Xwi7xwa Library is pleased to present our Critical Indigenous Literacy kits for children’s picture books. You can find our kits online by visiting the Critical Indigenous Literacy tab here.

Critical literacy requires us to go beyond what we read on the page and to consider the larger narrative in which a text is situated, asking questions about who created a text and why. Critical Indigenous literacy asks us to think about authorship and identity in relation to the stories and teachings we trust as readers. It also asks readers to think critically about Indigenous representations (or lack thereof) within a text.

We would like to acknowledge that this work would not be possible without: Emily Fornwald, Stephanie Marston, and Wendy Traas from the UBC Education Library; Sajni Lacey from the UBC Okanagan Library; and Natalie Trapuzzano Lindsey Bennett the student librarians that assisted us.

Creative Commons Licence
Critical Indigenous Literacy for Children’s Picture Books by Xwi7xwa Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

With most UBC faculty and staff having moved to remote working and teaching in 2020, the volume of files being created, copied and updated, and email moving back-and-forth has increased exponentially. While we may be aware that our digital files and emails desperately need to be sorted through and cleaned up, perhaps the thought of […]

Dear friends and colleagues,​


2020 has been a year like no other.  It has encouraged us all to reimagine how we work and get creative and collaborative.  During this year we have seen the arrival of two new Indigenous librarians to the Xwi7xwa team.  Kayla Lar-Son has joined us from Treaty 6 territory and Karleen Delaurier-Lyle’s position has been made ongoing.  Onboarding and team building while working remotely from each other has encouraged us to use the creative side of our brain and to innovate how we do these things in a good way.  ​

Xwi7xwa would like to wish each & every one of you a safe & happy Holiday season in Łingít, Inuktitut, Mi’kmaw, Michif, Cree, Siksiká, and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, as well as English, from the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Semiahmoo, Kwantlen, Katzie, and Mi’kmaq nations.  Through this we recognize our identities as well as acknowledge our positionality as guests on these territories. ​

Wishing all our relations a safe & happy holiday season.  We hope to see you back in the library in 2021.

Reference Librarian
UBC Library | Vancouver Campus
Full-time, 12 month term General Librarian position
Anticipated Start Date: March 1, 2021


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 UBC Library Strategic Framework can be viewed at https://about.library.ubc.ca/about-us/strategic-framework/. To learn more about working with UBC Library and to explore our aspirational values visit UBC Library – Work with us.

Summary of responsibility:

The Woodward Science Librarian provides liaison to designated subject areas and departments. Actively engages in integrated information literacy, and collaborates on scholarly communication and data services initiatives and other new library initiatives as they arise. Develops re-usable learning objects, designs, develops and maintains digital materials to support information literacy instruction in print and online environments. Conducts assessment of resources, and provides input on collections management.

Participates as a member of the Woodward Library team to provide liaison, reference, instructional programs and information services to faculty, students and community users. Assumes responsibility for designated subject areas and liaison with assigned departments.  Provides web-based and classroom instruction and assistance in the use of information resources. As a member of the Woodward Library team, plans and implements services that respond to the needs of the sciences communities.  Participates in the development and assessment of library collections for designated subject areas. Participates in the development of library policy, procedures, and services.  Assumes responsibility for coordination and management of staff, services or projects as required. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required. The nature and scope of responsibilities for this and other library positions are expected to change as the Library organization evolves.



  • Graduate degree from an accredited programme in Library Science
  • Knowledge of electronic information technologies and their applications to reference, as well as knowledge of best practices in online learning pedagogies
  • Demonstrated ability to initiate, plan and carry out projects, both independently and as a member of a team
  • Evidence of a proactive, user-centred vision of services
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work effectively as a member of a team
  • Ability to adjust and accommodate changing demands within Libraries and academic institutions
  • Dedicated to cultivating an inclusive environment that recognizes barriers faced by people and encourages and incorporates contributions from diverse groups and individuals.
  • Contributes to the Library’s sense of community and achievement of common goals through cooperation across units/groups and encouragement of equitable and balanced involvement in decision making.
  • Promotes and fosters a supportive environment built on appreciation, recognition, learning and professional growth.
  • Works to build a team environment built on positive working relationships, provides guidance and resources to teams while trusting them to excel.
  • Creates a supportive and open environment where everyone is able to listen, contribute and engage with colleagues and ideas and provide and receive timely, constructive feedback.
  • Creates an environment that embraces curiosity, ideas, creativity and innovation and provides opportunities and flexibility to explore new initiatives.


