Bookbind to Unwind at the FIMS Graduate Library:  A Project to Support Collection Development and Literacy in Institutional Libraries 

by Sara Jessica Clarke

In “Outside and In: Services for People Impacted by Incarceration,” Chelsea Jordan-Makely and Jeanie Austin point out that although “access to reading materials is a lifeline for people who are incarcerated,” the reality is that “the needs of people in jails, prisons, and other detention centers often go overlooked” (para. 2). While their article focuses on the various library services offered for people detained in American correctional facilities, the need it highlights for information professionals to support the information needs of people within these facilities is equally relevant in the Canadian context.  

Although the challenges encountered by institutional libraries to provide information access to inmates often goes under the radar, this is an issue that many LIS professionals and LIS students are aware of and often feel passionately about. This became evident to me while I was working on my MLIS at FIMS when discussions arose about ethics and information rights in various classes and when some of my peers undertook projects related to institutional librarianship. For example, in the most recent volume of Emerging Library and Information Perspectives (ELIP)Erica McKenzie wrote about a books-to-prison initiative that she undertook independently, and which was inspired by her desire to engage in a hands-on project that would support literacy within correctional facilities.  

A recent workshop in the FIMS Graduate Library: Bookbinding for Inmates, with Regional Librarian Kelli Jerome 

In October, we had a great student turnout to a workshop that was led by Regional Institutional Librarian, Kelli Jerome. In this workshop, Kelli, a recent graduate of FIMS’ MLIS program and a past Student Library Assistant at the FIMS Graduate Library, spoke about her work and the unique considerations that arise when developing collections for institutional libraries. 

Kelli Jerome assisting students with bookbinding in the FIMS Graduate Library
Kelli Jerome assisting students with bookbinding in the FIMS Graduate Library

Institutional library collections are subject to regulations related to both the content and physical form of their materials. In terms of the physical materials, there is a requirement for hardcover books to be rebound with soft covers in order to eliminate pockets or gaps where contraband could be placed. Unfortunately, rebinding books takes time and resources that are frequently in low supply for institutional librarians. Due to the need for help rebinding in-demand books and the high-interest amongst LIS students in assisting with this work, a mutually beneficial partnership has come to fruition between Kelli and the FIMS Graduate Library. 

A group of students learning how to bind books for institutional libraries.
A group of students learning how to bind books for institutional libraries.

During the workshop, Kelli instructed participants on how to properly remove the hard covers from donated books and rebind them with soft covers so that they can be added to institutional collections. By the end of the workshop, all in attendance were fully trained in the bookbinding process and had successfully rebound an entire cart of books! In addition to supporting institutional libraries, the workshop was a wonderful opportunity for FIMS LIS students to gain some hands-on volunteer experience and to work collaboratively in the library. It was lovely to be able to meet a number of new students for the first time and we truly appreciated everyone’s enthusiasm for helping with this project!  

A group of students holding up the books they finished binding in the FIMS Graduate Library. 
A group of students holding up the books they finished binding in the FIMS Graduate Library. 

Upcoming Opportunities to Get Involved and “Bookbind to Unwind” at the FIMS Graduate Library 

We received excellent feedback from students after the workshop and we plan to host regular bookbinding meet-ups in the library. Our next session will take place on Friday, November 12. All members of the FIMS Graduate community are welcome to attend. If you are interested in attending, please email us at so that we will know how many participants to expect. All bookbinding materials will be supplied. 

A cart of materials for book binding
A cart of materials for book binding

We have also prepared a Bookbind to Unwind Cart with all of the needed bookbinding supplies for students to use during library hours. If you need a break from course work and want to log some volunteer hours, just contact staff at the library’s service desk about using these materials. The cart is equipped with bookbinding instructions and library staff are also happy to answer any questions about this work. 

Works Cited  

Austin, C. J.-M. and D. J. (2021, September 8). Outside and In: Services for People Impacted By Incarceration. Library Journal. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from 

How to get library help virtually

At the FIMS Graduate Library, we try to answer your questions as quickly as possible. We monitor the inbox ( from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. But what if you need an answer immediately or outside of our service hours? 

For those occasions, we recommend using the Ask a Librarian chat service.  

Ask a Librarian is a collaborative virtual reference service, offered in English and French, that connects students, faculty members, and researchers with real-time library and research assistance through chat. The service is offered by Scholars Portal, the digital service arm of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). 

Chat operators are librarians from universities all over Ontario and are equipped to answer questions about all participating university libraries. This means you won’t always get an operator from Western, but your operator will have training in and access to Western’s library website, and resources.  

