You have probably walked by it, maybe even seen a sign or poster inviting you in, but if you haven’t yet discovered the magic that is Rare Books & Special Collections located on Level 1 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, you are missing out. Rare Books & Special Collections houses significant collections of rare books, archival materials, historic maps and photographs and it’s open to all UBC students, staff and faculty and the general public.

The collection is extensive, and it would take several lifetimes to see the all the treasures available to you as a UBC student so, we’ve created a list of highlights to use when you stop by for a visit.

Here are five items to see before you graduate.  

The first item ever printed in the city of Vancouver

photo of the front page of the Vancouver weekly herald and North pacific news

 

The first edition of The Vancouver Weekly Herald and North Pacific News was published on Friday, January 15, 1886 when the population of Vancouver hovered at about 1000. This is the only surviving copy of Vancouver’s first newspaper and it provides amazing insight into what was happening in the city at that time. 

Canadian Pacific Railway Ads

Banff Lake Louise Region Canadian pacific railway ad with illustration of a skier

 

Maybe some of the most iconic pieces of Canadiana, our vibrant Canadian Pacific Railway advertisements are a must-see for anyone interested in art and design. The posters, that were created out of the C.P.R.’s silkscreen studio in Montreal, are part of our Chung Collection that holds one of the largest research collections on the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as well as a huge collection of Chinese Canadian historical content. Dr. Chung was first inspired to collect items on the subject of the Canadian Pacific Railway company when as a young boy he saw a poster of the Empress of Asia in his father’s tailor shop.  His collection started modestly, with newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, but has now grown to thousands of rare and sometimes unique items.

Letters written and signed by Darwin. Yes, that Darwin.

Letter written by Charles Darwin

 

Two of our most exciting collections at RBSC are collections of letters written to and by Charles Darwin, the well-known evolutionary biologist and originator of the concept of natural selection. The image above is from a group of about forty letters written between Charles Darwin and John Scott Burdon Sanderson from 1873 to 1881 and deal with the research Darwin and Burdon Sanderson were conducting on the digestive powers and leaf movements of insect-eating plants. Darwin published the results of this research as part of his book Insectivorous Plants (1875).

The Dali Alice

First page of the Dali Alice

 

Surrealist artist Salvador Dali’s interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a literary and artistic treasure that is not to be missed. You can even take a closer look at the original woodcut remarques (a small vignette image in the margin of a print, often related thematically to the main image) that are stored in a linen and leather case.

A model of Douglas Coupland’s Digital Orca

model of digital orca sculpture by Douglas Coupland

 

If you live Vancouver, you’ve undoubtedly seen the stunning 25-foot-tall sculpture of the Digital Orca next to the Vancouver Convention Centre. The powder coated aluminum sculpture built on a stainless steel frame was created by Canadian novelist and artist Douglas Coupland in 2009. You can take closer look at the Digital Orca at Rare Books & Special Collections, but on a much smaller scale; the model of the sculpture is just one of the many interesting items in the Douglas Coupland fonds.

Join us for a VIP tour of Rare Books & Special Collections on Wednesday February 14 at 11 a.m. Reserve your spot.

 

You have probably walked by it, maybe even seen a sign or poster inviting you in, but if you haven’t yet discovered the magic that is Rare Books & Special Collections located on Level 1 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, you are missing out. Rare Books & Special Collections houses significant collections of rare books, archival materials, historic maps and photographs and it’s open to all UBC students, staff and faculty and the general public.

The collection is extensive, and it would take several lifetimes to see the all the treasures available to you as a UBC student so, we’ve created a list of highlights to use when you stop by for a visit.

Here are five items to see before you graduate.  

The first item ever printed in the city of Vancouver

photo of the front page of the Vancouver weekly herald and North pacific news

 

The first edition of The Vancouver Weekly Herald and North Pacific News was published on Friday, January 15, 1886 when the population of Vancouver hovered at about 1000. This is the only surviving copy of Vancouver’s first newspaper and it provides amazing insight into what was happening in the city at that time. 

Canadian Pacific Railway Ads

Banff Lake Louise Region Canadian pacific railway ad with illustration of a skier

 

Maybe some of the most iconic pieces of Canadiana, our vibrant Canadian Pacific Railway advertisements are a must-see for anyone interested in art and design. The posters, that were created out of the C.P.R.’s silkscreen studio in Montreal, are part of our Chung Collection that holds one of the largest research collections on the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as well as a huge collection of Chinese Canadian historical content. Dr. Chung was first inspired to collect items on the subject of the Canadian Pacific Railway company when as a young boy he saw a poster of the Empress of Asia in his father’s tailor shop.  His collection started modestly, with newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, but has now grown to thousands of rare and sometimes unique items.

Letters written and signed by Darwin. Yes, that Darwin.

Letter written by Charles Darwin

 

Two of our most exciting collections at RBSC are collections of letters written to and by Charles Darwin, the well-known evolutionary biologist and originator of the concept of natural selection. The image above is from a group of about forty letters written between Charles Darwin and John Scott Burdon Sanderson from 1873 to 1881 and deal with the research Darwin and Burdon Sanderson were conducting on the digestive powers and leaf movements of insect-eating plants. Darwin published the results of this research as part of his book Insectivorous Plants (1875).

The Dali Alice

First page of the Dali Alice

 

Surrealist artist Salvador Dali’s interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a literary and artistic treasure that is not to be missed. You can even take a closer look at the original woodcut remarques (a small vignette image in the margin of a print, often related thematically to the main image) that are stored in a linen and leather case.

