Learning Commons

  • Student-curated display celebrates International Women’s Day

    This month, in support of International Women’s Day, Student Library Assistant, Mishrka Bucha has curated a thematic display of books by and about remarkable women and their contributions to society. Browse and borrow from the print display next to the Ask Us desk in the James A. Gibson Library, or read the e-books from anywhere.

    Mishrka notes: “The women today are the thought of their mothers and grandmothers embodied and made alive” is a quote by Matilda Joslyn Gage which embodies the 2023 celebration of International Women’s Day. More than ever today, women are free and empowered to have a voice and make a difference in many fields including science, business, social sciences and humanities. More than ever today, women are safer to be strong and make a difference. This 2023 let us imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquality

    I wish all a very happy International Women’s Day Celebration.

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    Categories: Featured Collections, Learning Commons

  • Celebrating Black voices and sharing Black stories

    This month, we celebrate African Heritage and Black History by bringing a special spotlight to Black voices and Black stories. February’s Featured Collection book display brings you important, thought-provoking works of Black writers across disciplines and perspectives. You can find our “Celebrating Black Voices and Sharing Black Stories” book display both online, and at our print display next to the Ask Us desk on the main floor of the Library.

    Interested in the work of Canadian authors? Look out for the books sporting the illustration you see above at our print display.

    Two online titles in this month’s Featured Collection deserve a special mention. Brock University Professor Tamari Kitossa’s Appealing Because He is Appalling: Black Masculinities, Colonialism, and Erotic Racism highlights the contradictions of Black men as objects of sexual desire. Those interested in a local focus to Black History can dig into dann J. Broyld’s Borderland Blacks: Two Cities in the Niagara Region During the Final Decades of Slavery. Broyld spent a semester at Brock researching in the Archives & Special Collections for this book.

    The Brock community is celebrating Black History Month and African Heritage Month with a full calendar of events and programming. See what’s going on and join in the celebrations on ExperienceBU.


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    Categories: Featured Collections, Learning Commons

  • Resources for a mindful new year

    Mindfulness and wellness practices invite us to nurture ourselves, and cultivate self-compassion.  Some of the easily accessible resources for the Brock community to live mindfully include:

    • Taking a walk through the forest. The Bruce Trail runs behind the Brock campus.
    • Jotting down what you are thankful for, concerned about.
    • Curling up with a good book and a hot beverage.
    • Taking a Library Yoga session in the comfort of your own room. The playlist is at bit.ly/LibraryYoga
    • Thinking of others, helping when you can.
    • Nurturing a new houseplant.

    This month, our print book display and e-book collections are full of strategies and inspiration to help you be the best version of yourself.

    Browse the featured titles now, and note the special sub-collections on the topics of Yoga, Breath, and Movement Practice, Inspiration and Reflection, and Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety.

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    Categories: Featured Collections, Learning Commons

  • December thematic book (and film) collections focus on visible and invisible disabilities

    On Dec. 3, 2022, we recognize International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day that was first launched by the United Nations in 1992 “to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.”  

    One way we can learn more about disabilities is to read a book! Check out our selection of titles at our print book display, and online in Omni. A sub-collection of films is also available. These titles feature works by and about people with visible and invisible disabilities.  

    On December 7, join the University community for ‘Engaging and Celebrating with Disability Communities’. This event will take place from noon to 2 p.m. in Pond Inlet, and will feature a presentation by Nathan Shipley, a disability self-advocate, activist and public speaker, as well as interactive roundtable experiences with disability community members. 

    The event is organized in collaboration with the Office of Human Rights and Equity, the Brock-Niagara Centre of Excellence in Inclusive and Adaptive Physical Activity, and the Anti-Ableism and Mental Health (AAMH) Committee, which is a working group of the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization. 




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    Categories: Featured Collections, Learning Commons

  • Learning Commons open late

    Late night study hours have resumed in the Matheson Learning Commons.


