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Author: Ryerson Library

Blackface in the Kodak Archive, Ryerson’s Special Collections: Context for Reading ‘Racist’ Images

Article by: Cheryl Thompson and Emilie Jabouin

In 2019, I exhibited my SSHRC-Insight Development Grant-funded research, “Newspapers, Minstrelsy and Black Performance at the Theatre: Mapping the Spaces of Nation­Building in Toronto, 1870s to 1930s,” as part of RUBIX, a showcase celebration of the Scholarly Research and Creative (SRC) activity within the Faculty of Communication and Design. At this event, I met Alison Skyrme, Special Collections librarian at Ryerson who suggested that I drop by Special Collections to examine images of blackface in the Kodak Canada Archive. 

I was struck by her invitation because it happens so rarely. Despite the fact that blackface was a popular theatrical form of entertainment from the 1830s through 1960s, performed not only in the professional theatre and in Hollywood films, but also in communities at high schools, athletic clubs, hospitals, at retail, and even summer camps, most people want to hide their blackface artefacts, they do not invite Black researchers to interrogate them. And so, one afternoon in the fall of 2019, I and my graduate student, Emilie Jabouin, scoured through the Kodak Archive’s blackface repertoire. While the images were new to me, I had prior knowledge of the important role that Kodak played in the development of photography.

Continue reading…….

Ryerson University Library and Ted Rogers School Of Management OER Partnership Grant

The Ryerson University Library is pleased to announce the 2020 Ryerson University Library and Ted Rogers School Of Management OER Partnership Grant to encourage the creation and adoption of open educational resources in 1st and 2nd year Ted Rogers School Of Management courses. OER are learning materials that are openly licensed such that they are freely available to be adapted, copied, and shared. OER can be: courses, modules, textbooks, multimedia, assessments, and supplementary materials.

These grants advance the University’s priorities to foster the use of open educational practices, flexible and active learning strategies, inclusive curriculum design and technology enhanced learning. At the same time they build on Ryerson Library’s digital initiatives, expertise in Open Access and Open Education Resource publishing and dissemination, and academic priorities of access and openness. The Library is very pleased to collaborate with the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in the review and adjudication of the grants, and in the support of successful projects. A total of $40,000 is available for a two-stage TRSM project. 

Applications are due October 23rd, 2020.For more information, please see the Library OER Grants page.

Ryerson Reads: They Said This Would Be Fun by Eternity Martis

Ryerson Reads is an annual campus-wide reading program for all Ryerson’s students, faculty, and staff. This year, in collaboration with Consent Comes First, the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education, Ryerson Reads will be reading They Said This Would Be Fun by Ryerson Alumni, Eternity Martis.

This engaging book is about being a Black student on a predominantly white campus dealing with misogynoir and other forms of anti-Black racism. A book-smart kid from Toronto, Eternity  was excited to move away to Western University for her undergraduate degree. But as one of the few Black students there, she soon discovered that the campus experiences she’d seen in movies were far more complex in reality.

Register now to receive a free copy or the book (print or ebook) and learn more about the program! 

Ryerson celebrates Indigenous identity with artwork installation

Photography by rising star Nadya Kwandibens is on display at the Ryerson Library west entrance.

The Ryerson University Library has unveiled a large-scale public artwork by photographer Nadya Kwandibens, external link to commemorate the university’s engagement with the annual Native American Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), external link conference. The 10 x 15.7-foot portrait is on display over the west entrance to the Library as part of the university’s commitment to increase Indigenous visibility and celebration on campus, to educate the community about Indigenous issues and to inspire meaningful conversations.

Captured in 2010, the portrait is part of Kwandibens’ Concrete Indians series, which reflects on contemporary Indigenous identity. Collaborating with subjects who volunteer their participation, she explores what urbanization means for Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island and how living in urban areas can affect one’s cultural identity.

Read the full press release in Ryerson Today

Library withhold – spring/summer 2020

We hope everyone is having a successful exam period – the summer term is now complete!

  • Please clear any outstanding fines and return overdue items as soon as possible. Head to the renewals page to see if you have overdue items or fines greater than $10. Students with fines greater than $10 will not be able to view their grades until their accounts are cleared.
  • All fines can be paid to the Library by telephone, either by VISA, MasterCard, American Express or with your Ryerson OneCard – please contact us at to arrange a call in time when on site staff are available.  We do not accept personal cheques.
  • We understand that this is a trying time, if you have questions or concerns about fines or overdue items, please contact Library Circulation at .

On a personal note from the Library, we wish you and your loved ones good health and stay safe.

Commercial Textbooks Challenges in an Online Environment

We know that the cost of textbooks and other course materials can represent a financial hurdle for students at Ryerson University. As we approach the fall 2020 semester, Library staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection in order to help mitigate some of the cost and obstacles present in our current environment. 

This fall, short-term loan print course reserves will not be available because of health considerations. A significant portion of the books on reserve are print copies of required textbooks.  To support instructors and students over the next several months, we are developing new approaches to how we make available course readings; however, textbooks remain a challenge.

