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UBC Publications

President's Report on the Library 1987

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President's Report
on the Library N
and p resent chief lib ra rians
meet with the president in
the Woodward memorial
room. Nov. 1986.
"Masters of Science,"
The dramatic tapestry
hanging behind the
librarians, depicts famous
scientists throughout the
ages. It was worked in
1948 in a special workshop
in France under the
direction of a former
administrator of the
Gobelins Tapestry Works,
and purchased by UBC
in 1967.
l.-R back row: Neil Harlow. 1951-61;
Walla Kay? Lamb, 1940-49: Douglas
Mi lanes. 1981-presenl: Davit/ II'.
Strangway, tenth president <>/'( 'BC;
Sameuel Rothstein. acting librarian
1961-62. Front row sitting: Basil
Stuart-Stubbs, 1964-81; Anne Smith, acting
librarian 1949 and 1951. THE    UNIVERSITY    OF    BRITISH    COLUMBIA
"Today, the Library faces three
major challenges - challenges that
we must overcome in the very near
future if we are to maintain tke
strength and health of this vital
resource, the heart of our
Dr. David W. Strangway
I diversity of British Columbia Table of Contents
A vision and a dream: the builders  6
The war years and post-war expansion  8
Fresh approaches	
Friends of the library  . .   12
The Information explosion  . .   14
Private collectors  ..   14
A firm mandate for the seventies  . .   16
Recession, inflation and retrenchment  ..   19
The tradition of giving continues  . .   21
Branches and collections      25
Main Library      25
Asian Studies Library      28
Woodward Biomedical Library     29
Data Library      30
Crane Library      31
Curriculum Laboratory      31
Law Library      32
MacMillan Library      32
Music Library      33
Sedgewick Library      34
David Lam Library      34
Marjorie Smith Library      35
Mathematics [Library      35
Space  39
Collections  40
New technologies  42
POSTSCRIPT 44 Introduction
Dr. David W. Strangway, tenth president of UBC.
For my first report as President of The University of British Columbia, I have chosen to focus on
one issue critical to the health and strength of the
University — its library.
This remarkable library is the second largest
research library in Canada. Among its superb
collections are areas of national and international
significance, which provide a unique and vital
resource for the people of British Columbia, from
university researchers and senior professionals to
private industry and consultants.
It is one of the major, critical links in a
national research library system that, particularly
in the social sciences and humanities, is housed almost exclusively within Canada's
There is very good reason for this.
Canada, with a small population dispersed across an enormous land and separated by massive physical barriers and great climatic differences, has developed as a
series of major centres, surrounded by vast rural areas.
Universities in the major centres have become the focus of intellectual development. Their libraries form the heart of Canada's national collection, just as each
individual library is the heart of its institution.
Today, it is hard for us to imagine how our lives would be without the wealth of
written materials available to us. The new ideas and technologies that characterize
today's information age have been accompanied by a corresponding growth in the
numbers of books and journals published. Without access to these resources we would
not be able to grow and develop, creating new fields of research and expanding into
fresh markets.
The first president of UBC, Dr. Frank Fairchild Wesbrook, recognized from the
beginning that a fine library was one of the key elements for a great university, and
made the acquisition of the initial library collection his first priority.
He also believed that the University -— and its library — belonged to the people
of British Columbia, and should be maintained to meet 'all the needs of all the people'
Successive UBC presidents have followed Dr. Wesbrook's vision, and I am proud, as
tenth president of UBC, to assume responsibility for an institution with such a strong
and noble tradition. The UBC Library is the focal point of the University, essential to the work of every
faculty on campus at all levels of teaching and research.
Started only in 1914, the year before the University opened its doors, its strength
and resources today are world class. In its fledgling years, the Library survived two
world wars and a major financial depression. In more recent years, it was blessed with
some outstanding patrons, without whose help the Library — and indeed the University as a whole — might still be a small provincial facility. Today the Library faces fresh
challenges as it grapples with the complexities of the information age.
These challenges it shares with major research libraries around the world. Thanks
to the computer, libraries can have access to information contained in databases situated at any point on the globe. They must, therefore, make use of these technologies in
order that their users can gain access to the most current data as effectively as possible.
Through the UBC Library, researchers can find almost anything, anywhere in the
libraries of the world.
Libraries must also decide where to concentrate their resources in order to buy
the journals, books and other materials that their community will need for education,
research and intellectual growth. The UBC Library has made the maintenance of its
collections its major priority, even during the recent years of recession, inflation,
currency devaluation, retrenchment and funding cutbacks.
Great libraries, such as the one at UBC, do not grow overnight. They require the
dedicated efforts, foresight and imagination of successive presidents, librarians, governments and private individuals, without whose collective efforts a library — and the
university it supports — will falter and weaken.
Today, the Library faces three major challenges — challenges that we must
overcome in the very near future if we are to maintain the strength and health of our
vital heart. We urgently need to find more space to accommodate our ever increasing
collections and renovate some of the space we have already; we need to expand our
budget for collections, bringing it into line with the University's needs; and we need to
continue our commitment to technological advancement and innovation in the library
These are serious and pressing concerns, and they must be met if the Library is
to continue to play its role in the economic, cultural and social development of this
province and the nation as a whole.
In order to provide you with a clear understanding of the importance of the task
ahead of us, I have divided my report into three sections: the first outlines the rich history of the Library; the second takes a look at the Library as it is today; and the third
details the challenges we have to face if we are to reinforce the strengths of this critical
provincial resource for future generations of British Columbians. THE    UNIVERSITY    OF    BRITISH    COLUMBIA
The Making of a Library The Making of a Library
A Vision And A Dream
President Frank Fairchild Wesbrook (third
from left) reviews plans for the future campus
with the University's architects, Nov. 1913.
"The people's university must meet all the needs of
all the people. We must therefore proceed with care to
the erection of those Workshops where we may design
and fashion the tools needed in the building of a nation
and from which we can survey and lay out paths of
enlightenment, tunnel the mountains of ignorance
and bridge the chasms of incompetence."
Dr. Frank Fairchild Wesbrook,
First president of The University of British Columbia, 1914-1919
One of Wesbrook's first actions was to hire a first rate
librarian, James Taylor Gerould, to select and purchase
the basic collection of books for the Library. Gerould,
then librarian at the University of Minnesota (where
Wesbrook had been dean of medicine), and later
librarian for Princeton, was sent to Europe in the
summer of 1914.
John Ridington received no formal training as
a librarian, but he had the energy and vision
to build a first-rate a llectionfor the fledgling
University during difficult and financially
precarious years.
He bought extensively in England and France, acquiring
fundamental works in sciences, philosophy, history and
literature. He then went to Germany, but was arrested as
a British spy the moment he arrived in Leipzig. He was
thrown into prison and his money confiscated. After
weeks of delay and frustration, Gerould was finally
released and made his way back to North America, but
without any of the German books the library needed.
Nevertheless, his discerning choice gave the University
an unusually good start for its collection.
The books were rapidly made available for the use of
students by the acting librarian and cataloguer, John
Ridington. Ridington decided to classify the books
according to a new classification scheme devised by the
U.S. Library of Congress — a far-sighted decision which
contributed enormously to the strength of the Library,
and its ability to grow into a significant research
In 1915, Ridington became UBC's first librarian, a
position he held for 25 years. Through all these years
Ridington, with the help of a small but dedicated staff,
continued to build upon its strength, encouraged and
supported by President Wesbrook and later by President
Klinck. Despite financial difficulties, the Library grew rapidly,
and the problem of space became increasingly pressing.
The situation was not relieved until the University
moved to its permanent location at Point Grey in 1925.
The grandiose neo-gothic Library was one of the few
monuments of the new campus. Built for a total cost of
about $525,000, it was planned to allow for future expansion in three directions, and its stacks were the most
modern available. The Library provided reading and
study space for about 350 students, and shelf space for
135,000 volumes.
Under Ridington's energetic and vigilant eye, the
Library expanded year by year. Ridington showed a special skill in attracting donations of rare and expensive
items from private individuals, including a collection of
rare books donated by Dr. Ralph Stedman of University
College, Swansea, part of the Gerrans Library from
Oxford, England, the De Pencier Library of mining and
geology, and several smaller collections.
The affluence of the twenties came to an end abruptly
with the stock market crash of 1929. During the next
three years, the provincial budget for UBC was slashed
by well over half, and the survival of the University itself
was in question.
