Rules and Regulations for the Reopening of the PIMS Library

Phone: 416-926-7146 (entire day) and 416-926-2094 (only in the afternoon)

Dr. Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Librarian

After serious deliberations and multiple discussions, the PIMS Library has received approval from the administration of St. Michael’s College to reopen on Monday, September 28, 2020. Until further notice, the Library will be open on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.

Since the safety of the staff and readers is our highest concern, a series of rules and safety protocols have been implemented in accordance to provincial and national health guidelines. In general, the Library will operate at a reduced capacity, with readers NOT allowed to seat in the area of the main stacks (the only exception are the users of the microfilm reader/scanner). Readers with be allowed to study at the tables in the Reference Area, Paleography Room, and the middle Study/Board Room.

In accordance with the rules of social distancing, only 16 (sixteen) readers can be allowed in the Library at any given time. All readers must wear face masks during their entire visit; they also need to sanitize their hands frequently (sanitizing liquid will be provided), especially before touching any of the lockers, the public computers, the photocopier, and the handles of the movable shelves for periodicals.

What you need to do before coming to the PIMS Library?

1) If you are not coming to the library at 10 a.m., when we open and are likely to have study spaces available, it is advisable to call first to make sure that there is a place for you when you arrive. Admittance is provided on first come, first serve basis. No reservations will be taken.

2) When you reach the Kelly Library, you have to call us at the numbers provided above. One of the PIMS staff will come down to take you to the 4th floor, using either the elevator or the stairwells, according to preference. You CANNOT reach the 4th floor on your own; there will be a designated area on the first floor of the Kelly Library where you have to wait until one of us come down to fetch you.

3) You must have with you your old PIMS card. New cards will be issued for 2020-2021 at each reader’s first visit. If you have lost your old card, you will be allowed to enter upon approval.

4) Bring your own writing tools and prepare your visit by finding your references beforehand, if you are not bringing your computer with you. Two of the public computers in the reference area will be operational, but it is safer to avoid using them, if possible.

What you need to do in the PIMS Library?

1) Leave your belongings in the lockers. Do this AFTER you sanitize your hands.

2) Only water can be taken into the Library.

3) Enter the Library following the arrows.

4) Fill in the registration form (only at first visit) and sign the ledger at every visit. Please PRINT CLEARLY your name and the time of your entry and exit, so that we can implement tracking if necessary. The student monitor will assist the readers in this process.

5) Every reader will have their own box in which they MUST place all the books or microfilms they touch. Re-shelving of books is NOT allowed. This will be your box for the week. All books will be re-shelved at the end of the week, and microfilms will be returned to their place.

6) You will be shown to a place where you can work. You are NOT allowed to change seats.

7) You can go to the stacks to fetch your books. You MUST follow the arrows which ensure that there is only a one-way traffic. Please do not enter the areas that are closed off for readers.

7) If you need to exit the library for lunch (ca. 1 hour), you need to follow the exit procedures, and return using the entry procedures. Your place will be kept for you. NO FOOD can be eaten IN THE BUILDING during the pandemic. If you have your own lunch, you need to eat it outside.

What you need to do when you have to leave the PIMS Library?

1) Gather all the books you have used and touched in your box.

2) Leave a note with your name and phone number on top of the books.

3) Wipe your seat and working area. Wipes will be provided by the Library.

4) Take your box to the designated areas. The PIMS staff will show it to you. Your books will be kept in your box for the 3 (three) working days of the library. ALL BOOKS in boxes will be re-shelved every Monday morning, after a 4-day quarantine.

5) Exit through the “Exit” door, gather your belongings from the locker, and wipe the locker and the key. Wipes will be provided.

6) Inform the PIMS staff that you are ready to leave. You will be taken down by one of us; you CANNOT LEAVE on your own.

Award Announcement: SSHRC Insight Grant: Dorothea Kullmann

Congratulations to Prof. Dorothea Kullmann, who has been awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant!

Prof. Kullmann’s project was awarded for the period 2020-2023 and centres on medieval French Books of Hours. A brief description in English and French appears below.

Livres d’heures: textes et langue


The extraordinary success of the Book of Hours at the end of the European Middle Ages is well known. Designed for lay devotion, this type of book became a true « bestseller » of medieval times. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, it was produced in such numbers that we still have several thousand copies left—an enormous figure for a medieval book. Northern France was a particularly important centre for the production of Books of Hours. Most are written entirely in Latin, and only a few are entirely in French. However, many contain at least a few French prayers, often included in personalized “appendices” at the end of the books, or added at a later moment. Given the large number of Books of Hours produced in northern France, even the few prayers in French that these books contain form, when taken together, an extraordinary body of French text material, a coherent corpus that has never been studied from a linguistic perspective. Situated at an intermediate level between literature and texts of common use, prayers represent a middle register of the language the documentation of which is scarce. What is more, this corpus covers precisely the period of transition between old French and modern French, i.e. the period of “Middle French” and “16th-century French,” a period during which the language underwent profound changes which affected its very structure.

