Stories of Support


UBC Library 2016/17 Senate Report

Read our highlights from the past fiscal year which include growing our collections, improving student spaces, connecting research to the community and engaging with our community partners.

Weekly drop-in tours of the Chung Collection

Rare Books and Special Collections is now offering weekly tours of the Chung Collection exhibition every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

UBC student wins Library’s Croquet Collection Prize

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The Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection Prize, established in 2015, is awarded annually to the best research paper featuring the collection. We spoke with Mariah Dear, a fourth-year UBC student and the second winner of the prize. Mariah is majoring in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice and will graduate in May 2018.


What made you want to write a series of poems instead of a traditional research paper?

I’m minoring in English literature, and as much as I love to write academic essays, I much prefer writing of the creative kind! I love poetry – I considered doing Creative Writing in some facet for my undergraduate degree – and am the president of UBC Slam Poetry, the main poetry hub at UBC. I have been trying to work on and improve my poetry for ages, and this seemed like a fun and quirky new topic to write on, all while getting to apply for a prize.


You wrote ten poems with ten accompanying images. How did you select the images that you wrote about?

I selected the images by pure instinct. I didn’t look through the complete collection (there are hundreds of images) – but instead, I looked at probably around 100 or 150 of the images and selected the ones that grabbed me at first glance. Most of those were unique for some funny or unique reason – I was intrigued by some of the humorous postcards.


Do you have a favourite spot or branch in the Library?

My favourite spots in the library are anywhere by windows. I love to be around books but I thrive on natural light. I find I can’t get anything done in the basement, but when I’m spread out on a table looking out onto campus, I get a lot done.




The rural rush hour (1919) by L. M. Glackens, courtesy of UBC Library’s Open Collections.

The Rural Rush Hour, by Mariah Dear

this is they type of croquet
I always knew

fat and crazy and normal

wild and made out of bent wire

I like it frantic and happy
like the courting when it is done

the ladies let their hair fall
the goats chew their white hats

nana bakes a pie and everyone eats
it on their laps in the cramped backyard


croquet postcard

New and ingenious idea for croquet (1867), courtesy of UBC Library’s Open Collections.

Men Will Flirt,
And So, Let Us Make Hoops of Them!, by Mariah Dear

three sassy women
stand like sisters with small sinister smiles
and tap the balls through arches
of dress pants and leather belts

three sassy women
hear the low moan humming
deep in the throats of these respectable figures
and they know that if they say it with just the right
infliction these men will eagerly be bridges

Mr. Stafford, darling, would you stand with your legs just there?

and he does,
and the women grin and bludgeon the balls
so pristinely through the arches, they are good
at sport, so we know that when the red and yellow
crack into these grinning men’s shins
it is no goofy accident

three sassy women
win their match and head inside for
a glass of wine and prepare the men
some tea


About the collection

The Arkley Croquet Collection contains more than 1,400 items from the 1850s to 1950s. The collection includes oil paintings, watercolours, illustrations and fine art as well as photographs, prints, books, advertisements, comics and other materials related to croquet. The images show the rise in the game’s popularity in England and America in the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection also offers a fascinating glimpse at gender roles, as croquet was one of the first games that men and women played together.

Friends newsletter, Summer 2017

The summer 2017 issue of UBC Library’s Friends newsletter includes a look at notable collections, a murder case revealed in special collections, exhibits and other news from the Library.

Browse the issue below or download the PDF.


Susan E. Parker appointed as UBC’s University Librarian

Susan Parker

In September 2017, UBC will welcome Susan E. Parker as University Librarian for a five-year term. Ms. Parker currently holds the role of Deputy University Librarian at the University of California, Los Angeles where she leads operations, human resources, assessment, budgeting, strategic planning, capital project planning and fundraising.

Ms. Parker will take over leadership of UBC Library at a pivotal time as the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan comes to a close and the library develops new strategic priorities in alignment with UBC’s new strategic plan. At UCLA, Ms. Parker led the processes behind the library’s strategic plans for 2006-2009 and 2012-2019.

“Susan Parker’s reputation in the library community is one of solid competence and professionalism,” said Melody Burton, Interim University Librarian. “We are thrilled to have her join UBC Library at this particular time.”

