16 Canadian Books to read for Pride Week

Happy Pride!

Pride Week is one of the primary arts and cultural festivals in Canada, and is also celebrated worldwide. Although June is often recognized as Pride Month, this year, Halifax Pride is being celebrating between the 12th and 22nd of August.  

For many, celebrating Pride means dressing up, going to festivals or parades, waving our pride flags and accepting and expressing ourselves, and other peoples’ identities.   

Although Pride is a great time to be vibrant and joyful, it’s important to remember that Pride has not always been sunshine and literal rainbows.  

Pride Month was created to commemorate a critical moment in queer history – the Stonewall Uprising (also known as the Stonewall Riot), which was a protest that lasted 6 days in Manhattan between police and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) protestors in June 1969.  

It’s important to note the acronym LGBTQ continues to evolve but is often referred to as LGBTQIA2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual, Two-Spirit, plus).  

Pride Month was born from overcoming discrimination and hardships faced by the LGBTQIA2S+ community – some of which still exist today. 

Celebrations should, then, include an acknowledgement and recognition of the accomplishments of advocates in the LGBTQIA2S+ community and allies, while continuing to work towards equity for all.  

One way we can start to understand the lived experience of others is by “stepping into someone else’s shoes”, as the saying goes. We can do this by (yes, you already know what we’re about to suggest!) reading novels and poetry anthologies by Canadian authors who identify as being part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.  

Check out our selection of Ebooks and Print books available to you through the Patrick Power Library’s catalogue.  

Novels Available as Ebooks  

Follow the links provided to the Ebooks available – for extra help, you can also check out our resource on how to access and download library books. You’ll need to have your S number and password nearby.

Novels Available as Print Books 

If reading a physical book is more your style, you can borrow materials from the Patrick Power Library. Don’t see it in our collection? You can also request materials from other libraries. The books below are all print books available in our catalogue.  

Reading stories written by members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community can help to highlight some of the barriers faced by this group. If you are, or if you know someone going through similar struggles, you can check out the following links for some great resources that may be able to help.  

Expanding your reading list to include underrepresented voices not only gives you a safe space to read and learn, but the cover of diversified books can also indicate to others that there is a safe space with you, as well.   

Can’t find a book that interests you? This is just the tip of the iceberg! Connect with our Research Help team- we’ll be happy to chat and help you find something great to read for Pride. 

What are you reading for Pride Week?

This Canada Day, Take a Deeper Dive into Canada’s History

July 1 is a chance to reflect on our country’s history, present, and future.

To do that, we need to educate ourselves- perhaps beyond what we’ve learned in school. Canadians of all demographics can learn more about our own country by exploring Canada’s history- the good and the bad- through numerous online resources.

You can find and access many of these resources for free, but if you’re currently a student, staff or faculty member at Saint Mary’s, you’ll have access to some of the following databases through the Library.

Critically Examining Your Sources

It’s worth noting that many of these are resources provided by the Canadian government, but there are a variety of perspectives that need to be considered when establishing an information source’s authority on a topic. There may be (and often is!) more to the story.

This does not mean we should trust sources that are untrustworthy, or that trustworthy sources can’t sometimes be incorrect. It simply means we must use our critical thinking skills to analyze a source from a critical perspective. Here are some questions to ask yourself when analyzing a source:

  • Who wrote it? Why? What makes them on expert on this topic? (It’s perfectly acceptable to Google names, institutions, etc. to find out more about an author or organization).
  • Is the information presented objectively (more or less), or does it present only one side of an issue? Does the author/organization benefit from presenting the info from a particular perspective?
  • What information is included, and what is excluded? (To know this, you’ll need to consult multiple sources on the topic).
  • Is it current? When was this information last updated?

You can find more info and questions to consider on the Library’s website.

For online information in particular, a handy approach is one called SIFT:

SIFT: Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, Trace claims and media to the original context.

The following is a list of resources you can use to learn more about Canada’s past, present, and future, keeping in mind the critical thinking skills discussed here.

Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada makes key information available from the national statistical office. Canadians can access information about the country’s economy, society, environment and much more. Statistics Canada is a great database to use to explore Canadian statistics while also having the data needed to make effective evidence-based decisions. 

Government of Canada Publications

The Government of Canada Publications database hosts more than 400,900 digital publications that are accessible to you. If you have ever wanted to access the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you can get it here. As well as multiple other documents ranging from Canadian building codes to Government responses to environment and social justice issues.

Canadian Business and Current Affairs

The Canadian Business and Current Affairs database provides users with large collection of materials discussing current affairs and business challenges in Canadian. The database features a range of publications, include scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, reports, radio and television transcripts, news, and much more.

Canada’s Information Resource Centre

Canada’s Information Resource Centre (CIRC) is a database that hosts a wide collection of Canadian directories. Find important and need-to-know information about government and industry segments using the information provided by CIRC.

Canadian Census Analyzer  

You never know what you can find using the Canadian Census Analyzer database. Using census subdivisions (CSDs), you can access and create datasets that you’re interested in using recent Canadian census data.


The Canadiana/Heritage database offers you over two million pages of Canadian history. This database is dedicated to preserving and providing Canadians with access to heritage materials.

Check out this fabulous guide from Douglas College for more resources.

There are tons of ways to learn more about Canada’s history just by sitting at your computer- or by seeking out and learning from those who lived it.

If you can’t find something you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to the Library’s Research Help team. We’re always happy to assist!

Some Resources for Learning about Residential Schools in Canada

Every child matters.

The recent discovery of the unmarked burial ground in Kamloops B.C has prompted many Canadians to think about and reflect on our knowledge (or lack thereof) about residential schools in Canada.

