Upgrades to the third and fourth floors of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre are complete and opened to library users during the spring session.

The upgrades, which began in February 2017, include new flooring, additional study spaces, improved lighting, upgraded furniture and additional electrical outlets (with USB chargers).


The upgrades have been popular with students. “I like this new seating by the windows,” says Heather, undergraduate student in the Faculty of Education who studies regularly at IKBLC, “It’s nice to have more natural light.”

Fourth-year Psychology student Nithia enjoys the new, more user-friendly study spaces, “The higher tables and chairs are much more comfortable — I slouch less. And the new usb ports are very convenient.”

The renovation is one of several projects planned for 2017 to improve UBC Library spaces and services for UBC students.  

“Every effort was made during the renovation project to minimize disruptions and maintain available study space for students,” says Julie Mitchell, Assistant Director, Student Engagement, IKBLC, “We’re so pleased with how the renovations turned out and to see students already enjoying the upgraded spaces.”

Be sure to try out the upgraded study spaces for yourself! 


The Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery service will not be available Saturday, June 24 between 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. for system maintenance.

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

The appointment of Susan Parker as the new University Librarian was recently covered by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries News.
The appointment of Susan Parker as the new University Librarian was recently covered by the Association of Research Libraries News.
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.


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