  • Academic background in health sciences or relevant library work experience
  • Familiarity with current trends in instruction, knowledge synthesis methodologies and expert searching in the health sciences, data curation, open access, and bibliographic management tools

Working relationships:

Reports to the Head, Woodward Library or her designate Head in the branch and consults with colleagues and Library staff as required. Works with all other UBC Library Divisions as required, assessing and trouble-shooting information technologies, scheduling and marketing information literacy sessions, etc. May be required to supervise student librarians, student assistants and library assistants for assigned projects or for group-related functions.



  • Provides reference and research services to University of British Columbia students, staff and faculty members; and members of the public.
  • As the librarian responsible for particular subjects, advises and assists in difficult or extensive searches in these areas.  Employs the full range of Internet, electronic and print resources.
  • Participates in collection development in liaison areas.
  • Works with others to develop and maintain the Woodward Library presence on the UBC Library webpage and throughout the UBC campus, as appropriate.
  • Provides Information/Reference training for support staff and UBC iSchool student librarians.


  • Organizes and teaches classes in the use of the Library’s resources, including the Library’s catalogue, print resources and e-resources.
  • Undertakes specialized instructional programs; including planning, designing and organizing and including various formats for presentations.
  • Participates in library-use instruction programs.
  • Prepares handouts, research guides and informational brochures in appropriate formats.
  • Provides instruction/presentations to faculty and students (in the library, online and in the faculty departments).


  • Initiates and maintains contact with faculty in assigned departments. 
  • Informs faculty of services and instruction offered.
  • Works with faculty on the development of information and research modules and courses for students.
  • Selects print and electronic materials to support assigned liaison areas.
  • Liaises with faculty on issues of collection development.
  • Responds to faculty requests for accreditation, new course proposals, etc., in consultation with the Head of Woodward Library.
  • Attends faculty meetings and participates in faculty committees.


  • May be required to supervise staff in the absence of the supervisor(s).
  • May be assigned supervisory responsibility for building maintenance, collections management and storage.
  • May be assigned coordination of reference or instruction services within Woodward Library: reference, information desk scheduling, teaching and instruction, web presence, subject guides and/or information guides, etc.


  • Represents Woodward Library on library committees and working groups.
  • Liaises with librarians in other areas of the library system.
  • Maintains an awareness of new literature and research developments in areas of specialization and emerging trends in sciences libraries.
  • Keeps abreast of public services developments in the rest of the Library.


Competent, professional and courteous reference service. Effective instruction and teaching, both in library lab and classroom settings.  Current and comprehensive knowledge of specialized subject areas. Effective use of latest technology in all aspects of the position.  Innovative and creative approach to improvement of services.  Ability to develop strong relationships with faculty and maintain excellent working relations with all user groups.  Responsive to needs of faculty, students, and other users. Effective supervision of student assistants as required. Effective, cooperative working relationships with support staff, colleagues and managers. Knowledgeable about UBC sciences programs and research. Familiar with UBC library policies, procedures and operations.


This position will be filled as a full-time, 12 month term position.

Salary will be commensurate with experience and academic/professional qualifications.

The UBC Faculty Collective Agreement can be viewed at https://hr.ubc.ca/working-ubc/faculty-collective-agreement.

Please note that the work associated with this position is currently being performed remotely in response to COVID-19. Work in the longer-term is expected to be conducted through a combination of both remote and on campus presence.

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. We welcome colleagues with the experiences and competencies that can contribute to our principles of inclusion, equity, and diversity.

Applications will include: a detailed and current curriculum vitae; and 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.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

To view the complete job description and to submit an application, please visit the UBC Careers page at https://hr.ubc.ca/careers-and-job-postings by midnight January 23, 2021.