FIMS Graduate Library Student Assistants even participate in Ask a Librarian chat. Despite being librarians-in-training, our M.L.I.S. student assistants are valuable members of the Ask a Librarian team.  Being students themselves, they bring a unique perspective and sometimes a better familiarity with student needs than even the working librarians. And if the operator doesn’t know the answer to a chat question, they can reach out for help to our dedicated Virtual Reference Team for real-time assistance. 

What kinds of questions do people ask, you might be wondering? Rest assured, we receive every type of question. Right now, many are about library services affected by COVID: can I study in the library right now? How do I pick up the book I just requested? What is the turnaround time for digitization requests? Other questions include: can you help me find this article? Can you help me formulate a search strategy for my assignment? And the strangest question I personally received is: Can you come tell the student beside me that their food is too stinky? So, please don’t be shy. There are no dumb questions.  

But maybe you’re worried that chat operators will blab to your professor about your question. Good news! The personal information that you provide in order to use this service will be protected in accordance with FIPPA, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. We will not disclose any personal data we collect from you to any party in a manner that would identify you, except to fulfill your service request or where required by law. 

So, the next time you find yourself struggling to find an answer, consider using Ask a Librarian virtual chat. Operators are kind, understanding and eager to help. Even if you just need a pep talk to get you through your exam, Ask a Librarian is here for you.

Chat conversation with patron asking for exam pep talk
Pep talk via chat

As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss this topic further, don’t hesitate to email us at

How to Request Materials from Western Libraries + Other Omni Libraries

To request a physical item from Western Libraries: 

  1. Sign in to My Library Account in the top navigation bar on the far right or select My Library Account from the yellow ribbon.
Sign in to get complete results and to request items
  1. Find the item you are interested in and select the title to open the full record display. 
  1. Select Request from the Get It area of the record. 
Catalogue record for Brave New World by Aldous Huxley with red arrow pointing to Request button
  1. Select a Pickup Location.
Pickup location drop down menu
  1. Select Send Request. 

To request a physical item from another Omni Library:

  1. Sign in to My Library Account in the top navigation bar on the far right or select My Library Account from the yellow ribbon.
Sign in to get complete results and to request items
  1. Find an item marked Not available locally, click for more options and select the title to open the full record display. 
  1. Select Get it from another library.
  1. Select your Preferred Local Pickup Location. The other fields will usually be pre-populated, but if not, fill out as many fields as possible.
Select pick up location - field on request form
  1. Select Send Request.

Digitization – Article and Chapter Requests 

All Western University and Affiliated University College faculty, students, and staff can request portions of eligible physical library materials to be scanned and delivered to their inbox, subject to certain limits defined by copyright. 

Digital delivery is limited to one chapter per book, one article per journal volume, or an excerpt of 10% of a total work. 

To request digitization:

  1. Sign in to My Library Account in the top navigation bar on the far right or select My Library Account from the yellow ribbon.
Sign in to get complete results and to request items
  1. Select the location of the item you would like to request an article or chapter, etc. from.
Select a location
  1. If you do not see the volume or year you require, you can select the funnel icon and then select “Description” to filter to the year you require.
Select other volume
Click the funnel icon to find publication year and volume
  1. Once you have found the year/volume you require, select “Digitization” beside the volume and year or book chapter you require: 
Select the year and volume that you need and click Digitization
  1. Check the box next to “Select for additional request fields” and complete the form with the citation information for the specific journal article or book section: 
Check the box next to Select for additional request fields
  1. Accept the Copyright Agreement by checking the box.
  1. Click “Send Digitization Request” 

Things to note

  1. The FIMS Graduate Library is a non-circulating library. Books and other items are for in-library use only unless permission is obtained.
  2. FIMS is not a pickup location for physical requests. Please select your next nearest library location.
  3. Requesting materials from other omni libraries is currently limited to physical items only. If Western Libraries does not have an electronic resource, such as a journal article, please request it from another institution using Interlibrary Loan (RACER).
  4. There is no guaranteed turnaround time for physical or digitization requests. Staffing issues, high volumes of requests, and items missing are some of the reasons fulfilment of your request might be delayed.

