Construction and demolition work will begin in the Asian Library on Thursday, May 2.

Access to the upper floor of the Library will remain restricted. Essential items in the library’s collection have been relocated to the lower floor to facilitate use, while all other material has been moved off-site and will be inaccessible for the duration of the construction.

Room bookings for meeting rooms will suspended due to noise transfer to the rooms throughout construction.

The renovation, which is expected to be competed in the late Fall of 2019 will allow for better service delivery, study spaces, and programming spaces for the Asian Library as well as several improvements for the collection.

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to improve spaces and services for faculty, students and the community.

Any questions about the renovation can be directed to Shirin Eshghi, Head, Asian Library.

The Book of Kells facsimile no. 349, on display at UBC Library.


The Ridington Room in the Music, Art and Architecture (MAA) Library at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has added a new permanent installation that will be of interest to anyone with a penchant for medieval illuminated manuscripts. The Book of Kells facsimile, which was acquired by UBC Library’s Rare Book & Special Collections in 1990, had previously been housed in UBC Library’s Vault, but now resides in a secure, purpose-built display case, accessible to the UBC community.

The original Book of Kells, which is held on permanent display at Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland, is a 9th Century manuscript documenting the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin. Named after the Abbey of Kells, where it was kept for centuries before moving to Trinity College, the manuscript is divided into four volumes.

The Ridington Room in the Music, Art and Architecture Library at UBC.


UBC Library’s facsimile of the Book of Kells was produced by Swiss publisher Faksimile-Verlag Luzern in 1979 using cutting edge technology of the time to photograph the original pages and produce a limited run of exact copies. UBC Library’s copy, no. 349, is accompanied by a presentation book from Vancouver’s Book of Kells Committee, which formed in 1987 in order to purchase the item through donor support. The original Book of Kells Committee consisted of 14 members who together raised $16,000 from 340 local donors. A plaque attached to the display case celebrates those who offered their support.

The Book of Kells is available to view during the MAA Library’s regular hours of operation. Check the website to find out more.

Food For Fines Spring 2019


This year’s Spring UBC Library and Alma Mater Student Society (AMS) Food for Fines Campaign raised a total of $2,278.00 across the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.

Now in its sixteenth consecutive year at UBC, the Food for Fines campaign waives $2 in Library fines for every food item donated, to a maximum of $30. The program began as a joint initiative to support disadvantaged members of the community, and has become an integral source of the AMS Food Bank’s food reserves to support UBC students in need.

Non-perishable food items were collected at circulation desks and then distributed to the AMS Food Bank.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s campaign!

Please note that members of the community are welcome to donate goods year-round at the AMS Food Bank and Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Visit the AMS Food Bank website for more information


Librarian Ursula Ellis and researcher Kirsten Marchand.

UBC librarians are expert searchers, organizers and analyzers — and this unique set of skills is making them indispensable to medical research at UBC.

In the spring of 2018, The Canadian Institute of Health Research funded twenty-two grants through the Opioid Crisis Knowledge Synthesis Operating grant. This $1.85 million dollar grant aimed to address the pressing evidence needs of knowledge users within the context of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy and help tackle the most urgent elements of the opioid crisis, including opioid-related mortality rates.

Librarians make grant applications more successful

UBC researchers received six of the twenty-two grants awarded nationally. Of those, five received some kind of librarian support. “The literature tells us that librarians’ involvement makes grant applications more successful, particularly in the area of systematic reviews,” says Aleteia Greenwood, Head of Woodward Library. “It is gratifying to see that this held true in this particular competition.”   

A systematic review, and similar review types such as scoping reviews, provide a complete, exhaustive summary of current evidence relevant to a research question. Systematic reviews help researchers identify inconsistencies and gaps in diverse evidence to define future research needs. Surfacing the relevant literature can be a challenge and it is in this area that librarians are able to make a significant impact.

