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Lions Gate Bridge, courtesy of the West Vancouver Memorial Library*

The B.C. History Digitization Program (BCHDP), launched by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre in 2006, has provided more than $1 million in funding to help communities throughout the province promote their unique histories to audiences around the world.

Please read the press release to find out more about this latest milestone. For more about the program, please visit the BCHDP site.

*Image information: 0061.VCA – Lions Gate Bridge, courtesy of the West Vancouver Memorial Library.

Dr. Irving K. Barber, the principal donor for the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and a passionate supporter of education and research in British Columbia, passed away on April 13, 2012.

Dr. Barber was a visionary thinker with a strong commitment to strengthening BC, improving the quality of life for its residents and providing an enriched university experience for students. His gift of $20 million was largely responsible for the development and construction of the Learning Centre and the realization of its mission: a facility dedicated to the intellectual, social, cultural and economic development of the people of British Columbia and beyond.

Ike and Jean Barber with students. Photo: Martin Dee

Dr. Barber’s generosity has been instrumental in establishing programs to promote research, including the creation of the I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Laboratory at the University of Northern British Columbia, the Irving K. Barber Diabetes Research Endowment Fund at UBC and the Ike Barber Human Islet Transplant Laboratory at Vancouver Hospital in partnership with UBC.

“We are ever grateful for the generosity of Ike and his wife Jean,” says Ingrid Parent, UBC’s University Librarian. “Their support was crucial to the success of the Learning Centre, which has connected with lifelong learners and students at UBC and beyond. And his support for, and belief in, the transformative role of libraries was inspiring. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on at the Learning Centre, and in the other worthy projects that he backed. Thank you, Ike, for your vision, passion, humour and dedication.”

Simon Neame, Director of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, concurs, adding that Dr. Barber never forgot the people in communities across BC who made a difference in his own life. “Dr. Barber’s passion and commitment to student learning and the people of British Columbia never wavered. With their gift for the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Dr. Barber and his wife Jean created a place where all are inspired to learn – about themselves, and about the world around them. The Learning Centre’s programs and services reach out beyond campus to connect communities with learning opportunities, fulfilling Dr. Barber’s vision of a facility dedicated to lifelong learning for the citizens of BC and beyond.”

Dr. Barber was born on February 14, 1923 in Edmonton, Alberta. He first came to UBC in September of 1945 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree in 1950. In 1952, he qualified as a Professional Registered Forester. He was involved in the forest industry in British Columbia for 57 years, working with people at all levels and throughout the province. In 1978, at the age of 55, he founded Slocan Forest Products Ltd. and over the next 23 years built it into one of the leading lumber producers in North America. Dr. Barber retired as Chairman in February 2002.

Dr. Barber’s leadership was recognized throughout his career. He received numerous forestry and industry awards, and was appointed to the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia and the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

 “Ike Barber was a visionary, and had a remarkable ability to remain focused on his vision for industry and for education. Ike constantly considered the guiding principles of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, particularly its mission to serve and be relevant to the people of British Columbia. Whether it was creating programs to help small businesspeople succeed, encouraging B.C. students to attend university, sharing the ideas of interesting speakers through webcasting or providing communities with access to their history, Ike loved to make things happen through the Centre. While he never ran for political office, he thought like a statesman and used his personal wealth to make a tangible difference in the world. He was persistent, relentless, encouraging, inspirational and endearing, and will never be forgotten.”

- Jan Wallace, Head of the David Lam Library and former Interim Director, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Mr. Barber consistently demonstrated a generosity of spirit, commitment to community and belief in future generations that was both inspiring and humbling. He held true to his vision of connecting the province with incredible tenacity and had the courage and strength of character to advance it, as well as the creativity and insight to recognize the potential in those around him.

I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have had an opportunity to work with and get to know Mr. Barber. He was a remarkable man with a remarkable vision and I am pleased that his memory will live on through the Barber Learning Centre and his many enduring contributions across the province, including the students and colleagues who he has inspired.

- Sandra Singh, Chief Librarian, Vancouver Public Library and former Director, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Notice to Users

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre will be closed Saturday, May 5 for electrical upgrades. 

No one will be allowed in the building except for authorized personnel. Trying to study? Visit the Library hours and locations portal to find other branches open on May 5.

Electrical upgrades on the east side of campus will affect the Student Union Building, Gage Residences, the North Parkade, the Law Library, Brock Hall and the Buchanan buildings. For more information on building closures visit buildingoperations.ubc.ca

The Learning Centre will re-open at 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 6. 

See the latest news update on the B.C. School Trustees’ Association Annual General Meeting and teacher bargaining in British Columbia.

Full article here: The Report Card by Janet Steffenhagen, April 30, 2012. 9:44 am

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