Famously called 'Fort Book' and nominated on social media as the ugliest building in Toronto by readers of the Toronto Star, the fortress-like John P. Robarts Research Library, built in the Brutalist architectural style on the University of Toronto's St. George campus, has inspired equal measures of disdain and admiration. Robarts seems to evoke strong emotions in everyone who sees or visits it; generations of students and researchers have used the building, some of whom cherish fond memories while others may not share the same sentiment.
This digital exhibition celebrates and reflects on the remarkable history of Robarts Library over the past 50 years.
Robarts Library is built on the land of Tkaronto, which is commonly called Toronto. Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit and is the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. It remains the home of many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island. We recognize the ongoing harms of imposed colonial knowledge structures and values in our library system and how Robarts Library has participated in and contributed to these harms. Echoing the Library's Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Statement, we seek to build and improve relationships with Indigenous communities to better understand our obligations and responsibilities. We seek to carry out the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, and the Canadian Federation of Library Association's Truth and Reconciliation Committee's recommendations.
The core content featured in this digital exhibition was adapted from the 50th-anniversary exhibition, From Fort Book to the Heart of Campus: 50 years of Robarts Library.
Exhibition curated by: Jesse Carliner and Tys Klumpenhouwer
Digital adaptation and curation by: Allyson Aritcheta