A model of Douglas Coupland’s Digital Orca

model of digital orca sculpture by Douglas Coupland

 

If you live Vancouver, you’ve undoubtedly seen the stunning 25-foot-tall sculpture of the Digital Orca next to the Vancouver Convention Centre. The powder coated aluminum sculpture built on a stainless steel frame was created by Canadian novelist and artist Douglas Coupland in 2009. You can take closer look at the Digital Orca at Rare Books & Special Collections, but on a much smaller scale; the model of the sculpture is just one of the many interesting items in the Douglas Coupland fonds.

Join us for a VIP tour of Rare Books & Special Collections on Wednesday February 14 at 11 a.m. Reserve your spot.

 

Whether you are on campus for a day or an hour, the Library has much for you to discover. Our collections include nearly 6.5 million items – but we offer a whole lot more as well. From the exceptional Chung Collection exhibition, to artwork in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, to notable viewing spots, there is something for everyone at UBC Library.

Come explore the life of the Library!

 

The Chung Collection Exhibition

Step into Canada’s past and view thousands of artifacts chronicling early B.C. history, immigration and settlement, and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The Chung Collection exhibition is free and open to visitors year round. Can’t make it in person? Visit the collection online.

Rare Books and Special Collections
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Level 1
1961 E. Mall, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z1

Image of boat model

Photo credit: Martin Dee

 

Special collections

While you’re in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, check out our Rare Books and Special Collections. Some of our notable offerings include:

 

Great Reads collection

You don’t have to focus only on research to enjoy and experience the Library. The Great Reads program offers leisure-reading materials ranging from Canadiana to popular fiction. Visit the collection at Koerner Library, Woodward Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, or browse the shelf online. If you visit the collection in Koerner, be sure to grab a cozy spot next to the fireplace.

Fireplace at Koerner Library

Koerner Lbrary’s fireplace on Level 3 is a cozy spot to read. Photo credit: Martin Dee.

 

Artwork in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Glass plates

A sandblasted glass chandelier with inspiration from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Two hundred multi-coloured plates, covering nearly 60 feet of wall space. These are just two examples of the treasures in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Indeed, the building itself inspires a sense of wonder – and the beautiful artwork inside it will take your breath away. From local artist John Nutter to First Nations artist Brent Sparrow Jr., artwork awaits you on every floor of the Barber Centre.

 

 

Newspapers

If you want to catch up with some news from around the world, enjoy our latest selection of newspapers: daily, weekly and monthly print newspapers in Asian Library, David Lam Library, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Koerner Library and Xwi7xwa Library. A selection of online-only newspapers are available at: guides.library.ubc.ca/newspapers

If you also want to check out what happened in British Columbia decades ago – visit the B.C. Historical Newspapers collection and catch a glimpse of yester-year.

 

The Richards Buell Sutton Reading Room in the Law Library, Allard Hall

The Library offers many silent and quiet study areas. The Law Library, however, offers studying with an impressive view. The two-storey reading room – part of the beautiful Allard Hall, which opened in September 2011 – faces the north end of campus and overlooks Vancouver’s North Shore mountains.

Law Library reading room

Photo credit: Don Erhardt

 

The Ridington Room in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Students studying in the Ridington Room

Photo credit: Martin Dee

 If you want a place to study history, take in the sights and see stunning art – the Ridington Room in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is for you. The two-storey reading room (named after John Ridington, UBC’s first University Librarian) features a 45-panel glass sculpture from artist John Nutter, etched with compasses. The spiral staircase offers visitors a chance to study at tables, lounge in chairs or catch a better look at the artwork. The walls are adorned with portraits of former UBC Presidents, inspiring the students of today to remember their past.

Douglas Coupland speaking at a podium at his honorary degree ceremony.

Douglas Coupland speaks to UBC graduates after accepting his honorary degree in 2010. Photo: Martin Dee.

A profile of Douglas Coupland, the prolific writer and artist, appears in Montecristo magazine. In 2010, Coupland donated his extensive archives to UBC Library, and accruals have been added since then.

Today, the University of British Columbia Library has accumulated over 200 boxes of Coupland’s personal effects: notepads, early drafts and manuscripts, prototypes and moquettes of artworks, fanmail and professional correspondence, samples from the Roots Collection, ephemera, and works in progress – anything and everything that documents his process from concept to creation. As lead archivist Sarah Romkey says, “We sometimes have to rethink what we consider an archive, when we’re working with Doug’s material. We learn about our own process as archivists – what you keep and how you organize it.

Read more in Never Left Art School, by Craig David Long in Montecristo.

 

 

Douglas Coupland fonds

Internationally renowned author and artist Douglas Coupland has recently added twenty-six pieces to his already substantial personal archives at UBC Library.

Coupland’s archives, donated to UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections in 2010, include more than 1425 photographs and 30 metres of textual and graphic material. The recent additions include a varied range of medium – everything from large-scale sculptures to screenplays. 

Three student workers, tasked with processing the recent additions, are blogging about their progress to highlight the unique challenges mixed media can present for archives.

“Influenced by Coupland’s own fondness for the blog format, we will chronicle our journey here. Follow our progress as we unpack the work of the prolific writer and artist.”

Several blog posts have been published – which include photos of the material being processed. To read about the project and follow its progress, visit the “New at Rare Books and Special Collections” blog. 

The blog has gathered some media attention, including a recent article in Quill and Quire entitled “Behind the scenes at UBC’s Douglas Coupland archives,” and a piece in the Ubyssey entitled “Douglas Coupland article finds home in Irving K. Barber.”
 

About Douglas Coupland

Coupland’s first-ever article about “Generation X,” defined as the generation of people born – after the baby boomers – in the 1960s and 1970s, was published Vancouver in September 1987. Generation X was later published as a novel, which Coupland followed with seventeen major literary works. Coupland also has written and produced for film and television projects, and has continued exhibiting as a visual artist.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library

Info:

604.822.6375

Renewals: 

604.822.3115
604.822.2883
250.807.9107

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet