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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  • Learning Commons open late

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

    Details:

    • 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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  • 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!

     

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  • 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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  • Food and Cookery

    This month we invite you to work up an appetite and don your aprons. We have amassed a multi-disciplinary collection of books on food history, science and chemistry, culture, and cookery. Our print cookbooks feature cost-saving resources such as Budget Bytes, simple recipe collections like The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook, and Indigenous recipes from the far North.

    In addition to the books in this Omni Collection, we recommend a closer look at the Food and Drink in History database. This primary source collection includes cookbooks, advertisements, and government documents. The collection is global in scope and covers the 16th to 21st centuries. Brock University has access to Module 1.

    Browse the October Omni collection now.

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  • A day of reflection

    On September 30, we recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. On this national day of reflection, we remember and mourn for the children and for the generations of Indigenous people hurt by the residential school system. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a direct response to Call to Action 80, which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration.  

    We also recognize Orange Shirt Day, held on this day to bring awareness to the history of residential schools and their negative effects on children’s self-esteem and well-being. Orange Shirt Day was first observed in 2013 at St. Joseph Mission in Williams Lake, British Columbia, where, in 1973, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad had her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of residential school. She never saw the shirt again. We wear orange to show our commitment to recognizing and remembering the approximately 150,000 children forced to attend residential schools, where many experienced shame, deprivation, and abuse, as well as more than 6,000 students who did not survive. 

    Learn more about the impact of residential schools by exploring a selection of books, ebooks and streaming video. 

    In acknowledgement of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we are screening 11 NFB short films by Indigenous film makers in Library Classroom B. Everyone is welcome to drop in at any time during the hours of 9am and 6pm to watch, listen, learn and reflect.  

    We also encourage you to write a review for any of the films you see on the NFB website. This action is inspired by a #Next150 Challenge to engage with Indigenous cinema and continue our learning. 

    List of films (with thanks to the National Film Board) 

    Nunavut Animation Lab: I Am But a Little Woman
    Gyu Oh 2010 | 4 min 

    Inspired by an Inuit poem first assigned to paper in 1927, this animated short evokes the beauty and power of nature, as well as the bond between mother and daughter. As her daughter looks on, an Inuit woman creates a wall hanging filled with images of the spectacular Arctic landscape and traditional Inuit objects and iconography. Soon the boundaries between art and reality begin to dissolve.

    Stories from Our Land 1.5: Tide
    Ericka Chemko 2012 | 4 min 

    This beautiful short film captures the majesty of ice sculpted by wind and water. By using time-lapse imagery, Iqaluit filmmaker Ericka Chemko reveals the dynamic intertidal dance of water and ice in the Arctic. 

    Stories Are in Our Bones
    Janine Windolph 2019 | 11 min 

    In this layered short film, filmmaker Janine Windolph takes her young sons fishing with their kokum (grandmother), a residential school survivor who retains a deep knowledge and memory of the land. The act of reconnecting with their homeland is a cultural and familial healing journey for the boys, who are growing up in the city. It’s also a powerful form of resistance for the women. 

    Waseteg
    Phyllis Grant 2010 | 6 min 

    Waseteg is the story of a young Mi’kmaq girl whose name means “the light from the dawn.” Sadly, her mother dies while giving birth and, though her father works very hard to provide for his family, Waseteg is surrounded by the bitterness and loneliness felt by her sisters. 

    As a young girl, Waseteg looks for solace in nature, and dreams of the stories she’s heard in the village – including one about Walqwan, the mysterious boy living across the river. Eventually, with the gentle care of the boy’s grandmother, Waseteg succeeds in finding Walqwan, discovering the Spirit Path, and restoring love to her family. 

    A short story about dreams, courage, identity, creation and embracing our Elders, Wasetegshowcases Phyllis Grant’s signature style of bold lines, bright colours and simple movements. The film is beautifully narrated by legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. 

    Vistas: Dancers of the Grass
    Melanie Jackson 2009 | 2 min 

    This short film presents a stunning display of a stop-motion animation as it vividly depicts the majesty of the hoop dance, a tradition symbolizing the unity of all nations. 

    Stories from Our Land 1.5: Inngiruti – The Thing that Sings!
    Nyla Innuksuk 2012 | 5 min 

    This short documentary filmed in Pangnirtung features 2 elders reminiscing about the dances held in their community 50 years ago. One of the elders is master accordion player Simeonie Keenainak, and soon he’s making toe-tapping music with his instrument. In this celebration of the pleasures of music and dance, Keenainak plays for the enjoyment of friends, family, and the community at large. 

