Photo credit: University Archives

Basil Frederick Stuart-Stubbs, the eighth University Librarian at UBC, passed away on May 29, 2012. He was 82.

A Professor emeritus and University Librarian emeritus at UBC, Stuart-Stubbs will be remembered as a bibliophile, scholar and librarian. His writings encompass Canadian history, historical cartography, historical bibliography, library history, copyright law, library automation, union catalogues, resource sharing and computerized networks.

“I had the honor of knowing Basil for many years, admiring his achievements from across the country. He was truly unique, an icon in the evolving story of librarianship in our country,” says Ingrid Parent, UBC’s University Librarian and President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. “I considered him to be a generous mentor, a revered colleague, and a dear friend to many. He will be missed.”

Tributes have been published, including “Basil Stuart-Stubbs: 1930-2012″ in Quill & Quire and “Remembering Basil Stuart-Stubbs” in ABC Bookworld.

Stuart-Stubbs spent his first 16 years in Moncton, New Brunswick and moved with his parents to Vancouver in 1946. He attended UBC (B.A. Hon. Phil.) and McGill University (B.L.S.). After working at McGill University Library for a few years, he returned to UBC and worked in positions specializing in collections and rare books. In 1964, at the age of 34, he was appointed University Librarian. His 17 years as University Librarian coincided with the computer revolution and the rapid growth of the staff and collections dispersed over many new branch libraries on the expanding Point Grey campus.

In 1981, Stuart-Stubbs moved to a faculty position when he was appointed Professor and Director of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, a position he held for two terms, and from which he took early retirement in 1992.

Stuart-Stubbs had a leadership role in many national and regional library and publishing activities. During his exceptional career, Basil took particular interest in the production and distribution of Canadian books, and was associated with several initiatives beneficial to authors and their readers, and to Canadian publishing. Significant accomplishments included: 

  • chairing the UBC Publications Centre, which created UBC Press (Stuart-Stubbs was Chair of the UBC Press Board for 10 years and Acting Director for a year);
  • collaborating with Bill Duthie and Harald Bohne to establish the Canadian Books in Print directory;
  • serving as first President of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries;
  • organizing the first conference on regional publishing in Western Canada, which led to the establishment of the Association of B.C. Book Publishers;
  • serving as founding member and second President of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproduction;
  • serving as founding member of the Alcuin Society;
  • serving as founding Board member of the SFU Centre for Canadian Publishing;
  • participating in the establishment of the scholarly journal Canadian Literature (he was the first Circulation Manager);
  • and serving as a leading advocate for the establishment of the Public Lending Right for Canadian authors.

A particular highlight was a journey through Europe in the mid-1960s to acquire precious manuscripts and books using funds from the $3-million donation for UBC Library collections provided by industrialist H.R. MacMillan.

He served the federal and provincial governments in an advisory capacity on bodies such as the National Research Council’s Advisory Board on Scientific and Technical Information, the National Library Advisory Board, the Canada Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the British Columbia Arts Board.

Basil received many awards and honours, including: 

  • the Order of Canada in 2005;
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada in 1984;
  • the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Book Publishers of BC;
  • the first Miles Blackwell Medal for Outstanding Academic Librarian by the Canadian Library Association;
  • the Helen Gordon Stewart Award by the BC Library Association;
  • Honorary Life Memberships from the BC Library Association and American Library Association;
  • the Canada Medal in 1967;
  • and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Music was Stuart-Stubbs’s lifelong passion – in particular the piano, and his collection of sheet music, recordings, and books by and about pianists. Attending concerts in Vancouver and while travelling were among his life’s greatest pleasures.

He leaves as a legacy to his family his passion for genealogy, having spent decades – partly in the pre-Internet era – sleuthing his roots and discovering the existence of many additional family members in the United States and abroad.

The UBC flag will be lowered in Basil’s honour on Friday, June 1.

Photo courtesy of University Archives


Read The Tyee’s post about Rip! A Remix Manifesto! : a documentary exploring issues regarding copyright, the media, piracy, intellectual property, and freedom of expression. A related article by Micheal Geist about copyright in Canada here.

National Film Board of Canada film credits and information here.

UBC Library Holdings information here.

“I came away from my encounter with you super energized!  We will be utilizing your brain power.”
Sauder School staff member
May 20112


“The Transit of Venus” J.G. Brown, 1883

With the recent hubbub over the upcoming transit of venus we noticed copies of this image kicking around the ‘net in varying qualities, and thought to ourselves, “we can do better.”  A quick search of the UBC ASRS yielded Harper’s Weekly; A Journal of Civilization (1857-1916), and sure enough, this image of children staring at the sun originally published on Saturday April 28th, 1883.  It turned out wonderfully at 600dpi on our Epson flatbed.

