Farewell, Harry!

Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:35 pm by cshriver

we_1Thank you so much to everyone who came out to see our exhibition, Harry Potter and the Rain City, over the course of the fall. The exhibition came down at the beginning of this week, but the love for the Wizarding World continues (as evidenced by the release today of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie trailer)!

As we bid farewell to Harry (for now), a graduate student from UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies wanted to update us about a couple of Harry Potter-themed programs he coordinated. The student, Hiller Goodspeed, completed a professional experience with RBSC this term that included working on the design components of the exhibition (including the awesome Marauder’s Map) and developing programming, including two programs for the Vancouver Writers’ Exchange at Queen Alexandria Elementary School in East Vancouver.

we_2Here’s what Hiller had to say about the programs:

The Writers’ Exchange regularly runs in- and after-school literacy programs at elementary schools around the city as well as at the Writers’ Exchange in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

In one of the programs, younger students were challenged to write their own book of spells and decorate colourful wands to cast them with. By the end of the day, the classroom of Muggles had been transformed into spell-zinging magic folk.

we_3In another program run with the Comic Book Club, students created comics which were derivative of the Harry Potter book series. Students were asked to fit in as much content as they could onto a single page, in the style of illustrator Lucy Knisley’s a-page-a-book Harry Potter posters.

Both programs were successful and well-received by the students and volunteers.

Thanks so much, Hiller!

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Vast Ocean, Vast Heaven celebrates UBC’s Nitobe Memorial Garden

Posted on December 5, 2015 @1:03 pm by cshriver

Nitobe Memorial Garden exhibition poster imageAs part of the Nitobe Memorial Garden Concepts and Prospects symposium, the research curators of the Collective for the Advanced and Unified Studies in the Visual Arts (CAUSA) present, Nitobe Memorial Garden: Vast Ocean, Vast Heaven, a multi-site exhibition at UBC from December 3, 2015 to January 31, 2016. Locations include:

Developing from affiliations with the Free International University for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research (as  initiated by Joseph Beuys and Heinrich Böll), CAUSA – Collective for Advanced and Unified Studies in the Visual Arts – aims to develop autonomous scholarly analysis and interpretation of visual culture (including problems of intelligibility) within specific historical contexts. CAUSA functions in association with a ‘global village’ network of  independent and institutional scholars – in tandem with a pluralistic community of socially engaged contemporary artists.

Nitobe Garden Exhibition imageIn its affiliation with the University of Manitoba Asian Studies Centre, CAUSA sustains a continuative process of philosophical reflection by connecting its programme of research to an expansive glimmering that was first formulated by Marshall McLuhan. He advises us, assuredly: “We may be drowning. But if so, the flood of experience in which we are drowning is very much a part of the culture we have created. The flood is not something outside our culture. It is a self-invasion of privacy. And so it is not catastrophic. We can turn it off if we choose, if we wake up to the fact that the faucets of change are inside the ark of society, not outside.”

For more information, visit or email

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Have your cake and read it, too

Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:36 pm by cshriver

The creativity and sense of humour of our students at UBC never cease to amaze me! Yesterday we were happy to host a small group from Professor Melissa Funke’s Classical Studies course, Women in the Roman World of Republican and Imperial Times, to look at our Roman-age Egypt papyri. During their visit, I got to hear about a very cool presentation that some of the students did for the class this term.

The students—Susan Bahaduri, Jova Chan, Jeneba Kamara, Jaymie Orchard, and Pauline

While this cake looks delicious, RBSC patrons are discouraged from eating actual papyri.

While this cake looks delicious, RBSC patrons are discouraged from eating actual papyri.

Villegas—were tasked with looking at the letter from a son to his mother here at RSBC, as well as other similar papyrus letters either to or from women in Roman Egypt. The students, aware that presentation audiences are always more receptive when they get treats, decided to bake a papyrus cake! It looks as amazing as I’m sure it tasted. We’re delighted that the papyrus letter was able to inspire both great scholarship and culinary adventure. Congratulations Susan, Jova, Jeneba, Jaymie, and Pauline on a job well done!

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Remembrance Day: Remembering Hugh McLennan (1887-1915)

Posted on November 10, 2015 @12:22 pm by cshriver

In honour of Remembrance Day, we here at RBSC wanted to share a few letters that a young man named Hugh McLennan wrote to friends and family during the First World War, as well as a final letter, written by his cousin Durie McLennan, giving an account of Hugh’s last days.

