With the stress of finals, papers, and term project due dates taking over our lives these days, it’s important to take care of yourself and take breaks.  Explore these resources from UBC Library to help you de-stress.


Celebrate Souvankham Thammavongsa’s recent Giller Prize win! We have the winning short story collection How to Pronounce Knife on order, but in the mean time you can check out her other books in UBC Library’s collections.  You can request these materials for pickup at Koerner Library with the UBC Library Get It service.

Sounds to Chill Out To

UBC Library has access to many streaming music and spoken word services that are a perfect backdrop for some relaxation time.

The Classical Music Library provides access to over 60,000 racks, including recordings from early music to contemporary from the world’s greatest labels including Hyperion, Bridge Records, Sanctuary Classics, Artemis-Vanguard, Vox and many more.

We have several Naxos online libraries for all musical tastes, including Naxos Music for classical music, Naxos Jazz, Naxos World, and Naxos Spoken Word.

Or if you feel like being whisked away to a live performance, explore the Berliner-Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall and its offerings of live performances.


Imagine living in architectural masterpieces with the audiovisual tours of buildings on OnArchitecture.

Or go window shopping and check out amazing outfits on the Berg Fashion Library or in the Vogue Archives.

Read Other (Historical) People’s Mail

Immerse yourself in other people’s lives. UBC Library has several databases that collect together materials like broadsides, letters, diaries, and other materials that provide intimate insights into people’s everyday lives across history.

Every Day Life and Women in America contains primary source material from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History, Duke University and The New York Public Library around various subjects including  politics, gender, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health and pastimes. The collection is especially rich in conduct of life and domestic-management literature.

British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries extends back to the 1500s, and shows readers how diaries have been used and have evolved.

Spanning more than 300 years, North American Women’s Letters and Diaries is the largest electronic collection of women’s diaries and correspondence ever assembled.

With more than 100,000 pages of personal narratives including letters, diaries, pamphlets, and oral histories, North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, and Oral Histories provides a unique and personal view of what it meant to immigrate to America and Canada.

Or hear stories of others’ travel in Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History,a collection of women’s travel diaries and correspondence from The Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Great Reads and Views

There’s no better escape than curling up with a good book, tv show, or film.

Check out UBC Library’s Great Reads Collection, leisure reading materials including literary classics, fiction and non-fiction bestsellers and more!

UBC Library provides access to several streaming services through which you can watch movies, tv shows, and other audiovisual materials. Read all about them and connect through our Streaming Media at UBC Research Guide.

1919 guide to British Columbia

Many thanks to guest blogger Emily Homolka for contributing the below post! Emily completed her MLIS degree from UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) in May 2020. She is currently project archivist for the Nilekiwe Yesilawiwaci Sharing History project with the Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center.

I’m very pleased to introduce my digital exhibit, Ghost Towns in British Columbia, curated using some of the archival and historical holdings of Rare Books and Special Collections!

Ghost Towns in British Columbia explores some of the themes of emergence, daily life, and sudden (or eventual) disappearances of towns in British Columbia, looking briefly at the rise and decline of Anyox, Phoenix, and Sandon. Through those towns and through the holdings of RBSC, this exhibit looks at the broader phenomena of ghost towns, considering their connection to history, memory, and memory institutions, such as libraries, museums, and archives.

I first became interested in the idea of ghost towns in 2019, when I spent the summer working with a project called “Digitized Okanagan History” (since rebranded as British Columbia Regional Digitized History), which digitizes local archival and historical materials in Kelowna, a city in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. As I worked, I would often come across photographs of towns that, when I searched for them, would only show up in a Wikipedia page about ghost towns in British Columbia or briefly mentioned in a travel pamphlet. I became fascinated with the idea that I was seeing a glimpse of a place that no longer exists, and that I would not have known ever existed before I found traces of them buried in the archives.

Sandon after the big fire

Ghost towns are by their very nature ephemeral, there and then gone, sometimes leaving behind scant amounts of information or the remains of building, sometimes getting repurposed (for good or for ill) decades after the end of the town, sometimes leaving behind nothing at all except memories and a romantic notion of what the town used to be. Exploring the collections at RBSC to see what information has been left behind and thinking about how that information shapes the modern day understanding of ghost towns has been an incredibly rewarding and fascinating experience. Through my exhibit, I hope I show what it is about ghost towns that has so captured my own imagination and to spark a similar interest in my readers!

I hope you enjoy the exhibition Ghost Towns in British Columbia!

This exhibit was possible due to the feedback and support that I received from Erik Kwakkel and Chelsea Shriver, as well as Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library that was so generous with my use of the archival materials. Thank you also to the Uno Langmann Family and to Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung, whose donations made this exhibit possible.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





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