Sexton Library Renovations & Temporary Closure

Beginning April 30, 2015, the lobby, circulation and staff areas of the Sexton Library will undergo extensive renovations. The scope of the work requires demolition of the existing circulation desk, drilling through the roof and ceiling to alleviate drainage issues and fix a leak, full replacement of carpeting, painting, and removal and replacement of lighting.

The extent of the work will require the Library to close from Thursday, April 30 until Sunday, May 3, inclusive. This closure comes after exams end and precedes the beginning of the new term, Monday, May 4.

The Library was scheduled to be open Thursday, April 30, 8:00am – 9:00pm; Friday, May 1, 8:00am – 6:00pm; Saturday, May 2, 1:00pm – 6:00pm. The Library is currently scheduled to be closed Sunday, May 3. We will re-open on Monday, May 4 with regular Spring/Summer hours, 8:00am – 9:00pm, in effect.

The renovation will not be complete by May 4, but we will be able to open and to resume operations. The four days of closure will enable workers to complete most of the demolition, carpet removal and installation, and painting.

During the closure, patrons may visit any of the other 4 Dal Libraries, consult the Libraries’ web page , or seek assistance from the LiveHelp service.

Please contact the Sexton Library (; 494-3255) if you have any concerns at all about this closure.


World Book and Copyright Day


world book day for blog
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has declared April 23 World Book and Copyright Day.

” . . . Let us join together to celebrate books as the embodiment of creativity, the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding, dialogue and tolerance.” — UNESCO

world book day1


Introduction to 3D Design and Intermediate 3D Design

Interested in learning how to design models for use on the Dal Libraries’ 3D printers?

We’re hosting some Introduction to 3D Design workshop where we’ll teach what you need to know to create your own 3D models. The workshop will walk you through some of the basic tools in Sketchup.  By the end of the session you’ll have a simple farmhouse model of your very own.

No previous experience is required to participate in the introduction course. With your new-found Sketchup skills, you’ll be well on your way to bringing your ideas into reality with the Dal Libraries’ 3D Printing service.

We’re also offering a few intermediate 3D design sessions. The intermediate workshop builds on the intro workshop introducing students to more advanced Sketchup tools and using those tools to design a more complex model. It is recommended that those interested in attending the intermediate course have participated in the introduction course.

In the days following the workshop, we’ll print you a free copy of your model and notify you when it’s ready to be picked up

Below are the dates and times for the winter term. All classes will take place in Killam G70.


Feb 19, Thurs      Introduction to 3D Design Workshop:  ‘Farmhouse’           12:30-1:30

Feb 27, Friday     Intermediate 3D Design Workshop I: ‘Star Castle’               12:00-1:00


Mar 19, Thurs     Introduction to 3D Design Workshop:  ‘Farmhouse’            12:30-1:30

Mar 26, Thurs     Intermediate 3D Design Workshop I: ‘Star Castle’               12:30-1:30


Apr 9, Thurs         Introduction to 3D Design Workshop:  ‘Farmhouse’           12:30-1:30

Apr 10, Friday      Intermediate 3D Design Workshop I: ‘Star Castle’              12:00-1:00

To register, contact and indicate which session(s) you’d like to attend.  The workshops are open to members of the public.

The farmhouse model as it looks in Sketchup.

The farmhouse model as it looks in Sketchup.


The finished product, once printed on the 3D printer.

The finished product, once printed on the 3D printer.

GISciences Centre’s Lunchless Learn Series, Winter 2015

GIS lunchless learns


The GIS Centre’s Lunchless Learn Series is back for the winter term! These are hands-on tutorials, held around lunchtime, open to all on campus (without the food).

A GIS, or Geographic Information System, is “a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analyzing and displaying data relating to positions on earth’s surface.” In other words, it’s an easy and fun way to look at the world differently.

This series gives people a taste of what GIS is and how it can be used. We are offering the same session at different times and locations, so choose the one that fits your schedule best. These sessions are meant to be self-contained; after the intro session–take only the topics that are of interest to you.

Due to the high level of interest in these sessions, we ask you to sign up for each session. To sign up, contact

Intro – First Encounters of the GIS Kind
Thurs., Jan. 22/11:30 a.m.-1:00p.m.     Room G70, Killam Library, Studley Campus

Census – Count Yourself In!
Tues., Jan.27/noon–1:30 p.m.                Room C300, C Building, Sexton Campus 
Thurs., Feb.5/11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.      Room G70, Killam Library, Studley Campus

Georeferencing/Geocoding – Where am I?
Tues., Feb.10/noon–1:30 p.m.                Room C300, C Building, Sexton Campus
Thurs., Feb. 26/11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.  Room G70, Killam Library, Studley Campus

ArcOnline – GIS that’s in the Cloud(s)
Tues., Mar. 3/noon–1:30 p.m.                  Room C300, C Building, Sexton Campus
Thurs., Mar. 12/11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.   Room G70, Killam Library, Studley Campus

And don’t forget, the GISciences Centre is located on the second floor of the Killam Library.

