Spring 2009 Meeting

Toronto, Ontario
Friday April 24, 2009
$25 members / $12 students

Meet at 9:30 am at the south side staff entrance near the former McLaughlin Planetarium

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

The Royal Ontario Museum including the Main and Far Eastern Libraries. We are very pleased to be able to offer our membership a wonderful day at the spectacular and recently redesigned Royal Ontario Museum.

ROM Far Eastern Library Entrance
ROM Far Eastern Library Reading Room

Our hosts will be Arthur Smith, Head, Main Library and Archives and
Jack Howard, Librarian, H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library.

Our ROM colleagues will lead us through a tour of both library facilities and regale us with some juicy details of their ordeal through the “Renaissance”.

After the tours, our visitors’ badges will permit our general release into the entire Museum to browse whichever displays strike our fancy.

We can have lunch at the Museum’s Food Studio which sources organic seasonal ingredients from local Ontario food producers.

Fall 2008 Meeting Report

Toronto, Ontario
October 31, 2008

Picture a perfect late fall day. Early morning was cool. We gathered for our business meeting in the Department of Art Library at the U of T. We were fortified, of course, with coffee and fresh sticky buns courtesy of Vice Chair Margaret English’s favourite sticky bun bakery. At the meeting’s conclusion we went outside to find that the weather had turned quite balmy. It was ideal walking weather, and we enjoyed making our way to each destination. Margaret organized three tours for our Chapter members. She focused on the book as vehicle for art, as a craft form, as an artistic expression. It was refreshing to spend a day with analog – and downright traditional – materials.

Coach House Books
bp nicol Lane

Tucked in a lane behind Huron St., Coach House has been producing fine small edition books by Canadian authors and poets for decades. Our tour started in the attic, a space under the old coach house eaves crammed with pictures, books, ephemera accumulated over the history of the press and its employees. In the corner sits a venerable large purple-upholstered Magic Sleeping Chair purported to have the ability to put its occupant to sleep. None of us tried its powers!

Christina Palassio, Managing Editor, displayed recent publications and related anecdotes about the company’s history and its illustrious authors. She led us through the production areas of Coach House, showing the process of typesetting and printing, to folding and gluing the final publication.

Massey College
Robertson Davies Library

19th cent. hand press

Massey College owns a spectacular study collection that focuses on the art and history of the book form. Librarian Marie Korey led our group through a collection of impressive and wonderfully ornate 19th century iron hand presses accumulated by the library between 1953 and 1971. To complement the presses, cases of type were also collected from printing shops such as Cooper & Beatty, divesting their stock as newer methods of printing developed.

This is a collection for the purpose of research and teaching traditional methods of paper-making, typesetting, printing and book construction. Indeed, this resource gives a very good sense of how a printing shop might operate.

We enjoyed the chance to closely examine samples of 18th and 19th century printing. The library also collects manuscripts and manuals about printing and book publication, fine printing and production printing, part of the Ruari McLean collection.

Ondaatje Hall at Massey College
Librarian Marie Korey gives a tour of the study collection

On our exit from the College, Ms. Correy took us to the Ondaatje Hall, the dining hall for residents. A cautionary quote from George Santayana encircles the light-filled room.

“Happiness is impossible and even inconceivable to a mind without scope and without pause, a mind driven by craving, pleasure, and fear.” G. Santayana.

University of Toronto
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

It is an amazing experience to leave the street and enter the Fisher. One leaves the bright noisy St. George Street and enters a silent vaulted nave of the Library with five glowing galleries of books overhead.

We were met by the Fisher Library’s Director, Robert Landon who led us through a special exhibition of photographs and artifacts from the Fisher’s archive, on the subject of Canada and the First World War. The exhibition was fascinating for its variety of ephemera that portrayed the human realm of war: cookbooks, letters home, war posters, and popular novels about war heroes. The University of Toronto’s war effort was also described with photographs of a training camp of tents pitched in rows on Hart House Circle. Poignantly, trench-digging practice was part of the regimen for trainees on the grounds of the University.

Our sincere thanks go to those who took time to meet with us and show us these fascinating collections related to the art of fine publishing! Time spent as we meandered from site to site of each collection offered a terrific way to socialize with our colleagues in the Chapter, too.

Submitted by Lesley Bell, December 2008.

Spring 2008 Meeting Report

APRIL 2008
Spring Meeting   April 25, 2008
Ryerson Library, Ryerson University
Toronto, Ontario

The Librarians at Ryerson University welcomed us for a business meeting followed by special events that they graciously organized for us. After lunch we enjoyed presentations and tours that focused on current ambitions for the University as well as the features of Special Collections managed by the Library. It was a perspective on the University that was both wide and specialized: a great combination for a program.

