University of British Columbia. Library

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University of British Columbia. Library

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Description area

Dates of existence

1915-

History

Provisions for a library at the University of British Columbia were first made in 1914, one year before the institution opened its doors at the old Fairview campus. President Frank F. Wesbrook secured the services of J.T. Gerould to select and purchase books for the Library. In 1914 John Ridington was hired to catalogue the Library's collections, and in 1916 was appointed UBC's first University Librarian. During his tenure he saw the collection grow from 700 to 125,000 volumes. Ridington also oversaw the move of the collections in 1925 from Fairview to the new Library at the Point Grey campus. He was succeeded by W. Kaye Lamb (1940-1948), Anne Smith (1948-1949, 1951, acting), Leslie W. Dunlap (1949-1951), Neal Harlow (1951-1961), Samuel Rothstein (1961-1962, acting), Jim Ranz (1962-1963), Basil Stuart-Stubbs (1964-1982), Douglas McInnes (1982-1989), William Watson (1989-1990, acting), Ruth Patrick (1990-1997), Catherine Quinlan (1998-2007), Peter Ward (2007-2009, pro tem), and Ingrid Parent (2009- ). In recent years Assistant University Librarians have also been appointed, with specific areas of responsibility. A north wing was added to the Library building in 1948, and a south wing in 1960. The Library's growth led to the reorganization of its collections and public services into subject-based divisions in 1960. In addition, a process of decentralization was begun in 1952 with the opening of the Bio-Medical Branch Library at Vancouver General Hospital. A more comprehensive decentralization plan, implemented in the 1960s, created a large and dispersed system which by 1999 consisted of two central libraries (Main Library and the Walter C. Koerner Library), thirteen public service branches and divisions, and eight internal service divisions. A three million dollar donation by industrialist H.R. Macmillan in 1965 significantly enhanced the size of the Library's collections, which by the 1990s had grown to over three million books.
As of 2008 the UBC Library consists of 19 branches and divisions, located in facilities at the Point Grey campus, Robson Square in Vancouver, three Vancouver hospitals (St. Paul's, Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre, and Children's and Women's Health Centre), and UBC-Okanagan. The Library continues to provide access to recorded knowledge and information – in the form of books, periodicals, manuscripts, audio-visual materials, and electronic media – to students, faculty, and the surrounding community.

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