If you have any questions about requesting materials from Western Libraries or about a specific request you’ve made, feel free to email

Emerging Library and Information Perspectives 

by Aarushi Mohan

Emerging Library & Information Perspectives (ELIP) is the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) student-run, peer reviewed, open access journal at Western University. This journal is supported by the FIMS Graduate Library and hosted by Western Libraries on a local instance of Open Journal Systems. ELIP was established in 2013 and has published four issues so far. You can view our past issues here: 

ELIP uses a double-blind peer review process, which means that the identities of peer reviewers and authors are kept confidential. We hope to offer empathetic and constructive peer review feedback that assists authors in sharpening and clarifying their arguments. Our peer reviewers are students in Melissa Seelye’s Scholarly Communication & Open Access Publishing course. Being an ELIP peer reviewer is an exciting way to gain hands on experience with the principles and practice of the academic publishing cycle. 

Another exciting aspect of ELIP is the range of formats we offer for our authors to present their scholarship. We accept five main categories of submissions: Articles, In the Field, For the Field, Reviews and Interviews. In short, articles are longer research and scholarly papers, while In the Field pieces are reflections on the author’s experiences in the Library and Information Science (LIS) workplaces, and For the Field pieces include suggestions for other professionals in the field. Reviews are short reviews of materials (including books, databases or board games) pertaining to LIS. As the name suggest, interviews are conversations between MLIS students and peers, mentors or LIS professionals. For more information on submissions, you can consult this page: 

ELIP’s team comprises the Managing Editor, the Editorial Team Advisors, the Editorial Advisory Board members, and our production volunteers. Speaking to my experience on the team, the Managing Editor’s role is a dynamic and multi-faceted. My favourite part has been finding ways to virtually connect with our authors, volunteers, Editorial Team Advisors and Editorial Advisory Board members virtually during the pandemic. As the 2020-21 Managing Editor, I have learnt so much about flexibility, project management and clear communication. It has also been exciting to join a relatively new academic journal since we get to improve our workflow with every iteration.  

For potential authors  

One way to decide whether your submissions are a good fit for ELIP is to read our past volumes. For example, our current issue includes publications about public library responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the failures of bibliographic description in meeting the needs of Indigenous patrons, and the creep of commodification in library makerspaces. Publishing your reflections from your co-op experience, a strong final paper from a class you loved or an interview with a mentor or peer in ELIP can be a great way to share your unique insights with the LIS community. For a small journal, ELIP has a pretty large reach with over 55 submissions published to date. For example, Jim Seale and Nicole Schoenberger’s ELIP publication “Be Internet Awesome: A Critical Analysis of Google’s Child-Focused Internet Safety Program” was cited in a New York Times article, and has been downloaded over 1100 times. 

We also accept multiple styles of submissions because we know that the boundaries around disciplinary knowledge production can be rightly drawn, and we hope to support you in presenting your ideas in the form that best fits your voice, subject and vision. We also encourage multimedia submissions are happy to talk through the logistical details with potential authors.  

Any MLIS student at Western who is currently enrolled, or was enrolled in the Summer or Winter term before the Fall semester when the publication cycle begins,is eligible to make submissions to ELIP. For example, current students and any student who was enrolled in courses in either the Winter 2021 or Summer 2021 semester can submit to the Fall 2021 Call for Submissions.  

Our submission deadline opens later in the fall, usually around November or December. But please feel free to reach out at any time of the year if you would like to get started early on refining your submission.  

Are you interested in joining our team? 

We usually send out a call for volunteers around late February, and our production process usually runs between March and May. Our production volunteers work on copyediting, APA formatting, and fact checking. This work is invaluable and can serve as great experience for those interested in the behind-the-stage world of academic publishing. If you’re worried about being unprepared, we provide a training for our volunteers, and these are all tasks you have done for your own research papers. Additionally, your work will be credited in the journal, and you can include it on your resumé! 

We are also always looking for library and information science professionals to join our editorial team, so please reach out to if you are interested! 

ELIP Vol. 4
ELIP Vol. 3
ELIP Vol. 2
ELIP Vol. 1

FIMS Electronic Resources

FIMS students at Western have access to some of the best academic resources in the world. Through Western Libraries’ website they have access to top books, databases, news outlets and more. But there is another website where MLIS students, in particular, can find library-specific databases, websites and tools. These tools could make a big difference in their course work, so we want to make sure every incoming student knows about them.

This short video has instructions on how to get to the FIMS Resources page and a summary of the websites, databases and subscription-based tools you’ll find there. Then check out the page yourself to see what you can use for your next assignment. Access it from this link or from the FIMS Graduate Library Website under Resources.

New Feature Activated in Omni

If you’ve searched for items in Omni lately, you might have noticed a small but powerful new feature. As of yesterday, the Load More Results button is gone and in its place is the more classic style of page navigation. At the bottom of your search results, you can now choose the number of results to display per page, up to 50, as well as navigate between pages of results. 

