UBC’s Xwi7xwa Library has collaborated with The Ray and Millie Silver Aboriginal Library in Abbotsford to make their own unique cataloging system for Aboriginal materials.

The Ray and Millie Silver Aboriginal Library has more than 2,000 materials for community members and children in the Abbotsford School District, but children and teachers in the district’s 46 schools have been unable to easily access materials in the library as not all of the materials were catalogued.

student reading

The beginnings of a journey

In December 2016, Loraleigh Epp, a library tech, started to reorganize and revamp the way the materials in the library were organized. Epp considered cataloguing the materials using the traditional Dewey Decimal system – common to public libraries. However, the system is challenging in the way it organizes and represents Aboriginal materials.

“We started the journey,” says Epp, “by doing research on the Brian Deer classification system, a unique cataloging system specifically designed for Aboriginal materials.” Canadian Kahnawake Mohawk librarian Brian Deer, one of the first Indigenous librarians in Canada, created the system in the 1970s to organize Indigenous materials. As part of her research, Epp discovered that UBC’s Xwi7xwa Library used a modified Brian Deer system in their library, so she contacted the librarians to get some insight.

UBC Librarians Ann Doyle, Sarah Dupont and Library Assistant Eleanore Wellwood welcomed Epp and showed her how they had modified the Deer system for materials at UBC.

“The Brian Deer classification system arranges items together on the shelves in a way that better reflects relationships from an Indigenous worldview,” says Sarah Dupont.

For example, the Musqueam First Nation and Sto:lo First Nation are geographically and culturally close, but if the materials are catalogued alphabetically, Musqueam and another nation, such as Mohawk, located in Ontario, would appear together on a shelf. When conducting research about Indigenous peoples, materials about close neighbors may contain content that is relevant to both groups. Musqueam and Sto:lo are both Coast Salish nations and have a stronger geographical tie of culture and language than with alphabetically close nation such as Mohawk. In this way, the Deer system makes things easier for users browsing the shelf, and it also aims to solve some of the problems created by cataloging with a colonial perspective.


Making materials more accessible

With help from Xwi7xwa, Epp was able to re-catalogue her materials and input them into the school district’s online catalogue at the same time. The materials are now accessible and searchable from any of the schools in the district, meaning children and teachers can find the materials easily.

Epp especially wanted to modify the system to reflect “how the public and staff would look for it.” For example, in the Brian Deer system, Indian Residential Schools is a heading under “Education.” Epp chose to pull Indian Residential Schools and the National Truth and Reconcilliation Commission into their own categories to better reflect how users might search for these materials, particularly teachers and the public.

Now that the library has been reorganized, community members and elders are using the materials for language literacy and education.

Currently the majority of community members using the library are elders, says Epp. “There are tears in their eyes when they see their language in a children’s book.”

Dr Silver and family

Dr. Ray Silver and some of his family members, at the opening of the library.


Next steps

The Mamele’awt Community Aboriginal Centre, which houses the library, is open to the public. People wishing to check out materials do not need a library card and the general public is encouraged to use the library.

Epp says improving the catalogue is an ongoing effort, and that the next step will be to improve the subject headings for materials. The library is also hoping to bring more community users into the space by offering programming, such as story times for young children.


ray silver

Dr. Ray Silver, Xéy’teleq

For more information on the Ray and Millie Silver Aboriginal Library, named for Dr. Ray Silver, Xéy’teleq, and his wife Millie Silver, visit their website, or the Mamele’awt Community Centre (3277 Gladwin Road, Abbotsford, B.C.).

For more information on how Xwi7xwa organizes their library materials, visit their website. Xwi7xwa librarians Ann Doyle, Kim Lawson and Sarah Dupont published a paper in 2015 discussing the organization of materials at Xwi7xwa:














In 2015, Mandy Len Catron, creative writing instructor at UBC, published To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This  in the New York Times‘ Modern Love column. The column went on to be read by more than five million readers in less than a week.

In her new memoir, How to Fall in Love with Anyone, Catron continues to unpack the complex stories we tell ourselves about love, pairing her personal experiences with solid research to explore the romantic myths we create and how they limit our ability to achieve and sustain intimacy. We spoke with Mandy about her writing, the extensive research she did for the book and how she utilized UBC Library and its collections in her work.