Academic Term Hours for the Dalhousie Libraries, winter 2015

ac hours2

Welcome back from the holiday break! The five Dalhousie Libraries are getting back into the swing with our academic term hours. Check each location for specific hours and the start date.

Killam Memorial Library

Effective Monday, January 5

Monday–Friday: 8 a.m.–midnight
Saturday & Sunday:10 a.m.–midnight

Open from 1–8:45 p.m. on the following holidays:
Munro Day (Friday, February 6)
Viola Desmond Day (Monday, February 16)
Good Friday (Friday, April 3)

MacRae Library

Effective Monday, January 5

Monday–Thursday: 8:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday: noon–5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

Holiday hours
Viola Desmond Day, Monday, February 16: CLOSED
Good Friday, April 3: noon–midnight
Easter Monday, April 6: 10 a.m.–midnight

Sexton Design & Technology Library 

Effective Friday, January 2

Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–midnight
Friday: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–midnight

Sir James Dunn Law Library

Effective Monday, January 5

Monday–Wednesday: 8 a.m.–10:45 p.m.
Thursday: 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday: noon–6 p.m.
Sunday: noon–10:45 p.m.

Holiday hours
Munro Day (Friday, February 6) 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

W.K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library

Effective Saturday, January 3

Monday–Thursday:  7:30 a.m.*–11 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m.*–7 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.–11 p.m.

* Note: Circulation opens at 8 a.m. Mon.–Fri



New Database Subscription: Scopus



The Dalhousie Libraries now subscribe to Scopus, a large abstract and citation database of journals, books, and conference proceedings with strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medical content.  Humanities and Social Science content is also indexed in Scopus. Faculty members and students in the Faculty of Agriculture will be familiar with this database from before the merger. Halifax-based university community members may have used Scopus during a 2011-2012 trial.

Scopus offers a wide range of search, discover, and analytics tools. In particular, Scopus provides tools to assist researchers in tracking various impact factors. If you’d like to get started using Scopus, a short video overview of the main functions is available.

Scopus is available on and off campus if you have a valid Dalhousie Net Id and password.

Esri Canada GIS Scholarship

Through the Esri Canada GIS Scholarships program, Esri Canada is proud to recognize students at Canadian post-secondary institutions who are involved in projects. The scholarships are provided through schools, Dalhousie being one of 50 schools across the country, that demonstrate strong, multidisciplinary GIS courses and programs. This scholarship provides recipients with great networking opportunities, funding and access to extensive GIS resources including Esri ARCGIS software, books and training to develop their GIS skills and knowledge.

The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. on Monday, January 26, 2015.

For more information: ESRI Scholarship


Downtime for Nature and Palgrave Journals and eBooks this Weekend

nature palgrave

Please note that we have been informed that and will be receiving essential maintenance this weekend.

The maintenance will run from 9 a.m. AST to 1 p.m. AST on Saturday, December 13. During this time the sites will not be accessible. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Holiday Hours for the Dalhousie Libraries 2014

holiday hours sized for blog


Killam Memorial Library*

Sunday, December 14: 8 a.m.–midnight
Monday, December 15–Friday, December 19: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Monday, December 22 & Tuesday, December 23: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Saturday, December 27: Closed
Sunday, December 28 & Monday, December 29: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Tuesday, December 30–Thursday, January 1: Closed
Friday, January 2: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday January 3 & Sunday, January 4: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday, January 5: Regular hours resume

*Please note: Access to GISciences Centre, Archives, and Special Collections is unavailable from December 25–January 1.

MacRae Library

Thursday, December 11 & Friday, December 12: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 13 & Sunday, December 14: CLOSED
Monday, December 15–Friday, December 19: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: CLOSED
Monday, December 22 & Tuesday, December 23: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8:30 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Thursday, January 1: CLOSED
Friday, January 2: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 3 & Sunday, January 4: CLOSED
Monday, January 5: Regular hours resume

Sexton Design & Technology Library

Monday, December 15–Friday, December 19: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: CLOSED
Monday, December 22 & Tuesday, December 23: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Thursday, January 1: CLOSED
Friday, January 2: Regular hours resume


Sir James Dunn Law Library

Friday, December 19: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: CLOSED
Monday, December 22: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Tuesday, December 23: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Thursday, January 1: CLOSED
Friday, January 2: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday, January 3 & Sunday, January 4: CLOSED
Monday, January 5: Regular hours resume


W. K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library

Wednesday, December 17–Friday, December 19: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: CLOSED
Monday, December 22 & Tuesday, December 23: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Thursday, January 1: CLOSED
Friday, January 2: ​8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday, January 3: Regular hours resume


Building a Book Tree or, How and Why Libraries Weed Their Collections

book tree3

This December, we decided to bring a little festive cheer to the grey lobby of the Killam Memorial Library by building a holiday tree out of old bound journals which had previously been withdrawn from the collection. Since then, we’ve had questions about how we decide to remove (or “weed”) items from the collection, a necessary practice in every library but not one that any librarian undertakes lightly.

