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UBC Library’s third annual Community Report highlights a busy year as we implemented a Library-wide change management plan and completed our third year of the Library’s Strategic Plan

Our stories this year reflect how these changes impacted our users, communities and staff, and highlight milestones that were achieved as part of our commitment to remain a top North American research library. The report features stories related to our five key strategic directions; video introductions from David Farrar, Provost and VP Academic, and Ingrid Parent, University Librarian; as well as significant achievements and headlines from the past year.

This year we have produced an online-only publication. Browse the report, explore the infographics, watch the videos and enjoy.


Community Report | Year 3 


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@UBC Library Twitter

At a library research conference last November, presenter Willie Miller discussed his study that focused on the use of Twitter by members of the Associated Research Libraries (ARL). Miller examined the most successful accounts in terms of engagement, and ranked @UBCLibrary – managed by the Library’s Communications and Marketing team – as one of the top three influential accounts in North America. UBC Library was the only Canadian institution in the study’s top 10 list.

View the presentation at “ARL Klout study: significance of Twitter in academic libraries” and learn more by visiting the conference website (2012 IUPUI University Library and School of Information and Library Science Joint Research Conference – Indiana University). 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).


Student reading

A student enjoys the Great Reads collection at Koerner Library.

Calling all reading fans: popular fiction has a new home at UBC Library. The Great Reads collection was launched in 2011 by Shannon Simpson, a co-op student who conducted research with colleague Bailey Diers on student reading habits when she was asked to develop a collection of popular titles for Koerner Library. The research showed that UBC residents were craving popular fiction, including bestsellers, pop culture novels and Canadian fiction.

The results flew in the face of popular perceptions regarding young people’s reading habits. For instance, nearly 50 per cent of undergraduates dedicated three hours per week to leisure reading. Further, 97 per cent of respondents preferred reading print books; only 39 per cent expressed an interest in e-readers.

“Looking back, the research was essential to getting Great Reads off the ground and provided the evidence that such a collection had the potential for success,” says Simpson, now the Manager of Content at the Palmerston North City Library and Community Services in New Zealand. “I’m using the experience from working on the Great Reads collection and evidence-based librarianship to find other ways to continue to enrich people’s lives.”

The success of the Great Reads pilot at Koerner led to the project’s expansion – UBC Library users can now browse Great Reads titles at Woodward Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Patrons can expect to see subject-themed reads from each branch (such as science and medicine-related titles from Woodward Library), and the possibility of the Great Reads collection expanding to other library branches.

Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez, Associate University Librarian for Collections, is interested in exploring tailored programming over the coming year, including selections based on campus initiatives, holiday/seasonal themes and notable months (such as Asian Heritage Month, which takes place in May). 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

Explore a series of infographics that outline some of the Library’s key facts and figures over the past year. 

How we spend $ on Library resources

Anatomy of a donation

Promoting UBC Library through…

UBC Library users have access to…

How can we help you?

View and read community newspapers dating from 1865 to 1924


Visit our Facts and Figures page for more information.

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

Awards program logo

When Ingrid Parent first started as University Librarian at UBC, one of her goals was to establish a staff recognition program at the Library. In 2012, that goal came to fruition with the launch of the Library Staff Awards Program, designed to acknowledge the many ways in which staff contribute to their workplace through creativity, innovation, excellence and customer service.

The program is a way of applauding employees and a tribute to those who serve the Library and UBC; it also helps support the Library’s aim of fostering an exceptional workplace by honouring and recognizing the talent and contributions of its employees.

“Every day at UBC, the work that staff does contributes to making the University a world-leading research and academic institution, as well as a great place to work,” says Alex Bayne, Director, HR Integrated Strategies. “Acknowledging the contribution of our colleagues through small gestures or through formal recognition goes a long way towards creating a caring and respectful workplace.”

Image of Anne Miele Image of staff member Image of staff member
Winners of the Library’s inaugural staff awards program, left to right: Anne Miele, Ernie Dick and Paul Lesack.