Dr. George Kapelos, a professor in the School of Architectural Science, spoke passionately about the team he has worked with to devise a Master Plan for Ryerson University. The land-locked University has taken an honest appraisal of its place in Toronto and has created a vision for how it can proceed, how it can grow for its community of students and faculty and how it can function within the urban fabric.

Dr. Kapelos’ illustrated lecture touched on ideas that indicate that his visionary team, which includes KPMB Architects – is based on the human scale. As he says it, this vision ‘engages the public realm, a core for people’ and takes the University’s urban setting as an advantage, with its opportunities for commerce, social, transportation, housing, parks, entertainment and public places. As the University grows and transforms, the Master Plan can ensure that each change resonates with the whole.

Ryerson is buying up land as it becomes free in its intended plan for growth as well as following the lead of institutions like Concordia by constructing a vertically oriented campus. A prized acquisition is the former location of Sam the Record Man. This is the intended location for an expanded Ryerson Library. The iconic sign for the former retail business featuring double discs is designated and comes with the property. Envision a future Ryerson Library with the neon sign blaring, ‘This is Sam the Record Man!’ pulsing on the wall that faces Yonge Street. Dr. Kapelos hopes that details like this will inspire people to say, “If you’re visiting Toronto, make sure you see X [and] Y and don’t forget to go to Ryerson.”

After Dr. Kapelos’ lecture, Beth Knazook, the Photographic Curatorial Specialist for the Library’s Special Collections presented – visually – numerous highlights. Ryerson offers an M.A. in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management, which seems to be a timely course of study for a world desiring expertise for its aging photo collections.

Ms. Knazook described the evolution of her collections that includes the Kodak Canada Archives (est 2005) and the Heritage Camera Collection. This facility grew out of a practice of hands-on learning and traditional photography, and the Masters students of this new and innovative program carry this intent forward with explorations into experiential learning based on the collections.

Alana West, the Media Collections Assistant of the Mira Godard Study Centre, described the impetus for this resource center, which provides access to an incredible 250,000 slides. A faculty photo collection initiated in 1969 was significantly advanced with a gift of 57 historic photographs in 1995 by Mira Godard, for whom this centre is named. This collection is now comprised of 2224 objects, and continues to grow. It also houses artist files (comprised of clippings, videos, DVD’s and other ephemera) as well as other photo archives. Ms. West impressed on us the importance of viewing the original photograph. She is so right: we always view photos in reproduction.

Ultimately, a gallery on campus will house the the April 2005 donation of 291,049 black and white photographs from the Black Star Agency in New York. The Black Star Historical Black and White Photography Collection (that does include a few colour NASA photographs) is a significant resource for faculty and students in Ryerson’s School of Image Arts. From its roots in Europe during World War I to 1980’s photojournalist works, this collection holds great promise for Ryerson. While original works in the collection are stored offsite until optimum conditions for preservation are met by new construction at Ryerson, large-scale scans from the Black Star Collection are periodically exhibited in public settings. For example, gripping images that focus on people who have experienced World War I and II are currently displayed in the nave of BCE Place, Toronto until May 27th, 2008.

We would like to thank Librarians Barb Parsons, Zita Murphy and Susan Patrick for their teamwork in putting this day together for our Chapter!

February 2008 Mid-Winter Gathering

Mid-Winter Gathering & Fundraiser

Hosted by HOK Architects, 720 King Street West, Toronto
Wednesday February 27th, 2008


From the invite:
“This year’s gathering will feature a special presentation by the staff of HOK Architects on sustainable design and a tour of their fabulous new space including the design materials library. Learn more about HOK at www.hok.com or the event at www.hokevents.com.

Food and fundraising are also on the agenda with some new and interesting prizes in store to help raise funds for the travel awards and other initiatives.

Although space is limited we are opening the event to non-members in the art, library and design community, those interested in environmentally responsible design as well as to colleagues who are considering membership in ARLIS/NA Ontario. The event is by invitation only and you must respond to your email invitation to be included on the list.”

Follow-up report:
Many thanks to HOK for hosting our fundraising gathering in their wonderful new space, for donating the wine, the invitations and providing the tour by Sandra Lester of their LEED Gold Accredited energy efficient offices. It was great to get a first hand look at a sustainable workplace that really worked on so many levels.

We were pleased to finally have an in depth look at the materials library. Daina’s extensive knowledge must surely make her an asset to your clients. Thanks to Darlyn, Jessica, Donald and Jeffrey and to all the staff who were extremely helpful from start to finish and made us feel so welcome.

