A new exhibit at the Library explores the written word and the way we read.

The Papal Parchments and Blackletter Books, 1245 AD to UBC: How the Middle Ages Shaped the Way we Read exhibit uses medieval manuscripts in the Library’s collections – including a 13th century Papal Bull the Library acquired in 2014 – to follow the development of Western writing. 

image of the document

Professor Richard Pollard from UBC’s Department of History and Master’s student Robert Makinson curated the exhibit, which includes items from 1245-1525. These items “represent the transition from handwritten manuscripts to mass-produced printed books.” In addition to these rarely seen items, the exhibit prominently features a one-of-a-kind papal bull issued by Pope Innocent IV in 1245.  

Medieval manuscripts are an essential part of today’s print culture; many of the letter-forms that we use today were invented by medieval scribes. Many items in the collection were made during the latter half of the fifteenth century, around the time that Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, portraying a critical period in the development of Western writing and reading. 

The exhibit is open to the public in UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May 1 until May 29. RBSC is located on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

Several library websites and services will be unavailable this evening for approximately one hour, due to a unexpected service outage.

One of the library’s application servers needs to be shut down; this impacts several Library web services including the Library catalogue and LOCR (Library Online Course Reserves). 

From 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., some functionality in the Library catalogue will be missing or unavailable (license information and resolver links). The Library’s Hours portal, Use the Library and Get Research Help portals, and the websites listed below are also impacted.

We apologize for the disruption of service and thank you for your patience. 


Sites include:

  • parsnip.library.ubc.ca
  • resolve.library.ubc.ca
  • libarchi.library.ubc.ca
  • newbooks.library.ubc.ca
  • ltk.library.ubc.ca
  • directory.library.ubc.ca
  • staffdirectory.library.ubc.ca
  • clc.library.ubc.ca
  • www.ikebarberlearningcentre.ubc.ca
  • webcasts.ikebarberlearningcentre.ubc.ca
  • archive.ikebarberlearningcentre.ubc.ca
  • assignmentcalculator.library.ubc.ca
  • journal-abbreviations.library.ubc.ca
  • law-journal-abbreviations.library.ubc.ca
  • licenses.library.ubc.ca
  • facultypubs.library.ubc.ca
  • wcilcos.cbm.library.ubc.ca
  • wcilcos-ch.cbm.library.ubc.ca
  • refworks.library.ubc.ca
  • elink.library.ubc.ca
  • search.library.ubc.ca
  • books.greatreads.library.ubc.ca
  • books.hawthorn.library.ubc.ca
  • resources.library.ubc.ca
  • idbox.library.ubc.ca
  • dbfinder.library.ubc.ca
  • terms.api.library.ubc.ca
  • idbox.api.library.ubc.ca


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