@UBC Library Twitter

At a library research conference last November, presenter Willie Miller discussed his study that focused on the use of Twitter by members of the Associated Research Libraries (ARL). Miller examined the most successful accounts in terms of engagement, and ranked @UBCLibrary – managed by the Library’s Communications and Marketing team – as one of the top three influential accounts in North America. UBC Library was the only Canadian institution in the study’s top 10 list.

View the presentation at “ARL Klout study: significance of Twitter in academic libraries” and learn more by visiting the conference website (2012 IUPUI University Library and School of Information and Library Science Joint Research Conference – Indiana University). 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).


Student reading

A student enjoys the Great Reads collection at Koerner Library.

Calling all reading fans: popular fiction has a new home at UBC Library. The Great Reads collection was launched in 2011 by Shannon Simpson, a co-op student who conducted research with colleague Bailey Diers on student reading habits when she was asked to develop a collection of popular titles for Koerner Library. The research showed that UBC residents were craving popular fiction, including bestsellers, pop culture novels and Canadian fiction.

The results flew in the face of popular perceptions regarding young people’s reading habits. For instance, nearly 50 per cent of undergraduates dedicated three hours per week to leisure reading. Further, 97 per cent of respondents preferred reading print books; only 39 per cent expressed an interest in e-readers.

“Looking back, the research was essential to getting Great Reads off the ground and provided the evidence that such a collection had the potential for success,” says Simpson, now the Manager of Content at the Palmerston North City Library and Community Services in New Zealand. “I’m using the experience from working on the Great Reads collection and evidence-based librarianship to find other ways to continue to enrich people’s lives.”

The success of the Great Reads pilot at Koerner led to the project’s expansion – UBC Library users can now browse Great Reads titles at Woodward Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Patrons can expect to see subject-themed reads from each branch (such as science and medicine-related titles from Woodward Library), and the possibility of the Great Reads collection expanding to other library branches.

Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez, Associate University Librarian for Collections, is interested in exploring tailored programming over the coming year, including selections based on campus initiatives, holiday/seasonal themes and notable months (such as Asian Heritage Month, which takes place in May). 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

For the past nine years, UBC Library and UBC’s Alma Mater Student Society (AMS) have run the Food for Fines campaign, an initiative to support the AMS Food Bank and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Library users who wish to reduce their fines can donate non-perishable food items – $2 in fines are covered for each item donated, up to a maximum of $30.

Increasing numbers of donations highlight the generosity of the UBC campus; last year’s donations totalled more than 3,100 items collected at branches, and more than $6,300 in fines were waived.

Donations are split evenly between the two food banks once the campaign is completed, usually in early November. “Donations received from the Library provide a substantial part of our food bank inventory,” says Emilia Moulechkova, Coordinator for the AMS Food Bank this past year. “This enables us to keep up with the growing demand for our service and ensures that campus communities have access to food as a right, not a privilege.” 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

infographic depicting cans of food


Image of game

Gold Mountain Quest, an educational video game, is part of the Chinese Canadian Stories project.

The successful completion of an ambitious multimedia project involving UBC Library is allowing users to discover the invaluable contributions of Chinese Canadians. 

Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past is a collaborative initiative focusing on the legacies of Chinese Canadians. The project – led by Henry Yu, UBC History Professor and Principal of St. John’s College – received a $900,000 grant from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) in 2010. The project has also been supported by in-kind contributions from UBC Library and Simon Fraser University (SFU) Library.

Chinese Canadian Stories (CCS) unveiled interactive kiosks at Vancouver Public Library and UBC’s Museum of Anthropology in October 2012, and at the Ottawa Public Library in December 2012. The kiosks offer compelling stories of Chinese Canadian communities in three languages (English, Chinese, French); the project was organized through the UBC Community Learning Initiative and included work by UBC students from architecture, mechanical engineering, integrated engineering, sociology and the arts.

“The stories celebrate the history of Chinese Canadians without glossing over the discrimination and racism they struggled to overcome in Canada,” says Yu.

Meanwhile, a complementary website contains a searchable Chinese Head Tax Register of 97,000 digitized records, an educational videogame entitled Gold Mountain Quest and videos of oral histories that were conducted during the CCS project.

Chinese Canadian Stories staff held more than 10 workshops and community outreach events in the Lower Mainland during the past year. Several workshops on oral history research, filming and digitization catered to high school students, independent researchers, community elders and members of the public interested in preserving family histories. The CCS project also showcases the work of 29 community groups from across Canada that received CHRP funding to tell their stories.

One of those groups is the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, which scanned hundreds of images for CCS of veterans who fought for Canada, despite having no Canadian citizenship. Individual stories of veterans were also presented on the kiosks. “At the museum, we want to stress the importance of the Chinese Canadian veterans playing an important and integral role in the development and building of Canada as a nation,” says Larry Wong, Curator at the Chinese Canadian Military Museum. 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

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