UBC Library has now completed its Harry Potter collection of original first editions with the recent acquisition of a U.K. first edition, first printing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The library’s Rare Books and Special Collections department has been building a collection of first edition Harry Potter books since spring 2015 as part of the Arkley Collection of Early Historical Children’s Literature, which is focused on popular works.

“As the most popular children’s literature series in several generations, with global impact equaling Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Harry Potter is an important series in the children’s literature canon,” says Chelsea Shriver, UBC Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian.

Although the first Harry Potter book was published just over 20 years ago, the U.K. first edition, first printing is rare and difficult to obtain. The original print run was only 500 copies, 300 of which went directly into libraries and were never intended for sale. The latest book in the collection was purchased with money from a number of library collections funds including endowments and donations from a 2017 crowdfunding campaign.

“We are proud to join the ranks of institutions such as Princeton, Yale, the British Library, and Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries in bringing this very scarce book to UBC,” says Katherine Kalsbeek Head of Rare Books and Special Collections. “Collecting and preserving the Harry Potter series will ensure that scarce first and special editions of these works can be properly cared for and made accessible for future generations.”

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections offers weekly drop-in tours every Wednesday, for students, faculty, and the general public to come in and see the collections in person.

The Library's exhibit of Harry Potter books at VSO was featured in the Georgia Straight.
The Library's exhibit of Harry Potter books at VSO was featured in the Daily Hive.
The Library's crowdfunding campaign to purchase a rare edition of Harry Potter was recently featured in the Vancouver Sun.
VSO President Kelly Tweeddale speaks about VSO's partnership with UBC Library.
Conductor Justin Freer on the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's performance of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.


This fall, UBC Library celebrates the legacy of the Harry Potter series and Vancouver’s special relationship with “the boy who lived” with a special exhibition at three library branches, featuring first editions of the books, stories and memorabilia from local businesses and people affected by the series. Share your Harry Potter memories with the Library via #harrypotterUBC.

Curated by Rare Books and Special Collections, the Harry Potter and the rain city exhibition is on display from October 6 to December 11, 2015 at three different Library branches:

You can use a special Marauder’s Map to visit each of the exhibition locations.

In addition to the exhibition, the Library is pleased to host two additional events:

Harry Potter, Brands of Magic

Colloquium hosted by David Lam Library

When: October 29 | 12:30-2:00pm
Where: Henry Angus Building, 2053 Main Mall, 9th floor

Five panelists discuss the impact and influence of the Harry Potter series on the city and people of Vancouver.

  • Gisele M. Baxter (UBC English)
  • Jamie Broadhurst (Raincoast Books, SFU Publishing Program)
  • Kevin McNeilly (UBC English)
  • Judith Saltman (UBC iSchool)
  • Phyllis Simon (Vancouver Kidsbooks)

Moderated by Darren Dahl from UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

RSVP by October 26 to hp.colloquium@ubc.ca.

Hallowe’en at Hogwarts West

Party hosted by Rare Books and Special Collections

When: October 30 | 1:00-3:00pm
Where: Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, Rm 302 (Dodson Room)

Dress up as your favourite HP character for the Library’s Hallowe’en party! Join us for a costume contest, games, crafts, and light refreshments.

The party is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

Limited tickets will be available beginning October 15 at Rare Books and Special Collections (Level One, IKBLC). Tickets may be picked up at RBSC Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Please note that the exhibitions and events are in no way affiliated with the Harry Potter copyright owners, including J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Universal Studios, and Scholastic.


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