Tell us about How to Fall in Love with Anyone and how it came about.

I started writing the book at the Banff Centre in 2010, long before the essay came out the New York Times. I knew the Modern Love column had launched many books so I had a vague idea of sending them something one day. In fact, I didn’t write that essay until after I’d completed an early manuscript for the book at the end of 2014. I hoped that I might hear from a few editors or literary agents after the essay was published, which would make it easier to find a home for my book. As it turned out, I really underestimated the attention these now-famous 36 questions would get—and the essay opened all kinds of new opportunities for me, including the change to revise and publish my manuscript. 

Initially, I had envisioned the book as a memoir with lots of research and reflection, but I wasn’t quite sure how to organize it and what to do with all the information I’d amassed over the years. I started a blog, The Love Story Project, as a way to test out some of my ideas. And it was there that I came up with the central premise of the book: there is a gap between how we talk about love (with each other, in our families, in popular culture) and how we actually practice it. I wanted the book to explore that gap. The amazing thing about my Modern Love column is that my own love story became an illustration of this exact phenomenon. Everyone wanted to know if I was still in a relationship with the man from the essay—and they were content with a very short answer: yes. No one asked about how the 36 questions impacted our experience, or what it was like to see your relationship mentioned in international news just a few months after you started dating. But that, to me, was the more interesting story. So this gap—between the public idea of our relationship and my daily intimate experience of it—was a great starting point for a collection of essays. 

You did a great deal of research when writing the book. Can you tell us a little about the resources at UBC Library that were most helpful to you and how you used them?

I’ve spent hours and hours on the UBC Library website, searching databases for research on everything from the evolutionary anthropology of romantic love to sociological theories of storytelling. So the best resource for me was the incredible collection of academic journals and the many databases UBC provides access to. My educational background is in creative writing, so I don’t think of myself as a career academic. But I do teach first year students how to do research, make sense of scholarly writing, and think critically about the production of knowledge, so it seemed natural to apply these same ideas to my creative process. It isn’t always easy switching between a scholarly, analytical point-of-view and a more personal, subjective sense of knowledge and knowing, but that’s the kind of writing I love to read and, increasingly, the kind of thing I like asking students to write. 

I’ve also used the library to borrow and read the kinds of love stories I think we need more of in the world—stories that expand our sense of what’s possible in love. And now I’ve been teaching some of these books in my classes. Right now, in my love stories class, we’re reading Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, along with a bunch of scholarly and theoretical writing about love and storytelling. 

Can you shed some light on your writing process? Do you do your research first, then write?

I do a combination of research and writing at the same time. I think of writing an essay as a process of collecting and evaluating information—and that information can be everything from scientific data to personal reflection. For me it’s a kind of cyclical, generative process: a personal experience will prompt a question, which will prompt research. For example my parents divorced and I wanted to understand why and how their love story had such a big impact on me. So I wrote about my struggle processing this huge change in our family.  And then I researched how we use family narratives to construct identity. It turns out there’s a whole field called “narrative psychology”—which was amazing to me, and reading what folks like Jerome Bruner wrote on the topic helped me to make sense of my experience. I don’t write directly about narrative psychology in the book, but that research informed my thinking throughout the book—especially in the essays about my parents and grandparents. Who we are is so directly connected to the stories we tell about ourselves. 

And it continues like this: reflection prompts research, research prompts further questions, which yields further reflection. I think an essay can contain almost anything, which is what makes the form so exciting.

Do you have a favorite spot or branch of UBC Library?

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is right by my office, so I’ve spent some time there lately. I think best in rooms with big windows and high ceilings and Irving has lots of those, along with quiet nooks for reading.

What are your reading right now?

So many things! I’ve just started two totally different Canadian novels on love: Zoey Leigh Peterson’s Next Year for Sure and Jane Eaton Hamilton’s Weekend. And I’m halfway through two essay collections: Durga Chew-Bose’s Too Much and Not in the Mood and Scaachi Koul’s Soon We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter. I love them both for their really distinctive writing voices and amazing titles!

Follow Mandy’s writing at thelovestoryproject.ca

susan Parker

Ms. Susan E. Parker. Photo: Don Leibig, UCLA Photography


In September 2017, UBC will welcome Susan E. Parker as University Librarian for a five-year term. Ms. Parker currently holds the role of Deputy University Librarian at the University of California, Los Angeles where she leads operations, human resources, assessment, budgeting, strategic planning, capital project planning and fundraising.