This project proposes to analyze Middle French with a new method, by analyzing the variants of the same texts in a large number of witnesses copied over an extended time span. To do this, we will create a database containing transcriptions of these texts. In addition, we will establish the catalogue of the Books of Hours kept in Canada outside Quebec, which have never been catalogued, in order to promote a little-known heritage (this work has already been started with the collaboration of CMS doctoral students). We will also edit unedited texts. Combining linguistics and philology, our approach will allow us, in particular, to go beyond the mere observation of the appearance of new forms and structures in literary texts, to follow the evolution of the average language and to better understand when and how comprehension of the old language was lost.

For more information, or if you are interested in collaborating on this project, please contact Prof. Dorothea Kullmann (


L’extraordinaire essor du livre d’heures à la fin du Moyen Âge européen est bien connu. Véritable « bestseller » de l’époque médiévale, ce type de livre conçu pour la dévotion des laïcs a été produit, entre le XIVe et le XVIe siècle, en des nombres tels qu’il nous en reste toujours plusieurs milliers d’exemplaires, chiffre énorme pour un livre médiéval. La France du Nord a été un centre particulièrement important de la production de livres d’heures. La plupart de ceux-ci sont rédigés entièrement en latin et rares sont ceux qui sont entièrement écrits en français. Cependant, un très grand nombre contient quelques prières françaises, souvent incluses dans des « annexes » plus personnelles en fin de volume, ou bien ajoutées après coup. Vu le grand nombre de livres d’heures produits en France du Nord, même les quelques prières en français que ces livres contiennent forment ensemble un extraordinaire corpus de matériau textuel de la langue française, corpus qui n’a jamais été étudié dans une optique linguistique. Participant à la fois du texte littéraire et du texte d’usage commun, les prières représentent un registre moyen de la langue qu’il est difficile de capter ailleurs. Qui plus est, ce corpus couvre justement la période de transition entre l’ancien français et le français moderne, donc la période du « moyen français » et du « français du XVIe siècle », période pendant laquelle la langue subit des changements profonds, qui affectent sa structure même.

Ce projet se propose d’analyser le moyen français par le biais d’une nouvelle méthode, l’analyse des variantes des témoins d’un même texte, dans la longue durée. Pour ce faire, on créera une base de données contenant des transcriptions de ces textes. En outre, on fera le catalogue des livres d’heures conservés au Canada hors Québec, qui n’ont jamais été répertoriés, afin de valoriser un patrimoine peu connu (ce travail a déjà été commencé avec la collaboration de doctorants du CMS). On éditera également des textes inédits. Combinant linguistique et philologie, notre approche nous permettra notamment d’aller au-delà du simple constat de l’apparition de nouvelles formes et structures dans des textes littéraires, de suivre l’évolution de la langue moyenne et de mieux comprendre quand et comment se perd la compréhension de l’ancienne langue.

Pour plus d’information, ou si vous intéressé à collaborer à ce projet, veuillez contacter Prof. Dorothea Kullmann (

Award Announcement: SSHRC Insight Grant: Practices of Commentary (2020-2025)

Congratulations to our faculty and students in the “Practices of Commentary” project, which has now won a SSHRC Insight Grant!

From the award announcement:

We are proud to announce a new five-year SSHRC Insight Grant project on the topic of “Practices of Commentary” centred at the University of Toronto (2020–2025).

Our primary goal is to set new research agendas for the longue durée of an interpretive mode that has been used in a diversity of cultures, has never ceased to shape opinions and worldviews, and continues to serve as a prime site for the perpetuation and innovation––and, sometimes, willful distortion––of knowledge, as seen in social media-infused digital spaces. The project seeks to develop a global perspective on practices of commentary, de-siloing regionally focused work while simultaneously offering fine-grained and nuanced accounts of the function of commentary in cultures and communities of the premodern world. This project thus has a global scope, bringing together both senior and junior scholars with expertise in various European, Near Eastern, and South and East Asian traditions to debate the theory and practice of commenting and commentary in humanistic studies today.

This project grew out of a Reading Group hosted at the Jackman Humanities Institute, begun in 2017. Led by Professors Walid Saleh (Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations), Amanda Goodman (Study of Religion, East Asian Studies), Jeannie Miller (Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations), and Markus Stock (Germanic Languages and Literatures), and with the active participation and support of our colleague Suzanne Akbari (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), the project unites participants from many further humanities departments at the University of Toronto, including Classics, English, Philosophy, and the Centre for Medieval Studies. It also brings together world-leading scholars from Carleton University, McMaster University, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, the Goethe University Frankfurt, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Needham Research Institute, and the National University of Singapore.

We hope that this grant’s collaborations, and in particular the students and other early career scholars who will participate in it, will bring about a transformation and develop a deep comparative background to our individual disciplines.

Stay tuned for further announcements, including our plans for a virtual launch for all interested colleagues. For further information, or to get involved, please contact PI Dr. Walid Saleh (, or Dr. Jessica Lockhart (

One Click to Fisher’s Medieval Manuscripts

Fisher Manuscript Categories

You can now use a single link to access all of the Fisher Rare Book Library’s online medieval manuscripts.

Fisher has also added “medieval manuscripts” as a separate category on their digital collections page, to enhance ease of access.

Please note that the Fisher digital collections as a whole are being overhauled, so the links above may change in the future. Please check their web page for updates.