Library News: 2021

February 11, 2021

In the last issue of this magazine we introduced you to the newly opened Book Arts Lab. Since then we have seen quite a few changes here in the way we offer our services.

The Book Arts Lab, offering some of our most unique services, has truly had to find different ways to offer their services to the Library community in the midst of a pandemic. Before the pandemic arrived, they were offering a number of in-person workshops that saw their beautiful space being used regularly.

Since then, Larry Thompson, Master Printer for the Book Arts Lab, has had to find new ways to engage the community.

Pre-pandemic workshops

  • Binding a Medieval Book “A Coptic Binding”
  • Intro to Hand Typesetting “Famous Last Words”
  • Intro to Hand Printing on Presses “Printing Dangerous Words”
  • Block Carving & Printing in Linocut “Kissing the Chains That Bind You”
  • Intro to Wood Engraving “Making Graven Images”

Pandemic videos

  • Binding single signature & multi signature book
  • Cutting and Writing with a Quill Pen
  • How to set type… without type!
  • Block carving - erasure cuts, linocuts and demonstration of wood engraving
  • Paper Making in your kitchen
  • Pandemic demos (usually live)

The basis of experiential learning, particularly in the book arts lab, is hands-on work. The pandemic has made in-Lab sessions very difficult to hold safely, so a rethink was required in order to continue to provide these sessions.

“There was always a plan to document with video and create instructional videos, but it was quite far down on the list of priorities and would be recordings of live events in the Lab--that changed with COVID,” says Larry. “The trick seems to be combining live demos, with movies and videos of simplified book arts production that can be reproduced in the student’s home.”

Pre-pandemic workshops were quite ambitious, and included typesetting and printing along interesting themes, such as “Famous Last Words” and “Printing Dangerous Words.” Students could cut linoleum using the carving tools available in the Lab, where materials could be supplied. Pandemic videos incorporate some very basic and general historical context, with step-by-step “how-to” instruction that can be followed using more accessible materials for students.

“The real challenge is to make the video workshops doable using stuff any student could find around the house or dorm. Instead of cutting lino and wood using specialized tools, they could cut rubber erasers with a sharp knife, and print them using a stamp pad,” says Larry. “The exercise is simple, but the experience is the same – in essence – that the ancient Chinese used to create page plates on a single plank of wood.”

From here, students can synthesize their area of study with the practice, and are able to reflect on the experience, still giving them that very unique experience that has been part of what the Book Arts Lab has hoped to offer from the beginning.

The process of making videos has also been a new one for Larry and has actually provided him with his own learning opportunity in his effort to learn to teach.

“I used the university’s AV Commons which loans out video cameras, mics, lights and stands for installation shots,” says Larry. “I spent most of my summer doing these videos, prior to the Library opening to the public again. More than anything, I learned to be kind to myself. This is the first time I’ve done any work in video and I wanted to keep it light and to remember to be friendly and smile. There are plenty of awkward bits and stilted speech, and that’s okay. It’s a rather special thing to have the opportunity to learn these skills, which will be so integral to future teaching.”

February 9, 2021

The Founders Award, Carleton’s highest non-academic honour, was inaugurated in June 1996 to recognize and pay tribute to those individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of Carleton through their dedication, generosity and commitment to the values of the university. It is awarded annually, when merited, at Spring Convocation.

Margaret Haines, MacOdrum’s past University Librarian, was recently awarded the Founders Award for her many contributions to the Carleton community during her time here and after her retirement. She has continued to make the Library a priority in her retirement and is still a voice for our community and its advancement.

She received word of the award from Carleton University president Benoit-Antoine Bacon, who called to tell her personally. Fitting, given the large collection of work she had contributed to Carleton over the years.

“Carleton has been a big part of my life, first as a student and then back as staff and now as a retiree," says Margaret. "It has been really important to me and I feel a huge sense of loyalty and love to the community for all it’s done for me. This is the reason I really enjoy giving back in the ways that I do and part of the responsibility I feel towards Carleton.”

Margaret looks at her contributions as a reminder of how important the people of this community have been to her own development as well.

“During my time here, I learned a lot about how much people at Carleton help one another and how things work. I didn’t come with an exstenive academic background but several senior women administrators here gave me great advice and support and this helped me a lot.

I was here for some really big projects like FIPPA work and the very large renovations that took place in the Library, and the introduction of copyright, scholarly communications and research data management support services. These were really challenging projects that contributed to an overall excellent experience at Carleton.”

Even with her many contributions, Margaret was hesitant to move forward with her nomination when Amanda Goth approached her with the idea of submitting it given that her contributions weren’t financial. But, as was pointed out, the award recognizes overall contributions to the university, and as her nomination package pointed out, those contributions were plenty.

“One thing I really loved during my entire career was that I had young staff whom I could mentor and in whom I could take pride while watching them grow and move on to do really wonderful things. This doesn’t happen everywhere and I’m so glad to have been a part of this staff development culture at Carleton. It is all part of what Carleton's legacy means and another thing I am so grateful for from my time here. This place has done a lot for me and I owe them some reciprocation.”

While the pandemic has delayed the formal presentation of the award, it will likely take place at the next in person convocation along with the next recipient, and we’re lucky to have had Margaret as part of our team for so long.

February 4, 2021

FRDR is designed to address a longstanding gap in Canada's research infrastructure by providing researchers with a robust repository option into which large research datasets can be ingested, curated, processed for preservation, discovered, cited, and shared. 

The FRDR Discovery Portal enables discovery of and access to Canadian research data, while FRDR’s repository services will help researchers store and manage their data, preserve their research for future use, and comply with institutional and funding agency data management requirements.

Portage’s Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR) has officially launched into full production! Full production offers many new features and benefits:

  • Publish research data in a Canadian-owned, bilingual national repository option
  • 1 TB of repository storage available to all faculty members at Canadian post-secondary institutions - more storage may be available upon request
  • Secure repository storage, distributed geographically across multiple Compute Canada Federation hosting sites
  • Data curation support provided by Portage
  • Ability to work with multiple collaborators on a single submission 
  • Your data will be discoverable alongside other Canadian collections in the FRDR Discovery Portal

FRDR is made possible through a collaboration between Portage, the Compute Canada Federation and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, with development and infrastructure support from the University of SaskatchewanSimon Fraser University, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Toronto.

More information about FRDR and its partners can be found at

Portage is offering webinars on FRDR to help researchers, faculty, librarians, and others learn how to use the platform for data sharing, deposit, and discovery. See the announcement for more details.

For help with Research Data Management, please contact