Posts by Howard R. Engel

Red River College Library’s Sustainability Initiatives

April 16, 2014 • Written by

we recycleRed River College (RRC) has a growing reputation as one of Canada’s greenest employers, thanks especially to its Sustainability Initiatives: http://blogs.rrc.ca/redgreen/

As an integral part of the College, the Library is no exception and practices sustainability in its everyday operations, such as purchasing environmentally friendly products whenever possible for its own supplies. These include paper products with recycled content, refillable pens, Enviro-Stik pencils, and recycled paper clips.

And, the Library also goes beyond what is required.  How does RRC Library uniquely practice sustainability? By:

  • “Ever-greening” its collection; i.e. weeding to make room for new materials.  The old materials are not just thrown out to the landfill.  Far from it!  Once removed, they are made freely available for anyone to pick up from our freebie display.  Leftover items are picked up by the College’s Recycling team. 
  • Practicing responsible printing – by staff and students with a bias to “keep it green and leave it on the screen”.
  • Saving non-confidential photocopier/printer waste sheets that are blank on at least one side, for use as scrap paper by students and staff.
  • Responsible recycling or disposal of video tapes, batteries, electronic equipment, etc.
  • Inviting users to bring their own (ear)buds.   
  • Launching its recreational reading book exchange program.
  • Scrolling information on strategically placed screens for all to see instead of printing handouts.
  • Featuring green themes in its window display, such as the recent “Prepare for Spring!”
  • Creating curriculum-based, sustainability-related research guides, such as
  • Refreshing the air and milieu with plants – all provided by Library staff.
  • Undertaking a composting pilot project at its Exchange District Campus location that collected 157.5 lbs. by weight and 205 liters by volume, over one calendar year, Jan. 26/12 to Jan. 25/13.

For further information about greening libraries:

Whatcha doin’ Marshall McLuhan?

May 28, 2013 • Written by

CLA Conference display and session feature this “Winnipeg Boy who made Good”

Marshall McLuhan is one of the topics of the upcoming CLA Conference to be held in Winnipeg.  (Photo published under Creative Commons license through Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number PA-165118 and under the MIKAN ID number 4170003)

Marshall McLuhan reflected in a mirror. McLuhan is one of the topics of the upcoming CLA Conference to be held in Winnipeg. (Photo published under Creative Commons license through Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number PA-165118 and under the MIKAN ID number 4170003)

Remember Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In (originally broadcast on NBC 1968-1973)? Cast member Goldie Hawn asked “Whatcha doin’ Marshall McLuhan?” during his heyday. So who was McLuhan and what’s he doin’ back in Winnipeg?

Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) is one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. Born in Edmonton, raised in Winnipeg, he graduated from the University of Manitoba and Cambridge University, became a devout Catholic, a beloved professor of English literature and founding Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. He’s known for his prophetic poetry, satiric observations, and explorations (“probes”) into the effects of communications media on society. His most famous aphorism “The medium is the message” and percept of “the global village” are integral parts of the English language.

The Marshall McLuhan Initiative at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba is convening a Canadian Library Association (CLA) Conference session called “McLuhan, Books & Libraries: an Old Figure in a New Ground” from 1-2 p.m. on Thurs., May 30/13 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. It will be given by McLuhan friend and collaborator Dr. Robert (“Bob”) K. Logan, Chief Scientist, Ontario College of Art & Design and Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Toronto. As this session description states, “McLuhan … had some interesting, useful and even infuriating things to say about books and libraries [e.g. “The book is obsolete”]. Ironically, these ideas have not yet been published, but exist as a manuscript co-authored by Bob Logan. Join Logan as he provides a tantalizing, humorous and poignant insider’s look into McLuhan and his ideas.”

For the CLA Conference, the McLuhan Initiative is also curating a Winnipeg-focused McLuhan display at the Elizabeth Dafoe Library entitled, “Marshall McLuhan: a Winnipeg boy who made good“. This title is inspired by McLuhan biographer Philip Marchand, author of the first full-length McLuhan biography, Marshall McLuhan: the Medium and the Messenger (1989) who inscribed two copies of his book for the Director of the Initiative with this quote.

mcluhan2Red River College Library holds many works by and about McLuhan, such as:

To probe McLuhan further, try:

“You don’t like those ideas? I got others.” – Marshall McLuhan