Ms. Parker will take over leadership of UBC Library at a pivotal time as the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan comes to a close and the library develops new strategic priorities in alignment with UBC’s new strategic plan. At UCLA, Ms. Parker led the processes behind the library’s strategic plans for 2006-2009 and 2012-2019.

“Susan Parker’s reputation in the library community is one of solid competence and professionalism,” said Melody Burton, Interim University Librarian. “We are thrilled to have her join UBC Library at this particular time.”

Ms. Parker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and American Literature, a Master of Arts in History, and a Master of Library Science with a specialization in academic librarianship. Her research interests include leadership in academic libraries and higher education, organization theory, and the concept of “credible optimism” emphasizing the importance of positivity in the pursuit of realistic and sustainable goals.

“Being named University Librarian at UBC is an honour, and the highlight of my career,” says Susan Parker. “I look forward to partnering with UBC’s excellent library staff, students, and faculty as we continue to develop and deliver outstanding services, scholarly resource collections, and welcoming library facilities for the UBC community.”

In July 2016 Melody Burton stepped into the role of Interim University Librarian, in addition to her role as Deputy University Librarian. Over the past year Ms. Burton has been focused on a “domestic agenda” to build relationships on campus and set the table for the next University Librarian.

“I wish to express my gratitude to Ms. Melody Burton for her service as the Interim University Librarian since July 2016,” said Dr. Angela Redish, UBC Provost and VP Academic pro tem. “Her work has been integral to the continuity of the library’s strong leadership over the past year.” 

Ms. Burton will continue in this interim role until September 1, when Ms. Parker joins UBC.


Read the full announcement from the Office of the Provost and VP Academic.


Vancouver is greening up spectacularly with the warmer weather. We’re enjoying many lunchtimes in the beautiful gardens here at UBC, and soaking up as much greenery as we possibly can while it’s here! This week on the blog, we’re taking a photo tour through the Nitobe Memorial Garden. 

The Nitobe Memorial Garden is on UBC’s Vancouver campus, but it feels like another world entirely – winding paths encourage contemplation and reflection. Over the years many photographers have captured glimpses of the gardens, views that will have to satisfy us until we can make it back.

Visitors enjoy the garden in 1975:

A view of the garden in the 1960’s:

A few snaps from 1965

Mrs. Tetsuo Ban with Ishadora (Japanese Lantern) during presentation ceremony April 28, 1966


Inscribed stone in Nitobe Garden- 

Women in costume for a performance of Madame Butterfly in 1960:


BQ988 U887 N57 2016
鈴木大拙の原風景 / 西村惠信著

DS834.9 I76 A5 2016
対談集, あの人ともういちど / 色川大吉

NK1072 O83 K56 2016
近代大阪職人図鑑 : ものづくりのものがたり/ 編著大阪歴史博物館

PL871 A735 A68 2016
暗幕のゲルニカ = Guernica undercover / 原田マハ

PN1998.3 A715 A3 2016
鞍馬天狗のおじさんは : 聞書・嵐寬寿郎一代 / 嵐寬寿郎, 竹中労



DS777.43 Y375 2015
重返五四现场 : 1919, 一个国家的青春记忆 / 叶曙明著

P121 J536 2016
魏晋六朝与晚期罗马的语言活动与宗教翻译 / 蒋哲杰著

PL1171 F464
中国古文字学概论 = An introduction to Chinese paleography / 冯时著

PL2447 G36 2016
楚简文字与先秦思想文化 / 高华平著

PN1993.5 C4 C4365 2015
底层再现 : 中国当代电影中的城市游民 = Urban vagrants in contemporary Chinese cinema / 陈涛著



PK2077 K52 2016
Khaṭṭī-mīthī preraka kahānīyām̐ / saṃ. Sudhā Mūrti

PK2098.29 U28 P678 2016
Posṭa bôksa naṃ. 203, nālā sopārā / Citrā Mudgala

PK2200 S27 Z62 2016
Sāhira Ludhiyānavī : mere gīta tumhāre / Sunīla Bhaṭṭa.