Starting in the 1800s and running until 1996, residential schools were established by Christian churches and sponsored by the Canadian government to assimilate Indigenous children into the Euro-Canadian culture. Many Indigenous children, families, and communities suffered as a direct result of the residential school system.

If we are to help create a more just and equitable future, it is crucuial for non-Indigenous people to understand the impact of residential schools on Indigenous peoples and communities. If you’ve been reading the news and find yourself unsure about the meaning of terms like “Indian Residential School”, “60s Scoop”, “Indian Day School” or “Millennium Scoop” (to name just a few), here are some helpful resources you can use as a starting point to learn more about residential schools and the resulting intergenerational trauma that many Indigenous people continue to live with today.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Secret Path

Videos (login with your S number and password to view some of these):

Residential Schools in Canada – A Timeline

Cold Journey

Stories are in Our Bones

Indian Horse

We Were Children

Ebooks (login with your S number and password to view):

Broken circle: the dark legacy of Indian residential schools: a memoir by Theodore Fontaine

A knock on the door: the essential history of residential schools by Phil Fontaine

They came for the children Canada, Aboriginal peoples, and residential schools by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing children and unmarked burials by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

“A national crime”: the Canadian government and the residential school system, 1879 to 1986 by John Sheridan Milloy and Mary Jane McCallum

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese 

“Many people have said over the years…”Why can’t you just get over it and move on?” “My answer has always been: “Why can’t you always remember this?” Because this is about memorializing those people who have been the victims of a great wrong… We should never forget, even once they have learned from it, because it’s part of who we are. It’s not just a part of who we are as survivors and children of survivors and relatives of survivors, it’s part of who we are as a nation. And this nation must never forget what it once did to its most vulnerable people.”

– Murray Sinclair

5 Ways the Library Can Help Improve Your Academic Achievement

SMU graduates from previous convocations.

Convocation is this week, and most likely, if you’re a graduating student, you know about the Patrick Power Library and some of the services we provide. However, what you may not know is how these services can significantly impact your overall academic achievement during your time at Saint Mary’s University. 

A significant amount of evidence shows a positive correlation between student library use and grade point average (GPA). “Library use” could mean you are checking out print materials, accessing articles through Novanet, or browsing some of our available journals or databases. A study conducted by DeeAnn Allison (2015) found that undergraduates with higher GPAs had 50% more material checkouts and a 41% higher usage rate of databases than those with a lower GPA. 

As students, maintaining a competitive GPA can help you to create more postgraduate earnings and opportunities (Allison, 2015). The Library can help you stay on a path towards success by helping you navigate and utilize the library services to avoid challenges and meet your academic goals.

Here are five ways that using the Library can help you improve your academic achievement. Or, if you’re a recent graduate, here’s how the Patrick Power Library may have already helped you on your way to success! 

1. Providing Online and Print Materials  

The Patrick Power Library has plenty of online and print materials that you, as students, can utilize during your time at Saint Mary’s University. These materials range from peer-reviewed online articles to ebooks to physical books from our print collections that you’re able to use. Accessing and exploring these resources is an excellent first step when building the foundations of a great research project. 

2. Available Journals and Databases 

If you visit the Patrick Power Library website, you will notice that we offer students the ability to search for Journals A-Z and Databases A-Z. As you can imagine, there is a lot of available information using these resources! The Patrick Power Library staff want to ensure that you, as students, have as much access to materials that will allow you to reach academic goals.  

3. Subject Guides 

If you don’t know where to start, the Patrick Power Library has various Subject Guides that can help you find information and easily navigate the library resources to find relevant information. Subject Guides outline materials and resources for specific subject areas, making it easy for you, as students, to find what you need. Searching for a Guide that suits your course is a great way to start exploring information and developing a research topic. 

4. Research Help  

Can’t find the article you’re looking for? Do you need help navigating a database? We are here to help! The Library’s Research Help service is designed to help you develop a strong research topic, improve your search strategy, search for materials, and help you to evaluate and find helpful information. The instant chat service connects you directly with a library staff member who can help you with any questions you may have or direct you to the resource or service you need. Learn more or reach out to Research Help using the link provided below:


5. Library Instruction Workshops

The Patrick Power Library also provides you with helpful workshops that can improve your academic performance. A recent study found that students who engaged with library instruction workshops saw an increase in their overall GPA (Gaha et al., 2018). So, we highly recommend attending one! Workshop topics may include general instructions about library services and resources or specific to a subject or assignment you are working on. 

The Patrick Power Library is committed to helping you pursue your academic achievement goals to set yourself up for future success. However, it is important to note that your GPA is not the only thing that can define academic success. Engaging with the Patrick Power Library services can also help you buld the essential skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a workplace or postgraduate environment. Research skills are valuable now, but also for life beyond university.

If you are a recent student graduate, congratulations! We hope the library services have been supportive of your hard work and academic aspirations. If you are continuing your studies here at Saint Mary’s, please know that our services are always here for you. The Patrick Power library offers plenty of services that are still available online.


Allison, DeeAnn. (2015). Measuring the Academic Impact of Libraries. Portal (Baltimore, Md.), 15(1), 29-40.

Gaha, Ula, Hinnefeld, Suzanne, & Pellegrino, Catherine. (2018). The Academic Library’s Contribution to Student Success: Library Instruction and GPA. College & Research Libraries, 79(6), 737-746.

More study space, more research support over the long weekend

Got a date with some final papers this long weekend? We’ve got you covered! The library will be open for regular individual study space bookings from Friday, April 2- Monday, April 5.

Sticking close to home, but still working on assignments? The Research Help Team will be online from 9 am – 7 pm on Friday, April 2 and Monday, April 5, and 1-5 pm on Saturday, April 3, to help you with your library and research-related questions.