Most textbook publishers do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Approximately 85% of existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries in any other format than print. Textbook publishers have built their profit models around selling e-textbooks directly to students. 

Despite the Library’s commitment to make copies of all required textbooks and course materials available to assist those students who are unable to purchase their own, publishers such as the following, will not allow us to purchase an e-textbook version of their publications:

  • Pearson
  • Cengage
  • Houghton
  • McGraw Hill
  • Wiley
  • Wadsworth
  • Oxford University Press Canada (Textbook Division)
  • Elsevier imprints (especially in veterinary and health science) such as:
    • Elsevier Health Science
    • Mosby
    • Saunders
  • Thieme

This means that in courses that have adopted textbooks by these publishers, students who do not purchase the textbook will not have any alternative access to the textbook content. 

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including:

  1. Using an existing e-book in the relevant subject area from the Library’s e-book collection or requesting that the Library purchase one. There are many academic e-books that aren’t considered textbooks, and are therefore available for the library to purchase. Please contact your Subject Librarian to help you.
  1. Adopting an Open Educational Resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors. You can find more about what is available at our OER Library Guide.  You can also consult our new OER by Discipline Guide
  1. Creating an online course pack through Library Digital Course Reading service (eReserve) by:
    • Posting individual book chapters or excerpts and scanned copies of the content, subject to copyright limitations. Copyright permission will be sought where feasible in cases where the excerpt falls outside of fair dealing guidelines.
    • Linking to content from the Library’s existing collection of electronic resources (e-books, journal articles, streaming media, and other digital materials) or acquiring new content whenever possible. Contact

Efforts will be made to secure online materials that are free from digital rights management restrictions (DRM) when possible in order to ensure unfettered student access. DRM includes limits on the number of users that can access a resource at any one time, as well as limits on copying, printing and downloading. DRM-free content is also accessible and can be used by screen readers. 

Any instructors teaching a fall course are also welcome to contact your Subject Librarian  at any time for support with sourcing their course materials 


Email us at

Thank you to University of Guelph Libraries for sharing their language in  documenting these challenges. We have adapted their notice with permission.

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day


The following are suggested resources, literature (electronic format) and films in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day


Indigenous Literature (available to the Ryerson community online)

For additional information, visit Indigenous Literatures and Authors



God and the Indian: A Play / Taylor, Drew Hayden 

Many of Taylor’s plays are available in digital format from the series: North American Indian Drama
Other First Nation writers from Canada represented in this collection include Tomson Highway, Daniel David Moses, Yvette Nolan, Marie Clements, and Shirley Cheechoo.





My Home As I Remember / Eds. Lee Maracle and Sandra Laronde.








Kiyâm: Poems / McIlwraith, Naomi 






The Thunderbird Poems / Ruffo, Armand Garnet 








Indigenous Perspectives

One Drum: Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet / Wagamese, Richard 

An Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America / King, Thomas 

The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative / King, Thomas 

Why Indigenous Literatures Matters / Justice, Daniel Heath 

Seasons of Hope: Memoirs of Ontario’s First Aboriginal Lieutenant-Governor / Bartleman, James 

Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous healing / Suzzane Methot. 

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada / Vowel, Chelsea.

Unsettling Canada: A National Wake Up Call / Manuel, Arthur, and Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson.


Documentary films (available to the public online):

Colonization Road: The path of reconciliation is long and winding / CBC Docs POV

The Pass System: Life Under Segregation in Canada / Williams, Alex

We were children / Wolochatiuk, Tim (available for rent through the National Film Board)

Trick or Treaty? / Obomsawin, Alanis 

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance / Obomsawin, Alanis 

Celebrating Indigenous Storytellers Portal available from CBC Gem


Library subject guides (available to the Ryerson community):

Aboriginal approaches to health 

Aboriginal approaches to social work 

Aboriginal research porta

Indigenous politics and governance 


Additional resource (available to the public online):

National Indigenous Peoples Day

Yellowhead Institute


Suggested resources on anti-black racism


The following are some suggested resources on anti-black racism. For additional resources, please refer to the Black Experience in Canada libguide. For more information about these resources, please contact: Jane Schmidt|


Books (available to the Ryerson community online)

Black like who?: writing Black Canada / by Rinaldo Walcott





Teaching community : a pedagogy of hope / bell hooks





From #BlackLivesMatter to Black liberation / Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor





How to be an antiracist / Ibram X. Kendi (ebook on order)






The End of Policing / Alex S. Vitale (available as free download from publisher)

African Canadian leadership : continuity, transition, and transformation / edited by Tamari Kitossa, Erica S. Lawson, and Philip S.S. Howard.

Films (available to the Ryerson community online)

I am not your negro / written by James Baldwin ; directed by Raoul Peck.