Ms. Parker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and American Literature, a Master of Arts in History, and a Master of Library Science with a specialization in academic librarianship. Her research interests include leadership in academic libraries and higher education, organization theory, and the concept of “credible optimism” emphasizing the importance of positivity in the pursuit of realistic and sustainable goals.

“Being named University Librarian at UBC is an honour, and the highlight of my career,” says Susan Parker. “I look forward to partnering with UBC’s excellent library staff, students, and faculty as we continue to develop and deliver outstanding services, scholarly resource collections, and welcoming library facilities for the UBC community.”

In July 2016 Melody Burton stepped into the role of Interim University Librarian, in addition to her role as Deputy University Librarian. Over the past year Ms. Burton has been focused on a “domestic agenda” to build relationships on campus and set the table for the next University Librarian.

“I wish to express my gratitude to Ms. Melody Burton for her service as the Interim University Librarian since July 2016,” said Dr. Angela Redish, UBC Provost and VP Academic pro tem. “Her work has been integral to the continuity of the library’s strong leadership over the past year.” 

Ms. Burton will continue in this interim role until September 1, when Ms. Parker joins UBC.


Read the full announcement from the Office of the Provost and VP Academic.


Arthur J. Ray wins the 2017 Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for his examination of Aboriginal land claims litigation


Arthur J. Ray has won the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia for his book Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History. The $1,000 prize, given by UBC Library and the Pacific BookWorld News Society, will be awarded at UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre in June.

Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, Ray’s book is a masterfully-written examination of land claims litigation between Indigenous peoples and the settler societies of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa that powerfully demonstrates the important role proceedings in British Columbia played in events of global significance.

“This book is the outgrowth of my involvement in aboriginal claims in Canada as an expert on the historical geography of the economies of First Nations and Metis communities,” says Dr. Ray, “Beginning with my participation in Delgamuukw v. The Attorney General of British Columbia (1997), l became interested in the ways extant case law and scholarship influenced claims research and, in turn, how the latter research advanced Aboriginal rights law and scholarship about aboriginal people.”

“We are thrilled that this year’s Basil Stuart-Stubbs prize has been awarded to a book written by a UBC faculty member,” says Melody Burton, UBC’s Interim University Librarian. 

Arthur J. Ray is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the University of British Columbia and has served as the co-editor of the Canadian Historical Review from 2003 to 2006. He is the author of several other books including Telling it to the Judge, An Illustrated History of Canada’s Native People and Bounty and Benevolence.

Shortlisted titles for the award include:

At Sea with the Marine Birds of the Raincoast by Caroline Fox (Rocky Mountain Books)


Yakuglas’ Legacy: The Art and Times of Charlie James by Ronald W. Hawker (University of Toronto Press).


About the Prize

The Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Book on British Columbia, sponsored by UBC Library and the Pacific BookWorld News Society, recognizes the best scholarly book published by a Canadian author on a B.C. subject. The award was established in memory of Basil Stuart-Stubbs, a bibliophile, scholar and librarian who passed away in 2012.Stuart-Stubbs’s many accomplishments included serving as the University Librarian at UBC Library and as the Director of UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. Stuart-Stubbs had a leadership role in many national and regional library and publishing activities. During his exceptional career, he took particular interest in the production and distribution of Canadian books, and was associated with several initiatives beneficial to authors and their readers, and to Canadian publishing.

Yamaha Piano from Tom Lee Music Enriches UBC Library

A donation of an electronic silent piano from Tom Lee Music has greatly benefitted students at the Music, Art and Architecture Library. This article is a translation of the original Ming Pao Canada article.

Friends – Fall 2016

The fall 2016 issue of UBC Library’s Friends newsletter highlights new people and faces at the Library, the Kelmscott Chaucer acquisition, a look at the winner of the 2016 Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize, and other news from the Library.

Browse the issue below or download the PDF.


UBC library buys rare Chaucer works for $200K

CTV's evening news covered the Library's purchase of this rare book on August 25, 2016.

UBC Library acquires copy of ‘The Most Beautiful of All Printed Books’

The Simi Sara Show speaks to Dr. Gregory Mackie, assistant professor in UBC’s department of English about how the Kelmscott Chaucer will enhance teaching and learning at UBC.


Read more stories about collections, services and spaces on the Library’s About Us blog.