UBCO library upgrade enhances teaching and research

There are now 8,000 students using the library, which was originally built to accommodate a campus population of 3,500.

UBCO’s chief librarian Melody Burton stands next to one of the free standing book cases in the new library

UBC Okanagan’s library has received a $1.4-million makeover to better meet the diverse needs of an expanded campus community and the general public.

Student seating has increased by 25 per cent and new amenities have enriched the student learning experience.

“A campus library needs abundant resources and the latest learning technologies for our students to achieve academic success,” said Deborah Buszard, principal and deputy vice chancellor of UBC Okanagan.

“The importance of the library is underlined by its access to vast electronic databases. The library is the way students connect with the rest of the world, well beyond what used to be.”

The improvements to the library build upon the foundation of excellence that began with the vision and effort of chief librarian Melody Burton and the library staff, Buszard said.

“These renovations enhance the process of discovery and research. We have also created a space that is more comfortable and conducive to learning.”

Students acknowledge the library as an intellectual hot-spot.

“The role of the library and learning commons is to enhance student engagement in their academic and university endeavours which ensures their success at UBC’s Okanagan campus,” said Abdulrahman Alnaar, a fourth-year political science student.

“The improvement to the Library Learning Commons’ physical, social and technical environment has been phenomenal.

“UBC’s Okanagan campus has seen unprecedented growth in a very short time,” Alnaar said.

The UBCO library is also a superb public resource and Buszard hopes people from the wider community will be encouraged to use the campus library and its access to titles, e-books, digital collections and reference materials.

Buszard indicated the next stage for the library is a major expansion—but as an unfunded capital priority not covered by provincial grants, there is an urgent need for donors.

There are now 8,000 students using the library, which was originally built to accommodate a campus population of 3,500. The library is still contained within the same physical space, which has never been expanded.

“We have taken a significant step, but the job is not yet done,” said Buszard. “An expanded library presents an excellent and significant opportunity for philanthropy. We welcome the participation of like-minded individuals and corporations who share our educational philosophy.

“Our students deserve the very best and we are working hard to provide them with the tools they need,” she said.

Students are acutely aware of both what they have achieved and how much further the effort needs to go for a bigger and better library, noted Alnaar.

“The new renovations and the extension of our library will ensure the cultivation of increased collaboration between students, which is always a great thing academically and socially.”

The renovations have resulted in a number of significant changes to the Learning Commons and the general operation of the library. Highlights include:

• A single service point that combines circulation and reference

• More seats

• An additional quiet reading room similar to the Field Reading Room

• Additional group study rooms

• Self-service checkout

• Self-service holds and reserves.