Paul Lesack, recipient of the inaugural Innovation Award and a Data/GIS Analyst at Koerner Library, was nominated for a collaborative project that uses emerging technologies to develop a new service for UBC students and the broader community. Working with the Vancouver Aquarium, he scanned old paper maps into interactive versions with geographic data. The project began as an effort to help geography students, but has also been used to assist scientists and city planners. By turning this resource into an interactive tool, Paul also addressed issues of sustainability and collections preservation.

The Library’s first Unsung Hero Award was presented to Ernie Dick, whom co-workers highlighted as someone with a phenomenal memory for procedures, work processes and people. Dick, a Library Assistant at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, received multiple nominations that described him as an invaluable team member and a pillar of the Library. 

Anne Miele, recipient of the Employee Excellence Award, was described as someone who goes the extra mile for Library patrons and her team members. Her nominator expressed appreciation for the positive energy and sense of humour that she brings to the workplace. “I work with a great group of folks who are all very supportive of me and each other,” said Miele, a Reference Assistant with Woodward Library, when she received the award. “These awards show commitment to the Library and University, and that the worth of our work is valued by all.”

“Publicly acknowledging the dedication and hard work of deserving employees brings with it many benefits,” adds Keith Kawa, Director of Human Resources for UBC Library. “However, recognizing the contributions of employees on an everyday, informal basis is, in my opinion, even more important. Feeling valued by their supervisor in the workplace is central to high employee motivation and positive morale.” 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

For the past nine years, UBC Library and UBC’s Alma Mater Student Society (AMS) have run the Food for Fines campaign, an initiative to support the AMS Food Bank and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Library users who wish to reduce their fines can donate non-perishable food items – $2 in fines are covered for each item donated, up to a maximum of $30.

Increasing numbers of donations highlight the generosity of the UBC campus; last year’s donations totalled more than 3,100 items collected at branches, and more than $6,300 in fines were waived.

Donations are split evenly between the two food banks once the campaign is completed, usually in early November. “Donations received from the Library provide a substantial part of our food bank inventory,” says Emilia Moulechkova, Coordinator for the AMS Food Bank this past year. “This enables us to keep up with the growing demand for our service and ensures that campus communities have access to food as a right, not a privilege.” 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

infographic depicting cans of food


UBC’s Okanagan Library launched its Leader in Residence program this February, welcoming Ernie Ingles,Vice-Provost and Director, School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Alberta, as its inaugural leader. The two-day professional development event was an opportunity to bring together the campus community and regional library partners.

Too often the value of libraries is underestimated, says Heather Berringer, Deputy Chief Librarian in the Okanagan, adding that such events help nurture leadership among librarians and libraries. Kim Partanen agrees, adding that the time spent with her peers discussing trends and issues was invaluable. Partanen, an Access Services Coordinator, also found the outside perspective of a prominent librarian such as Ingles provided a context for larger issues impacting the profession and in academic libraries.

Hear more about the program from Heather and Kim and discover how participants benefitted from the two-day event.


Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

image of okanagan campus

Graduate and upper-level undergraduate students looking to share the fruits of their scholarship have received a big boost from the Centre for Scholarly Communication (CSC) at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

“The CSC has an enormous impact on academic research in the University,” says Dr. Kasun Hewage, Assistant Professor (Project & Construction Management) at the School of Engineering. “Most of our graduate students are international and have different writing and thinking patterns. It is very difficult for a research professor to guide them in academic writing. Whenever I note a need, I direct my students to get help from the CSC to improve their communication skills.”

The CSC, which opened last July and is housed in the Library, reports to Melody Burton, Chief Librarian, and Dr. Peter Arthur, Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the Okanagan campus. The centre offers one-on-one consultations on written and oral communication, special events and more. Librarians’ contributions include delivering well-received workshops on topics such as copyright, research tools such as RefWorks and Mendeley, and managing information with technology. 

