University of British Columbia Library

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University of British Columbia Library
Koerner Library, University of British Columbia
Type Academic library system of the University of British Columbia (UBC)
Established 1914
Branches 15
Items collected six and a half million books, 875,670 e-books, 5.4 million e-resources, 5.3 million microforms, 846,000 maps, videos and other multimedia materials, 97,000 serial titles.
Size 6,358,773
Legal deposit depository library for publications of the governments of British Columbia (BC), Canada, Japan and the United Nations.
Website [1]

The University of British Columbia Library is the library system of the University of British Columbia (UBC). In 2004, UBC Library ranked 22nd among members of the Association of Research Libraries.[1]

UBC Library is one of the largest research libraries in Canada,[1] with 15 branches and divisions at UBC and at other locations,[2] including branches at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, and one at the UBC Okanagan campus.

As of March 31, 2011, UBC Library's collection comprised nearly six million volumes, more than 875,000 e-books, more than 5.3 million microforms and more than 883,000 maps, videos and other multimedia materials.[3]

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,[4] 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,[5] 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.

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, 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), the Art and Architecture and Planning division (level three) and the Science and Engineering] division (level 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,[6] Kevin DuBois and First Nations artist Brent Sparrow.[7] The Institute for stained glass in Canada has documented the stained glass at the UBC Main Library.[8]

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 2009/10, the Okanagan campus Library accounted for 10% of UBC's library use, with nearly 621,000 library visits.[9]

The current library was slated for expansion in 2009, but the plans were delayed due to other construction projects on campus.[9]

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, and the Map & Atlas Collection, and 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.


Xwi7xwa (pronounced whei-wha)[1] Library is the only Aboriginal branch of a university library in Canada.[10] 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."

Other branches[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
  • 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
  • Woodward Library contains materials on health and life sciences

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.


  1. ^ a b c "About the Library". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  2. ^ "Hours and Locations". University of British Columbia Library. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  3. ^ "Facts and Figures: About UBC Library". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  4. ^ "Douglas Coupland collection". UBC Library. 
  5. ^ "Chung Collection website". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  6. ^ "Artist Biography". Audio Art Speakers. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  7. ^ "Artwork at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  8. ^ stained glass at the Main Library, University of British Columbia
  9. ^ a b "Report of the UBC Librarian to the Senate". UBC Library. 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-11. 
  10. ^ UBC Library Facts & Figures 2009/2010

External links[edit]