Our new Collection Spotlight is up.  “French Picture Books” is a gathering of popular, classic and current French titles in the Children’s Literature genre.

In the early 19th century, the Scottish naturalist and explorer John Richardson traveled with Sir William Franklin in search of the Northwest Passage. He recorded the scientific findings of these expeditions in two works: Flora boreali-americana (1833-1840) and Fauna boreali-americana (1829-1837). The latter is a four-volume text about the animals of North America and the Arctic. Although John Richardson was the primary author, the ornithologist William John Swainson assisted with part two (The Birds), and the entomologist William Kirkby assisted with part four (The Insects).

UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections holds copies of the four volumes of Flora boreali-Americana. Both texts have been digitized as part of the BC Historical Books collection. For this post, we have selected a few of our favorite images and descriptions from each volume. You can click on each image to jump to the page in Open Collections, where you can read the authors’ descriptions of the animals.

Part I: Mammalia

Grisly Bear


Rocky-Mountain Neotoma

“It is very destructive. In the course of a single night, the fur traders who have encamped in a place frequented by these animals have sustained much loss, by their packs of furs being gnawed, their blankets cut in pieces, and many small articles carried entirely” away. Mr. Drummond placed a pair of stout English shoes on the shelf of a rock, and, as he thought, in perfect security, but on his return, after an absence of a few days, he found them gnawed into fragments as fine as saw-dust.”

Rocky-Mountain Goat


Part Second: The Birds

Great Cinereous Owl

“It is common on the borders of Great Bear Lake; and there and in the higher parallels of latitude it must pursue its prey, during the summer months, by daylight. It keeps, however, within the woods, and does not frequent the barren grounds, like the Snowy Owl, nor is it so often met with in broad daylight as the Hawk-Owl, but hunts principally when the sun is low; indeed, it is only at such times, when the recesses of the woods are deeply shadowed, that the American hare and the murine animals, on which the Cinereous Owl chiefly preys, come forth to feed.”

The Arctic Blue-bird

The Common Golden Eye


Part Third: The Fish

American Perch

 “This fish has a close resemblance to the river Perch of Europe. Our specimen was taken in Lake Huron, where it frequents steep banks and affords much sport to the angler from the eagerness with which it snaps at the bait. In the month of May it spawns and then resorts in great numbers to the mouths of rivulets. It does not, as far as I could learn, exist in any of the streams that flow into Hudson’s Bay or the Arctic sea, and most probably it does not range farther north than the 49th or 50th parallels of latitude, between which the rivers that fall into the chain of Great Canadian Lakes originate.”

Ross’s Arctic Salmon

Back’s Grayling

This volume also includes some exceptionally creepy illustrations – while not included in this blog post, you can view them in Open Collections if you are curious!


Part the Fourth and Last: Insects

Each of these plates contains multiple numbered figures showing different species:


To kick off 2019, UBC’s Music Art and Architecture Library and Rare Books and Special Collections are celebrating the year that was with a selection of 2018 new acquisitions.

The Music Art and Architecture Library selections, representing all of its subject areas, includes donation highlights, exhibition catalogues, music scores and manuscript facsimiles, and more. RBSC’s acquisitions highlights include items dating from the 16th century to 2018 and run the gamut from books and ephemera, to photographs, letters, artworks, and more. Make sure to keep an eye out for the “RBSC favourites,” top picks of RBSC’s archivists, librarians, staff, and students especially selected from among many 2018 acquisitions.

The selection of Music Art and Architecture Library and Rare Books and Special Collections 2018 acquisitions is on display in the foyer of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre until February 27, 2019. The exhibition is free and open to the public.


The Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.


Starting January 21, 2019, UBC Library users will be able to pick up materials ordered through the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) from any UBC Library branch, including UBC Robson Square and the BC Children’s & Women’s Hospitals (BCCW) Study and Learning Commons, as well as UBC Okanagan Library.

Previously, materials ordered through ASRS have only been available for pickup at the circulation desk of the Music, Art and Architecture Library in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC). After this change goes into effect, you will be able to choose a branch pickup location when you place an ASRS order using the Library’s online catalogue, and retrieve your materials from the circulation desk of your chosen branch.

You can also continue to pick up your ASRS materials from IKBLC by selecting “I.K. BARBER circulation” as your pick up location. If IKBLC is selected as your pick up location, your items will typically be available for pickup within approximately 15 minutes, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Monday to Friday), and after 30 minutes at all other opening hours. For all other Library branches, materials may take up to two full business days before they become available to pick up. Please also take note of your chosen branch’s opening hours, as these may vary.

In the Library catalogue, items that are stored in ASRS can be identified by the Location field.

For items in the Library’s catalogue that are marked “I.K. BARBER LIBRARY ASRS storage (branch use only)” and “XWI7XWA ASRS storage (branch use only)” be aware that these items will be available to pick up from any branch, but they will be used only in the chosen pickup branch and must be returned by the end of the business day.

You can continue to submit all ASRS requests using the Library’s catalogue, and requested materials will be held for 3 days at your chosen pickup location. When you submit your request, you will also now receive an email notifying you that your requested items are available for pickup.

Learn more about Library storage and ASRS on the Borrowing Services website.

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