The bound journal volumes we used to build the tree in the Killam lobby were originally withdrawn from the Novanet catalogue and moved into basement storage seven years ago when the library underwent an A to Z move. To improve access and simplify the Killam Library’s physical organization, thousands of volumes were shifted so that books and journals could be arranged in call number order instead of having the science and humanities collections stored on different floors. At that time, some of our librarians identified runs of journals that were duplicated by electronic versions on stable platforms such as JSTOR and in archival packages purchased to provide perpetual access to the content. We created room for new purchases by moving duplicated content into storage.

Before the journals went into storage, they were offered to faculty and members of the local community. Volumes people expressed an interest in were set aside for them to pick up, but many of these bound journals remained with us. Since 2007–2008, the Dal Libraries, in consultation with Dal’s Office of Sustainability, have explored environmentally sound ways of handling the remainder of these now unwanted volumes. Some were used to insulate the Blockhouse School on the South Shore.

Our basement storage is currently full with a combination of withdrawn materials and holdings we want to keep. We have no offsite storage facilities to store extra volumes. We are working with our Novanet partners to explore the development of an off-site repository, similar to the Downsview Repository operated by the University of Toronto:  Even if we do develop a repository, there will only be room for material which is unique, worth preserving, and not available electronically.

As part of this summer’s move of the Music collection to the first floor of the Killam, we have shifted some items into the basement including government documents, some microfilm, all microfiche and microcards, and some print indices. As well, the basement storage contains rarely used print journals that are not available electronically: these can be retrieved by placing a request at the Killam Library Service Point. In anticipation of the upcoming move of the Kellogg Health Sciences Library, some older health sciences materials are also stored in the Killam’s basement.

Periodically, we are asked why we haven’t donated these bound journals to organizations that collect books for countries or regions in need. Our old bound journals used to build the book tree do not meet the criteria of what many of these organizations need. It costs 50 cents to ship just one book to Africa, so these organizations must be specific about what they can accept. For example, the organization Books for Africa lists the following criteria for acceptable donated items:

  • popular fiction and nonfiction reading books (soft and hard cover).
  • books that are 15 years old or newer.
  • primary, secondary, and college textbooks (soft and hard cover) with a 1998 or newer publish date.
  • reference books such as encyclopedias and dictionaries published in 2003 or later.
  • medical, nursing, IT, and law books with a 1998 or newer publish date.
  • some Bibles or religious books, please place them in a box separate from other donations and mark the box as “Religious texts.” Bibles are sent only when requested by African recipients.

While the Dal Libraries no longer need the particular volumes we used in our book tree, we would be happy to see them go to new homes if people want them. Community members are welcome to join us on January 5 to help take down the tree and redistribute the volumes (the books themselves weren’t harmed in the building of the tree, they have simply been stacked on top of one another). If no one is interested in these volumes, we will pack them up again and save them to build another tree next year.

For more information about how and why libraries weed their collections, blogger Joe Hardenbrook, who regularly blogs about libraries, technology, and teaching, has an excellent list on his Mr. Library Dude blog. Mr. Hardenbrook works as a reference and instruction librarian at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin where he manages reference and instructional services, teaches information literacy sessions, and serves as a liaison to the education, psychology, and diversity programs. Here’s what he has to say about why academic libraries weed:

Why Do We Weed?

  • To remove books that are not being used
  • To remove books with outdated or obsolete information/philosophies (that have no historical use)
  • To identify books that are damaged or in poor condition
  • To identify gaps in the collection and make new purchases
  • To align the collection with the university’s goals, mission, and curriculum
  • Limited space for the collection

It boils down to this: Weeding is simply the selection process in reverse. Librarians, using their knowledge, institutional interests, and professional tools, decide which books to purchase. We use that same skill set to decide what books to withdraw.

Libraries are Not Warehouses
For most academic libraries, our mission is not to collect the whole of human knowledge. We have limited space, limited resources. We are not a warehouse for books–a warehouse is a storage facility. Books are for using–not for sitting on a shelf for years on end.

Finally, for more information on the subject of weeding, here are some excellent links on the topic: