The conclusion of University Librarian Ingrid Parent’s presidency of IFLA and an update on the LibQUAL survey are highlighted in the Fall 2013 issue of the CPSLD Newsletter

Other news covers the digitization of Canada’s oldest feminist periodical, the acquisition of the oldest book in UBC Library’s collections and more.

The Library’s submission begins on page 29 of the newsletter, which is published on behalf of the Council of Post Secondary Library Directors, British Columbia.

Ingrid ParentIt has been an exciting year at UBC Library, and I am pleased to share a few highlights with you. Much of our work provides us with an opportunity to connect, learn and grow with our users and community partners. Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment.

The Library continues to advance in the digital world, thanks to the digitization of several important collections. In the spring, the Irving K. Barber learning Centre announced a grant for the B.C. Aboriginal Audio Digitization and Preservation Program, an important initiative that assists B.C. Indigenous organizations in converting audio cassette tapes for preservation and access. On the opposite end of the spectrum is one of the oldest items in our collection, a medieval manuscript book recently acquired by the Library that provides research and learning opportunities for students and scholars.

Changing campus needs regarding teaching and learning guide the direction of UBC Library, and it was with great excitement that we partnered with the Faculty of Education to launch UBC’s first LOOC. Other changing user needs informed decisions to consolidate services into one-stop service points, as well as renovate key spaces in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. 

Recognizing the achievements of researchers, scholars and community members brings us great satisfaction, and so I was pleased this year to present the inaugural winner of the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on B.C. The Library also awarded the fourth annual UBC Library Innovative Dissemination of Research Award, and four students received GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Awards.  

It was a busy year for the Library’s community involvement, both at the local and international level. I was honoured to have served as the first Canadian president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). My presidency, which concluded this year, provided me with an opportunity to showcase UBC and Canadian accomplishments to the world, and to bring international learnings back to the campus. We were happy to host the 2013 Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance Annual Meeting at UBC Library, and welcome several international visitors throughout the year, including City University (London), Copenhagen Business School and Shanghai Municipal Archives. 

I was appreciative of the opportunity to host a book and film launch in celebration of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, and to recognize one of our most generous supporters. This exceptional collection is one example of the extraordinary resources available to Library users and community partners.

Finally, UBC Library once again partnered with the UBC Alma Mater Society to deliver the 11th annual Food For Fines Campaign. The program raises funds for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and UBC’s AMS Food Bank to support disadvantaged members of the community. I am grateful for the continued generosity of Library users in supporting this important program. 

Best wishes to you throughout the holiday season, and a very Happy New Year.


Ingrid Parent

University Librarian

University of British Columbia


A page from Compendium Theologicae Veritatis


Call it a textbook for the ages.

Aided by the expertise of a UBC instructor who specializes in early European medieval history, UBC Library recently acquired a manuscript whose scholarly impact stretches across the centuries.

The main piece in the gorgeous bound text – which originates in France and was copied sometime in the 14th century, possibly during the time of the Black Death pandemic – is called the Compendium Theologicae Veritatis (or Compendium of Theological Truth). This work, an introduction of sorts to theology and the oldest book in UBC Library’s collections, was a highly popular tome for university students more than 700 years ago.

In 2013, it’s set to be a vital classroom text once again – this time for UBC history students enrolled in Richard Pollard’s undergraduate classes spanning the early, central and late Middle Ages. That’s because Pollard, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in UBC’s Department of History, plans to use the text as a valuable teaching tool in those courses. “There’s all kinds of things that students can learn just by looking at this book,” says Pollard, who advised the Library on the purchase of the medieval manuscript. “It brings students into the period in a way that lecturing in a classroom doesn’t. It allows an entry to somebody’s mind from the past.”

Indeed, the text is cross-disciplinary in its appeal, touching on aspects of history, art history, English, the classics and religious studies. Pollard notes that the manuscript is also useful for graduate students learning paleography – or the study of script (the Library’s copy is written in script known as Gothic or textualis, which originated in the 12th century).

UBC Library acquired the manuscript earlier this year from an antiquarian bookseller in London, England; it’s housed at Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), located on level one of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. While it’s the first of its kind in the Library’s collection, it’s likely not the last. “In the coming years, we hope to build a teaching collection of medieval manuscripts,” aided by the input of faculty members from UBC’s English and History departments, says Katherine Kalsbeek, RBSC Literature Librarian.

The bound publication, which is colour-coded for ease of use, also contains a secondary work – likely an extract from Thomas Aquinas, the philosopher and theologian. It’s about 400 pages in length, and its pages are made from parchment, a highly durable material. “This book has survived for 700 years, and it will survive for another 700 years quite happily,” notes Pollard.

Stay tuned for news of a special exhibition featuring the medieval manuscript, set to take place in January 2014.



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