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UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Library News Nov 30, 1969

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Volume II, No. 8
November, 1969
Vancouver, B.C.
This newsletter appears once a month as an information service for U.B.C. faculty and other readers outside the Library. It
contains feature articles and news about developments in the Library system which we feel will be of interest or concern to the
larger community. The News welcomes all comments, criticisms, and suggestions for future articles.
As most of our readers know by now, UBC's Board of Governors has formally approved plans for a new undergraduate
library, to be built under the Main Mall. The two-storey building will have roughly four times as much space as the present
undergraduate library, and will be able to house 200,000 volumes instead of the 84,000 Sedgewick now holds. Anyone who has
visited Sedgewick in the last two or three years knows how desperately these expanded facilities are needed. Yet this
overcrowded library was thought to be large enough to meet future needs when it opened just nine years ago. What happened?
To understand just what happened, and why, we have to go back to the late 1950's. At that time the Main Library was
growing steadily in size and complexity. One wing had been added ten years before, and a new south wing was under
construction. In addition, enrolment at UBC had reached the point where the Library's single reference division could no longer
handle all the requests for information. If efficient service was to be maintained, a number of specialized reference divisions
would have to be set up when the new wing was completed.
Given the number of users and the size of the collection, these changes were necessary. However, from the point of view of
the undergraduates, they did not make the Library any easier to use. Collections and reference services were becoming
increasingly fragmented, and students in their first and second years were beginning to have trouble finding the material they
wanted. In short, there was a real need for a smaller, more simply organized library set up especially for undergraduates. So
began the Sedgewick Library.
From the time it opened its doors in 1960, Sedgewick was an instant success. It had been intended only for students in thei
first two years of arts, but other undergraduates rapidly discovered it. Material selected for first- and second-year students
proved to be almost as useful to those in upper years, and in a short time the library began gearing its services to all arts
undergraduates. The results were overwhelming. Students baffled by the Main Library turned increasingly to Sedgewick, and by
1966 it was serving far more students than it had been designed to handle. It had quite literally become a victim of its own
Between 1966 and 1969, as Sedgewick struggled to serve an ever-growing number of students, plans for a new and much
larger undergraduate library were taking shape. The first formal proposal came in A Plan For Future Services, issued in 1966 by
Basil Stuart-Stubbs and William J. Watson. In September 1968 it was repeated in the Senate Library Committee's Summary
Report on Building Requirements, addressed to the Senate Committee on Academic Building Needs. At that time the Sedgewick
Library, with 84,000 volumes, was making nearly half a million loans a year—almost as many as the Main Library, with its
700,000 volumes.
Before the end of 1968 the project was formally approved by the Board of Governors, and a Client's Committee and a User's
Committee were set up. By the summer of 1969 the architectural firm of Rhone & Iredale had drawn up a design for the new
library. This plan, slightly modified, was submitted to the Board of Governors and approved on October 8.
The new library will not be just an expanded version of the old one. Over the past nine years the Sedgewick staff have learned
much about student needs and use patterns, and the architects have kept these in mind while designing the building. The day
may yet come when the university need not apologize for its library service to undergraduates. AT LAST
After a long but unavoidable delay, our much-advertised library handbook is back from the printer and ready to distribute.
Its contents include:
1) a guide to the location and holdings of all branch libraries
2) step-by-step explanations of the classification system and card catalogue
3) tables of loan periods
4) detailed information on all Main Library reference divisions and other public services
5) a glossary of terms used in UBC libraries
6) Main Library floor plans and stack maps
, 7) a campus map showing locations of libraries
All in all, the handbook should make life a good deal simpler for anyone using the Library. As few students know it is
available, any publicity from faculty members would be appreciated. Copies are being given out at all public service desks and
branch libraries.
Now that a comprehensive printed guide is available, the Library's orientation programs will probably not attract as many
students. However, the combined slide show and tour given daily during September and the first part of October drew
unexpectedly large crowds. In the first five weeks of the fall term more than 2,000 freshmen came to the Main Library for the
forty-minute program. This represents over 50% of the total number registered at UBC.
The response from faculty members was particularly encouraging. More than 45 English 100 classes were brought in for
specially-scheduled programs, and groups of students in Arts 1, physical education, sociology and economics were given tours
stressing areas of particular interest to them. These special programs are still being given, incidentally, and they are not restricted
to first-year students. Any faculty member interested in bringing a class to the Library for a general or specialized information
session should call local 2076 or 2077.
Every year at this time a new Senate Library Committee is appointed. Its chief function is to advise and assist the University
Librarian, and more specifically to:
1) help develop a general program of library service for the interests of the University
2) advise on the allocation of book funds to the various fields of instruction and research
3) help formulate a policy for the development of library resources in these fields
4) keep informed about library needs of instructional and research staff
5) aid in keeping the academic community informed about the Library
The Committee is made up of four ex officio members (the University President, Chancellor, Registrar, and Librarian), and a
number of Senate members, including students. A list of the 1969/70 Committee members who have been appointed by the
Senate is given below.
Mr. W.M. Armstrong Deputy President
Mrs. A. Brearley School of Librarianship
Dr. D.G. Brown Department of Philosophy
Mr. F.J. Cairnie B.C. Teachers Federation
Dr. D.H. Chitty Department of Zoology
Dr. W.C. Gibson Department of History of Science and Medicine
Dr. J.M. Kennedy Computing Centre
Dr. A.J. McClean Faculty of Law
Dr. M.F. McGregor. Department of Classics
Mr. K.R. Martin Management Research (Western) Ltd.
Dr. S. Rothstein School of Librarianship By early November, student senators will have been added to the Committee, and a chairman will have been elected. See
next month's Library News for an up-to-date report.
Entering the Main Library is a challenge these days, although those long trips Up and down stairways may be helping many
hearts. Behind the hoarding, the front doors are being widened. The result, due in November, will be four doors instead of the
familiar two. Pedestrian traffic jams, we hope, will disappear, and the general appearance of the building will be improved.
Thank you for bearing with us!
The Library's annual Serial Holdings list will be released this month. It will be available at public service desks throughout
the library system, and copies will be sent to all academic departments. As most of our readers know, this alphabetical index
gives the location, call number and holdings of all serials listed. The new edition is bigger than ever, covering just under 16,000
separate titles. All the same, some of the Library's materials (chiefly government publications) will not be included, and must
still be found through the card catalogue.
To make this year's list easier to understand and use, the editors have added a new step-by-step introduction and an index to
all locations. Also included is a list of the journals which were recently moved from the Main Library to the Curriculum
The Main Library's Xerox Room is now able to make transparencies of library materials for use on overhead projectors.
Faculty members may find this service especially useful. Obviously, it is a convenient way of showing printed material to large
classes, but it has another advantage. Transparencies of rare books or reference material have not always been easy to obtain up
till now, as some volumes could not be taken out of the building. The new service makes it possible to reproduce anything held
in the Library.
Located at the rear of the main entrance hall, the Xerox Room is open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 9
a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The charge for an 8Vi by 11 transparency will be fifty cents.
Not everyone knows yet that a remote book drop has been set up outside the Student Union Building. A gift from the UBC
Alumni Fund, it is located on the north (Brock Hall) side of the SUB opposite the parking meters. Books borrowed from the
Main Library or its branches can now be returned here instead of to the individual library. A second book bin has been
temporarily placed in front of the Main Library while the centre doors are being widened.
On weekdays the book bins are cleared twice daily, but books left there after 4 p.m. Friday will not be picked up till Monday
morning. For this reason, please don't return anything to a book bin on a weekend if it is due before Monday.
Thanks to UBC's German Department, the Library will be a more colourful place during November. Display cases around the
building are featuring some of the best-designed German books of 1967. These have been selected from a complete set of just
over fifty volumes which was donated to the Department by the West German government.
The collection has been divided into three separate areas, each on display in a different section of the Library. Children's
books are being exhibited in the School of Librarianship, books illustrating aspects of fine printing are in the Special Collections
Division, and material on literature, fine arts, and technology is in the hallway outside the Ridington Room.
After the display the children's books will be added to the Library's collection, and the rest will be housed in the German
Department's own reading room. CRANE'S TAPE LIBRARY GROWS
The Crane Memorial Library for the Blind has set up two new and welcome services for its users. The first of these is a variant
of the Sedgewick Library's paperback browsing collection. Each month Crane will receive twenty light fiction and biography
titles, each on a unique new pre-recorded tape cartridge. Students who have an hour to spare may now come in, pop one of these
cartridges into a toaster-like player, and enjoy some of the latest non-academic reading. The twenty titles are exchanged for new
ones every month.
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Although the number of pre-recorded materials is growing, many books required for UBC courses are still not available on
tape. To correct this situation, the Crane Library has launched a drive to record textbooks needed by blind students on campus.
Over 100 volunteer readers, mostly students, have responded to advertisements in the Ubyssey, and recording sessions now run
for seven or eight hours a day. Using this system, the library expects to tape an average of one text a week. However, this
estimate may have to be revised. Just before press time we learned that three books had been completed in the first five days of
the program.
The library of a large university is a storehouse for information in many varied forms. However, no library has an unlimited
budget or unrestricted storage space. Some priorities do have to be established in the purchase of material.
Where do newspapers fit into this picture? Over the years there has been a considerable difference of opinion on their
importance to the academic library. Until fairly recently they were not regarded as serious source material. After all, they were
ephemeral, often biased or sensational, and very seldom indexed. Storage was difficult and expensive, and even with the best" of
care newsprint tended to disintegrate within a few years.
In spite of such disadvantages, newspapers are looked on today as an essential part of the university library's collection.