The second (cropped) image shows the intricate detail of the original engraving.  The full volume contains many more beautiful illustrations and is well worth checking out at the Irving K. Barber Center Library branch.

Aboriginal UnHistory Month

The University of British Columbia Point Grey campus is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking Musqueam people. We thank Musqueam for its hospitality and support of our work. 

UBC Library, in partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band, the Centre for Teaching and Learning Technology and the Museum of Anthropology, has coordinated a series of events in June.

Aboriginal (Un)History Month celebrates Aboriginal creativity, scholarship, and intellectual traditions. It aims to educate, and cultivate conversations about relationship, representation, and recognition.

The events, which include film screenings, discussions, lectures, exhibits and tours, introduce some of the dimensions of Aboriginal scholarship, and celebrate creative expression and pedagogy at UBC Vancouver and beyond. 

Throughout the month, these events introduce a wide range of Aboriginal experience and examine different meanings of the term “history” through the leadership of Aboriginal youth, research, media and curriculum resources. 

Historic representations of Aboriginal peoples have contributed to the development of negative stereotypes. Ways of dislodging stereotypes are explored through a spectrum of imagery, objects, and texts from various media, including student films. 

The month of June is designated as “Aboriginal History Month” by the federal government of Canada.

June 1 – 29 Aboriginal (Un)History Month: Cultivating Conversations (Exhibit) 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily in the Main Foyer and Ike’s Cafe, Level 2, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

June 14

Event Opening and Musqueam Film Screening

1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the  Victoria Learning Theatre (Room 182), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

*please note this event was rescheduled from June 5 to June 14. 

June 13 Native Youth Program (NYP) Student Film Screening (poster) 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the  Victoria Learning Theatre (Room 182), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
June 19 “What I Learned in Class Today:” Using film to create dialogue at UBC (Presentation and discussion) 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Fraser River Room (227), CTLT, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
June 20 Guided Open House at Audrey & Harry Hawthorn Library & Archives and the Museum of Anthropology (Tour) 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Museum of Anthropology
June 21 National Aboriginal Day (community activities across Canada; local activities across the Lower Mainland)

all day; various locations

June 25 The Indigitization Tool Kit for First Nations Community Digitization Projects (Presentation) 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Dodson Room (302), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Coordinators: Aboriginal (Un)History Month was coordinated by UBC Library (Xwi7xwa Library, the Irving K Barber Learning Centre), the Musqueam Indian Band, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, the Museum of Anthropology and the Native Youth Program

Coordinator Logos

“Wow, this is great. I think I owe you lunch. Thank you for all of your hard work!”
MBA Student
May 2012

Charles Ling (University of Western Ontario) and Qiang Yang (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) have written a helpful book for people who are interested in what it is like to be a scientist or a researcher. Available as an ebook (to access it if you are off-campus sign in with your CWL):

The UBC Farm offers many educational options for teachers, parents, and children. Check out the Children’s Learning Garden, the Intergenerational Landed Learning Project, FarmDiscovery Tours, and the FarmWonders Spring and Summer Camp on the UBC Farm website.

School programs and workshops available.

Sketches of the Canadian west by H. Bullock Webster (1855-1942).  As a young man he came to Canada from England and began working as an apprentice clerk for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1874. While in the service of the company Webster travelled extensively to HBC posts throughout northern Alberta and British Columbia.  Although never formally trained in art, Webster sketched throughout his life and while in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company he compiled an album of some ninety three colour sketches depicting social life, activities, customs and dress in and around Hudson’s Bay Company posts, mainly around Stuart Lake and Fort McLeod during the period 1874 to 1880. Many of the sketches included First Nations and Metis people whose participation was critical to the Canadian fur trade. Several of Webster’s sketches were published in The Graphic magazine in England and provided British readers with images of frontier life in British Columbia and Alberta.

These and many others can be browsed in the Bullock Webster Sketches digital collection.

Woodcuts by unknown authors from ”Disaster Prints,” a part of the Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Period digital collection. 

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections holds one of the world’s largest collections of maps and guidebooks of the Japanese Tokugawa period, ca. 1600-1867. Most of this collection was acquired from George H. Beans, the original collector, and is accompanied by his inventory A List of Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era. To that has been added a small collection from George Bonn, as well as a number of maps acquired from various other sources.  Much of this collection has been digitized and is available for online browsing and is in the process of being updated with higher-resolution images.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





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