The Library has launched an on-campus pick-up service to enable UBC students, faculty and staff to access items in the collection that are not available in electronic formats.

UBC Library users can now use Library Access, a browser extension that provides seamless access to UBC Library subscriptions from anywhere on the web.

The extension, which requires a ‘once only’ installation, automatically detects when users are on a website that contains content the library subscribes to and allows access without having to visit the library website first.

If the content is not accessible, the extension will automatically check for open-access versions.

For Barbara Sobol, Undergraduate Services Librarian at UBCO, the browser extension is making research easier and more intuitive for her students. “For many students, Google is often the most logical place to start,” she says, “This tool prevents them from having to fragment their research between what is accessible through the library and what is available through other sources like government websites etc. It allows them to explore the full scope of sources more easily.”

Library Access is available for most frequently used browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Microsoft Edge. 

Download the Library Access Browser extension.

Visit the Library guide for FAQs and tips for troubleshooting.

This project is part of UBC Library’s strategic direction to create and deliver responsive collections.

Learn more about our Strategic Framework.


As the UBC community transitions online courses and a period of remote work due to the COVID-19 situation, UBC librarians and library staff have been working to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are getting the support they need to continue their research, teaching and learning while physical locations are closed.

Increase in demand for support from subject librarians

UBC subject librarians, who are available via email and for online consultations, have seen an increase in demand for support. For Bianca Chui, a UBC History honours student in her third year, Japanese Studies Librarian, Tomoko Kitayama Yen was particularly helpful in helping to find resources for research, “Librarians are like wizards in finding information – I was struggling to do research on a project and Tomoko was so helpful in helping me to comb one of the databases. Librarians have also helped answer my questions about returning books during this time and about resources available for streaming through the AskAway chat app and I am very grateful to them for their help.”

Librarians supporting students, faculty and staff in the Medical and Allied Health Sciences are seeing an increase in demand for their expertise as researchers move away from lab or practice-based research to systematic and literature reviews. Librarians are also working to provide asynchronous and synchronous lectures to support research courses which have been moved ahead in the academic year.

Providing timely support to make course materials available online

As courses transition online, the library is providing support in making course materials available through the Library Online Course Reserves system, which is integrated with Canvas, ensuring appropriate copyright considerations and licensing permissions.

Dr. Kim Snowden, Instructor at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice utilized library support while transitioning her classes online. “I had to scramble to find readings that would normally be found in a course pack and to find online media to stream. The library has been so fast in helping me get those materials online and providing guidance about what I can do in terms of copyright, which can be a minefield.” Dr. Snowden is also exploring alternative Open Access options for course materials, “Erin Fields (Liaison Librarian and Flexible Learning Coordinator) has helped me to think a little differently about accessibility and pivoting into blended learning in my classes.  The support has been enormously helpful and I don’t think I could function without the upkeep that is happening behind the scenes at the library to ensure everything runs smoothly.”

Transitioning to online programming

Both the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication and the Research Commons are now offering online programming, from one-on-one consultations to workshops and webinars. “We are seeing a huge surge in attendance in our online workshops,” says Eugene Barsky, Head, Research Commons. “We have gone from an average of about 10 attendees per workshop to about 60.” UBC students and researchers can take advantage of workshops on developing foundational digital and computer literacy skills to mastering Data Analysis and management software tools.

The Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication continues to offer online one-on-one writing consultations and workshops and has launched two new online writing communities to help mitigate social isolation and help the UBC community stay motivated and connected. Every week, students, researchers and faculty gather for a few hours to write alone—together.

Increase in demand for web archiving and deposits into cIRcle

As information on the COVID-19 situation floods our online environment, librarians in Digital Initiatives are working with researchers to identify sources of web content that are important to retain for research purposes. This includes health, news, and policy information for communities throughout British Columbia as well as information specific to the UBC community.