As a result, students learn strategies to manage time and resources, improve writing and editing skills, and discover how to present material to different audiences and for different purposes. “Supporting junior researchers and scholars in the communication of new knowledge has the potential to impact not just the student, but also his or her academic community and the wider community,” says Carolyn Labun, Director of the Centre For Scholarly Communications. 

More:  Hear other insights on academic communication from UBC authors at our Okanagan campus. 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

Photo of two staff members

Staff members Shirin Eshghi and Katherine Kalsbeek are part of the Managing at UBC program.

A program to support managers at UBC Library is one of the key initiatives stemming from efforts to bolster UBC Library’s workplace culture.

In November 2011, UBC staff were given the opportunity to share their thoughts on working at UBC, via a Workplace Experiences Survey conducted by Ipsos Reid. Library staff participated by sharing their views and opinions on topics such as equity, career navigation, senior leadership communication and action, and faculty orientation.

Library-specific results were shared with staff in March 2012. Soon after, the Library established an Exceptional Workplace Committee, which has focused on the creation of a variety of programs, projects and initiatives to contribute to the development of an exceptional workplace at the Library.

One of these is Managing at UBC, a program developed by the UBC Organizational Development & Learning office and designed to support managers, recognizing the significant responsibility they hold for employee performance, engagement and achievement of unit goals. “This initiative allows managers to self-identify and work towards their own developmental goals as well as the developmental goals of those reporting to them,” says Chantal Duke, Leadership Program Manager, UBC Organizational Development & Learning. “Some of the areas participants want to strengthen their muscles in are teamwork, working structures, future orientation and communication.”

A Library cohort of 50 staff with supervisory responsibilities are working with UBC Human Resources over a 12-month period to develop their leadership and management abilities through coaching, online lessons and face-to-face events. The program has been tailored specifically for the Library and allows for the participation of faculty, CUPE 2950 and Management and Professional staff.

“There is a great buzz with this cohort and a consensus that we are in it together to create a better working environment across the Library,” adds Duke. “I see lot of heart and pride in one’s role, the best of intentions to develop staff to the best of their capabilities, and eagerness to learn about leadership and management styles.” 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

Image of game

Gold Mountain Quest, an educational video game, is part of the Chinese Canadian Stories project.

The successful completion of an ambitious multimedia project involving UBC Library is allowing users to discover the invaluable contributions of Chinese Canadians. 

Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past is a collaborative initiative focusing on the legacies of Chinese Canadians. The project – led by Henry Yu, UBC History Professor and Principal of St. John’s College – received a $900,000 grant from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) in 2010. The project has also been supported by in-kind contributions from UBC Library and Simon Fraser University (SFU) Library.

Chinese Canadian Stories (CCS) unveiled interactive kiosks at Vancouver Public Library and UBC’s Museum of Anthropology in October 2012, and at the Ottawa Public Library in December 2012. The kiosks offer compelling stories of Chinese Canadian communities in three languages (English, Chinese, French); the project was organized through the UBC Community Learning Initiative and included work by UBC students from architecture, mechanical engineering, integrated engineering, sociology and the arts.

“The stories celebrate the history of Chinese Canadians without glossing over the discrimination and racism they struggled to overcome in Canada,” says Yu.

Meanwhile, a complementary website contains a searchable Chinese Head Tax Register of 97,000 digitized records, an educational videogame entitled Gold Mountain Quest and videos of oral histories that were conducted during the CCS project.

Chinese Canadian Stories staff held more than 10 workshops and community outreach events in the Lower Mainland during the past year. Several workshops on oral history research, filming and digitization catered to high school students, independent researchers, community elders and members of the public interested in preserving family histories. The CCS project also showcases the work of 29 community groups from across Canada that received CHRP funding to tell their stories.

One of those groups is the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, which scanned hundreds of images for CCS of veterans who fought for Canada, despite having no Canadian citizenship. Individual stories of veterans were also presented on the kiosks. “At the museum, we want to stress the importance of the Chinese Canadian veterans playing an important and integral role in the development and building of Canada as a nation,” says Larry Wong, Curator at the Chinese Canadian Military Museum. 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

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