In April 1953, eleven-year old Brian McLaughlin wrote to psychiatrist Fredric Wertham in response to the latter’s article in Reader’s Digest, “Comic Books – Blueprints for Delinquency.” The boy asserted confidently: “Anybody that goes out and kills someone because he read a comic book is a simple minded idiot. Sound silly? So does your item.” McLaughlin was not the only young person to critique Wertham’s argument about comics: dozens more wrote him in 1953 and 1954.

In the late 1940s and culminating in 1954 with the publication of Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent and the televised hearings on comics held by a United States subcommittee, comic books were the most contested form of print. Young readers could not get enough of them, purchasing more than a billion new comic books issues a year in the early 1950s. Adult critics such as Wertham feared, that by reading these four-color pamphlets full of stories of superheroes, cowboys, and jungle queens, young people would stunt their cultural development, ruin their eyesight, and fall into lives of depravity.

This presentation draws in part from Wertham’s manuscript collection at the Library of Congress and the archival record of the 1954 Senate hearings to document and analyze some of the ways young readers challenged and protested adults’ understanding of comic book reading. Carol Tilley, Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, did not expect to find letters from young comics readers when she explored these collections. The discovery of these narratives has prompted me to extend this investigation into locating more descriptions of children’s reading experiences – many of which are unfiltered and unmediated by adults—that can serve as potent evidence to enrich scholarship in children’s print culture.”


Carol L. Tilley is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches courses in comics’ reader’s advisory, media literacy, and youth services librarianship. Part of her scholarship focuses on the intersection of young people, comics, and libraries, particularly in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. Her research has been published in journals including the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST)Information & Culture: A Journal of History, and Children’s Literature in Education. A former high school librarian, she is also co-editor of School Library Research, the peer-reviewed online journal of the American Association of School Librarians.

Select Articles Available at UBC Library

Peoples, B. & Tilley, C. (2011). Podcasts as an Emerging Information Resource. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 18:1, 44-57. Link:

Tilley, C. (2012). Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications That Helped Condemn Comics. Information & Culture: A Journal of History, Volume 47, Number 4, 2012, 383-413. Link:

UBC Library Research Guides:

Library, Archival, and Information Science


Arts and Artists in Children’s Books Bibliography

architectural rendering

A public consultation on the BC Integrated Research Library (IRL) project has been scheduled for Wednesday, February 27. Library users, residents of the University Neighbourhood Association, and others are invited to attend to find out more about the BC IRL from the project team.

The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Concourse of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall.

The BC IRL project is being managed by UBC Properties Trust along with various committees including architects, construction management, UBC Library and UBC Campus and Community Planning representatives. 

Read the FAQs about the BC IRL and an overview of the project.

For more information on the BC IRL, please contact Leonora Crema, Associate University Librarian, Client Services & Programs by phone at 604.822.8473 or via email at

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K707 .L56 2012
Taryn Lindhorst & Jeffrey L. Edleson, Battered Women, Their Children, and International Law, The Unintended Consequences of the Hague Child Abduction Convention (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2012).
Online access:

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K230.A373 I57 2012
Matthias Klatt, ed., Institutionalized Reason: The Jurisprudence of Robert Alexy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K1401 .B735 2012
Hugh Breakey, Intellectual Liberty: Natural Rights and Intellectual Property (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).
Online access:

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K2115 .M39 2012
David McClean, International Co-Operation in Civil and Criminal Matters, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K2390 .P65 2013
Jean Poitras & Susan Raines, Expert Mediators: Overcoming Mediation Challenges in Workplace, Family, and Community Conflicts (Lanham: Jason Aronson, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K3247 .C55 2013
Randall S. Abate & Elizabeth Ann Kronk, eds., Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: The Search for Legal Remedies (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K3830 .D65 2012
Rudolf Dolzer & Christoph Schreuer, Principles of International Investment Law, 2d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KD1568 .C49 2012
Richard Christou, Boilerplate: Practical Clauses, 6th ed. (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KD5284 .M36 2012
Charles Proctor, Mann on the Legal Aspect of Money, 7th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KE3648 .R873 2013
Joan L. Rush, Help! Teeth Hurt: Government’s Obligation to Provide Timely Access to Dental Treatment to B.C. Adults Who Have Developmental Disabilities: A Legal Analysis (Vancouver: Law Foundation of British Columbia, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KE5974 .A78 2013
Peter J. Merrick, ed., Advisors Seeking Knowledge – A Comprehensive Guide to Succession and Estate Planning (Markham: LexisNexis, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY reference room (level 2): KE9265 .F58 2013
Alec Fiszauf, The Law of Investigative Detention, 2d ed. (Markham: LexisNexis, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KEB230 .R48 2012
Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Residential Real Estate Conference, 2012: Materials Prepared for the Continuing Legal Education Conference, Residential Real Estate Conference 2012, Held in Vancouver, B.C., on December 11, 2012 (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KEB318 .S44 2012
Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Securities Litigation, 2012: Materials Prepared for the Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Securities litigation 2012, Held in Vancouver, B.C., on December 4, 2012 (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KEB549 .L57 2012
Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Litigation for Solicitors: Materials Prepared for the Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Litigation for Solicitors, held in Vancouver, B.C., on November 29, 2012 (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KEB478 .L62 2012
Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Local Government Law: Materials Prepared for the Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Local Government Law, Held in Vancouver, B.C., on November 8, 2012 (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KEB549.5 .C5773 2012
Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Civil Litigation Basics, 2012 Update: Materials Prepared for the Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Civil Litigation Basics 2012, Held in Vancouver, B.C., on November 19 & 20th, 2012 (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KNQ502.4 .B46 2013
Jonathan Benney, Defending Rights in Contemporary China (Milton Park: Routledge, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ1242 .O94 2012
Bardo Fassbender & Anne Peters, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KZ6397 .S58 2012
Sandesh Sivakumaran, The Law of Non-International Armed Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Sperm WhaleGrad student Baillie Redfern won a competition run by PhD Comics to have her three-minute research presentation (Engineering the Perfect Perfume) transformed into an animated video.” –TREK Online, Feb. 13, 2013

…and the result is very cool. Take five (well, only two and a bit) and watch “Whale Barf and Perfume“.

Rendering of new space

Construction on the third level of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is now complete!

Last fall IKBLC began construction to create a one-stop service point for users. The space opened during the first week of March.

The new “multi-service desk” offers support for checking out books and answering reference questions, and features IT support – all from one desk. In addition, self-checkout machines have been added to ease the flow of traffic.

The refurbished space also includes new pavilions for the Writing Centre, AMS Tutoring and Peer Academic Coaching. “At any point, any student from any faculty and any academic year can come and speak to any of our student-volunteer coaches,” says Teri Grant, the Student Development Coordinator who oversees the Coaches Corner program.

“It offers improved space for our programming partners,” says Simon Neame, Director of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. He added that the new spaces are more flexible and allow for collaborative work.

Access to the Library is now available via the third level entrance. 

For questions about the project, please visit the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre’s website or contact Gordon Yusko, Assistant Director.

Illustration of the Empress of Britain by Kenneth D Shoesmith, found inside a promotional booklet for the ship

Every time we open a new box from the Chung Collection to digitize, it’s always exciting to see what’s in store for us. Sometimes the boxes are filled with Canadian Pacific pamphlets about train travel across the Rockies or vacation trips for “couples only” to Mexico, or menus from the Empress Hotel or Sporting Maps. 

In Box 219, we found the usual array of items from menus to shuffleboard game rules, but what sets this box apart from some of the others is that every single item relates to the CP ocean liner the Empress of Britain.

The Empress of Britain was launched in 1931 as the largest passenger ship in the CP fleet and traveled the world in first class style. Not only was she launched by British Royalty, but also was host to HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the end of their Canadian tour in 1939. The Empress of Britain sank in name of “King and Country” in 1940 after she had been converted from a luxury ocean liner to ferrying troops across the Atlantic Ocean as part of the war effort.