The Library had come to the worst crisis in its history.
Ridington's battle for survival is underscored in a letter
he wrote to Donald Cameron, University of Alberta, in
1932: "... We have been working for years to build up a
collection and service of books that, so far as I know, is
among the best of any university library in Canada . . .
and now the prospect is starvation, retrogression. I am
weary at heart and sick of soul."
Help was close at hand. In answer to UBC's plea, the
Carnegie Corporation gave a grant of $5,000 a year for
three years to purchase books for undergraduate
teaching. Through all these hard times, Ridington's
devoted and energetic staff continued to collect for a
future library whose strengths they could only imagine,
resolutely increasing the reference library, and collecting
serials concerned with subjects which the University did
not yet teach.
The grandiose neo-gothic library, built in
1925, was one of the monuments of the new
campus. The Making of a Library
During the 20s and 30s, the Library's reading
room was the centre for undergraduate activity
and learning.
In 1936, Ridington obtained a depository set of 1,500,000
Library of Congress catalogue cards, one of only 18 such
sets in the world at the time. The cards vastly simplified
the cataloguing procedure, and were valuable as a
bibliographical aid in research.
By this time, the Library had 100,000 volumes, 15,000
pamphlets, and subscriptions to 600 general, scientific
and technical periodicals. What it had, it shared, lending
books to every part of the province — a policy it continues today. The extension library developed during this
period, fulfilling many obligations of the 'People's
University' Dr. Wesbrook had envisioned.
By the start of the Second World War, the UBC Library
was an important and widely used resource for a great
many people. Its collection was small, but unusually well
balanced — an achievement gained against all odds.
The War Years and Post-War
In 1940, John Ridington retired. He was replaced by
UBC alumnus Dr. Walter Kaye Lamb, an outstanding
librarian, archivist and historian, and a man of great
vision and energy. It was during his time that the first
great expansion of the University took place.
Within two and a half years, at the end of the war, the
student body increased from about 2,300 to over 9,300,
creating the need for the first addition to the original
building — the north wing. Completion of this wing
came just in time, as Eric Nicol, then an editor of The
Ubyssey, noted in a Nov. '45 column: "Dr. Kaye Lamb
has been reluctantly obliged to admit that merely fitting
the librarians with jet propulsion has failed to meet the
demand . . . Obtaining a seat in the great hall has taken
on the primitive charm of musical chairs, with predators
circling tables watching for the slightest sign of somebody rising to leave."
At the formal opening of the new wing in 1948, with
the needs of the future always in his mind, Kaye Lamb
remarked that not even a good angel can fly to heaven
on one wing. However, it wasn't until 1960 that one of UBC's great library benefactors, Dr. Walter Koerner,
provided the funding that helped to build the south wing,
turning Kaye Lamb's wish into a reality.
In 1945, the Library became a member of the Pacific
Northwest Bibliographic Centre, and was able to greatly
expand its research capability through inter-library loan
services, borrowing from the strong collections of the
Universities of Washington and Oregon. Private donations of money increased steadily, including an annual
contribution from the Summer Session Students' Association, and $4,000 each in 1944 from the Goodyear Tire
Company and the Ford Motor Company of Canada.
Numerous gifts-in-kind continued to reach the Library.
Notable among these were: a bequest from the estate of
the late Lionel Haweis, one of the original, dedicated
group of library staff; a donation from retiring President
Klinck; the contents of the library of the late UBC
Chancellor R.E. McKechnie; and the A.M. Pound collection of Canadiana.
In 1949, the University honoured its landscape
architect of 29years, Mr. Frank Buck,
dedicating the fountain in front of the Library
to him. L-R: President Norman A.M.
MacKenzie, Mrs. Buck, Mr. Frank Buck,
Chancellor Eric Hamber.
One of the key acquisitions at this time resulted from
special, identical agreements worked out by Kaye Lamb
with two keen historians of British Columbia, Judge F.W.
Howay and Dr. Robie L. Reid. Both had been associated
with the University for many years, and were personal
friends of Kaye Lamb.
The Reid Library contained extensive material on B.C.,
and also a great deal of general Canadian history, fiction,
poetry and essays, with special emphasis upon Western
Canadian writers. The bulk of Judge Howay's library
related to Western Canada and the Northwest coast of
the U.S. and Canada. He also had copies of almost
everything in print on the Maritime fur trade. Under the
agreements worked out by Kaye Lamb, Howay and Reid
bequeathed their libraries to the University, on condition
that the two collections be shelved together in a special
room, with access restricted to research scholars. Today,
the Howay-Reid collection of Canadiana, as the co-
bequest is known, has become one of the principal
centres of research on the history and development of
the Pacific Northwest area. On Jan. 7,1958, Dr. Walter Koerner
presented the University with a cheque for
$375,000 towards the construction of the south
wing of the Main Library. The occasion gave
Dr. Koerner (far right) the chance to look at
some of the works from the Murray collection
with librarian Neil Harlow (far left), and
President Norman A.M. MacKenzie.
The Making of a Library
Under great pressure to add both qualitatively and
quantitatively to its holdings, the Library added 40,000
volumes in the next four years, bringing the total number
of volumes to 320,000 by 1951.
Key among the materials added at this time were the
H.R. MacMillan Forestry Collection, from forestry
magnate H.R. MacMillan; a collection of old maps, also
from Dr. MacMillan; a fine collection of books on the
Arctic, assembled by Mr. A.JT. Taylor, and microfilm
files of the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Daily Province.
In 1948, the Koerner Memorial Trust was set up, the
proceeds to go to library development, and in 1950
brothers Leon and Walter Koerner made a substantial
additional grant to the Library.
By 1951, when Neal Harlow came from UCLA to become
librarian, the UBC Library was already one of the
leading teaching and research collections in Canada. But
in 1955 Harlow noted that "however successful the University may be in providing financial support for its current library needs, substantial funds from other sources
will be increasingly required ... At forty, the UBC
Library is strong, a bit scrawny, showing some signs of
early undernourishment, but is fully determined to do
the work cut out for it."
Harlow saw a clear need for a better library, and knew
that this meant more financial support. He applied his
considerable talents and energy to the task, and by the
time he left the University ten years later, the Library
had doubled in every respect, containing a collection of
half a million volumes. Three times as many books were
being loaned, and the book funds had undergone an
incredible ten-fold increase.
His most conspicuous achievement was the addition
of the new south wing, funded by Dr. Walter Koerner,
as mentioned above. Koerner gave the University
$375,000, the funds were matched by the province and
doubled by the Canada Council, and the wing was
officially opened in 1960.
10 By this time, the Library had strong collections in medicine, law, Slavonic studies, forestry, Asian studies and
French Canadian studies, and excellent collections of
reference works, bibliographies and government publications. The greatest deficiencies were in major subject
areas such as Germanic literature, geology, anthropology, sociology, social work, and education.
Fresh Approaches
In 1962, James Ranz became UBC librarian. His arrival
coincided with the appointment of John B. Macdonald
as University president, and with the publication of
Edwin E. Williams' historic report on the resources of
Canadian university libraries in the humanities and
social sciences. It was a time of fresh approaches, and
much that followed can be attributed to the reflections
of these three men on library problems.
Within a few months, a new course had been set for the
University and the Library. The rapid development of
the graduate program, as outlined by the president,
called for increased library strength, and an additional
$250,000 of the University budget was allocated to the
purchase of books and periodicals.
Ranz saw clearly that, in an expanding university,
a single focus for library services would no longer be
adequate. Centralized services were to be supplemented
by a decentralized system of branch libraries serving
related disciplines. Ranz also recognized the need for the
Main Library to be reorganized, in order to provide a
more rational structure, with more shelf space. This project was completed in 1965.
Ranz was very good at securing cooperation and assistance from both faculty and staff, and he used this ability
to reorganize completely the Library's operations. When
he left UBC in 1964, his successor, Basil Stuart-Stubbs,
inherited a sound framework for future library operations, reinforced by the Library's exceptional staff.
Rapid expansion in post-secondary education
during the 60s was one of the factors
responsible for a dramatic increase in the use
of UBC's library.