    • Open to 2:30 AM Sunday through Thursday.
    • Approximately 400 study spots are available.
    • The Ask Us desk and floors 5-10 will close at regular times (9 PM on Sunday, 11 PM Monday – Thursday).
    • Library services, such as borrowing and research help will not be available during Late Night Study hours.
    • Friday & Saturday closing times remain the same (some exceptions during the exam period).
    • BUSU are kindly providing students with a late night ride service via Zoom Zoom.

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    Categories: Learning Commons, Main

  • Exploring nearly two centuries of photography

    This month’s display in the Learning Commons cabinets features aspects of early photography and contemporary analogue and experimental image making. With the use of images from Brock’s Archives and Special Collections and vintage cameras from the Department of Visual Arts, the display offers a glimpse into early photographic processes from the 19th century and early 20th century.

    The camera originates from an ancient device known as the camera obscura (meaning “dark room”). Light traveling through a small pinhole into a darkened room will project the image on the other side of the hole, upside down – seriously, give it a try! The earliest record is found in the work of Mozi, a Chinese philosopher (470 – 390 BCE). This simple technique is the foundation for all pre-digital photography.

    The arrangement of photographs in the display may seem to present the development of photography as a steady linear progression of advancements with one building on the previous, however this is not the case at all. There were many inventors and entrepreneurs in the 19th century working in different locations who each had a goal of permanently fixing an image made with a camera. The early experiments were costly and time consuming. For example, the first known photograph by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765–1833) in 1827 took several days of exposure in the sun for an image to render permanently. In 1839, Louis Daguerre (1787 – 1851) was the first to share his chemical formula of affixing an image permanently, though it too was costly (using a sheet of copper coated with silver), it only took minutes for it to render an image. An example of a “daguerreotype,” which he named after himself, is on display in the cabinet. As beautiful as these photographs were, it is important to note that these images were one-of-a-kind and not reproducible.

    At the same time, Henry Fox Talbot (1800 – 1877), an English inventor and entrepreneur, was also experimenting with chemical processes though he was focused on reducing the exposure time and creating an image that could be reproduced. In 1840, he found a way that met both requirements in what he called a “calotype” (from the Greek kalos, meaning beautiful). Not only did it take mere seconds for the image to render, Talbot’s use of paper on which to apply his chemical formulation made this a cheap and widely available option. This is the basis on which Talbot would create the negative-positive process whereby multiple copies of a single photograph could be made. This remains the basis of all most analogue photography today.

    By the end of the 19th century, George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, created easy-to-use portable cameras, making photography more accessible. Thus began the era of the amateur photographer. A few of Kodak’s early cameras are on display in the Learning Commons cabinets alongside other 20th century analogue cameras.

    The photograph (which means drawing with light) is created by applying a light sensitive emulsion to a surface (e.g., paper, glass etc.) that changes when exposed to light. Today there is a resurgence in these early photographic techniques as well as interest in new experimental methods of image creation. The hallway cabinets display examples of a variety of analogue methods of image creation with the aid of photosensitive emulsions. Among the methods are the anthotype which use plant-based dyes, lumen prints using silver gelatin coated paper, and the cyanotype, another 19th century discovery, using a mixture of ferric ammonium citrate or ferric ammonium oxalate, and potassium ferricyanide.

    Stop by when you have a moment to check it out.

    Many thanks to Archivist David Sharron for loaning some of the amazing photographs from Brock Archives and Special Collections for the display, Professor Amy Friend from Department of Visual Arts for the loan of cameras and to Dr. Linda Steer also from the Department of Visual Arts for lending her expertise in the history of early photography for the creation of this exhibit. Finally, thank you to my collaborator Charity Blaine for being willing to play and learn together!


    Categories: Learning Commons, Main

  • Photography

    Our November book displays (online and in print) are on the topic of photography – a complement to the very special photography exhibit in our Library and Learning Commons display cases. We’ve chosen to include a wide array of sub-topics including the uses of photography to call attention to environmental degradation, to tell the story of child labour, and to bring Victorian history to life. Alongside these socio-historical topics, the collection includes practical handbooks and technical guides for the budding photographer.

    Browse this photography collection online and in-person at our book display shelves next to the Ask Us desk.

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    Categories: Featured Collections, Learning Commons