UBC Library

The University of British Columbia Library is one of the largest academic libraries in Canada and consistently ranks among the top university research libraries in North America. UBC Library has 14 branches and divisions, two campuses (Vancouver and Kelowna), one off-site hospital library, and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre – a multi-purpose teaching and learning facility.

The Library’s collection of over 7M items includes 1.4M ebooks, 229,020 electronic journals, 850,000 maps, audio, DVD/video and graphic materials, and 1,703 bibliographic and fulltext databases.

More than 300 knowledgeable employees – librarians, management and professional staff, support staff and student staff – provide users with the excellent resources and services that they need to further their research, teaching and learning.

The Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) Division holds and manages the majority of the Library’s rare books, maps and manuscripts with a special emphasis on material related to British Columbia. The archival collections at RBSC include the world-renowned Chung Collection, the archives of artist and author Douglas Coupland and the Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs, containing over 18,000 images of B.C. and the Pacific Northwest. More information about Rare Books and Special Collections can be found on their website.

The UBC Library Strategic Plan 2010-2015 can be viewed online.


Overview of the position

Working in collaboration with the RBSC Head and the Archivist, this position is responsible for the management of important rare books and archival collections in support of the core collection areas of RBSC. This position provides reference, instruction and outreach of RBSC’s archival and book collections. Additional responsibilities include, but are not limited to: archival appraisal, creation of finding aids, CCPERB applications and preservation of archival materials.




  • Joint Graduate Degree in Archival Studies (MAS) and Library and Information Studies (MLIS) from an accredited school of Library, Archival and Information Science
  • Experience working with library and archival materials in all formats
  • Experience providing reference services and instruction in an academic library environment
  • Experience in core archival functions Ability to work in a collaborative team environment and to engage in a professional manner with faculty, staff and the public
  • Demonstrated ability to act in a proactive manner with a user-centred vision of services
  • Experience with computer technology and software, particularly library and archival management systems
  • Strong interest in and demonstrated broad knowledge of B.C. and Canadian history as well as current affairs
  • Knowledge of library and archival descriptive standards, particularly RDA: Resource Description and Access, and Canadian Rules for Archival Description


  • Previous experience working in a rare book or library special collections environment would be an asset
  • Experience in making presentations and teaching is desirable
  • Working knowledge of Chinese languages would be an asset



  1. Provides reference and research services to students, staff, faculty and members of the public.
  1. Organizes and teaches classes in the use of Rare Books and Special Collections resources, including the Library’s catalogue, print resources and e-resources.
  1. Provides instruction/presentations to faculty and students (in the library, online and in the faculty departments). 
  1. Evaluates, acquires, accessions, arranges and describes archival fonds. Prepares, or supervises the preparation of finding aids for current and backlog archival fonds and maintains, upgrades and updates existing finding aids.
  1. Provides information/reference training for support staff and supervision for UBC iSchool student librarians.
  1. May be assigned coordination of reference or instruction services in Rare Books and Special Collections: reference, teaching and instruction, web presence, subject guides and/or information guides, etc.
  1. In co-operation with other RBSC staff ensures the physical security, preservation, and conservation of RBSC collections.
  1. Prepares handouts, research guides and informational brochures in appropriate formats.
  1. May be required to supervise staff in the absence of the supervisor(s).
  1. Liaises with librarians and archivists in other areas of the library system

Working Relationships:

Reports to the Head, Rare Books & Special Collections. Consults with colleagues and Library staff as required. Works with all other UBC library divisions as required.


Term of Appointment and Salary

This is an 18 month term appointment.

We are seeking applications from librarians with up to 2 years of experience. However, all internal candidates will be considered regardless of years of experience and are encouraged to apply. Salary will be commensurate with experience and academic/professional qualifications.

UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. The University especially welcomes applications from visible minority groups, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to engage productively with diverse communities. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply. However, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.

Applications will include: a letter of application that includes a statement of citizenship/immigration status and indicates the candidate’s education, training and work experience in the areas listed above; a detailed and current curriculum vitae.

To view the complete job description and to submit an application, please visit the UBC Careers page by midnight on March 1, 2015.

National Reporter System

UBC Library now subscribes to the online version of the National Reporter System.

The National Reporter System consists of reporters for every province (except Quebec) plus two reporters for the federal courts. The provincial reporters include comprehensive coverage of the courts of appeal & selected cases from the superior trial courts. The National Reporter includes all the cases from the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Appeal plus judgments from the House of Lords and the Privy Council that are relevant to Canadian law. The Federal Trial Reports includes selected cases from the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division.

staff viewing the document

Katherine Kalsbeek and Richard Pollard admire the Papal bull acquired by UBC Library. Credit: Don Erhardt


An extraordinary Papal document that’s nearly 800 years old has become a valuable teaching and research tool at UBC, thanks to a history instructor’s passion and the restoration efforts of UBC Library.

The medieval text, called a Papal bull, was written in 1245. A legal decree issued in Latin by Pope Innocent IV to the Italian convent of San Michele in Trento, it features the signatures of the Pope and 13 cardinals (including future pope Nicholas III). Papal bulls exist elsewhere in Canada, but most are from the 15th century or later, making UBC’s one of the oldest of its kind in Canada.