Researcher Kirsten Marchand consulted the expertise of librarian Ursula Ellis to conduct a scoping review exploring how principles of patient-centered care can be applied to the treatment of people with opioid use disorder as a complement to pharmacological treatment. “Our team of health care providers, advocates and researchers was already doing work in this area of patient-centered care, but we had never done a systematic review on the topic,” she says, “Ursula was extremely helpful to us at the proposal stage, walking us through the mechanics of building a search strategy to demonstrate feasibility. She was instrumental in the refining and framing of our research question and identifying key search terms.” Once the project was funded, Ellis continued to provide support on the project, helping to tweak and refine the search strategy. “We are so immensely grateful to Ursula,” says Marchand, “I feel that her work with me went beyond providing education and support, she was really making scientific contributions in helping to think through our study design and research question.”


Dr. Jan Klimas and his team at the BC Centre for Substance Use turned to librarian Dean Giustini for his expertise in search strategy when putting together a systematic review looking at patient characteristics that are predictive of whether someone will go into prescription opioid addiction when they are prescribed opioids for pain for the first time. “Dean’s contributions were essential in moving our project forward,” he says, “He helped us refine which search terms would best pick up studies about predictive factors. This is a very tricky thing – these are not clinical trials. The types of studies we were looking for are not well-indexed and can be difficult to surface.”

UBC librarians offer customized workshops and training for researchers

When putting together a realist review that explores how online solutions might help improve the system of care and decrease opioid-related mortality, Dr. Mohammadali Nikoo on behalf of Addictions and Concurrent Disorders (ACD) Research Group led by Michael Krausz reached out to librarians Helen Brown and Vanessa Kitchin for support. “Helen helped us in the proposal stage in creating a search strategy and once the project was underway, Vanessa demonstrated a mock literature review for our team, helping us get an idea of what we needed to do. She’s been available for consultation throughout the project— it has been a very positive experience for us.”

“UBC librarians are helping to surface knowledge that might remain hidden or require significant resources on the part of the researcher,” says Lea Starr, UBC Associate University Librarian in charge of Research. “This allows researchers to demonstrate that the research undertaken will have an impact, and will directly correspond to the need.”

As for future research, Marchand, Klimas and Nikoo all consider librarian consultation an integral part of the research lifecycle and plan to build librarian consultation into future research. “In this new era of fast-paced information that is emerging, I think the librarian’s role is becoming more and more important,” says Nikoo, “We are looking forward to more collaboration in the future.”

To arrange for a systematic review consultation, please complete this form and send it to your subject librarian.

Attend one of UBC Library’s monthly Systematic Review workshops.

UBC’s Emerging Media Lab (EML) has a new hub, right in the heart of campus. Established in 2016 as an experimental space where faculty, students, and staff from all disciplines could collaborate with industry and community, the lab made its mission to evolve learning by creating tools and techniques using emerging media including Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality.

Now, in its newest location in Room 183 on Level 1 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the lab is hopeful that the new space will attract a larger and even more diverse group of users and continue to be a truly interdisciplinary space.

Students and faculty in EML space


An emerging media lab for everyone.

“The Library has this sense of belonging to everyone, a sense of inclusivity,” says Saeed Dyanatkar, executive Producer at the Emerging Media Lab, “If you have a Library card, it doesn’t matter which department you’re from, you can use it. This is how we want people to feel about the EML — it is a huge step forward for us.”

The implementation of an Emerging Media Lab is a natural fit for UBC Library. Julie Mitchell, Assistant Director, Student Engagement, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre explains, “Challenging traditional views of libraries as repositories for the printed book, leading academic libraries are at the forefront of providing technology-enabled spaces to support learning and research. The EML@IKBLC project was a priority for the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre as it creates space for interdisciplinary interactions and provides tools to explore new technologies, with the potential to transform education and research practices at UBC.”

Student using Virtual reality equipment


At the heart of what drives innovation at the EML is the opportunity to experiment and the permission to fail, with more emphasis on learning and process than output. As Faculty in Residence, Dr. Matthew Yedlin describes it, “Failure is a learning experience. Here at the EML, we don’t want to have the perfect anything. You have to fail to be creative.”