    To Wake Up the Nakota Language
    Louise BigEagle 2017 | 6 min 

    “When you don’t know your language or your culture, you don’t know who you are,” says 69-year-old Armand McArthur, one of the last fluent Nakota speakers in Pheasant Rump First Nation, Treaty 4 territory, in southern Saskatchewan. Through the wisdom of his words, Armand is committed to revitalizing his language and culture for his community and future generations.  

    The Mountain of SGaana
    Christopher Auchter 2017 | 10 min 

    In The Mountain of SGaana, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter spins a magical tale of a young man who is stolen away to the spirit world, and the young woman who rescues him. The film brilliantly combines traditional animation with formal elements of Haida art, and is based on a story inspired by a old Haida fable. 

    Breaths
    Nyla Innuksuk 2016 | 4 min 

    In this evocative short documentary, Inuk singer-songwriter and humanitarian Susan Aglukark weaves together stories of artistry, family, and belonging as she explores the complex cultural shifts of the last 50 years of Inuit life. Turning her lens on the turbulence of colonial transition, director Nyla Innuksuk examines the forces that shaped Aglukark’s voice and how that voice is now being translated for a new generation of Inuit artists. 

    Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2016 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. 

    Shaman
    Echo Henoche 2017 | 5 min 

    This animated short tells the story of a ferocious polar bear turned to stone by an Inuk shaman. The tale is based on emerging filmmaker Echo Henoche’s favourite legend, as told to her by her grandfather in her home community of Nain, Nunatsiavut, on Labrador’s North Coast. Hand-drawn and painted by Henoche in a style all her own, Shaman is the first collaboration between the Labrador artist and the NFB.  

    Stories from Our Land 1.5: If You Want to Get Married… You Have to Learn How to Build an Igloo!
    Allen Auksaq 2011 | 5 min 

    In the spirit of the 1949 NFB classic How to Build an Igloo, this short film records Dean Ittuksarjuat as he constructs the traditional Inuit home. From the first cut of the snow knife, to the carving of the entrance after the last block of snow has been placed on the roof, this is an inside-and-out look at the entire fascinating process. 

     

     

     

     

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  • The Wellness Book Club returns with an in-person option this October

    Registration for the Autumn Wellness Book Club is now open.  Reading fiction has so many benefits for emotional wellbeing, from reducing stress to better sleep!  This term, we will be reading Delia Owens’ 2021 novel Where the Crawdads Sing.   

    Described by the New York Times Book Review as “a painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature,” the book was also a feature film this past summer.   

    The Book Club will be hosted by Liaison Librarian, Justine Cotton, who is passionate about sharing the positive impact of reading and discussing books.  You can contact her with any questions at jcotton@brocku.ca  

    Meetings will be held in-person in October (with an option to meet virtually, if preferred).  As a part of the Club, members may choose to participate in a research study on the benefits of reading “for fun” on stress levels in university students. 

    Sign up at: bit.ly/autumnbookclub22 

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  • Experience community, join the public library

    We love libraries! All kinds. So we are delighted to announce on-campus visits by staff from the St. Catharines and Thorold Public Libraries.

    Getting a card is easy, and free. Fill in a form, present some ID, and then you’ll be all set to borrow video games, join book clubs, experience adult craft nights, and more. Online resources such as popular magazines, audio books, streaming videos and music are also available, and offer the perfect complement to our more scholarly collections.

    Who: St. Catharines Public Library
    Where: Matheson Learning Commons (Library main floor)
    When: Tuesday, September 20, 12-4 pm.

    Who: Thorold Public Library
    Where:
    Matheson Learning Commons (Library main floor)
    When:
     Thursday, September 22, 1:30-3:30. 

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  • University Life

    Whether you are a new or returning student, a first-time instructor or long-tenured faculty, this selection of books will have useful insights for you.

    Browse this collection of e-books and explore such topics as:

    • writing guides
    • learning mindfully
    • diversity in higher education
    • educational administration
    • the mechanics of teaching
    • supporting student well-being
    • career development, and more.

    This collection features online and print titles. Find the print book display next to the Ask Us desk on the main floor.

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  • Brock Library services and resources highlighted in new exhibit

    New and returning students are invited to stop by and view a new exhibit in the Library and Learning Commons display cases. The exhibit features unique items from Brock’s Archives and Special Collections, the Makerspace, and Map, Data & GIS Library. A guide to study spots, research basics, and the various ways to get help from the library are also featured.  Welcome to Brock University Library runs to Friday, September 16.

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    Categories: Archives, Learning Commons, Main, Makerspace, MDGL