11 The Making of a Library
Miss Ng Tung-king came to UBC from
Hong Kong when the University acquired the
P'u-pan collection, and has helped to guide the
growth of the internationally acclaimed Asian
studies library ever since. Here she holds one
of the treasures of the P'u-pan collection - the
Shuo-wen sheng-t'ung by famous Kwangtung
scholar Ch'en Li. This volume, a phonetic
system of the Shuo-wen, was published for the
first time in 1971 when Ch'en Chih-mai,
Ch'en Li's grandson, discovered in the
P'u-pan catalogue thepresumed-lost
Librarian James Ranz (left) with Dr. P.A.
Woodward, one of the Library's great
benefactors. He funded the Woodward
biomedical library building and much of the
Woodward library's historical collection.
friends off the Library
In 1955-56, Neal Harlow, together with President
Norman MacKenzie, had organized a group known as
the 'Friends of the Library' under the chairmanship of
Dr. Wallace Wilson. These 'Friends' were men and
women with a particular interest in the Library, and all
were willing to help provide additional funds and to locate and acquire important collections. During the next
12 years, its members were instrumental in confirming
the Library's place as a first rate research collection of
national significance.
In addition to providing funds for the new south wing,
Walter Koerner, one of the 'Friends', helped the University to acquire two magnificent collections — the P'u-Pan
collection and the Murray collection. The P'u-Pan collection of Chinese materials is an extremely important
collection of early Chinese printing, bindings and lavish
volumes, representing the treasures of the Imperial
Palace in Beijing, and had been brought out of China via
Macao and Hong Kong. Its acquisition brought UBC international distinction, and made the Library one of the
two outstanding ones in the field of Chinese studies in
Canada. The Murray collection had been assembled by
a bookseller in Montreal, and was one of the largest private collections of books relating to the history of Eastern
Canada up to the end of the 19th century. Its purchase
was a great coup.
Another great benefactor from the 'Friends' was Dr. P.A.
Woodward. A man with a great respect for ideas, and
how they came into the world, Woodward wanted UBC
to be able to have a superlative collection of biomedical
literature, including first editions of medical or scientific
books that had changed history. His generosity funded
the acquisition of many priceless volumes, culminating
in a generous donation from the P.A. Woodward Foundation which provided a separate building to house UBC's
biomedical collection — the Woodward Biomedical
UBC's third major donor of the 60s was Dr. H.R.
MacMillan, a long-time benefactor of the University,
who understood the contribution of university education to the long-term growth of the province. He made an
outstanding donation in 1965 that transformed the
character of the Library, giving $3,000,000 for library
acquisitions, to be spent over a period of three years.
This donation is regarded as the most significant library
gift ever made to a Canadian university, because of the
effect it had upon the Library.
As then librarian Basil Stuart-Stubbs recalls, spending it
was both an exhilarating and a terrifying prospect for the
Library. "We were suddenly the richest library in North
America. We tried to persuade Dr. MacMillan that the
money could be invested and used for the Library over a
long period of time, but he insisted that we needed the
books now, and that, if we waited, the books would either
be unavailable or too expensive for us. He was right, of
Thus began for Stuart-Stubbs and his colleague Robert
Hamilton the biggest book-buying spree of their lives.
That fall, the librarians travelled to Europe, armed only
with a line of credit, a list of library "wants" and a list of
antiquarian book sellers. In three weeks, working 12 to
16 hours a day, they spent $250,000, buying complete
files of periodicals and cleaning out the contents of
booksellers' shelves, picking up some incredible bargains
in the process. "None of the booksellers had ever heard of
us," said Stuart-Stubbs. "They didn't even know where
British Columbia was, and they certainly didn't have the
time to raise their prices specially for us."
The Library augmented all its collections, reinforcing its
areas of significant strength in Asian studies, medicine,
musicology, the Pacific Northwest and Canadian history.
Within three years, UBC's Library moved into the ranks
of the top research libraries in North America.
President Macdonald recognized the importance of the
strengthened Library. Thus, when the MacMillan gift
was exhausted, the University decided to continue the
development of collections at a level as close as it could
afford to that achieved during the "MacMillan years".
The stature of the Library's present outstanding collections is largely due to the.foundation laid by the
MacMillan gift.
Dr. H.R. MacMillan, photographed here at
the 1967 opening of the MacMillan library,
was one of the great benefactors of UBC. His
gift of $3,000,000for library collections
moved the Library into the ranks of the top
research libraries in North America.
13 The Making of a Library
Thanks to the MacMillan gift, the University
expanded all its collections during the 60s,
providing a rich resource for B. C. students
entering post-secondary education institutions.
The Information Explosion
The 1960s was an exciting time of growth and prosperity
throughout North America. Many new post-secondary
institutions were built, helping to create the beginnings
of an information explosion unprecedented in world history. Every year, more books and journals were written,
more lectures and papers given.
The UBC Library was coping with this information
explosion, and at the same time attempting to sort and
catalogue $3,000,000 worth of additional materials. Basil
Stuart-Stubbs notes that he was very grateful for the
decentralised plan devised by James Ranz. "We needed
more people to organize all the additional material, and
we needed more space. It was at this time that the
branch library system really developed, helping us to
serve a dispersed campus more efficiently."
Computers were just being introduced for library operation, and UBC was quick to make use of this new information tool. By 1965, the Library had its own automated
circulation system. This early system was quite basic
compared with today's on-line systems, but was very
effective in reducing the staff time needed to circulate
a book.
Between 1965 and 66, the number of loans
increased by an astonishing 44 per cent, from
750,000 to 1,070,000. Increased use of
automation helped the Library to continue to
serve its users efficiently and effectively.
The year after the automated system was introduced, the
number of loans increased by an astonishing 44 per cent,
from 750,000 in 1965 to 1,069,894 in 1966. "This volume
would have been impossible to handle with the previous,
manual system, even with increased staffing," says
Stuart-Stubbs. "The new system made it easier to borrow from the collection, and made it easier for staff to
process books returned by borrowers. Most significantly,
it allowed us to introduce additional features, such as
controlling the use of the book stock more efficiently,
keeping track of overdue books, recalling books needed
by borrowers, and accepting holds and renewals."
Private Collectors
In common with all other great libraries, UBC has
particularly benefited from donations from private
collectors, whose concentration and passion for their
area of interest has enabled them to do the job no public
14 institution can do. These private collectors have been
vital to our library, and there are hundreds of them.
Space does not permit me to mention them all here, but a
few examples will give some idea of the richness of the
UBC collections.
Norman Colbeck is one such collector. Colbeck was an
antiquarian bookseller in Bournemouth, England,
specializing in 19th-century English authors. Over the
years, he had built up a personal collection of their works
which was quite exceptional. Colbeck, who was well
known to Stuart-Stubbs, was also a personal friend of
UBC professor William E. Fredeman, himself an avid
collector of 19th century English literature.
When Colbeck decided to retire, and give his personal
collection to a library, Fredeman was able to persuade
him to consider UBC. Colbeck, who had hardly ever
travelled in his life, came out to UBC, loved it, and
agreed to give his collection to UBC with the understanding that he would serve for a period of time as
curator of'the Colbeck Collection', in order to complete
a detailed catalogue of its contents. Today, Colbeck is
still a familiar figure on campus, and this year will receive an honorary degree in recognition of his
magnificent contribution to the UBC library.
Another private individual who donated a vast collection
to UBC was Mr. William Heryet, a retired customs
official who had been a British foot soldier during the
Boxer rebellion. Heryet's Burnaby house was filled from
floor to ceiling with books, mostly general history and
Canadiana. He gave his extraordinary collection to the
University "in order that it might benefit students in the
One of the treasures of the Asian Library is a collection
of Japanese maps of the Tokugawa Period, collected by a
Philadelphia businessman, Mr. George H. Beans. This
collection, purchased by the Library with MacMillan
money, is one of the best collections of Japanese maps in
the world. "Not only are they visually beautiful, but they
tell us more about the development of Japanese communities over the centuries than most other sources,"
says Stuart-Stubbs.
Bookseller Mr. Norman Colbeck provided a
very valuable addition to the Library's special
collections when he gave the University his
exceptional collection of 19th century English
literature volumes.
The Library's Japanese maps of the
Tokugawa period, originally collected by
Philadelphia businessman Mr. George H.
Beans and purchased for UBC with
MacMillan money, are one of the best
collections of their kind in the world.
15 ^p
The Making of a Library
Library staff are a vital resource for students
and faculty, as well as for off-campus users.