There has also been a significant increase in requests to deposit material into cIRcle, UBC’s digital repository for research and teaching materials. For, Dr. Benjamin Cheung a Lecturer at UBC’s Department of Psychology and faculty supervisor to the Psychology Student Association’s Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, cIRcle has allowed him to help students showcase their research during this unprecedented time. “PURC is a major annual event and features the work of almost 100 students,” he explains, “We’re immensely proud of all the work they have done and wanted to find a way to showcase it. Many of them are applying for grad school and so cancelling the physical conference meant that some presenters were concerned about its implications for listing the event on their CV.” 

Cheung reached out to his subject librarian Sheryl Adams and connected with Tara Stephen-Kyte, Digital Repository Librarian who facilitated the depositing into cIRcle. “Making the research available through cIRcle means that it has a DOI (Digital object identifier) and this allows students to include it on a CV so that adjudicators are able to access and evaluate it,” says Chung who plans to incorporate this as part of PURC moving forward, “Without Sheryl and Tara’s guidance, there is no way I or the PSA would have figured this out on our own.”

Working to supplement the library’s robust electronic collections

While physical branches are temporarily closed, making the print collection inaccessible, the library is working to source electronic versions of print materials for teaching and research to supplement its already robust e-collections. “We have been moving towards an e-preferred model for ebooks since 2015 and have been at the forefront in finding workable solutions with publishers,” says Ellen George, Humanities and Social Sciences/Collections (Monographs) and Acquisitions Librarian. “We purchase large e-book packages from some publishers and with others use an Evidence-Based Acquisitions (EBA) demand or patron driven acquisition model which provides access to a deep collection of content and allows us to purchase e-books based on usage data.” The EBA model also enables libraries more control over and knowledge of anticipated costs. “This approach helps us better forecast and plan our budgets,” says Kat McGrath, Renewals & Collections Librarian, “It has also helped us maintain a balance between acquiring e-journals and monographs so that our collections are balanced and cross-disciplinary.”

“The Library has already been investing for some time in many of the tools, resources and services that are helping support the transition to online teaching and learning,” says Dr. Susan E. Parker, University Librarian, “The past weeks have demonstrated how university libraries are prepared to flex in order to support student, faculty and staff in their work during this challenging time.”

Get the latest updates about UBC Library services and spaces.

We are a globally influential research library, leading and partnering with the University and communities in the creation, stewardship, exploration and discovery of knowledge.

To learn more about our Strategic Framework, click here.

With the closure of UBC Library due to the quickly evolving situation with COVID-19, we apologize that this wonderful exhibition will not be open to the public in the coming weeks. Please enjoy these photos of the exhibition, which were taken by the talented student curators. A complete catalogue of the exhibition can be downloaded here.

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: The Wild Ride: In and Out of Years and Over a Century of Picturebooks.

Many thanks to guest bloggers Logaine Navasques, Maureen Duteau, Jacqueline Noel, and Jordyn Zirk for contributing the below post! Logaine and Maureen, graduate students in the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program, and Jacqueline and Jordyn, graduate students at the UBC School of Information, curated this magical new exhibition under the supervision of Dr. Kathryn Shoemaker, Adjunct Professor with the UBC School of Information.

The Wild Ride: In and Out of Years and Over a Century of Picturebooks is a chronological look at the evolution of the picturebook, one of the important literary art forms to emerge from the 20th Century. The exhibit features ground breaking, innovative books such as Millions of Cats, Madeline, Where the Wild Things Are,  The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I Want My Hat Back and other brilliant picturebooks responsible for forging a literary art form that reflects the culture of its time and is becoming a vital form in promoting visual and print literacy for all ages.  

The literary picturebook is a new literary art form that emerges in the 20th century, evolving from the  illustrated children’s book. It evolves concurrently with two other relatively new visual sequential narrative forms, comic/graphic novels and animated films. The three forms influence each other as they develop principally because so many of the creators worked in all three forms. This exhibit highlights key books in this evolution revealing how each changed the nature and content of the picturebook form.

The Wild Ride: In and Out of Years and Over a Century of Picturebooks is on display from March 4 through May 30, 2020. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend. A complete catalogue of the exhibition can be downloaded here. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or



Due to the quickly evolving situation with COVID-19, the Rare Books and Special Collections and University Archives reading room will be closed until further notice.

