University of British Columbia Library

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University of British Columbia Library
Koerner Library, University of British Columbia
TypeAcademic library system of the University of British Columbia (UBC)
Items collectedmore than 7.9 million books, 2.3 million e-books, 5.4 million e-resources, 5.3 million microforms, 923,000 maps, videos and other multimedia materials.
Legal depositdepository library for publications of the governments of British Columbia (BC), Canada, Japan and the United Nations.
Other information

The University of British Columbia Library is the library system of the University of British Columbia (UBC). In 2014, UBC Library ranked 22nd among members of the Association of Research Libraries.[1]

UBC Library is one of the largest research libraries in Canada,[2] with 15 branches and divisions at UBC and at other locations,[3] including branches at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, and one at the UBC Okanagan campus.

As of February 2016, UBC Library's collection comprises more than seven million volumes, more than 2.1 million e-books, more than 5.3 million microforms and more than 923,000 maps, videos and other multimedia materials.[4]

UBC Library has the largest collection of Asian-language materials in North America and the largest biomedical collection in Western Canada. It is a depository library for publications of the governments of British Columbia (BC), Canada, Japan and the United Nations.

The Library's collections of special and unique materials include the archives of Canadian author and artist Douglas Coupland,[5] the Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs (consisting of more than 18,000 rare and unique early photographs of British Columbia), the H. Colin Slim Stravinsky Collection (the largest collection of its kind in Canada, including more than 130 items documenting the work and life of Igor Stravinsky) and the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection,[6] containing more than 25,000 rare and one-of-a-kind items relating to the discovery of BC, the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Chinese immigration to Canada. The collection includes documents, books, maps, posters, paintings, photographs, silver, glass, ceramic ware and other artifacts.

In October 2015, UBC Library opened its newest facility, Library Preservation and Archives (PARC), a new modular storage facility designed to accommodate the future growth of library collections. The building is located at UBC Vancouver’s South Campus (in the Research Precinct) and provides 2,280 square metres of high-density collection storage. It can store about 1.6 million volumes and the facility also houses a campus-wide records management service.[7]

Major branches[edit]

Asian Library[edit]

UBC Asian Centre, building for the Asian Library and Asian Studies faculty and staff

The Asian Library, located in the Asian Centre, houses the largest research collection in Asian languages in North America. Its holdings in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Urdu and Indonesian exceed 580,000 volumes.

Subject material about Asia in English and other European languages, as well as Asian materials in non-Asian languages, are kept in Koerner Library and other branches. Asia-related law materials are located in the Law Library. Monographs in Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Rajasthani, Assamese, Nepali and Tibetan are shelved in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

Special materials include the valuable Puban collection- which contains traditional Chinese works before 1912, the Swann collection, Song Xuepeng collection, Jing Yi Zhai, Japanese government publications, research materials on Chinese Canadian settlement in British Columbia and the Pearl Delta Area as well as Japanese Canadian studies collections. The Asian Library's rare book collection, mainly from the Puban collection, ranks first in North America. The Chinese collection ranked third in North America in number of volumes at the time of publication of Endymion Wilkinson's Chinese History: A Manual in 2000.

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre/Main Library[edit]

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, built around the Main Library

UBC's Main Library underwent major renovations beginning in 2002. In phase one, the north wing was demolished and rebuilt. It now houses the bookstacks of the facility. Once the renovated north wing opened, the old south wing and "heritage core" of the Main Library was closed, with the south wing being demolished and the heritage core stripped to the original frame and exterior from 1925. The South Wing was officially opened to the public on February 25, 2008, with the heritage core opening in late March 2008. The building is now known as the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, named in honour of donor Irving K. Barber.

Notable features include the first Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) in Canada, referred to as the "library robot." The system increases the amount of storage space available, but has been criticized for preventing browsing.

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre houses the Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) and University Archives divisions (level one) and the Music, Art and Architecture (levels three and four). The Chung Collection, a designated national treasure, is located in the RBSC space, and focuses on the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Asian experience in Canada, and West Coast history and exploration. The Learning Centre is also home to the Chapman Learning Commons on level three, located in the restored historic core of the old Main Library.

Artwork on display around the Learning Centre includes pieces from noted artists such as John Nutter,[8] Kevin DuBois and First Nations artist Brent Sparrow.[9] The Institute for stained glass in Canada has documented the stained glass at the UBC Main Library.[10]

Okanagan Campus[edit]

Library Education Development Building at UBC's Okanagan campus.

UBC Library also serves the University's Okanagan campus in Kelowna, British Columbia. In 2014/15, the Okanagan campus Library had 688,000 library visits., answering more than 17,000 in-person inquiries at their Library Service Desk.[11]

The Okanagan Library assumed responsibility for campus writing services in 2014, and launched a new Writing & Research Services unit. 2014 also marked the launch of UBC Okanagan’s special collections program, providing dedicated collections and space to further the Library’s service to the institution, community, and region by reflecting the unique history, literature and culture of the Okanagan Valley.