A Firm Mandate for the Seventies
1970-71 marked a turning point in the fortunes of the
Library. The MacMillan money had been spent, and no
other major donors had been forthcoming to promote
the strength of library collections and services. The
University's commitment to a library of excellence was
still there, but tempered by problems such as student
unrest, increasing pressure from all areas of the University for funding, and early signs of a downturn in the
When he took over as chief librarian in 1964, Stuart-
Stubbs established specific goals for the Library which
he pursued relentlessly. He set out to continue to develop
the strong collections necessary for a top ranking
research university; to decentralize operations, developing a system of branch libraries and reading rooms across
campus; to improve library services, including teaching
students how to use the Library effectively and hiring
more specialized staff; to establish links with other
libraries in the post-secondary system in order to help
support the planned decentralization of higher education
in the province; and to make the most effective use possible of computers, both for the Library's clerical work
and for the purposes of information retrieval.
"The goals and objectives we established then were both
appropriate and vital for a university attempting, as ours
was, to maintain its position as a world leader," says
Stuart-Stubbs. "Unfortunately, we had two major things
working against us: inflation, and the continuing devaluation of the Canadian dollar, both of which adversely
affected the costs of buildings, materials and staff. For
instance, because of inflation, there were enormous pressures on all universities to continue to raise salaries.
Meanwhile, the costs of library materials rose at a faster
rate than inflation itself."
In spite of the many problems they faced, the library
staff continued to work hard to maintain and augment
the collections, making this their first priority. As in the
30s, they were forced to trim periodicals from their lists,
and forego the purchase of important new publications.
"During the MacMillan years, we were able to compensate for the 30s by picking up old volumes that were still
16 available," says Stuart-Stubbs. "Tomorrow, we are not
going to be so fortunate. Publishers are estimating their
print runs so carefully that books and journals are often
not available even five years after they are printed. In
many cases, we are not going to be able to pick up volumes until the contents of someone's private library
becomes available to us many years from now."
The program to decentralize library operations continued during the 70s and was very successful. Three
library buildings were constructed during this time —
the Sedgewick undergraduate library, the law library
and the library processing centre, and today there are
15 branch libraries (three off-campus).
Library services themselves were improved continuously,
in spite of budget cutbacks. The improvements were due
mainly to the increased use of automation, development
of the branch library system, and the growing opportunities for cooperation with other libraries. The Library
continues to search for ways to improve the service it
provides, and increase efficiency.
Through a tri-universities organization — TRIUL —
with the libraries of the University of Victoria and Simon
Fraser University, UBC Library collaborated to develop
collections and shared services. Close cooperation with
the younger post-secondary institutions in B.C. led to the
establishment of the B.C. Post-Secondary Library
Network (NET) in 1977. UBC continues to be the major
lender of materials through NET, and administers the
network on behalf of the participating libraries, reinforcing our central role in the provincial library system. In
1985-86, UBC provided 6,711 items to other NET
libraries and borrowed 773. The NET system operates
on a partial cost-recovery basis, with participating
libraries sharing only the staff costs for the loans they
UBC was also a founding member of the B.C. Union
Catalogue, intended, in conjunction with interlibrary
lending arrangements, to make the collections of the
libraries of B.C. accessible throughout the province.
While the union catalogue succeeded in its purpose,
funds have not been available in the 80s to maintain
and reissue it.
The Sedgewick library provides much needed
study space for undergraduates.
17 The Making of a Library
In 1978, the manual cataloguing system was
phased out. and new materials were
catalogued on the UTLAS (University of
Toronto Library Automated System)
The final part of Stuart-Stubbs' original plan — to make
the most effective use of computers — has been an essential part of the Library's bibliographic control system.
In 1978, the Library phased out the manual cataloguing
system, cataloguing new materials on the UTLAS
(University of Toronto Library Automated Systems)
database. Instead of waiting for catalogue information to
be provided on cards from the Library of Congress, or
developing catalogue information at UBC for approximately $30 per book (in 1986 dollars), the Library
extracted most of the information it needed directly from
the UTLAS database, reducing the cost of cataloguing to
approximately $19 per book (in 1986 dollars). In addition, the Library has since been able to reduce the numbers of staff required for cataloguing, from 96 in 1978 to
78 today. In 1986, the cost of maintaining those 18 extra
staff positions would be about $350,000. In other areas,
technical service staff were also reduced, resulting in an
additional annual cost saving of $112,000 in 1986 dollars.
Although it was possible to have UTLAS produce the
new library catalogue on microfiche, UBC systems staff
developed the software to produce a UBC microfiche
catalogue locally, saving about 75 per cent of the UTLAS
costs. The Library also produces microcatalogues for a
number of post-secondary institutions in B.C., on a
cost-recovery basis for UBC and at considerable cost
saving to the province.
Today, on every floor of the stacks, and in many locations
around campus, are microfiche records of the Library's
holdings. Library computer experts are currently working to put information about collections on-line, so that
people on and off campus can access the bibliographic
information quickly and more conveniently, without
coming to the Library. While the development of the online catalogue will not save money for the Library, it will
save valuable time, and therefore money, for users, and
permit a very expensive and unique resource to be fully
18 Recession, Inflation and
From the mid-1970s onwards, the growth and prosperity
of the 60s and early 70s have given way to prolonged
recession, inflation and, in the 80s, retrenchment. As a
result of these factors, today's chief librarian, Douglas
Mclnnes, faces many challenges that UBC's first
librarian, John Ridington, would have understood only
too well — how to maintain a first class service with
resources that diminish each year.
In spite of this, Mclnnes and his staff continue to build
for a brighter future. The mandate Mclnnes carries forward is based upon his determination to continue to
build upon the strengths of the Library, incorporating
new technologies to continue to increase efficiency while
maintaining library services.
Like other librarians before him, he is committed to
maintaining the strengths of the collections, but has been
obliged to prune acquisitions, limiting the collections'
scope and flexibility, and to reduce staff, affecting service
in some areas. " While the University has protected the
collections budget as a matter of policy," says Mclnnes,
"it has not been possible to offset extraordinary reductions in purchasing power over the past five years."
In this period of budgetary constraints, the continuing
support of the University community has been of special
importance to the Library. One vital support is the
Senate Library Committee, which keeps the University
community informed about the work and needs of the
Library. The Senate Library Committee and the
University's librarians have had a close and productive
relationship throughout the Library's history. The
Committee advises the librarian on matters of policy and
helps to set priorities, especially with regard to the collections budget and to the services the Library provides to
its users. Hundreds of faculty members have served on
this committee, ensuring that the development of the
Library has been in step with the academic program.
Browsing through the stacks is an important
activity for many library users.
St'ii.iu- Library
Commillrr Chairmen:
1915-19 J: tt, Archibald
1920-23 G.G.Sedgemd
l®3-24 lit. BoRgs
1924-26 D. Buchanan
: 111    fctgw
1931-35 W.I.  M.n.l>im:ild
7 KH.Sow.ini
193749 A.H. E-iiui;
[939-40 M.Y. William*
1941-43 B. Eii^lfi
1944 ■'< I  Ganttti
i''i -69 I M.t a\	
1969-77 Ml: McGn jai
I977-H4 RA .Larkin
I9S4- ].!.. IWrhihal
19 The Making of a Library
A major concern for libraries today is the
preservation of'self-destructing' books. The
loss of vital materials through deterioration
would be a major national disaster.
Space shortage, already a problem in the 70s, is now
critical in many library facilities. The Library has
removed about ten per cent of its collections into nonpublic storage areas. While these materials can be
retrieved on request, usually within 24 hours, they are
not available for quick consultation or browsing. The
quantity of materials in storage is of particular concern
to scholars in the humanities and social sciences who
need to be able to browse through little-used volumes
to find resource materials on a specific topic.
As storage collections increase and are more frequently
located in other buildings, more staff time is spent
retrieving requested volumes, selecting others for storage
and changing records. In 1984/85, 61,000 volumes were
carefully culled from the shelves and selected for storage.
But still the shelves are reaching bursting point. "Many
books are shelved in very cramped quarters, which
accelerates their deterioration. If our collections are to
last for future generations, we need to give them room
to survive," says Mclnnes.
'Self-destructing' books are also an increasing concern.