The new IKBLC location, composed of two rooms: a public multi-station lab and presentation space and second room that can be used as a meeting room, demonstration space or development area was made possible through a collaboration between the EML, UBC Library, and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. The Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) provided funding to assist in the purchase of equipment for the lab. The equipment is maintained by UBC IT.

The new lab in IKBLC will function as the EML’s public-facing space, welcoming questions from 9 to 5 on weekdays, offering lab time for classes and faculty members as well as regularly designated demonstration time. In addition to student employees, the space will also be staffed by some of CTLT’s student Learning Technology Rovers. The original Emerging Media Lab, located in the Neville Scarfe Building will remain, but will be used solely for development work and student projects.

Student and faculty in EML


A place to challenge assumptions.

Samantha Peng, graduate student in Journalism and student employee at the EML is particularly interested in how the new location might help challenge assumptions about who can benefit and learn from emerging technology. “Because I don’t have a coding background, I was really intimidated about getting started at EML,” she explains, “But once I started, I realized that projects require many different people with many different skill sets. I think this new location might help counteract the idea that the lab is only for Computer Science students.”

Fifth-year Electrical Engineering student and EML volunteer Serena Chao identifies this unique interdisciplinary experience as one of the features of the EML that has contributed to her learning. “My learning in my degree is mostly hardware-based and so the software-based work I do at the EML has helped me get a more well-rounded perspective. But it’s being able to work and collaborate with people in different faculties that I value the most; it has allowed me opportunities to collaborate over and above what is offered through my program.”

William Beltran, third year Cognitive Systems student and student employee at the EML looks forward to fielding more questions and queries from fellow students. “The great thing about this new space is that it allows for more people to pop in and ask questions. We’re more accessible.”

Visit the EML’s new location and explore in-progress and recently completed projects at an upcoming showcase on March 26.

Food For Fines Spring 2019

Reduce your UBC Library fines by donating non-perishable food items – $2 in fines paid for each food item donated (up to a maximum of $30). Donated cans are accepted at branch circulation desks from March 18 to April 1, 2019.

All donations go to the UBC AMS Food Bank on Campus and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank which provide food relief for students in need, including non-perishable foods, supplies and information about additional resources on- and off-campus.

UBC Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC) has acquired the personal archive of Hanne Wassermann Walker (1893-1985), a significant figure of pre-WWII Viennese cultural and social life. Her remarkable story has been relatively unknown until now.

Born in Vienna to a Jewish family, Hanne Wassermann Walker left Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938. After living briefly in England, and then in New York, she went on to emigrate to Canada, taking up residence in Vancouver and later North Vancouver with her second husband, George Dickson Walker. She became a resident of British Columbia in 1943.

A well-known figure of Viennese society during the 1920s and 1930s, Wassermann Walker was at the forefront of the Weimar-era body culture movement. Her school of gymnastics and health manuals for women brought her international fame and recognition from reputed medical institutions and clinical specialists. Among her correspondents, friends and students were film stars, artists and members of the European aristocracy, including the Rothschild family, Lady Louis Mountbatten, Helen of Greece and Denmark and actress and wireless communications pioneer Hedy Lamarr.

UBC Library offered right of first refusal

In 1985, Hanne died without heirs, and items from her estate were acquired by a local collector. In the Fall of 2018, Katherine Kalsbeek, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, and Krisztina Laszlo, RBSC Archivist were offered first refusal on the archive by a local bookseller. With the support of faculty from many UBC departments, Kalsbeek and Laszlo worked to identify the funds required to ensure that the archive would stay in British Columbia. “The response from both UBC and the larger community has been exceptional,” says Kalsbeek, “From numerous individual donors, to foundations, to key departments here at the university, there has been overwhelming support for our effort to ensure that Hanne’s archive stays in British Columbia.” The library saw generous support from the Azrieli Foundation, Reesa Greenberg and the Clematis Foundation, Lorne Greenberg and the Lorne Greenberg Family Partnership, Anthony von Mandl of Mission Hill Family Estate winery, the UBC President’s Office, the Faculty of Arts, the School of Kinesiology, and the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies (CENES).