Increase number of results per page and navigate between pages with this new feature
Increase number of results per page and navigate between pages with this new feature

Users will now have much more control over how their search results are displayed and how they navigate between results in the set. No more scrolling through results 10 at a time, which is especially beneficial when you’re trying to get to the middle of a large set. In other words, if you know you want to get to page 5, you can do that in one click, instead of 4.  

Scrolling through results 10 at a time
Scrolling through results 10 at a time

We hope you enjoy this small improvement to Omni. It’s one of many to come. Feel free to let us know what you think about this and other features. And if you need any help searching, email us at

An Introduction to Zotero

by Sara Clarke

Keeping track of citations for projects, articles, or teaching can be frustrating and having to shift between different citation styles for different classes or publications can be even worse. For these reasons, we recommend the content management tool, Zotero, to members of the FIMS community. Zotero is a versatile tool that is great for organizing research, collaborative work, and quickly formatting in-text citations and reference lists. As you browse webpages or databases, it allows you to easily save materials for later. There are other content management tools on the market, but we like Zotero because it’s a free, easy-to-use, open-source tool.

Installing and Using Zotero

To get started, go to and download the Zotero software and browser extension. It’s possible to build a citation library without the extension, but this will require you to add items manually which is a lot more work.  Once you install the browser extension it will appear in the top right corner of your screen and the icon will change depending on what type of material you’re looking at. To add items to your library, click on this icon and choose the relevant folder for the material.

Figure 1 Image of the Zotero browser extension on the FIMS Graduate Library's Website.
Figure 1 Image of the Zotero browser extension on the FIMS Graduate Library’s Website.

We recommend that you register for a free Zotero account so that you’re able to sync your account to other devices and access your library anywhere. Having an account will also allow you to use Zotero collaboratively and to share your libraries with others. 

Creating and Sharing Your Library

Zotero libraries are easy to create and to customize to your own interests and research areas. You can create folders and sub-folders to collect materials for courses, projects, professional development, or general areas of interest. Everyone’s library looks different and it’s easy to change and update as you go.

To start building your library in Zotero, right click on the collection or library icon in the top right corner of the screen. From here you can also add sub-collections, colour-code your library, or attach tags to different materials in your library. Searching your library is also simple, so you don’t need to worry if you can’t remember where you filed an item. 

Figure 2 Image of a Zotero library.
Figure 2 Image of a Zotero library.

Zotero is a wonderful tool for collaborative work. To create a new group right click on the “New Library” icon that appears in the top left corner of the standalone version of Zotero, and then click on “New Group.” This will take you to the web version of Zotero, where you can choose the settings for the group and generate invitations to send to group members.

Creating In-Text Citations and References

Using Zotero to create in-text citations and reference lists saves you the time and frustration of having to create these on your own, and it allows you to easily adapt your work to different citation formats. This function in Zotero works with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or LibreOffice. 

If you’re using Microsoft Word, the Zotero word processor plugin should be automatically installed when you download the Zotero software and will appear in the main navigation bar. To add in-text citations, first choose a citation format for your document by clicking on “Document Preferences.” Next, put your cursor where you’d like the citation to appear and click on “Add/Edit Citation” and search for the appropriate citation. Once you’ve added a citation, you can add the corresponding reference entry by clicking on “Add/Edit Bibliography.”

* Important note: It is ALWAYS important to check citation and reference entries for errors, as there are often errors in the information that Zotero receives about materials. This is especially true of websites. When you discover an error, you can change the information for the item in your Zotero library permanently so that it will be correct whenever you cite this item in the future.

Figure 3 Image of the Zotero extension in Microsoft Word
Figure 3 Image of the Zotero extension in Microsoft Word

Want to learn more? Watch our Zotero Video

If you would like an in-depth demo of how to use this tool, watch our Introduction to Zotero video. In this video, we walk you through installing Zotero, creating and organizing your citation library, generating in-text citations and reference lists, and more. 

If you have any questions about Zotero please email us at Zotero also has a great documentation section on its website that allows you to easily find information about using the tool.

The Radio Revolution – A Virtual Tribute to Margaret Lyons

“Margaret Lyons always said she had three strikes against her: she was a woman, she was under five feet tall, and she was Japanese.” As a reporter, producer and manager, she brought a new standard of journalism to radio in Canada and is credited with saving CBC radio from oblivion. She directed the creation of programs such as As it Happens, Quirks & Quarks, and Sunday Morning. She was instrumental in realizing CBC’s Radio Revolution in the late sixties, seventies and eighties. Margaret died in late 2019.