"Most books printed since 1900 have been printed on
acidic paper, which is literally self-destructing. It is
essential that these books are at least put into microform,
so that their contents will not be lost to us," says
Mclnnes. "This is expensive and time consuming work,
and must be undertaken on a national and international
basis by librarians and agencies, such as the Canadian
Institute for Historical Microreproduction (CIHM),
which is concerned with the preservation of our cultural
and intellectual heritage.
"This important issue is of critical concern to us and
to all librarians across Canada, for the loss of vital
materials through deterioration would be a major
national disaster. Canada's efforts in this field are being
coordinated through the National Library."
The UBC Library continues to work closely with the
other universities and post-secondary institutions in the
province, providing their students and faculty with free
and open access to our collections. It also continues to
serve its larger community, for one fifth of the people
using its facilities today are from outside UBC. Thus
Wesbrook's tradition of a 'People's University' lives on.
20 The Tradition off Giving Continues
Every year, groups and individuals donate generously to
the Library, continuing the tradition of private giving
that has been so essential to its growth. Their contributions are many, and it would be impossible to note them
all here. But there have been two private donations in
recent years that are especially worthy of note.
In 1981, Dr. William Keith Burwell, a prominent Vancouver obstetrician and gynecologist who had no formal
connection with the University during his lifetime, died,
leaving a substantial bequest to the Library. A sum of
$50,000 was provided to purchase books on medical
research and medicine for the Woodward Biomedical
Library, but the most substantial endowment, currently
valued at more than $900,000, was provided for the purchase of books in areas of special interest to Dr. Burwell
— sociology, anthropology and psychology. Burwell's
gift has provided the means to develop these collections
and to protect them from the effects of inflation and
In 1984, Vancouver businessman Mr. David Lam
donated $1,000,000 to the Faculty of Commerce and
Business Administration for the development and
support of a library, today known as the David Lam
Management Research Library. This generous donation
has augmented considerably the commerce collection,
and will provide the basis for a strong specialized library
service to support the faculty's teaching and research.
Mr. Lam's donation will be formally recognized when he
receives an honorary degree this year.
Mr. David Lam recently donated $1,000,000
towards the development and support of the
David Lam Management Research Library
in the Faculty of Commerce and Business
21 1.1WI"
The Library Today
23 The Library Today
The card catalogue is still used daily by
library patrons.
Today, UBC's library collections are valued, for
insurance purposes, at more than $265,000,000,
although they are effectively beyond price. Among the
many treasures can be found one of the finest Asian collections in North America; the best health sciences collection in Western Canada; the definitive set of materials
of and about the writer Malcolm Lowry; and a unique
library for the visually disabled which sends talking
books to users around the world.
Principally, the Library exists to serve the needs of students, faculty and researchers at The University of
British Columbia. But it is also B.C.'s primary research
library, vital to the economic, cultural and social development of the province. It is extensively used by
professionals, researchers and educators from Simon
Fraser University, the University of Victoria, teaching
hospitals, colleges and schools throughout the province,
as well as by private citizens.
"The UBC Library represents a significant resource to all the
people of British Columbia. It is the major and only comprehensive
research library in this province.
"We are proud of our library at Simon Fraser University and the
resource it offers to our students, faculty and the community. But,
as a younger and smaller university, we cannot afford to replicate
the unique role of UBC's Library. When the needs of our faculty
members and graduate students go beyond the capacity of our own
campus resources, they turn to UBC.
"I think this is a wise use of a very important, but expensive, intellectual resource. I am, therefore, extremely concerned about the
future of this uniquely important resource to the entire province of
British Columbia."
Dr. William Saywell,
President, Simon Fraser University.
Following the plan for decentralization laid out in the
early 60s, the Library is now a large and dispersed system consisting of a Main Library, organized into nine
service departments, and 15 branch libraries, three of
them off campus in teaching hospitals.
Each division or branch represents a subject or service
specialization designed to meet the needs of a growing
and increasingly varied clientele. The branches range in
24 size and complexity from the Woodward Biomedical
Library, with more than 40 staff members and comprehensive collections, to highly specialized service centres
like the Data Library, with two library supported staff
members and a collection consisting primarily of
numerical data files.
The library system contains over 2.5 million books and
an additional 4.7 million microforms, films, records and
other pieces of material. The collections are growing by
about 100,000 volumes per year, with 200,000 additional
items in other formats. When a library shelf is 85 per
cent full, it is considered at its full working capacity,
allowing space for reshelving material. With 47 miles of
collections, currently spread over 55.5 miles of shelf
space, the shelves are now 84 per cent full, and almost
two miles of books are added to the library system
annually. Each year, more than 2,000,000 items are
loaned, 370,000 questions answered and 55,000 people
served. In addition, more than 500 on-line databases are
searched a total of 715,000 times annually, to produce
bibliographies and data for more than 8,000 library
In four years time, every branch of the library system
will have reached or exceeded full working capacity, with
space for normal collections growth remaining only in
the Asian Studies Library — two additional years — and
the Law Library — eight years.
Microform recordings of the Library's
holdings can be found on every floor of the
stacks and in many locations around campus.
Main Library
The Main Library, the core of the system, houses the
humanities and social sciences, science, fine arts, special
collections, government publications, microforms and
maps. It also houses a circulation and reserve department, and units responsible for information and orientation, and interlibrary loans. Last year, its combined collections grew by over 55,000 volumes. More than
200,000 volumes from these collections have been placed
in storage, and are therefore inaccessible to users, except
by request.
25 <~ JiLi
The Main Library building stands framed by
the University clock tower and the light shafts
of the Sedgewick underground library. The
Main Library building is in urgent need of
renovation today.
The Library Today
The Main Library building is in urgent need of
renovation. It is deficient under the building code with
regard to fire, earthquake and general safety standards.
It is overcrowded and expensive to operate. Currently,
sprinklers are being added in the stack areas and fire
exits added to the back of the building in order to improve fire protection, but it requires extensive renovation
and restoration in order to be able to serve the University.
The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection constitutes
about 80 per cent of the material in the Main Library
stacks, or some 765,000 volumes. In addition, there are
60,000 volumes of materials relating to these areas in the
reference division. Together these collections account for
almost one third of the bound volumes in the library system. They are the largest single collection in the Library,
attracting users from all over the campus and the community at large.
"For those in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Library is
not merely a convenience or even just a useful tool. It is our
'laboratory'— an essential part of our professional life."
Professor Jean Laponce,
Political Science, UBC.
"t make use of a number of libraries and archives in Europe for
various specialized projects, but it would be fair to say that my
basic research depends almost entirely on my local 'laboratory' —
the UBC Library — one of the finest in Canada, indeed in North
Professor Laurence Bongie,
Head, French Department, UBC
The Fine Arts Collection is recognized as one of three major
fine arts research collections in Canada, and is used
extensively by artists, planning consultants and art students as well as by researchers and professionals. In
1984, the Fine Arts Library was awarded a $35,000 grant
from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council of Canada to develop its collection to support
studies in Italian Renaissance art. Its specialized
resources have made UBC's Fine Arts Library a regional
centre for study and research.
26 The Science Collection, also in the Main Library, is one
of the finest in the country, known especially for the
strength of its periodicals holdings. These periodicals are
vital to the many scientific researchers on campus and to
private individuals and fledgling industries who need
access to the most up-to-date information in their particular field. A considerable part of the collection has
been moved into storage to make way for current
"If I can supply a hardware or software designer with books,
conference proceedings and journal articles from UBC's collection,
time and money can be saved in bidding a contract or meeting a
project deadline."
Judy Growe,
Librarian, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.
Special collections houses many rare and
priceless volumes.
"If the B. C. government is serious about diversifying the economy
of the province into the high technology area, we must maintain
first class libraries in the province."
Project Leader, R andD, Moli Energy Ltd.
Another resource currently housed in the overcrowded
Main Library is Special Collections — a division whose collections owe so much to the support of private donors. It
is here that the Library keeps some unique and treasured
items, including the great Howay-Reid Collection, the
Murray Collection, the Colbeck Collection, and the
Beans' collection of rare Japanese maps. It also houses
manuscripts and working papers of many eminent
British Columbian authors such as Ethel Wilson,
Roderick Haig-Brown and Malcolm Lowry.
"During the last five years I have researched the life of Emily
Carr for apiece that will be produced in 1987. It was from Special
Collections that I found my most valuable information and
insights. How could I possibly have depended on the National
Archives for sustained study and information? Expensive trips to
Ottawa are not in the budget of the average Western writer or
Joy Coghill,
Vancouver actress and director.