In 2014, UBC Okanagan’s students voted in a referendum to contribute up to $10 million toward the expansion of the campus’ Library and Learning Centre. The renovations will add 45,000 square feet of dynamic, technologically enhanced learning space, more than doubling the size of the existing library.[12]

In Fall 2015, the Innovation Library - a collaboration between the UBC Okanagan Library and the Okanagan Regional Library - opened to support the Okanagan campus' students, faculty, and staff, as well as community researchers in the Okanagan.[13] The Innovation Library is located downtown in the Okanagan Regional Library's Kelowna Branch.

In 2017, UBC Okanagan partnered with numerous local museums and archives throughout the Okanagan region to initiate the Digitized Okanagan History project. The project digitizes historical photographs and records related to the history of B.C.'s Southern Interior, and provides access to them online.[14]

Walter C. Koerner Library[edit]

Koerner Library, designed by Arthur Erickson, was built in 1997, replacing Sedgewick Library. Koerner houses humanities and social sciences, government publications, journals and microforms, and numeric data files, the Map & Atlas Collection, and the UBC Research Commons. It is home to nearly 1.3 million items. Its postmodern architecture contrasts with the Gothic revival design of the original Main Library (now the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre) on the other side of Main Mall. Koerner is also home to the University's Interlibrary loan program.

Woodward Library[edit]

The Woodward Library’s collection covers a broad range of disciplines in support of learning and research in the Faculties of Applied Science, Dentistry, Forestry, Land & Food Systems, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Science. The collection covers a range of subject areas, including agriculture, biology, botany, chemistry, computer science, dentistry, earth and ocean sciences, engineering, food science, forestry, mathematics, medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, physics, public health, statistics, wood science and zoology. Woodward Library has the largest biomedical collection in Western Canada and a strong history of medicine and science collection.[15]


X̱wi7x̱wa (pronounced whei-wha)[16] Library is one of[17] the only Aboriginal branches of a university library in Canada.[18] Located adjacent to the First Nations Longhouse, it houses a collection of 12,000 items relating to First Nations in British Columbia, and resources on Indigenous peoples from across Canada and internationally. The name comes from the Squamish Nation word meaning "echo." The name was gifted by Chief Simon Baker of the Squamish Nation.[19]

Other branches and units[edit]

  • The Biomedical Branch Library is located at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre
  • The David Lam Library houses materials relating to commerce and business administration, and the Canaccord Learning Commons
  • The Education Library houses curriculum materials and other education materials, including children's books
  • The Law Library houses law-related materials, and is located in the Allard Hall, the new UBC Faculty of Law building
  • The University Archives is the official repository of the University's corporate records and information
  • The Digitization Centre preserves, collects, organizes, disseminates and provides access to the Library's collections [20]
  • cIRcle is the University's digital open access institutional repository for research and teaching materials created by the UBC community[21]
  • The Library Preservation and Archives (PARC), is a storage facility for low-circulation items[22]

There are also several theological libraries associated with Regent College and the Vancouver School of Theology.

Partnerships and collaboration[edit]

The Library is a member of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries; CRKN / RCDR; the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions; the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries; the Center for Research Libraries; the Council of Post-Secondary Library Directors, British Columbia; the BC Electronic Library Network; and SPARC


  1. ^ "ARL Statistics®". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  2. ^ "About UBC Library". UBC Library. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  3. ^ "Hours and Locations". University of British Columbia Library. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  4. ^ "2015/16 UBC Library Report to Senate". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  5. ^ "Douglas Coupland collection". UBC Library.
  6. ^ "Chung Collection website". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  7. ^ "Library PARC". 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  8. ^ "Artist Biography". Audio Art Speakers. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  9. ^ "Artwork at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  10. ^ stained glass at the Main Library, University of British Columbia
  11. ^ "Facts & Figures | UBC Okanagan Library". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  12. ^ "#MORELIBRARY | UBC Okanagan Library". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  13. ^ "UBC Innovation Library | UBC Okanagan Library". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  14. ^ Contributed. "UBC Library enhances access to Valley historical resources". Daily Courier. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  15. ^ "Woodward Library". Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  16. ^ "Xwi7xwa Library". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  17. ^ "Federated Colleges". SaskNetWork. Archived from the original on 23 October 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015. The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC) was created in 1976 by a federation agreement between the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the University of Regina. This agreement provided for an independently administered university-college to serve the academic, cultural and spiritual needs of First Nations' students. Since 1976, SIFC (now First Nations University of Canada) has included a library which has been affiliated with the University of Regina library.
  18. ^ UBC Library Facts & Figures 2009/2010
  19. ^ Doyle, Ann. "About Xwi7xwa Library". Retrieved 2015-08-06.
  20. ^ "UBC Library's Digitization Centre". Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  21. ^ "cIRcle". Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  22. ^ "Library PARC". About UBC Library. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2018-10-18.

External links[edit]