Student Profile on Roxanne Kalenborn

UBC Library offers work experiences to undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of roles, from book shelving to assisting with reference questions, conducting assessments of library web resources, and helping with collection development projects.

Roxanne Kalenborn, a current graduate student in the UBC Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree program, has held many positions at the Vancouver campus of UBC Library since 2015 including:

Roxanne also has the distinction of being an inaugural winner of the 2016 Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection Prize.

We spoke to Roxanne about her experiences working with various library departments and her advice for students interested in roles with UBC Library.


What was the most interesting part of your roles with UBC Library?

Coming from an undergraduate background in History and now as a graduate student in Library and Information Studies, my experience with academic research thus far had been mostly limited to those subjects. During my work as a Student Reference Librarian, I gained exposure to other academic disciplines through the questions patrons would ask. I particularly liked the questions I got at the David Lam Library concerning marketing trends and product research.

What has surprised you most about the Library?

Before I worked for the Library, I had no idea just how many services and resources are available beyond books, movies, and electronic resources. I think it is really neat that students can check out everything from headphones to Arduino boards and even iPhone chargers. It shows that libraries can provide so much more to patrons than traditional materials, in a way that serves modern students’ needs.

Of the Library’s six aspirational values, which one most describes your experiences as a student employee and why?

One of the best parts of having a variety of roles within the UBC Library system was gaining experience in many different departments. This was great because these roles suited both parts of my personality and work style. Being an extroverted introvert, I’ve enjoyed positions like providing reference, where I get to interact with students and know that I helped someone that day.

On the other hand, in the positions where I digitize materials and write online content, I love getting to dig into a project and feel ownership over it. In all of these positions I have felt supported by my supervisors and coworkers, which I think speaks to the library’s aspirational value of community.

How will your work experiences help your career? Has it influenced the direction of your career or specialization of your work?

I came to graduate school from a background working in history museums. My goal in earning a MLIS degree was to gain skills and experience in the digitization of special collections. Working at the Digitization Centre has only affirmed that I made the right choice to come to UBC for my career path. However, as I got my positions with the Small Business Accelerator Program and the David Lam Library, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much I enjoy business librarianship and providing reference, and I like the thought of helping someone start their own business. It has inspired me to think about possibly launching my own business where I can work with institutions like libraries or museums to provide historical research content to their exhibits or publications.

What advice would you give to other UBC students interested in working for the Library?

I would tell other UBC students interested in working for the Library to be open to trying jobs in a variety of departments. I came into graduate school completely focused on a digitization path, but based on my positive experiences with reference and business librarianship, I now feel that I would be really happy working in one of these capacities after I graduate, which I would not have discovered if I hadn’t branched out.

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Koerner Library and the Research Commons will be closed on Monday, September 5th for Labour Day. We will re-open again on Tuesday, September 6th according to our regular hours of operation.

The Japanese community has had a long history in British Columbia, beginning with the first Japanese person to land on the coast in 1877, a sailor named Manzo Nagano. For the next 70+ years, members of the Japanese community in the province achieved great success while also facing ongoing prejudice and racism, as early settlers in B.C. struggled to accept these new immigrants.

In 1907, Anti-Oriental riots shook various coastal cities along the Pacific, including Vancouver. Pervasive racism, intolerance and economic instability led to extensive damage to Asian-owned properties throughout the city, and prompted the Japanese government to stop emigration of its nationals to Canada.


Building on Powell St. damaged during 1907 race riots, Vancouver

In February of 1942, in reaction to the events at Pearl Harbor, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King issued a decree to evacuate all Japanese Canadians to “protective areas”, also known as internment camps. Men, women and children, many of whom were themselves born and raised in British Columbia, were relocated to the camps, and much of their property confiscated by the provincial government.


Truck transporting Japanese Canadian men to Tashme camp


Japanese Canadians being processed in Slocan


Group photograph at Slocan camp


Two men at internment camp , perhaps in Angler, ON.


Group of children at Lemon Creek camp


Group of Japanese Canadian girls participating in Bon-Odori (summer festival) at Greenwood camp

This collection documents these events while offering insight into the everyday lives of Japanese Canadians living in British Columbia throughout the 20th century. To learn more about this important collection, click here.



Shigetaka Sasaki family


Mrs. Shigejiro Edamura in front of an unidentified store


Mrs. Ume Niwatsukino with children Hisako, Hiroshi and Shigeru in Steveston, 1926

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