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What’s new in Open Shelf: July 2021

We envisioned this year’s July issue to be an inaugural attempt at creating a contributor-driven “unconference issue,” as I’m sure you have ascertained from the call for submissions we included in the past two months’ issues of Open Shelf. 

And while this month’s issue is a compact one, I think its contents speak to the spirit of an unconference—user-driven conversations and knowledge-sharing that span a wide range of topics, media and scope, engaged with at our own pace. This month, we return to the “roots” of 793.73 with a cryptic crossword as well as yet another helpful graphic for our Word of the month feature. These invite us in, to either learn something quickly that we may even use later that day or to dial down into the challenging and enjoyable world of puzzling that may even take you a few hours to complete. 

In the realm of more traditional written features, we also feature a diverse selection, ranging from the deeply personal to the historic. Eva McDonald has constructed an incredibly thoughtful and thought-provoking reading list of books that have helped her grapple with her identity as an Asian Canadian. Rebecca Shaw walks us through the history of University of Toronto Music Library’s rare book reading room, including how the collection came together as well as a number of highlights of the collection that are available for us to digitally peruse. And Dave Hook regales us with stories of his introduction to and lifelong learning process about coding, including  fond memories and reflections on its impact on his professional life. 

Together, these pieces provide a diverse, entertaining, engaging and informative “conference” experience for both us as the editorial team, and hopefully you as readers. Read, play and research at your leisure. And we thank you all for your attendance.

Here are the stories we feature this month, in the order that they appear in the magazine:

Here is a selection of recently-published pieces from our partner publications:


Also, check out our Twitter account at @OpenShelfOLA.

Have you ever considered writing for Open Shelf? Do you have an idea for a story that you think Open Shelf readers would like to read about? If you answered yes to either of these questions, contact us at and let us know!

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