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“Thank you very much for your assistance today, and for emailing me additional materials!  I will share these with the team. I found our session today extremely useful!”

Sauder School of Business BComm student

January 2013

Naomi Beth Wakam reads at the Robson Reading Series

Naomi Beth Wakan reads at the Robson Reading Series. Photo credit: Elias Wakan  

For more than 10 years, the Robson Reading Series has helped the University share knowledge and engage communities at UBC and beyond. The series featured seasoned and debut writers reading from their works in various genres, and gave them a platform to discuss their works with the audience in a warm and welcoming environment – indeed, our motto has been “live literature and cozy conversation.”

We have been very fortunate to host Canadian talents such as Wayson Choy, Ian Ferguson, Annabel Lyon, Ray Tsu, Evelyn Lau, Esi Edugyan, Steve Burgess, C.E. Gatchalian, Alix Ohlin and Grant Lawrence. While the series is winding down, we encourage everyone to continue to support new and emerging works from Canadian writers. UBC Bookstore and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre remain committed to providing books by Canadian authors to the community. In addition, readings remain scheduled until the end of March – please visit the Robson Reading Series for more information.

We would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for its generous support over the years, the wonderful authors who have charmed us with their works, the publishers for their invaluable contributions, and the staff at UBC Bookstore and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre who have worked tirelessly to bring fantastic talent to the Robson Reading Series. Lastly, we thank you – our audience – for attending the readings and making the series such a success.

It was time for a celebration on UBC’s Okanagan campus recently, as staff hosted an open house marking the 20th anniversary of the Library building. That facility, along with Arts, Sciences and Administration, were opened in 1993 as part of Okanagan University College (the transition to UBC’s Okanagan campus occurred about seven years ago).

Staff still remember the moving day, when crews plowed through three feet of snow to bring saran-wrapped book carts into the building. UBCO.TV was on site for the celebration last week, and captured staff recollections about the move and how it provided opportunities to provide new services.

Congratulations, Okanagan Library and campus! You can view the video below.

We love literature and poetry at Rare Books and Special Collections, so we’re pleased to wish you a Happy Burns Day! Burns Day celebrates the birth of Robert Burns in 1759, the great Scottish bard who gave us Tam ‘O Shanter, Auld Lang Syne, and A Red, Red Rose (and many others).

RBSC has a great Robert Burns collection thanks the A.M. Donaldson Burns Collection, which was purchased for UBC Library in 1962 by the Friends of the Library. The collection includes nearly all editions of Burns published up to that point, as well as critical and biographical materials, Scottish song books, works by other Scottish writers, and works about favourite “haunts” of Burns. To find RBSC’s Robert Burns material in the library catalogue:

- Go to the advanced search page
- Enter Robert Burns as the author name (or as any keyword, if you’re also interested in works about Burns)
- Specify Rare Books and Special Collections as the Location

You can also specify a range of dates if say, you want to only see results from the 18th or 19th century.

We also have A.M. Donaldson’s archival material, which can be quite interesting if you’re either a Burns researcher, or just interested in how book collections come together. One of the interesting things we have found in this archival collections are several Burns forgeries, listed in the finding aid in Box 2 file 7  (we haven’t had these verified as of yet but it’s safe to say they’re forgeries!)

Scan of a manuscript claiming to be by Robert Burns

“Ayr Water” Burns forgery from A.M. Donaldson fonds, Box 2 File 7

You may be wondering, why would a book collector (or a rare books library) be interested in forgeries? As long as you know a forgery is a fake and are not mistaking it for the real thing, forgeries can be quite interesting. Some forgers became so famous that their forgeries become famous in their own right! RBSC has a collection related to the famous forger Thomas J. Wise.

A couple of great Burns links for you:

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum has great interactive displays and searchable online collections (and if you’re ever in Ayr, a visit in person is highly recommended!)

The Centre for Robert Burns Studies at University of Glasgow discusses their major scholarly work on Burns, and gives a great list of further links to explore.

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