We at Koerner Library wish everyone a safe and restful winter break!

Askaway and our regular reference hours will be back on January 4th. Our e-resources are always available to access!


It has been an unusual and memorable year as the UBC community transitioned to remote working, teaching and learning in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have been met with unprecedented challenges and I am exceptionally proud of all our achievements, particularly the creative ways in which we are adapting to meet the ever-changing needs of our users. Thank you to all of our users and colleagues who have helped us continue to strive for excellence and to meet these challenges head on. I invite you to review some of the highlights from the past year in the 2019/2020 Senate Report.

Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy holiday season,





Dr. Susan E. Parker
University Librarian
University of British Columbia


Law Library services available

Law Library services
will be unavailable between
December 25, 2020 – January 3, 2021


The eResources & Access Team will be away from Noon Dec. 24th till Jan. 4th. Please report any access problems using the Help Form , and we will dig into them when we get back.

Many thanks to guest blogger Brandon Leung for contributing the below post! Brandon is a graduate student in the Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management program at Ryerson University and has just completed an archival internship with Rare Books and Special Collections.

In the beginning of my internship at RBSC, I was able to first work on the Chung Collection, which I was interested in for its materials related to the experience of Chinese people in Canada. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 this project was put on hold as well as my internship. Fortunately, I have been able to continue my internship in the past few months with a new project involving the Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs, a primarily photographic collection. Given my background in photographic history, I was tasked in identifying the various photographic processes contained within the Langmann collection. Of course, because of the present circumstances, I had to rely on the photographs that have been digitized so far for my work, which is less than ideal (so many physical details can help you identify a photographic print!). Nevertheless, it still gave me the opportunity to look through a large amount of the different kinds of historical photographs held in the Langmann collection.

Flipping (virtually) through the myriad of photographs, I came across a series of postcards, one of many series of postcards in the collection, that were created by a specific photographer named George Alfred Barrowclough. According to Breaking News: The Postcard Images of George Alfred Barrowclough (2004) by Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion, Barrowclough was born on May 1, 1872 in Birkenhead England. He immigrated to Canada with his family in the 1880s where they settled in Winnipeg. By the 1890s, he began working as a photographer and in 1904 opened his first photographic postcard business. In 1906 he moved in with his brother in Burnaby and even went down to San Francisco to photograph the ruined city after the recent earthquake. By 1909 he was living in Vancouver. The majority of his BC postcards were made from 1908 to 1912.

Barrowclough’s postcards piqued my interest for various reasons: one, I have become interested in historical “real photo postcards” (photographs printed onto photographic paper with postcard backings); two, most of the postcards in the Langmann collection are either created by photographic printing companies or unknown photographers (though other identified photographers come up such as Leonard Frank and Phillip Timms); and finally, many of Barrowclough’s postcards are different from what one might expect of postcard imagery. Many of his postcards do depict the usual touristic fare (city views, prominent buildings, Stanley Park), but, of interest to me, some of his photographs seem to have been taken surreptitiously or are subjects you would expect from a photojournalist. For example, a few of his postcards depict the aftermath of a streetcar crash into a drugstore and crowds viewing a Barnum and Bailey Circus parade in Vancouver (UL_1624_03_0040 and UL_1624_03_0043).

There was one of Barrowclough’s postcards that I came across which brought up some questions and associations for me. The postcard in question is titled Hindu Immigrants, Vancouver, B.C. (UL_1624_03_0052). In it, we see a group of turbanned South Asian men in front of a train station by the Vancouver waterfront (there is a ship in the background). Some of the men hold bags or packs. Others can be seen loading their belongings onto a nearby horse-drawn cart. We can tell the photograph was taken clandestinely; no one appears to notice Barrowclough. The photograph is composed at an angle, as if it were taken quickly and sneakily. Other observers seem to be present; besides Barrowclough himself (and now us looking at the postcard in the present), a blurry man can be seen to the far left in a suit and straw boater hat.

