• 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.


    Tags: , , , ,
    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
    • 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.

    Tags: , ,
    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. 




    Tags: , ,
    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.

    Tags: , ,
    Categories: Learning Commons, Main

  • Instructors encouraged to submit winter course readings now

    Reserve request processing for the winter term is underway at Brock University Library.

    To ensure your students have access to their fall course materials, we encourage you to submit reading lists as soon as possible. 

    If you normally email your reading lists to, please ensure you note which LMS you will be using in the winter term: Brightspace or Sakai. 

    An instructor self-serve option is also available, providing flexibility to instructors who wish to do this work themselves. All self-submissions will get a final check for copyright compliance, and will then be active for students.


    Tags: ,
    Categories: Main

  • Brock collections from World Wars help Niagara remember

    This article written by Jocelyn Titone, Marketing and Communications Officer, was originally published in The Brock News.

    As Remembrance Day approaches, Brock University’s archival collections bring history to the forefront.

    The Brock University Library’s Archives and Special Collections houses some of the most unique and valuable records representing all aspects of Niagara’s history, including a wide range of historical items related to the First and Second World Wars.

    David Sharron, Head of Archives and Special Collections, said although each collection is significant in its own way, the records that cover the World Wars and other modern conflicts evoke a different reaction.

    “There is an immediate reverence for both the individuals who fought the battles and those who supported the war effort from home,” he said. “These records remind us of a time when people and organizations made sacrifices and pitched in to do their part. It was difficult and often tragic, but as a community, Niagara made it through.”

    Collection highlights include a letter from a father serving oversees to his young daughter; a trench helmet and rucksack used in the First World War; documents on the City of St. Catharines’ war preparations and measures; photographs of fundraising parades to support the war; oral histories from the Niagara Mennonite community; and postcards from a military training camp in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

    Sharron said with some of the wars happening so long ago, many of the people who experienced them are no longer alive to share their story.

    “Their history and voices held in these records help us remember,” he said. “It’s why we preserve them and make them available.”

    While many of the collections are digitized and available online for anyone to access, including the records Sharron curated below, there are millions of documents and artifacts housed in the physical archives.

    “The online collections are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “There is always more to the story; a fuller history unfolds as you sift through a box of documents or flip through books from that era.”

    Brock University’s Archives and Special Collections is open to the Niagara community as well as Brock students and researchers. The public is invited to access the physical collections on the 10th floor of the James A. Gibson Library in Brock University’s Arthur Schmon Tower Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Writing ahead of a visit to is recommended in case a class is occupying the space or the reading room is full. Vaccination and mask protocols are in effect.

    Digitized records related to the World Wars

    Arthur Albert Schmon
    Arthur Albert Schmon, one of Brock University’s founders and the Schmon Tower’s namesake, fought for the United States Army during the First World War before coming to live in St. Catharines.

    Laura de Turcynowicz (nee Blackwell)
    Laura de Turcynowicz was a famous opera singer from St. Catharines who married a Polish Count and was living in Poland when the First World War began. The Prussian Army occupied her home for several months before she escaped to the U.S. She wrote a book about her ordeal and raised money for the suffering people of Poland. In 1918, de Turcynowicz was instrumental in promoting the training and education of young American women of Polish descent to help with war relief efforts in Poland. The group became known as the Polish Grey Samaritans.

    Percy Carruthers Band
    Percy Carruthers Band was a decorated First World War soldier who earned the Military Cross with two bars and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. He was also the former caretaker of the Brock Library’s Woodruff and Post Office collections. Among other records in this collection are letters from his sweetheart Margaret Woodruff from St. Catharines, photographs, military documents, a trench helmet and rucksack from the First World War, and medals he received for courage and determination.

    Samuel DeVeaux Woodruff
    The Woodruff family of St. Catharines came to Canada from the U.S. in 1795. They were an integral part of the Village of St. Davids and played an active role in the battles fought in Upper Canada. Samuel DeVeaux Woodruff was killed in action during the First World War as a member of the 116th unit of the Queen’s Battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment).

    Niagara Camp
    Niagara Camp was a military training camp in Niagara-on-the-Lake that was used as a summer training grounds for infantry, cavalry and artillery. Postcards of Niagara Camp were common. This collection features postcards from the early years of the First World War.

    Orville James (Jimmy) Manson
    Orville James (Jimmy) Manson was an amateur photographer from Niagara who brought his camera with him while serving for the Canadian Navy during the Second World War.

    Mennonites of Niagara
    Oral history interviews of members of the Mennonite community who came to Niagara from Europe after the upheavals of the First and Second World Wars.

    Interesting parts included in large, digitized collections:

    Tags: , ,
    Categories: Archives, 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

  • It’s contest time!

    The Brock University Digital Scholarship Lab is hosting their annual data visualization contest for Brock students this month.

    Students can choose from one of four datasets provided on the content website. Visualizations will be judged on comprehension, insight, and aesthetics, and the winning entry will be chosen on December 1st.

    For more details, view the contest website.

    Categories: Digital Scholarship Lab, Main, MDGL

  • 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.

    Tags: ,
    Categories: Featured Collections, Learning Commons

  • Contribute to a delicious data visualization

    GIS Day events return in-person this year after a two-year hiatus. In addition to quizzes, learning and laughter, a key part of the annual tradition at Brock is a GIS Day cake.

    Submit one of your map creations (in JPEG format) to Sharon Janzen, Map Library Associate and Geospatial Data Coordinator, for a chance to have it featured on this year’s cake.

    Contribute your JPEG to by November 9, 2022.

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Categories: Main, MDGL