The items within Box 219 cover many transatlantic and world wide sailings, however it is possible to pick out items from an individual sailing including passenger lists, drink lists, programs of entertainment, luncheon menus, abstract logs of sailing, and personal letters written by passengers aboard the ship.  With all this we are able to create a profile of what life aboard the Empress of Britain was like, including weather throughout each sailing, which prominent people were on board and what they would eat while dining with the ship’s Captain. Meanwhile, other documents allow us to compare this with what the third class passengers could expect for their meals.

Items like these highlight the depth of the Chung Collection and give us a glimpse of life in a different era. The individual items, although interesting in isolation, become much more meaningful when correlated with other material within the collection.

Here are a few examples from Box 219.

Letter written by a passenger while on board the Empress of Britain to family in Massachusetts Apartment plan for the Empress of Britain, showing all compartments and decksAbstract log from the Empress of Britain

poster-2013-page-001Every year, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of black Canadians, past and present.  Canadians take this time to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today. During Black History Month Canadians can gain insight into the experiences of black Canadians and the vital role this community has played throughout our shared history.

Despite a presence in Canada that dates back farther than Samuel de Champlain’s first voyage down the St. Lawrence River, people of African descent are often absent from Canadian history books.  There is little mention of the fact that slavery once existed in the territory that is now Canada, or that many of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were Blacks. Few Canadians are aware of the many sacrifices made in wartime by black Canadian soldiers, as far back as the War of 1812.

In an attempt to heighten awareness of black history in the United States, historian Carter G. Woodson proposed an observance to honour the accomplishments of black Americans. This led to the establishment of Negro History Week in 1926. Woodson is believed to have chosen February for this observance because the birthdays of the renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass (February 14) and former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (February 12) fall in this month.  During the early 1970s, the week became known as Black History Week. It was expanded into Black History Month in 1976.  In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month, following a motion introduced by the first black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine.

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is proud to host a display exhibition of resources for Black History Month located on the second floor foyer display case exhibition.

Here are some resources about Black History Month

Reading list compiled by the Toronto Public Library – Link

Hogan’s Alley Resource guide created by the Vancouver Public Library – Link

Black History in Canada Education Guide - Link


On March 8, 11.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m., the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS) will host Jack Lohman as its keynote speaker as part of the 4th Annual Research Day at the iSchool at the Nass Reading Room (Room 459) in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.   The theme of this year’s iSchool@UBC Research Day is Infrastructures of Knowledge: Mediating Memories, Representing Relationships, Framing Futures.  The iSchool@UBC, invites UBC faculty and students to join in sharing the depth and breadth of our research endeavours at the intersections of information, people and technology. The event will showcase recent and ongoing research by faculty and students, a day set aside for reflecting on our work as designers, scholars and stewards of infrastructures of knowledge.

Jack Lohman is Chief Executive Officer of the Royal British Columbia Museum.  Prior to that, he served as Professor of Museum Design and Communication at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts in Norway and Chairman of the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland.   Before taking up his present appointment, Jack Lohman had been Director of the Museum of London since August 2002.  In 2000 He was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Iziko Museums of Cape Town, South Africa, an organization consisting of fifteen national museums including the South African Museum, the South African Maritime Museum and the South African National Gallery where he led the creation of a new museum institution and the transformation of the national museum sector.  From 1985 to 1994 he worked for English Heritage, developing museums and exhibitions both nationally and internationally.  

March 8, 11.00 a.m.-12.00 p.m at the Nass Reading Room (Room 459) in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

TVHow would you like to be able to search a news archive for all the major news networks (and some smaller ones) at once? Now you can. Try out the Internet Archive TV News. Streaming Video (or, it says, you can “borrow” via DVD, but I haven’t explored that) results for keyword searches. It was originally set up for the 2012 U.S. presidential election, but they now describe themselves:

The Internet Archive works to preserve the published works of human kind. Inspired by Vanderbilt University’s Television News Archive project, the Internet Archive collects and preserves television news. Like library collections of books and newspapers, this accessible archive of TV news enables anyone to reference and compare statements from this influential medium.

The collection now contains 350,000 news programs collected over 3 years from national U.S. networks and stations in San Francisco and Washington D.C. The archive is updated with new broadcasts 24 hours after they are aired. Older materials are also being added.” –Internet Archive TV News (21 Feb., 2013)

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