With speaker SHEN Jia (沈迦)

Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Venue: Room 604, Asian Centre, 1871 West Mall
Language: Mandarin



In the old quarter of Wenzhou, a well-known city for its commodity economy in Zhejiang Province, stands a Christian church built about one century ago. However, the name of the builder and his contribution to the city’s modernity were intentionally or unintentionally buried in sudden and perplexing changes of history. Mr. Shen Jia went to this church with his grandmother in his childhood. He majored in Journalism when he was a college student. After graduating, he worked as a journalist, editor, and entrepreneur. He immigrated to Canada and settled down in Vancouver more than ten years ago. Using the abundant collection on modern Chinese history in UBC Asian Library, Shen started writing on his childhood memories in his hometown. His work is based on archival research, fieldwork, interviews, and six years’ of endeavors in Asia, Europe and America. Drawing from the methodology of knowledge archaeology, he brought to life the magnificent story of this British missionary, William Edward Soothill, and his relationship with modern Chinese history.

Written in Vancouver, Seeking Soothhill 《寻找·苏慧廉》was published in Taiwan, and then in mainland China in 2013, and became popular immediately. It was praised as one of “the Best Ten Books of the Year” in China and was adapted as a documentary under the same title by Phoenix Satellite Television.

Date: September 1 – 30, 2017
Location: UBC Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Level 2 Foyer (1961 East Mall) (map)
Hours: same as the IKBLC building hours (see hours)

Popular Art is the name given to the artistic creations made by peasants, indigenous people or craftsmen with no formal artistic training. A traditional popular art item is handmade and has a functional purpose opposing an art object that is made for aesthetic purposes only, however, in the XXI Century technique has evolved to a more aesthetic representation.

Presented by MexicoFest, we invite all art enthusiasts to attend this free exhibition at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on Mexican Popular Art objects.

This summer the Asian Library offered two tours to the members of the Association of Administrative & Professional Staff (AAPS), the professional association for the Management and Professional (M&P) staff group at UBC.

The tours took place on July 6 and August 29 with a total of 30 M&P Staff from 18 departments attended.  Phoebe Chow, Program Services Assistant, first told the story of the Asian Centre building, focusing on its huge, pyramid-shaped roof that was originally made for the Sanyo Pavilion during Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan. The participants then followed Naoko Kato, Japanese Language Librarian, and Lucia Park, Korean Language Librarian, to explore all three levels of the library. Participants were particularly interested in the Asian language learning materials as well as the collections with traditional Asian bookbinding. Finally, participants toured the outdoor area, including the Pacific Bell tower.

As part of the AAPS Summer Networking Series, these lunch and learns tours provided an exciting opportunity for members to get to know the campus and its resources better. We wish to see more staff visiting the Asian Centre and the Asian Library in the future!




















What’s the most magnificent thing you can do on October 14th?
Attend the Annual VCLR Illustrator’s Breakfast featuring Ashley Spires
October 14, 2017 | University Golf Course | 8:00 am -12:00 pm
Early Bird Rates end September 15, 2017


Rare Books and Special Collections was delighted to be invited by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (for the third time!) to create a display of Harry Potter books for the latest performance in their Harry Potter Film Concert Series. Taking place at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver, these unique events feature screenings of the Harry Potter films while the VSO performs the entire score live. The most recent events in the series ran July 13-July 15, and RBSC provided four display cases highlighting some of our unique and remarkable Harry Potter books, as well as “magical” antiquarian books, from our collection. We were also delighted and proud to honour the role of Allan MacDougall, founder of Raincoast Books, for his significant role in bringing Harry Potter, and author J. K. Rowling, to Canada, by displaying memorabilia kindly loaned by the MacDougall family. Now that the performances at the Orpheum are over, the cases are back in the RBSC reading room, and will be available through the rest of the summer.

Photograph courtesy of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Rare Books and Special Collection has had strengths in classic and canonical children’s literature since the mid-1960s when the exceptional Alice One Hundred Collection was donated to the Library by UBC’s graduating class of 1925. The class donated the collection in celebration of their 40th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the original publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The original donation, comprised of nearly 500 items dating between 1858 and 1965, was rich in first, early, and limited editions of books by and about Lewis Carroll, and featured the work of more than 80 illustrators. The children’s literature collection at RBSC continued to grow with the donation in 1976 of the Arkley Collection of Early and Historical Children’s Literature by Stan T. Arkley, a native of Vancouver and also a member of UBC’s class of 1925, and his wife, Rose. Today, through purchase and donation, the Arkley Collection comprises more than 12,000 Canadian, British, and American children’s books, serials, and manuscripts. The Arkley Collection has always prioritized popular works or “books that children actually read,” so it seems incredible that as late as spring 2015, Rare Book and Special Collections did not have a single Harry Potter book in its collection.

Photograph courtesy of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

As the most popular children’s literature series in several generations, with a global impact equaling Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Harry Potter has a natural home in RBSC’s collection. Consequently, in the summer of 2015, RBSC began the process of acquiring complete sets of the U.S., U.K., and Canadian first editions of the Potter series. As books were added to the collection, RBSC learned more and more about the profound and surprising connections that Vancouver shares with the Harry Potter series (for example, Raincoast Books in Vancouver published the Canadian editions of the Harry Potter series until 2010, while Kidsbooks in Vancouver was the first bookstore in all of Canada to carry Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and hosted four legendary book release parties). Collecting the Harry Potter books not only ensures that scarce first or special editions of these works can be properly cared for and made accessible to Canadians for generations to come, but allows RBSC to promote the story, not only of one of the most important series in children literary history, but also the story of the impact that the series had on the people, the business, and the cultural landscape of Vancouver.

Our current Harry Potter display can be viewed at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

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