Decade in review: Book to the future

The advancements of UBC Library in this last decade have been monumental. There have been changes in the general makeup of the library system with the increase of library offices and changes in study spaces, but that in many ways just scratches the surface.

In 2010, UBC Library wanted to become a 21st-century research library. This meant not just adapting to rapid technological change but also repurposing space to make the library more user-centred especially in areas of interdisciplinary and graduate research. Despite this being their stated goal, last year The Ubyssey reported on how Koerner library study spaces were being taken over to become library offices.

The decade started with the collection expand- ing by over 300,000 items, due to the fact that the Canadian dollar was performing well against the US dollar that year.

The middle of the decade was also UBC Library’s 100-year anniversary. With this came huge shifts in materials being purchased for the use of students. Also introduced that year was the Pay It Forward grant, in which UBC worked in conjunction with several American universities to investigate sustainable methods of processing charges in institutions. This has had direct impacts on the way that open access fees are paid today. 2015 also marked changes in the rare books collections as the library was able to acquire works from Oscar Wilde and pieces of Papal bull.

Today, UBC Library is focused on much of the same things that it focused on 10 years ago. This year it has especially worked hard on expanding its collections. The LGBTQ+ collection now grants users access to 1.5 million pages of primary source content. In 2018, Rare Books and Special Collections purchased a first-edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for $36,500 US. One of the main aims is to make content more accessible, which is why there has also been a greater emphasis on creating open textbook resources and improving libraries’ virtual and augmented reality media labs. Changes in study spaces have also been made with the introduction of active workstations in Irving K. Barber.

Whether UBC Library have been able to make it into the 21st-century is still up in the air, but inarguably over the past 10 years, they have become a different place of mind.