Collections Centre intake starts this fall

The latest news on the construction of the off-site Collections Centre and the upcoming movement of circulating materials from the McLennan-Redpath Complex
Top view of the grid that will house the robotic book storage system.Carlo Della Motta

Construction is 95 percent completed on the 40,000 square-foot Collections Centre in the Industrial Ecopark at Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, just off-island. The facility will become the new home for some 2.5 million physical items that are currently kept in the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex, freeing up prime in-library real estate to better serve the needs of today’s students, faculty, and researchers.

In early 2023, the Library started installing the infrastructure that will house the robotic system used to retrieve requested materials. Installation is expected to be finished in mid-July, at which point staff will begin training to systematically move the 2.5 million items from the downtown campus to the Collections Centre.

This collections move is scheduled to start in early September and last until early 2024. Because the process will start by moving materials held in storage areas that aren’t publicly accessible, Library users likely won’t notice any changes until around the end of October, when it will be time to tackle the McLennan-Redpath Circulating Collection. The move will proceed one floor at a time, with unaffected floors staying open (and stacks accessible) until it’s their turn.

Even when a floor is closed for the move, users will still be able to source items in numerous ways including :

  • Existing e-book option
  • Network loan / Interlibrary Loan
  • Purchased/acquired (specific cases)
  • Paging service*
  • Access to stacks (by appointment, for McGill faculty only)*

McGill Library encourages instructors to borrow any McLennan-Redpath circulating materials needed for the 2023-24 academic year before the term starts, or at the latest in early September, and request course reserve materials needed to be put on reserves as early as possible.

Items held in the McLennan Library Building by McGill University Archives will be moved in the Fall of 2023.  Holdings in Rare Books and Special Collections are expected to move in Winter 2024.  Scholars planning to use rare and archival materials are asked to reserve the items before they move so that they can be accessible during the moving phase. In some cases, items needed for research will also be digitized. During the moving phases, librarians and archivists will help to find alternative resources whenever possible.  Once the collections are moved, readers will be able to once again request most material for consultation.

Materials held in other McGill Library branches will remain at their locations and be available as usual during this time.

Once the Collections Centre is in operation in early 2024, library users will be able to request materials for delivery to the downtown or Macdonald campus five days per week. Dean of Libraries Guylaine Beaudry is looking forward to the move and the opportunities it brings. “Library staff members are working very hard to make sure this move runs smoothly. We want to make sure that disruptions are minimized and we will do everything possible to get users the materials they need,” says Beaudry. “It’s a very exciting time at the Library. The Collections Centre is the first of many service enhancements. It will better preserve our material collections in environments made for long-term safety. The liberated areas in McLennan-Redpath bring us one step closer to creating new, inspirational library spaces and services that will meet the needs of today and tomorrow.”

*Access to items will depend on what stage of the move the material is in at the time of the request.

Related story: Libraries infrastructure updates