Basically this is because they report on events much nearer to the time of happening, and in much greater detail, than any other
printed medium. As a result, they are major sources of information for research in history and the social sciences. Biographies,
local histories, studies on politics, economics, or social customs—all of these draw much of their primary material from
In order to make this type of information available to those who need it, the university library must subscribe to a wide range
of domestic and foreign newspapers. As current issues would be of little value by themselves, a backfile should be kept for each
title. The more complete this file, the more useful the paper is likely to be.
Valuable as it undoubtedly is, a newspaper collection such as we have described can be a headache to librarians. Newspapers
are not only expensive to acquire, but also extremely difficult to store and preserve. Current issues, for instance, require a
considerable amount of space for shelving and even more for reading; in fact the area needed for each user is larger in a
newspaper reading room than anywhere else in the library. In addition, unbound issues are often lost or damaged, and when this
happens it is not always easy to get duplicates.
Putting a newspaper in a hard binding does reduce losses, but it also creates a new set of problems. The process is expensive,
and the bound volumes are so large and heavy that they require enormous quantities of specially-built shelving for storage.
Furthermore, even bound newspapers will not last indefinitely. Wood pulp newsprint gradually disintegrates if it is allowed to
come in contact with air, even when temperature and humidity are carefully controlled. Chemical preservatives are expensive,
and none have been entirely successful.
Probably the most satisfactory way of preserving newspaper backfiles is on microfilm. In this form they are easier to handle
than heavy bound volumes, take up only about one-hundredth of the space, and of course do not require expensive heavy-duty
shelving. Most important of all, they do not deteriorate with age. Today research libraries can buy a wide variety of Canadian,
American, British, and foreign-language newspapers on microfilm from publishers, library associations, or commercial copying
agencies. The cost is high (especially if the library has to buy microfilm readers as well) but in the long run this method of
storage is less expensive than binding printed copies.
Costs can be cut down even more if two or more libraries in the same region cooperate in building up their collections. UBC,
Simon Fraser, and the University of Victoria are already taking steps in this direction. A computer list giving the newspaper
holdings of all three libraries is being prepared now. It will serve two purposes: to let users know where backfiles of a particular
paper are available, and to keep the libraries from ordering unnecessary duplicates. Indexes to the contents of newspapers are every bit as important to users as lists of holdings, but very few are available. One
of the best substitutes, at least for Canadian libraries, is Canadian News Facts, which began in 1967. It comes out in the form of
a biweekly news digest rather than an index to stories in individual newspapers. However, each news item is dated so that readers
can refer to papers published at that time for more detailed coverage. Other indexes have been produced locally for newspapers
in a particular region. One, the Index to B.C. Newspapers, is so important to students of B.C. history that it deserves separate
coverage (see following article). These projects, and others like them, are making newspapers steadily more valuable to the
modern university library and its users.
B.C. libraries have long been trying to make access to newspapers and their contents easier. One important breakthrough is
the new microfilmed Index to B.C. Newspapers. For nearly seventy years the Provincial Library in Victoria has maintained a
card index to the contents of Vancouver and Victoria papers, but this has never before been available to anyone outside the
Parliament Buildings. The file has now been filmed, and a complete copy is available from the UBC Library's Government
Publication Division.
The newspapers indexed are the Victoria Times and Colonist and the Vancouver Times, News Herald, Sun and Province.
Coverage is from 1900 to approximately April 1969, with a gap between 1910 and 1916. Arranged by subject, the index
concentrates generally on B.C. history, politics and economics. A partial list of the subject headings used is shelved with the
microform reference books in the Government Publications Division. Anyone wishing more information on this new research aid
should call at the Division's service desk or phone local 3858.
The Mathematics Library has joined a growing number of campus branches which offer service seven days a week. It will now
be open on Sundays from 12 noon till 5 p.m.
Main, Sedgewick, Woodward and Law Libraries
Curriculum Laboratory
Forestry /Agriculture Library
Mathematics Library
Music Library
Social Work Library
Wilson Record Library
Brock Hall Study Areas
9 a.m. - midnight
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
8 a.m.     11 p.m.
8 a.m.     10 p.m.
8 a.m.    midnight
Hours of service for some divisions within the Main Library will vary:
Asian Studies CLOSED
Fine Arts Division 9 a.m. - midnight
Government Publications 9 a.m. — 5 p.m.
As the News was going to press, the Canada Council announced that its grants for the purchase of research materials in the
social sciences and humanities would be suspended for at least the coming year. UBC received $70,000 from the Council in
1968, and all of it was used to improve library resources.
This change in Council policy is much to be regretted. The great deficiencies of Canadian university library collections were
brought to public attention by the AUCC-sponsored Williams Report in 1962, and since that time the Canada Council had done
much to improve the national situation. However, Canada's research libraries are still by no means self-sufficient. As evidence of
this, the UBC Library must turn to the United States for about 20% of all material needed on interlibrary loan.
Editor: Mrs. E. de Bruijn Information & Orientation Division


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