27 The Library Today
The Asian studies library is one of the very
few UBC branch libraries that still has space
for growth.
The Government Publications and Microforms Division is responsible for obtaining and servicing materials issued by
governments at every level, and by international bodies.
The collection, containing about 56,000 items, is
especially strong for Canada and the provinces, for the
United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the United
States. The division is also responsible for most of the
3,500,000 items of microform in the library system.
The Map Library collects and services maps and atlases
from all over the world, with 140,000 maps and 8,400
volumes in the collection. It is widely used by off-campus
groups, including government departments, engineering
firms, geological and geographical professionals.
Asian Studies Library
A superb Canadian resource, the UBC Asian Studies
Library has been designated the national repository
for official Japanese government publications, and is
regarded as one of the best collections of Asian materials
in North America. It was actually started in the late 50s
when William Holland, at the request of President
Norman MacKenzie, moved himself and the Institute
for Pacific Relations from New York to UBC. Holland
became the first head of the Asian studies department at
UBC, bringing with him the Institute's fine collection of
Asian materials. This was quickly supplemented by the
P'u-Pan collection, and has grown in strength every year
since then.
Today, this library, housed in the striking Asian Centre,
has about 180,000 volumes, primarily in Chinese, Japanese and Indie languages. Its collections are heavily used
by university, business and cultural groups in the
province, growing each year to meet the rapidly developing need for information concerning the Pacific Rim.
The collection receives support from many donors, including organizations such as the Japan Foundation, the
National Library of China and the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and
individuals such as Mr. and Mrs. Tong Louie. Major
donations in 1986 included 2,000 books in Korean on
Korean history, language, literature and sociology from
the Daehan Kyokuk Insurance Co.
28 Kai
"I am concerned that Vancouver not lose its position as an Asian
research centre just at the time it becomes recognized as Canada's
centre for Asian economic trade, arbitration and financial relations
. . . If UBC falls behind the University of Toronto in providing
this research base, then we will be less well equipped to 'do our
homework' in developing our future roles in the newly emerging
Pacific community of nations."
Dr. Jan W. Walls,
Vice-President, Education and Cultural Affairs,
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
"There is no other place where I could have access to such a rich
selection of offerings without actually going to Japan."
Sonja Arntzen,
Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures,
University of Alberta.
The Woodward Biomedical Library
The largest biomedical library west of Toronto, the
Woodward Biomedical Library serves the needs of the
medical profession and the health sciences community
throughout the province. The collection is accessible to
every doctor in the province, and many of them depend
very heavily upon its services.
The UBC biomedical collection actually began in 1915
when Sir Charles Sherrington sent Dr. Wesbrook a
surprise present of a first edition of Bidloo's Anatomy,
published in 1685. Over the years, the collection
gradually increased, including unique contributions of
historical medical materials from Dr. P.A. Woodward.
In 1964, it was established as a separate branch library
and substantially enlarged in 1970, both times with
thanks to very generous funding from the Woodward
family, through the P.A. Woodward Foundation. Dr.
William C. Gibson, now Chancellor of the University of
Victoria, played a very vital role in bringing the new
building to reality, and in developing its historical collections when he was head of the department of history of
science and medicine at UBC, and chairman of the
Biomedical Library Committee.
The Woodward Biomedical Library is running very
close to full working capacity today, with collections in
excess of 300,000 volumes.
The first volume in the excellent historical
biomedical collection, Bidloo's Anatomy,
was given to the first president of the
University, Dr. Wesbrook, by Sir Charles
Sherrington in 1915.
Dr. William C. Gibson, now chancellor of the
University of Victoria, played an important
role in bringing the Woodward biomedical
library to reality.
29 The Library Today
Professor Emeritus Dr. E.L. Margetts is one
of many medical professionals in British
Columbia who rely on the specialized
resources of the Woodward biomedical library.
The Woodward Biomedical Library provides an
invaluable service to the University Health Sciences
Centre Hospital. Three branch libraries in other
Vancouver teaching hospitals — Vancouver General
Hospital (biomedical branch library), Children's Grace
and Shaughnessy Hospitals (the Hamber library) — are
linked via a daily delivery service. Last year, 37,500 items
were delivered through the network; 4,400 items were
lent to the B.C. Medical Library Service for delivery to
physicians, health professionals and hospitals
throughout B.C., and 3,500 items were lent to the Cancer
Control Agency of B.C.
"The Woodward Library has been the major backup and support
in the provision of library materials to physicians and hospitals
throughout B. C.for a quarter of a century."
Dr. C.W. Fraser,
Director, B. C. Medical Library Service
The Data Library
The Data Library has the strongest collection of machine
readable data sets of any academic data archives in
Canada. Created as a separate branch in 1972, it provides access to a wide spectrum of numerical data in
machine-readable format.
It serves every faculty on campus, and a broad range of
groups within the general community, from market research firms wanting results of major Canadian surveys
to government agencies looking for census data. The
library supplies research data in disciplines ranging from
social sciences to physical, biological and natural
"Without the contributions provided by the (UBC) Data Library,
the establishment of a Canadian Union List of Machine Readable
Data files would have remained a wish, rather than a reality."
Harold Naugler,
Director, Machine Readable Archives, Public Archives of Canada.
30 The Crane Library
The Crane Library, founded in 1968, was named after
UBC's first blind and deaf student, Charles Crane,
whose extraordinary talents were never fully realized
because of the limitations and handicaps he had to face.
The library is a unique resource in Canada. In addition
to serving blind and visually impaired UBC students,
its seven staff members and over 150 volunteers create
'talking books', recording about 300 new titles every
year. They create both essential text books and quality
support materials, shipping copies of their books to
libraries and individuals around the world.
As testimony to the value of the Crane, nine blind students graduated from UBC last year, including one who
received degrees in both commerce and law.
"There are few facilities or services in B.C. that are as important
to disabled people as 'the Crane'."
Rawnie Dunn,
British Columbia Coalition of the Disabled.
Curriculum Laboratory
The Curriculum Laboratory for education has about
100,000 volumes, including both professional and
kindergarten to Grade 12 materials. It serves the UBC
Faculty of Education, and provides a resource for the
B.C. teaching profession. A significant portion of the
titles are in non-print format. In addition, attached to
the Laboratory is a separate film and videotape library,
used by all UBC faculties and many off-campus groups.
Over the past ten years, the collection has been constantly pruned, and thousands of volumes removed.
Because of space constraints, UBC's education collection
is divided, practical materials in the Curriculum
Laboratory, and theoretical materials in the Main
Library. The Curriculum Laboratory is one of the best
collections for teaching practice in Canada, and the only
research education collection in B.C. It is housed in an
inadequate and poorly designed space, and study seats
have had to be eliminated to accommodate essential
State-of-the-art recording equipment enables
the Crane Library to record 'talking books'
which are sent to users around the world.
31 The Library Today
The Law Library is one of the leading law
libraries in Canada. It is used heavily by
lawyers and judges throughout the province, as
well as by UBC's law faculty.
Law Library
The UBC Law Library is one of the leading law libraries
in Canada, and the principal law library in the province.
Lawyers and judges in British Columbia regularly draw
on the resources of this library, making heavy use of the
collections of American materials and specialized Canadian items which are not available anywhere else in B.C.
The Law Foundation of B.C. has consistently supported
the development of this branch's collections. The Law
Library, with over 141,000 bound volumes, is fortunate to
have enough space to be able to accommodate normal
growth for the next decade.
"Any reductions in the quality and scope of your collection and
in the services offered to the legal community would have serious
ramifications for our firm and its clients."
Diana Inselberg,
Legal Librarian, Russell and DuMoulin.
The MacMillan Library
Started in 1967, the MacMillan Library serves as the
primary research collection for researchers and professionals concerned with two of B.C.'s major industries,
forestry and agriculture, as well as for three levels of government, and numerous consultants in forestry, biotechnology, agricultural engineering and animal sciences. In
addition, the library is a primary source of materials for
researchers in food science, food processing and the food
industry. It is a vital collection, very heavily used by students, researchers and industry alike.
Of its collection of 55,000 volumes, 15,000 are now in
remote storage because the library has long since run out
of space for normal growth. The collection is currently
growing at a rate of about 5,000 volumes a year, so that
older materials must be continuously removed from
user-accessible shelves.