“UBC has acquired something really exceptional,” says Richard Pollard, an early European specialist and instructor in UBC’s Department of History. “It’s very useful as a representation of medieval documents generally.”

With recommendations from UBC’s English and History departments, the Library acquired the document for approximately $15,000 last May from Bernard Quaritch Ltd., an antiquarian book and manuscript seller in London, England.

image of seal

Detail of the leaden seal, referred to as the “bull”; it features images of St. Paul and St. Peter. Credit: Don Erhardt


The bull, although in good condition, had numerous thick creases, small gaps and tears – the result of being stored in a folded fashion for centuries. Over the course of several weeks, the parchment was painstakingly restored by Anne Lama, the Library’s conservator. She dusted, filled gaps, dried, and eventually flattened the bull using a humidification chamber – meaning users can now read the document without damaging it. “The document is like a patient,” explains Lama. “Restoration is like medicine.”


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Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS). The colloquium is sponsored by the UBC Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program, a multidisciplinary degree Program offered by the Creative Writing Program, the English Department, and the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies in the Faculty of Arts; and the Department of Language and Literacy Education in the Faculty of Education. Kit Pearson is the author of over thirteen books for children, including middle grade novels in all genres, short stories, picture books, and non-fiction. Her books have been published in Canada in English and French, in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, France, China, and Korea. Her books have been awarded such honours as the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature. She has received seventeen awards for her writing, including the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in 2014.

Kit was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1947 and grew up there and in Vancouver, B.C. She received her B.A. from the University of Alberta, her M.L.S. from U.B.C.’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and her M.A. from the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature in Boston. She worked for ten years as a children’s librarian in Ontario and B.C., and is now a full-time writer living in Victoria. For more information see www.kitpearson.com

SalonKanjinchoKanjinchô, or the The Subscription List, is a matsubamemono dance play based on the classic noh play Ataka, the story is about Yoshitsune and his retainer Benkei trying to pass the barrier in disguise. Kanjinchô is one of the most popular plays in the kabuki repertoire and is one of the “Kabuki Jûhachiban” – or great 18 plays of kabuki.

Tomoe Arts focuses on kabuki dance plays based on noh themes and stories. It began in November with a tale of a flesh-eating demoness and continues  in February to one of the greatest tales of duty and heroism, ending in April with the foolish drunken antics of two servants.

Tomoe Salon Series will be screening full videos of live performances from the Shôchiku’s Kabuki Meisakusen Series, which feature some of the greatest kabuki performers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The recordings have English language commentary, and after the performances, a discussion take place around the important story and performance elements.   Green tea will be served as well.

This salon takes place February 2, 7.00-9.00pm at the Chilcotin Room (Rm 256), I.K Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC.   The nearest parking to the Centre are the Rose Garden and North Parkades. Parking at UBC is $7 after 5pm. UBC Parking map.

uncededWe frequently hear this word used on campus and in our communities in acknowledgement and thanks to our host nation(s). UBC Longhouse Elder-in-Residence, Larry Grant, has given countless welcomes to Musqueam territory at UBC gatherings, and he never omits the use of this adjective to describe his nation’s lands.

How do you view the land beneath your feet? Is it anchored in a legally framed history learned from a settler perspective, or have you taken the time to learn about how Indigenous peoples view our lands and the conversations around our rights connected to it? This exhibit honors and raises the awareness of legal histories exemplifying ground breaking changes in the relationships between the Crown and Aboriginal Peoples. As members of this community at UBC, and as (many of us) guests on Musqueam territory, it is our responsibility to inform ourselves about the history of the land in solidarity of the Elders who gave much to the teaching and learning that takes place here. You are invited to consider the legal challenges raised by the communities and represented by unceded’’s curators.

Drew Ann Wake
Andrea Roca
Larry Grant
Bruce Muir
Leona Sparrow
Jordan Wilson
Sue Rowley
Amy Perreault
Sarah Dupont
Jessica Woolman
Jason Woolman
Sarah Ling

Exhibition at the 2nd floor foyer of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (January 17 to February 28, 2015).  For more information about this exhibition, please visit the website unceded.

The Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable is pleased to announce that Molly Idle and Kelli Chipponeri will be speaking at Edgy, Erie, Exceptional Serendipity 2015.


Come to Serendipity 2015 and find out first-hand what is involved in creating these stunning works of art (and literature) for children with special guests Molly Idle and Kelli Chipponeri.

Molly Idle is the author and illustrator of numerous picture books, including the Caldecott Honor winning Flora and the Flamingo (2013) and its equally enchanting companion Flora and the Penguin (2014). She also illustrated the delightfully unnerving Zombelina (2013), written by Kristyn Crow, and wrote and illustrated the whimsical Tea Rex: A Young Person’s Guide to Tea Party Etiquette (2013).

We are also delighted to introduce Kelli Chipponeri, Editorial Director, Children’s, at Chronicle Books, who has worked with Molly on a number of projects. Kelli previously worked at Running Press and in 2010 moved to Chronicle books as their Executive Editor. Her knowledge and expertise on the subject of picture book publishing is phenomenal.

Bring your questions and be prepared to get inside information on the children’s picture book publishing experience from this dynamic duo. Intrigued? Then be sure to register for Serendipity 2015 while the early bird rates are still in effect!

Edgy, Eerie, Exceptional Serendipity takes place March 7, 2015 at UBC.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





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