PK2659 B2854 G85 2016
Gulamohara : kahāṇī-saṅgrahi / Harajīta Kaura Bājawā

PK2659 S3756 P53154 2016
Pighalatī Yādeṃ : upanyāsa / lekhala, Jaranaila Siṃha Sekhā ; anuvādaka, Sañjīva Rāya

canada flag

The fifth annual Aboriginal (Un) History Month exhibit is now on display at UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. 

This exhibit asks the question “Whose 150?” and explores the rich Indigenous history and culture in Canada. The eight cases include video, maps, video animated graphics, stories and histories – aimed at encouraging conversation and learning about the broader context of Canada’s 150.  

“This year, many Canadians are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada. For them, the development of Canada from a colony to an independent nation is the story of the emergence of a democratic nation exceptional in both its history and promise. That is, however, a history that looks very different to many Indigenous people in Canada…By truthfully and directly addressing the history and current circumstances of Indigenous people—and acting upon what we come to understand—we can work together to make Canada a country and a society we can all more fully join in celebrating.” – Linc Kesler, Director, First Nations House of Learning

Exhibit partners include the Musqueam First Nation, UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, UBC’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre and UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

exhibit case quote

For more information on the themes of the cases, visit the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre website

The exhibit is open to the public daily from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Level 2, and will be on display until August 30, 2017.


UBC is located on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.


About Aboriginal (Un)History Month

The “un” represents the continued importance and relevance of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world. These contributions should be recognized daily, not just once a year. The first Aboriginal (Un)History Month event kicked off in June 2012.


Exhibit partners

partner logos




British Columbia in the second half of the nineteenth century is defined by her gold rushes. Various prospectors, miners, entrepreneurs, and other settlers descended upon BC in waves, and the documents they’ve left behind are as varied as they were.

This broadsheet, The Frazer River Thermometer, both offers advice and gently ribs the potential prospector.



One of these men is not dressed appropriately for the job… (from the Jane Eva Denison fonds, album “Caravaning to the land of golden twilight”)



And this monograph is too good (and a good length for a blog post), so we present the entire thing:

Map of the Cariboo and Omineca gold fields, and the routes thereto, compiled from reliable authorities ,W.D. Patterson

The information deemed necessary seems quite slim: a helpful page of figures, a map, and some adverts for underclothing.

There are quite a few books concerning the gold rush within the collection, especially from the BC Historical Books Collection. This one is a fictional take on the Cariboo rush: (click through for the entire monograph!) 


Have you ever searched for gold-rush era documents within Open Collections? Is there anything we can help you find?


Day 27 of #100daysofprototypa

UBC Library’s Open Collections are often used for research, which is why we were intrigued to discover that designer and artist Jean-Charles Amey uses images found in open source collections to create original artwork.
Based in Reims, France, Amey uses images found in open source collections such as the New York Public Library’s digital collections, Unsplash, and UBC Library’s Open Collections in a design challenge on instagram called #100daysofprototypa. The images are a beautiful marriage of collage and photography reminiscent of Matisse’s cut-outs.
We chatted with Amey about the inspiration behind the project, his artistic process, and how he discovered our Open Collections.
How long have you been an artist? What kind of projects do you work on?
I have been working on various design experiences and projects for nine years. After a Master’s in Product Design, I started to work as assistant with Pierre Charpin and Robert Stadler. Both work on the border where art and design meet. I had the chance to work on various projects from limited editions to larger scale production and have been thrilled by these experiences of creating and thinking in small studios. Since 2013, I have been concentrating on my own practice and studio in Reims, France. 

Jean-Charles Amey

What is the 100-Day Project ?
The 100-Day Project was relaunched on the internet, mainly through instragram, by the artist and illustator Elle Luna in 2014, but it goes back to a Yale School of Art Workshop lead by Michael Bierut, where students are asked to choose an action and repeat it for 100 days.
Last year, with #100daysofpois I joined the experience for the first time. Today, after undertaking it a second time, I feel the 100-Day Project is a sort of medium — producing small personal things everyday changes you. I like to compare the 100-Day project to a meditation; you enter into a creative challenge with yourself and explore it. Personally, it has been a way to connect some serious reflections with more lightness. Creativity is an everyday challenge.
What inspired you to launch your #100daysofprototypa project?
My quest is to create objects with spirit while reducing my computer work time and regain creative autonomy. I am exploring a way to imagine new experiences with objects, furniture and space using nothing but scissors, paper and a camera.