"The UBC Library collections in general, and particularly the
research materials relating to forest products, are invaluable to the
business community."
Peter Woodbridge,
Forestry Consultant, Woodbridge, Reed and Associates, Division of
H.A. Simons (International) Ltd.
32 Music Library
The Music Library, located in the music building, has a
strong collection of books and periodicals in musicology,
as well as musical scores and recordings, plus an outstanding collection of European music manuscripts on
microfilm, covering all areas of music from the Middle
Ages onwards.
The library has an exceptional collection of complete
works and historical sets. For example, a musician at
UBC can compare the works of Mozart in several
reprinted editions: the famous first edition of 1798 (on
microfilm), the 19th century edition edited by Brahms,
and the new edition begun in the Mozart bicentennial
year of 1956. The library serves the university community and provides scores and recordings and acts as a
reference source for many musical groups throughout
the province.
It also receives many donations. Recently, Mrs. Janey
Gudewill and Mr. Peter Cherniavsky contributed two
valuable music manuscripts — the Terzetto, Op.116 of
Beethoven, and the orchestral score for Debussy's ballet
"Khamma," and important related materials.
With over 43,000 volumes, the library is already
seriously overcrowded, and is located in an area that
does not allow for further expansion. Plans are progressing to annex additional study space adjacent to the existing library in the School of Music, and to transfer to
storage materials that are not frequently used.
"Without the Music Library's resources, our instruments would
be mute."
The Towne Waytes,
Renaissance music performing artists, From one of their album jackets.
"The UBC Music Library is the only source of information and
material which we often need for our early music concerts. Visiting
artists frequently are not familiar with the requirements of radio
and consequently do not provide scores for the producer who may
have to edit."
Ellen Enomoto,
Music Library of the CBC.
llotistdin ikfinttih h\iiUi'i\\>, the mtiSit
Ubrary hm tittitid) vittgretiw tis sjtiarttrs, Hull
is TH urgent ttttd ftj additional spaa.
33 The Sedgewick library has the longest hours
of any of the branch libraries, and is heavily
used by on- and off-campus patrons.
Sedgewick Library
This imaginative and attractive underground library
was built in 1973 to serve the needs of undergraduates in
the Faculty of Arts, and those in the first two years of
Science. It maintains the longest opening hours of all the
campus libraries, seats more than 1,250 users, and is one
of the campus focal points. The upper limit of its capacity is intended to be 200,000 volumes, and it currently
houses approximately 190,000 volumes. The library is
used not only by UBC students but also by students from
local post-secondary institutions. The small, highly
efficient staff coordinate a program of instruction in the
use of the library for undergraduates, and assist students
to learn how to use a library for research.
The Wilson Recordings Collection, which is located in
Sedgewick, is the largest library collection of classical
recordings in B.C. Named after two founding members
of UBC's 'Friends of the Library', Dr. Wallace Wilson
and Ethel Wilson, the collection is extensively used by
the general public, including international and local
musicians who select music for performance. International opera singer Judith Forst, who lives in B.C., says it
would not be possible for her to maintain her career
while living here without access to the Wilson Collection.
David Lam Library
The David Lam Management Research Library consists
of journals, working papers from about 40 universities
with business schools, financial and economic
newsletters published by chartered banks, investment
houses and other research organizations, annual reports
from top Canadian companies, and a microfiche collection of annual reports from public companies in the U.S.
A special collection on Pacific Rim business has been developed which consists of over 60 periodical titles, plus
books and reference materials. Access to over 70 bibliographic, numerical, statistical and financial business
databases is provided.
34 This library, which is heavily used by the Vancouver
business community, is not yet officially part of the
library system, but is developing rapidly as a source of
specialized research materials for commerce. When new
space is available, the David Lam library will become a
UBC branch library.
Marjorie Smith Library
This library serves social workers throughout the
province as well as the University's own academic and
student social workers. Its collection numbers some
17,500 volumes of bound journals, monographs, reports
and documents.
Mathematics Library
This library holds virtually all of the library's mathematics collections, as well as some collections in computer
science and statistics. Its holdings number about 28,000
"Research and education do not stop with a degree, and the
material available from UBC meets a demand beyond most
institutional budgets."
Mary Javorski,
Reference Librarian, Okanagan Regional Library.
The Wilson recordings collection is the largest
library collection of classical recordings in the
35 Appropriate space must he
built to house priceless
volumes suck as these. In
addition, tlie acquisitions
budget must be increased if
UBC is to maintain its
standing among major
North American research
37 Challenges for Tomorrow:
The Bottom Line
Collections expenditures of
UBC compared with three other
major North American libraries
Among the 106 members of the ARL,
in 198411985 UBC ranked 40thfor
the amount spent on collections.
Source: Association of Research
Libraries; ARL Statistics
For the past fifteen years, the UBC Library has consolidated, retrenched, reorganized and streamlined its operations, preserving and enhancing its resources in spite of
constantly shrinking buying power.
Automation, particularly where it has permitted savings
in staff costs, has been a top priority. The Library has
also examined services carefully, eliminating less essential ones, and improving its operating efficiency and
productivity, especially with regard to ordering, cataloguing, receiving and recording journals, and circulation systems.
Throughout all this time, the Library has struggled to
preserve purchasing power for collections, although the
combined effects of inflation and devaluation have meant
that many journal subscriptions have had to be cancelled
— 900 journals were discontinued in 1986 alone. The
titles were selected carefully to avoid, as much as possible, the loss of valuable research materials. Perhaps the
most serious effect has been on the smaller collections,
particularly those in the teaching hospitals.
The Library has eliminated 50 staff positions since 1980,
through effective use of automated systems, other operating efficiencies, and some reductions in services. At the
same time, the Library has added new services. In 1982,
the health sciences library network was added, funded
through allocations from the medical undergraduate expansion program. Faculty and students in the teaching
hospitals are now able to receive, through the network,
the journals and texts they need from the Woodward
Library and elsewhere. The film library and special
reference services for UBC's distance education students
were added in 1983 and 1984, respectively. And in 1986,
the Library established the UBC Patent Information
Search Service, funded through a federal-provincial
agreement on science and technology development. This
service is planned to become self-sustaining in the future,
providing an essential link between University research
and high tech industries in B.C.
38 The library recovers costs wherever possible for services
such as on-line searches, extensive reference assistance,
borrowing privileges for non-UBC users, and inter-
library loan. For example, last year, the library recovered
over $500,000 of its overall costs by the use of cost-
recovery schemes.
In spite of every effort made to maintain and improve
the Library, it has fallen in ranking from 15th in 1981 to
21st in 1986, according to the Association of Research
Libraries (ARL) composite index ranking of research
libraries in North America. In order simply to maintain
its current status, the Library must address three pressing needs within the very near future: space, development of collections, and further incorporation of new
During the 1970s, most universities constructed substantial new central library facilities to accommodate their
growing collections. UBC was unable to follow this
course, and today the Library is critically short of space.
Most collections are housed in increasingly cramped
quarters, accelerating the deterioration of the materials
and creating inefficient conditions for both users and
staff. And, as I have already mentioned, some users,
especially those in the humanities and social sciences, are
placed at a disadvantage when materials are culled from
open shelves and moved into closed storage.
Very conscious of the space required to house collections,
the Library has given high priority to the purchase of
microforms, with the result that UBC has the largest collection of materials on microform in Canada, and the
seventh largest among the 106 ARL libraries. This, of
course, has increased enormously the richness and depth
of our relatively young collection, but its use as a means
of saving space has been fully explored.
Comparison in size of UBC
collections with three other
major North American libraries
12 3 4 5
Size of Collection (in Millions)
Among the 106 ARL Libraries,
UBC ranks 35th by no. of print
volumes, and 7th by number of
microfilm holdings.
Source: Association of Research
Libraries; ARL Statistics
39 Challenges for Tomorrow:
The Bottom Line
Growth in book title production
in the United States and the
United Kingdom (1900-85)
1900 10  20 30  40  50  60  70  80  83 85
Growth of Technology appears to
have accelerated the rate at which
books have been published
Source: The Bowker Annual of
Library and Book Trade
Additions to UBC collections
compared with three other
major North American Libraries
H    700-
-H   coo -
 *••""/ Toronto
1    500 -
y^            UCLA
%    400 -
%    30Q-
i          i
UBC is losing ground in collections
acquisitions each year, as compared
with other major research libraries
Source: Association of Research
Libraries; ARL Statistics
The Library needs to add a substantial amount of additional space in order to meet its primary requirements to
the beginning of the 21st century. The space will be used
to house science and applied science collections, commerce, fine arts, special collections, and map divisions.