Thanks to the bookstores and galleries for their generous donations of books and gift certificates and to all our members who contributed prizes including the beautifully handcrafted items, historic books, posters and prints.

  • David Mirvish Books
  • Art Metropole
  • Gallery 44
  • Meredith Ferguson from Curnoe Family
  • Margaret English
  • Tammy Moorse
  • Lesley Bell
  • Mary Williamson

To those of you who donated food to the potluck table – it was delicious. Thanks to FIS students, Laine and Meredith and Lesley and Margaret too for preparing and presenting the food with such flare! A special thanks to the committee members: Margaret, Tammy, Laine, Meredith and Lynda. Teamwork made it possible! Last but not least thanks to all our members, associates and invited guests for coming out on such a cold evening and making the auction a success. You helped us raise almost $1000.00 (after expenses).

We were in touch with a number of librarians, colleagues and library students from Ontario and Toronto and were pleased to welcome them to this annual gathering. Our membership committee will be keeping in touch and committee chair, Tammy Moorse will be looking for members to help in this endeavour.

Fall 2007 Meeting Report


Art and Books Featured at Fall Meeting

Thanks to all of you who travelled to McMaster University in  Hamilton for our fall meeting. A special thanks to vice-chair, Lesley Bell, who organized a full and enriching day of tours and talks. It’s always a little more daunting when the planning is not around your own institution.

As we gathered in the student centre enjoying the delicious scones and coffee, Margaret ran the 50/50 draw and Kalan, our student rep was on hand to show the display she recently designed for the student lunch at UofT FIS. Congratulations to Margaret who was the winner of the draw and good for us, as $60.00 was added to the chapter coffers.

We welcomed a few new members and a guest visitor, Donna Thomson, the Fine Art Librarian at McMaster. Thank you to Michele for passing along her name. Our Canadian Rep, Marilyn Nasserden also joined us from Calgary with the latest from ARLIS/NA including news about Canadian Representation on the board, French translation, and the possibility of a meeting of Canadian chapters in Quebec in August.

The 2008 executive was voted in and I would like to welcome Margaret English as the vice-chair and Tammy Moorse as treasurer. Randall Speller will continue as our secretary. Thank you all for stepping forward. A number of changes to committee structure were agreed to at the meeting. This should help share some of the tasks – “many hands make light work” so please lend a hand where you can.

Some issues required some background information and this was true for the discussions around the proposal for the Ontario chapter to host the 2012 Conference. The conference steering committee of Karen, Jill and Margaret emailed 2 documents to the membership previous to the meeting, allowing for informed discussion and the decision that an email vote would take place following the meeting. This should happen within the next few weeks.

Last but not least, Barb Duff of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa informed us of the cancellation of the Exhibition Transportation Service by Canadian Heritage. She requested that we take action on this matter and since the meeting, Barb outlined the details of the issue and drafted of a letter that you have all received by email. Please make the letter your own and forward it to your MP. Thanks Barb for alerting us to this issue and helping us to perhaps make a difference. http://www.cci-icc.gc.ca/services/exhibit_e.aspx

Please take a look at the minutes for some of the decisions that were taken and upcoming activities being planned. If you have not received the minutes please contact janet_muise@cbc.ca

Behind-the-scenes Tour

Following lunch at the East West restaurant we made our way across the lovely campus to McMaster University Art Gallery for a behind the scenes tour including the Paper Centre where the art on paper is stored. There was much discussion as we viewed a display that included works by Schiele, Picasso and Matisse.

We moved to the main gallery space to view the group show titled Quantal Strife” and a photographic exhibition of moving works about Afghan journalists, writers, filmmakers, activists and photographers. The range of works within the 2 rooms was stunning. Overhearing a young student comment on a very early painting on display, it was apparent what an asset the gallery is to all students of the university.

On to the archives of the Mills Memorial Library, where medieval scholar Dr. Kathleen Garay, treated us to a gripping presentation printed books and manuscripts from the collection. It was a privilege to experience these books up close and personal with a teacher so profoundly knowledgeable and passionate about her subject matter.

The afternoon concluded with yet another truly impassioned talk by archivist and research collections Librarian, Dr. Carl Spadoni who assembled an array of materials from the Bertrand Russell Archive. The range of material was as broad and fascinating as the life of the man himself. What a treasure to behold.

Following the meeting we made our way to the east end of downtown Hamilton to conclude the day with dinner and conversation.

Plans for the “Mid-winter” fundraiser took shape and details will be made available soon. With a concerted effort we can plan a fun and interesting evening. Please consider lending your talents.

All the best to the members of the 2008 executive.

Janet Muise, Chair

ARLIS/NA Ontario Chapter