Day 34 of #100daysofprototypa

Can you tell us a little about the medium you use for  #100daysofprototypa?
By creating these colorful collages, I feel like I’m on a walk with Kurt Schwitters, Paul Rand and Matisse but also with contemporary artist like George Byrne, Takuro Kishibe or Julie Hamilton. It’s such a pleasing moment to take scissors, colors and create a first impression of reality. 
How do you create your prototypa?
First, I collect colours. They arrive at my atelier through magazines, old books, ads, catalogs. They are so diverse that they need to be collected and arranged by size and pattern. Next, I collect images of strong or ambigous gestures that could tell a story. They mostly come from open source collections like UBC Library’s. Unlike the colours, I don’t put the gestures in any kind of order. I put them in a box and stare at them when I start a new prototypa. And so everyday, I pick the one that inspires me the most.

Day 24 of #100daysofprototypa

How did you discover UBC Library’s Open Collections?
I discovered UBC Library’s Open Collections when I was doing a project on ex-libris (bookplates). I was curious about the past of bookplates and a search on Flickr led me to various digitized collections. I was amazed that libraries were considering bookplates as interesting as the others visual elements of a book. They tend to be created after the book is made and symbolize the meeting of a reader and a book at a certain time and space. Perhaps that’s why there is such diversity of forms and story in them.
Explore more than 210,000 digital objects on UBC’s Open Collections.
Are you using materials from our Open Collections in your work, research or art? Let us know! Get in touch at library.communications@ubc.ca.

UBC Library Communications team behind the 2016 Open Access Awareness campaign. Designer Jasmine Devonshire, Photographer and Videographer Clare Yow, Director Becky Potvin and Strategist Michelle Blackwell.















UBC Library is the first academic library to be selected as the Gold winner for the 2017 CPRS Digital Communications campaign of the year for their Open Access Awareness campaign.

The campus-wide campaign, that launched in the Fall of 2016 aimed to foster awareness and enhance student understanding around the Open Access movement and the open resources available through the Library. The campaign resulted in a significant increase in web traffic to the Library’s Open Access resources, major gains in year-over-year social media engagement and a successful launch event.

“We spent a lot of time understanding our student audience and determining the best ways to connect them with tools they need at a critical point in their academic careers,” said Michelle Blackwell Communications & Marketing strategist. “It is very gratifying to see that we made an impact.”

Celebrated annually, the CPRS Awards showcase Canada’s best public relations and communications projects and campaigns and was hosted in Kelowna, B.C.

“Thanks to CPRS for this recognition,” said Becky Potvin, Director of Communications for UBC Library, “the campaign was executed by a four-person team on a shoestring budget and was created in collaboration with our librarians and colleagues at the Centre for Teaching and Learning. It was successful in helping to raise the library’s profile and connect students with important research tools. We are very proud.”

Open Access Week 2016

Date: June 5 – September 20, 2017
Location: Asian Centre (1871 West Mall) (map)
Hours: Same as the Asian Library open hours (see hours)

Come and visit the new exhibit Jayeonmi (Natural Beauty) by local artist Ilsoo Kyung at the Asian Centre foyer.

Ilsoo was born in Korea and immigrated to Canada in 1967. She began to paint in 1998. After retiring from her nursing career in 2002, Ilsoo continued her studies at UBC and received a bachelor’s degree in Art History, Visual Art and Theory, as well as an art teacher’s diploma in 2006. Many of her works are included in private collections in Korea, Australia, the United States and Canada.

Ilsoo is a multimedia artist who has been involved in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her works involves personal identity and expression, as well as themes within the context of Korea and Canada. In recent work she has been addressing the question of cultural identity and in this process a new synthesis is emerging in her own individual disciplines, which include painting, sculpture, printmaking, video and digital imagery, performance art and installation works.

Ilsoo’s works are grounded in the natural world, but she looks beyond the scenic to search for symbols and meaning in all that she encounters. Her style is representational, with special attention to colour, texture and form. Ilsoo has been featured in a number of media, including Senior Living Magazine, CHEK TV and YouTube.

Please click here for the Artist Statement.


a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

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