In addition, the Main Library building must be
renovated soon.
Space will also be needed for fresh acquisitions, since
it seems likely that, in our society, we will continue to
create more and more print materials every year. We
need room for these materials, but we also need space
and appropriate equipment so that we can continue to
use new ways to store and transmit information. The
new building, together with renovation to the Main
Library, will make it possible for us to accommodate new
technologies while providing space for housing and using
print materials.
The Library collections are rich in materials covering the
broad range of UBC's teaching and research interests.
Having been systematically developed for 72 years, they
contain many items that are no longer available at any
price, and constantly receive valuable additions.
For example, each year the Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council of Canada recognized our
Library's position as a national resource by awarding
annual grants to their maximum of $50,000. Last year,
the funds were provided to purchase large sets of provincial gazetteers from China for the Asian collection, and
this year to acquire a vast and important microfilm collection of early English music manuscripts.
As a charter subscriber and strong supporter of the
Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions
(CIHM), the UBC Library is also helping to ensure both
that older, rapidly deteriorating Canadian publications
are preserved for future generations, and also that space
needs are kept to the absolute minimum. CIHM has
identified and reproduced on microfiche more than
30,000 pre-1901 Canadian publications. UBC has
acquired this invaluable microfiche collection for users in
B.C., enriching its collections of Canadiana and helping
at the same time to preserve Canada's cultural heritage.
40 s^a
The Library is a member of the Center for Research
Libraries in Chicago, which collects and shares highly
specialized library resources, giving UBC access to an
additional 3.5 million volumes and 1.1 million units of
microform. It is also a member of the Association of
Research Libraries and the Canadian Association of
Research Libraries, organizations which are actively
working to improve the sharing of library resources in
North America so that all libraries can provide access to
the widest range of materials possible at acceptable cost.
In addition to listing our collections with the National
Library of Canada and the UTLAS database in Toronto,
the Library is also taking steps to work with the Online
Computer Library Centre (OCLC) in Dublin, Ohio.
This enormous database will provide the Library with
improved access to information needed for our own
cataloguing and will list UBC's holdings for the benefit
of other libraries throughout North America.
In spite of new technologies, UBC must still acquire
hard copy of materials that B.C. researchers need. The
essential books, journals and other materials to be purchased must be continuously evaluated in order to keep
the Library vital, responsive to the current and changing
needs of its users.
Most of the materials we buy for the UBC collection
come from countries other than Canada. Devaluation of
Canadian currency relative to major Western nations'
currencies has seriously eroded our buying power in
recent years. In spite of the fact that the Library has
taken heroic steps to safeguard its collections, the
librarians are increasingly making critical decisions in
the purchase of publications, decisions that will seriously
affect the long-term value of the UBC collection.
In order both to ensure our competitive position in
teaching and research among North America's leading
universities, and also to continue to serve as the major
resource for Western Canada, the Library must obtain
additional funds soon in order to add needed materials
to the collections.
Value of Canadian dollar vs U.S.
dollar over the last ten years
55 percent of the Library's current
acquisitions are in U.S. materials
Source: Bank of Canada Review
Drop in value of Canadian
dollar versus major world
currencies (1985-86)
^^^                       ^"--w    —      "'     ^WUS Dollar iK'i)
\        ^- • U.K. Poury) (72%l
\                  —• FrencnFrane^OM
\            —• Caiman Mam (6 ra.(
• Japanese Van ((S0**i
28 per cent of the library's current
acquisitions are in European
materials, and a further 5 percent
come from Asian countries.
Source: Bank of Canada Review
41 Challenges for Tomorrow:
The Bottom Line
New Technologies
New technologies are constantly opening up new opportunities for us all, and we can see this clearly in the effect
these technologies have had on the Library, its staff and
It would not be possible for the Library, with its current
staff, to provide the range and quality of services it does
today without automation. If we did not have access to
cataloguing information through other libraries, it would
cost us at least 50 per cent more than it does to catalogue
each book. If we had no computers to help us circulate
materials, it would cost us at least twice as much as it
does to provide this basic service to users.
In the next few years, we will need to replace our
circulation system with an on-line system that will allow
us to monitor the use of all library materials more
effectively, wherever they are in the system, and further
protect us from the ever-increasing costs of managing a
large research collection. It will enable us to find out how
the collection is being used, influence our buying policy,
determine which items should be put into storage, and
ensure that the Library's collections are as accessible as
possible for its users. Ultimately the quality of library
service depends upon the extent to which our collections
have been successfully organized and indexed, and on
the ease with which library patrons can use our records
to find what they require.
A high priority is the development of the on-line catalogue system by the Library's innovative and expert systems and processing staff. This system will improve
access for users, first on campus, and ultimately throughout the province. Already, enhanced library computing
facilities have led to a more efficient operation of all the
Library's record-keeping systems, and have resulted in
improved access to information about the collections.
42 New mass storage systems, such as laser discs, are likely
to hold great promise for the future, although they are expensive to develop and implement. We will be evaluating
these systems for our own use as they become available.
I believe it is vital that the UBC Library be in a position
to make use of new technology to continue to improve the
efficiency of its operations, to save space, and to improve
the essential services it renders to its dependent community.
But at the same time we must remind ourselves of the
less obvious, but just as important, facets of the Library.
In our increasingly technical world, we can easily forget
how it feels to hold a good book, or browse the stacks,
looking for a particular work. The quality of this experience depends upon the quality and ambience of the
Library itself, the concern and caring of its staff.
So, as we incorporate new technologies, we must also
take with us the sense of tradition and humanity that
founded this University and upon which we continue
to build.
43 W Postscript
"The founding of a university is rather like throwing a stone into a deep pool.
As the stone strikes the water it makes a hole in it, and then, when it has sunk to the
bottom, and you might think it had never gone in at all, you see circle after circle of
ripples spreading over the surface of the pool, each one wider than the last."
Edgar Allison Peers,
Founder of the Modern Humanities Research
In concluding this report, I should like once more to draw your attention to the
many private individuals who, by supporting the University, have "thrown their
stones" into the deep pool of higher learning in B.C. The ripples that their intellectual
and financial contributions have made extend beyond the confines of the Province of
British Columbia, as UBC graduates and faculty make their mark in internationally
competitive markets.
The UBC Library has been the vital heart of this outstanding University, and the
individuals who have dedicated their lives and resources to the Library's health and
strength are part of its backbone.
Today, new efforts by those who love and cherish the Library are necessary to
maintain its health and strength.
The Library needs assistance and commitment from a new group of public
and private supporters; individuals, companies and government organizations who
recognize its vital contribution to their lives and the lives of all the people of British
Columbia. Indeed, we intend to institute, once again, the 'Friends of the Library,' to
encourage those interested in the future of the Library to come to its aid.
I am optimistic that the needed support will come, for I know that the vision
and the dream begun by President Wesbrook is vital to the future of this province. In
Wesbrook's own words "We have been so richly endowed in British Columbia that
we owe it to ourselves and the rest of the world to properly conserve and intelligently
develop and use our material resources, the chief of which are men and women, both
those who are here now and those who are coming".
Dr. David W. Strangway
The University of British Columbia
4.4 "The Library needs assistance and
commitment from a new group of
public and private supporters:
individuals, companies and
government organizations who
recognize its vital contribution to
their lives and the lives of all the
people of British Columbia".
Dr. David W. Strangway
University of British Columbia
This report was prepared by the Office of Community Relations, UBC.
The president would like to thank the many people who contributed their time
and ideas towards the final draft. In particular, he would like to acknowledge
the contributions of researcher/writer Elaine Stevens, and the University
librarians, especially Doug Mclnnes, Bill Watson, Heather Keate, Tony
Jeffreys, Basil Stuart-Stubbs, Bob MacDonald, and Laurenda Daniells.
Published January 1987.
Designed by Ullrich Schade and Associates.
Photos: Alex Waterhouse Hayward, Kent Kallberg, and UBC Archives. Additional information about UBC
is available through
The Community Relations Office
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1W5


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