When she died, a small group of people who worked for and with Margaret as young aspiring public broadcasters, decided they should create a moment to reflect on Margaret’s contributions. 

They had hoped to stage an event at the Glenn Gould Studio in the Broadcast Centre in Toronto last Spring, but the pandemic rendered that impossible.  So, they pivoted and created a one-hour documentary Tribute to Margaret.  

From the beginning they thought the hour would be important for journalism/media and communication schools across the country. It is too easy to ignore our national history and Margaret Lyons personified a major chapter in the development of broadcast journalism in Canada. Any student of journalism or the media would not only benefit but enjoy hearing Margaret’s incredible journey from an interned Canadian of Japanese descent during World War II to the Head of CBC Radio. Her contribution to both public broadcasting and Canadian Culture is enormous and as a racialized woman her story is all the more remarkable. She is also a first-class example of the power of original thinking and what a little corporate defiance and bravery can accomplish. If her journey inspires young women and men seeking a future in the media world and engagement in an evolving Canada, then creating this documentary about an extraordinary person has served its purpose. 

Please watch and enjoy this documentary and share it with others.

How to Request Course Readings

The FIMS Graduate Library has always been happy to help instructors with their course readings. But we want you to know that the level of service has increased.

In the past, our help centered on print reserves: you requested books, we tracked them down from various locations on campus and made them available to your students in the library.  

This meant that you were responsible for book chapter scans, journal articles, website URLS, government reports, etc. In most cases, students were required to track down these resources with the bibliographic information provided in the course syllabus.  

The situation improved with the adoption of OWL. Through OWL, instructors can upload PDFs of journal articles and link to webpages and other electronic resources.  

But if this process is new to you, or the time it would take is burdensome, the FIMS Grad Library can take that work off your hands.  

Using one of several methods, which will be outlined below, if you provide us with a list of materials, we can upload them on your behalf to your course’s OWL site.  

How to Get Started 

The first step is simple, just email with the titles you need! You can email us your syllabus, a simple list of items or you can explore more options by submitting your request directly through the Course Readings Service.  

Access the Course Readings Service

If you have an OWL site, the next step is to add the Course Readings Plugin, so that a Course Readings link appears in the left menu. If you do not use OWL, or if your site has not yet been set up, log in to Course Readings with your Western Identity. 

After logging in (or clicking the Course Readings link), select a course from the “Current Courses” table or “View upcoming courses” to add or manage readings for that course. 

To upload Your Syllabus:

The following steps are optional. You can simply email us your reading list, syllabus or an individual item request. But if you’re more comfortable making the request from within OWL, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Log in to the Course Readings service 
  1. Choose a current or upcoming course 
  1. Select “Add Course Readings” 
  1. Choose the “Syllabus Service” form 
  1. Upload your syllabus as a Word or PDF document

To add items individually:

  1. Choose a current or upcoming course 
  1. Select “Add Course Readings” 
  1. Complete the request form based on the item’s material type 


  • New purchases, items to be acquired via Interlibrary Loans, and items requiring copyright clearance may take longer to be made available
  • You must submit individual request forms for items you intend to supply, e.g.: personal copies of books or media, previously scanned books or articles, etc.
  • Ensure your syllabus includes complete citation information

Additionally, please note that our stacks are closed for browsing. If you would like to consult items available in the FIMS Graduate Library to determine appropriateness for your courses, please send us a list and we will gather the items and make them available to you. 

If you have any questions or if you require assistance at any point in this process, please do not hesitate to get in touch via  

Borrowing, Returning, and Renewing Books from Western Libraries

Borrowing books

Despite the lockdown, Western students are allowed to borrow physical items from all Western Libraries locations (although pickup locations may be limited).

If you need materials held in Western Libraries, in storage, or held by an Affiliated University College, simply click the Request button on the item’s record, fill out the form, and pick it up at your preferred location.

Request item

Returning your books

When you’re ready to return your books, simply return them to the outside book drop located near the front doors of The D.B. Weldon Library.

Renewing your books

If your loan period is ending and you still need your books, you can renew them yourself by logging in to “My Library Account” from the Omni homepage.

Once signed in, click Loans to find a list of the items currently on loan to you and click Renew beside the item you want to renew, and that’s it!

Click here, for more information about My Library Account.

If you have any questions about this, or other library services, please email