Photo of Hanne Wassermann Walker taken by Trude Fleischmann

Hanne Wassermann Walker as photographed by Trude Fleischmann.

The archive itself is extensive, including an impressive number of documents, correspondence, print media coverage, photographs and artifacts that span over a century.

One of the highlights is the collection of documents and photographs tracing Wassermann Walker’s life-long friendship with Trude Fleischmann, ranked among the most significant portrait-photographers of the 20th century. Not unlike Wassermann herself, Fleischmann was forced to leave Vienna during the war, to relaunch her career on the North American continent. The archive contains hundreds of photographs taken by Fleischmann during the height of Wassermann Walker’s successful career in Vienna.

A large part of the archive documents Wasserman Walker’s struggle to obtain compensation for the loss of her family’s property seized by the Nazis. The archive contains letters from lawyer Gustav Rinesch, informing Hanne of the details of her parent’s estate and his work on her and her sister’s behalf with the government of Austria. 

Acquisition keeps collection together

The sheer size and breadth of the archive presents countless unique opportunities for research, teaching and learning in a number of fields from Holocaust studies, and Women’s Studies, to Kinesiology and Fine Art. Krisztina Laszlo, RBSC Archivist, notes that the acquisition of this archive “is an example of RBSC’s effort to increase our documentation of women’s role in history.  Representation of women, and their successes in the life of this province, and the larger world, needs to be celebrated, preserved and recognized.”

Postcards books and photos from the HanneWassermann Walker archive

Personal correspondence from the archive.

Dr. Patricia Vertinsky, Professor in UBC’s School of Kinesiology is particularly interested in parts of the collection that involve Wasserman-Walker’s exercise system, “What interests us in Kinesiology is exploring the provenance of these exercise systems and then understanding the way in which Hanne brought them to Vancouver. She spent forty years teaching them, first in Vienna and later in Vancouver in people’s basements and community centres – two completely different worlds.”

Faculty looking through the archive

Patricia Vertinsky, Ilinca Iuraşcu, Kyle Frackman and Katherine Kalsbeek pore over the archive.

Dr. Ilinca Iuraşcu, Assistant Professor of German at UBC is excited about how the archive will enable young people to understand the importance of women’s history as lived history. “The story that all these material testimonies tell is not merely one about reconstituting a unique biography and exceptional career. This is also a lesson about living cultural networks and building bridges among spaces and histories: Vienna and Vancouver; communities of health and aesthetic practitioners – and the sheer force of connecting the dots between them.”  

Perhaps most heartening is that the Library’s acquisition of the full archive prevents the archive from being broken up, divided and sold, which would have meant that the fulsome picture it presents of Wassermann Walker’s life and work would be lost forever.

Learn more about the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections.

Every three years UBC Library invites a selection of students, faculty, staff, and other members of the UBC community to complete a survey about their needs, expectations, and experiences.  The confidential results help UBC Library improve existing services and plan for the future.

This year, we’re opening up the survey to the entire UBC community! We want to hear about your experiences, regardless of how often you use the library. The survey takes an estimated 10-15 minutes to complete, and we will be giving away one iPad and a few gift cards as part of a draw for those who complete the survey. 

The survey will be open until Friday, March 15, 2019.

Take the survey!

Winter weather conditions

UBC Library Point Grey campus branches will be closed on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, due to winter weather conditions.

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre building will remain open, however, service points will be closed.

Please refer to for additional updates.

David Lam Library and the Canaccord Learning Commons (CLC) will be closed from Friday, February 22, 2019 at 4 p.m. to Monday, Feb. 25, 2019 at 10 a.m. for upgrades to the front area carpets.

The Library and Learning Commons are expected to reopen at 10 a.m. on Monday, February 25, 2019.

Please refer to the Library Hours and Locations to make alternative plans.

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