The hate u give

13th (Note: Netflix documentary)


Selected articles and reports (publicly available online) 

What Is an Anti-Racist Reading List For? / Lauren Michele Jackson

The case for reparations / Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I’m black / Desmond Cole

Black Women in Canada / Wallace, Jen Katshunga; Notisha Massaquoi; Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit, City of Toronto; Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI); and Justine Wallace

Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its mission to Canada. / UN Human Rights Council


Resource guides (publicly available online)


Abolition in Canada Syllabus

Black Lives Matter Allyship and Action Guide

Introduction to Critical Race Theory / Adrienne Keene

Ryerson Library Zoom Backgrounds

Decorative Graphic Ryerson Library Zoom Backgrounds

Want to ‘meet’ at the Library? Now you can be there virtually with Zoom backgrounds! Select your preferred background from the collection below. Come here without leaving home.

What is Zoom?

Zoom is an online meeting tool recommended for teaching-related web conferencing, especially if your classes comprise more than 100 people. All staff, faculty and teaching assistants have licensed Zoom accounts at this time. 

  • Features: screensharing, breakout rooms, annotations, chat, record meetings, and more.
  • Room capacity: 300 people per room.
  • Delivery method: Zoom desktop app (preferred) or Chrome web client (limited features).
  • Meeting length: Up to 4 hour meetings.


The virtual background feature in Zoom allows users to display an image as the background during Zoom meetings.

How to Download the Ryerson Library images below:

  • Click on chosen image, the image will open up in a new tab
  • Right-click on your chosen image
  • Click “Download Linked File As” and save it to your chosen location (documents, downloads, desktop, etc.)

How to Set Downloaded Image as Backdrop in Zoom once you’ve launched a Zoom meeting:

  • Click on ^ next to “Stop Video” on the bottom left of your Zoom window and select “Choose Virtual Background”
  • Click on the + on the right-hand side below the current image in your settings
  • Click “Add Image”
  • Find your saved image and select it

Library resources and services for researchers

The Library provides access to a number of electronic materials to support research, including eBooks, online journal article databases, primary source databases, data management tools, and publishing support. 

If you require access to a print book, please contact your subject librarian. We will attempt to purchase the title as an ebook. If an item is not available electronically, your subject librarian can assist you with finding alternate material. 


Scholarly communications

The Library’s Scholarly Communications Guide contains helpful information related to scholarly communication and publishing. This includes information on where to publish, copyright, how to identify high quality journals and avoid predatory journals, tips on self-archiving your research, and details about open access publishing. For more information, email Head of Collection Services, Brian Cameron


OER and Pressbooks

Open Educational Resources (OER) are materials that can be used and reused freely for educational purposes. The Library supports the collection and creation of OER by Ryerson faculty through the Ryerson University Pressbooks platform. For more information, email Web Services Librarian, Sally Wilson


Research data management

The Library’s Research Data Management (RDM) service assists researchers in managing data throughout the course of a research project. Organizing, storing and securing data from the outset can make it easier to work with and help to meet privacy requirements. For more information, email Research Data Management Specialist, Emily Maemura


New acquisitions

The Library has added a wealth of new electronic resources to our collections to help advance SRC, and teaching and learning. Search the full list of resources by subject or name of publisher/package). Publishers have also extended temporary access to some resources.


NEW: Scan and Deliver Service

Scan and Deliver Service, along with Print Pickup Service, is available to students, faculty and staff who require access to portions of printed works (chapters, articles, etc.) that fall within copyright permissible amounts can make a request through our Scan and Deliver Service. Requests can be placed through the Library’s online catalogue.


NEW: Contactless Book Return

In person, Contactless Book Return is available, by appointment, 7 days per week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Appointments may be booked using Google Calendar Appointment Slots.  For an invitation, please email


NEW: Contactless Print Pickup

Starting July 14, 2020, Ryerson Library is pleased to offer Contactless Print Pickup Service for print books that are not available electronically. This service is open to Ryerson community members with an active OneCard.

NEW: In-Person Research Appointments

In-person Research Appointments are now available for researchers requiring access to materials and equipment in the Archives and Special Collections, and the Library Collaboratory. For more information, and to book an appointment, visit: In-person Research Appointments


Interlibrary Loans (RACER)

Interlibrary loans are available for e-delivery only. Requests submitted in RACER are being monitored regularly by staff. Please email any questions to



The Library can assist faculty, researchers and students with information on copyright and Ryerson’s Fair Dealing Guideline, as well  as provide support for copyright compliance, author rights  and currently licensed Library materials. For more information, email Copyright and Scholarly Engagement Librarian, Ann Ludbrook

Subject librarians

Subject librarians support faculty and research teams in locating online research materials, including: journals, databases, data sets, streaming video, and more. They can help identify relevant journals for publication, and provide advice and best practices for systematic reviews, including use of citation management tools.


Ryerson University Library Digital Repository

Share your work! The Ryerson University Library Digital Repository collects, archives, and provides online access to research materials created by the Ryerson community, includertations, articles, and more. A new platform is in development to better help researchers showcase their work online. For more information, email Head of Collection Services, Brian Cameron



Enhance your online research profile with your ORCID iD–a unique identifier that enables faculty, researchers and graduate students to distinguish their research online, ORCID iDs are also increasingly being required by publishers and granting agencies. For more information, email Copyright and Scholarly Engagement Librarian, Ann Ludbrook


Library Collaboratory vitrual workshops

The Library Collaboratory is offering a number of research drop-ins and workshops throughout the spring and summer.