During this time librarians, archivists, and staff will be working remotely to continue to support patrons to the extent possible. Please see our Rare Books and Special Collections Remote Resources and Services Guide for more information and assistance.

Feel free to contact us through the RBSC contact form or by sending an email to or to a specific librarian or archivist. Inquiries for University Archives can be sent through their contact form or direct email.

During our reading room closure, be sure to explore digitized materials from RBSC’s collections available through UBC Library’s Open Collections. RBSC’s LibGuides provide helpful links to digitized materials by subject matter or collection where available. There are also a number of digitized primary source materials available through UBC Library’s subscription databases.

Please check the UBC Library homepage and the Rare Books and Special Collections homepage for future updates about reading room operations.

Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience. Thank you for your understanding during these uncertain times and be well.

In honour of the 60th anniversary of the Library’s acquisition of the Puban Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections will be hosting bi-weekly tours highlighting items from the Puban Collection throughout the summer.

Tour Dates:
July 9, 2019 (1:30-2:30 pm)
July 23, 2019 (1:30-2:30 pm)
August 6, 2019 (1:30-2:30 pm)
August 20, 2019 (1:30-2:30 pm)

Join this tour for an introduction to the Puban Collection, hosted by UBC Library’s Chinese Rare Books Cataloguer, Ya Min Wu.

The event is free and open to the general public, as well as the UBC community. No need to RSVP, just drop in. Rare Books and Special Collections is located on the 1st floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC Vancouver campus. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-0645 or

UBC is excited to host this year’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences from June 1-7, 2019. During Congress 2019, Rare Books and Special Collections will have special weekend open hours on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Materials will not circulate, but visitors will be able to enjoy the permanent exhibition of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, as well as the temporary special exhibition “A Queer Century, 1869-1969.” We look forward to welcoming you during Congress 2019!


Shakespeare’s first folio. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition:And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the Four Humors.

Blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm. These four humors were once thought to shape a person’s mental and physical health, behavior and even personality. Initially borrowed from Ancient Greek thinkers like Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen, the theory of the four humors was so ingrained into the common wisdom of Shakespeare’s time that references to melancholic displays and choleric outbursts fill his most popular plays. The interplay between medical theory and theatrical language forms the basis of a fascinating exhibition, created by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, now at UBC Library.

The traveling exhibition, “And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the Four Humors, has been supplemented with additional materials from UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, exploring topics including Shakespearean theatre in British Columbia and Shakespeare in children’s literature. More information about the National Library of Medicine display and the materials at RBSC is available through the UBC Library website.

Many thanks to co-curators of the UBC Library collections materials Patricia Badir, Professor of English, Anthony Dawson, Professor Emeritus of English, and Department of English students Karol Pasciano (MA), Aiden Tait (BA Hons.), and Ana Maria Fernandez Grandizo (BA Hons.). Thank you also to John Christopoulos, Assistant Professor of History, for lending his subject matter expertise. UBC Library co-curators for the exhibition included Charlotte Beck, Chelsea Shriver, and Helen Brown.

The panels on loan from the National Library of Medicine will be on display at Woodward Library through July 14 and the books on display at Rare Books and Special Collections will be available through August 3, 2018. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For Woodward Library’s hours, check their website. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or

Due to an upgrade to the Library’s Catalogue, patrons will not be able to request materials from ASRS starting Sunday May 13, 2018 at 6 p.m. Full service is expected to resume May 19, 2018.

A recent UBC Library service bulletin has more information about the scheduled outages and their impact on the UBC Library system more broadly.

While RBSC will not be able to retrieve materials from the ASRS (any item with the location listed as RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS ASRS storage in the catalogue record), we will still be able to retrieve materials stored in the RBSC vault (any item with the location listed as RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS in the catalogue record). Materials stored in the ASRS generally include textual archival materials and contemporary books.

If you have questions about whether an item might be available, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or



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