George Alfred Barrowclough, Hindu Immigrants, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?], gelatin silver print (UL_1624_03_0052, Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs)

In particular, I was interested in why Barrowclough chose this subject matter—presumably immigration—for a postcard. Though photography’s artistic and cultural value can easily be seen today, as photographs are readily found in museums and archives, but throughout its history, photography straddled the fields of art, science and business. And certainly, Barrowclough made his photographs to sell. Why sell images of immigration? Why would people be interested in pictures of immigrants in the same way they would be interested in views of Granville Street?

Photographic history can give us an answer. Photography has been used to depict the “other” (oftentimes non-White individuals) throughout its history. Rising in tandem with 19th century European imperialism, photography was used to photograph colonized peoples as scientific specimens or entertaining spectacles for European audiences. As photography came soon after to what is now called North America, it was also used to extend the colonial gaze onto Indigenous and Native American populations.

In the early 20th century, when Barrowclough made his postcards, American photographer Lewis Hine took photographs of newly arrived immigrants in Ellis Island, New York to document the conditions there; German-American photographer Arnold Genthe took candid photographs of San Francisco’s Chinatown with an Orientalist and sentimental aesthetic. In Canada, Indigenous people would ask to be paid for European photographers’ use of their image, highlighting the power dynamics between photographer and subject. This relationship can also be seen in Barrowclough’s postcard. His subjects do not seem to be aware of being photographed, yet their image and status as “immigrants” were definitely being used and sold. Not many of Barrowclough’s other postcards depict the trade in images of Indigenous people, but the sentiment remains. White photographers and consumers of photographs and other visual imagery were interested in depictions of those different from themselves.

George Alfred Barrowclough, Where 23 Japs lost their lives in G.N.R. wreck, Nov. 28, 09, near New Westminster, B.C., 1909, gelatin silver print (UL_1624_03_0123, Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs)

This colonial gaze is not just apparent from how Barrowclough photographed these men, but also from how he titled the postcard, Hindu immigrants. Likely the men are Sikhs because of the turbans they wear, called “Dastaar” in Sikhism. Sikh immigrants are well known for their early role in British Columbia’s economy, especially as workers in wood mills. Yet to European observers, anybody from India is a “Hindu.” All Chinese immigrants were “Chinamen.” In a more sensationalist postcard, Barrowclough photographed the aftermath of a train crash and freely used a slur in its title: Where 23 Japs [sic] lost their lives in G.N.R. wreck, Nov. 28, 09, near New Westminster, B.C. (UL_1624_03_0123) Language reveals the attitudes of the time and the fraught relationship between “settlers” and “immigrants.” Of course, these relationships were all happening on what was, and is, First Nations land.

Canada’s creation as a “White man’s land” and Canadian immigration history also play an important part into how we read this image. Examples of Canadian immigration policy of the early 20th century reveal the power dynamics at play in this kind of looking. In 1885, the Canadian government implemented an immigration policy popularly known as the Head Tax. It forced Chinese immigrants to pay upwards of five hundred dollars to enter the country. By 1923, the Head Tax was replaced by the Exclusion Act that barred almost all Chinese immigration.

The postcard also reminded me of another incident in Canadian history, also related to South Asian immigration. In 1914 the passengers of the ship the Komagata Maru, many of whom were Sikhs, tried to gain entry into Canada through Vancouver. They challenged two existing laws aimed at stopping immigration from India, one barring immigrants who did not travel on a “continuous journey” by ship and the other barred immigrants who had under two hundred dollars in savings. Both laws were instituted in 1908, overruled, but then reinstated by 1914. Photographs of the Komagata Maru, its passengers, government agents inspecting the ship and on-shore onlookers also exist, but this passing interest in these South Asian immigrants also did not benefit them. After about a month in Vancouver’s harbor, the Komagata Maru was forced to turn back. Some of its passengers were met with deadly force from British Officers upon their return to India.

Photographs are never just pictures, just as archives or collections are never neutral. Images are a construction of the time period they were created in. Even the most innocent-looking or everyday images can tell us more about their creators or remind us of how loaded with meaning and connotations they are. Coming across an image like Hindu Immigrants reminds us of the history of this unceded land and the people who have passed through it.

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