Hugh McLennan was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, on 21 January 1887, the third child of John Stewart McLennan and Louise Bradley McLennan. He earned a degree in architecture at McGill University between 1905 and 1907 and also studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris before enlisting for service in World War I in 1914. He served as sergeant in the 5th Battery, 2nd Brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery and was killed in action near Ypres, Belgium, on 26 April 1915. He is buried in Ypres Town Cemetery. In 1928 the Hugh McLennan Memorial Travelling Scholarship in Architecture at McGill University was established in his memory.


Happy Harry-ween!

Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:37 pm by cshriver

Photo 2015-10-30, 12 16 15 PMThank you so much to everyone who came out for UBC Library’s Harry Potter-themed Halloween Party!

The party kicked off with sweet and salty snacks, hot drinks, and a get-to-know-your-classmates scavenger hunt game. Prizes, including an Alivan’s wand and a gift certificate donated by Just Imagine Fun Clothing, Costumes, and Dance Gear, were awarded for the most authentic and the most creative costumes. Prizes were presented by Associate University Librarian for Research Services Lea Starr (a.k.a. Bellatrix Lestrange). Guests enjoyed board games, a puzzle, and a “make your own wand” craft station, as well as a popular “Have You Seen This Wizard” photo booth. Guests were also able to add to a “What Does Harry Potter Mean to You?” mural. Here are some of the contributions:

“The 3rd book was the first book I can remember reading and falling in love with and it made me want to become an author.”
“A tale of belonging and love”
“A love for libraries”
“A lifelong love of reading”
“Overcoming life’s obstacles”
“Figuring out who you are and how you fit within the world”
“Hogwarts will always be there for those who need it.”

You can see more photos of the event on Twitter at #harrypotterubc.

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Harry Potter LibGuide

Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:38 pm by cshriver

HP-FacebookIn honour of UBC Library’s Harry Potter related exhibition and events this fall, Irena Trebic, Reference Librarian David Lam Management Research Library, has created a wonderful LibGuide for the Harry Potter series. The guide explores the connections between themes in the books and the collection at the David Lam Library (books, articles, and theses). The guide also has a link to a video recording of our recent colloquium Harry Potter, Brands of Magic. Enjoy!

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Sara G

Posted on October 9, 2015 @3:28 pm by cshriver

Sara G
Dear Mr. Potter,
I’m a children’s librarian in Surrey. I remember when book 2 came out – it was the first year our libraries decided to purchase en masse very large quantities of a single title – 100 copies! Every morning staff would check how many requests were on the books – this was big news across the system. Kids came to the library the day it was released who had their names on the waitlist. They knew it would still be months before they got the book, but they just wanted to be near the excitement … to sneak a peek at the cover or whatever. Our library was legally obliged not to let anyone see the book until the release date. Our collections dept had to sign off a legal document so that they could see it early (only 1 day early!) and catalogue and process all 100 copies. Everything came to a halt except cataloguing those books. Then, the next morning, release day, boxes of catalogued books were driven to branches by librarians. Circulation staff PHONED all patrons who had holds – 100 phone calls — since we had no other way to immediately notify patrons. That morning – someone in the Guildford Library shouted into the phone “are you OK?” When asked what was going on, the staff person said that the child was so excited to get the phone call they jumped so high on their bed while holding the phone that they bumped their head on the ceiling! Crazy times
Hogwarts’ House
Post Category
Harry Potter Stories


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New exhibition: The Illustrated Alice

Posted on October 8, 2015 @7:12 pm by cshriver

The Illustrated Alice: Celebrating 150 Years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

October 6 through October 31, 2015

“And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures or conversation?”

~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Image of Illustrated AliceJoin us for a sesquicentennial celebration of one of the most beloved books ever written. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) is proud to present The Illustrated Alice, a visual journey through 150 years of illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s classic work.

Curated by Kristy Woodcock, a children’s librarian and student in the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at UBC, the exhibition explores the enduring appeal of Alice through the ages.

Few literary works in history have been more widely adapted and referenced than Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Since its first publication in 1865, Alice has inspired many of the world’s greatest artists. While Sir John Tenniel is well known as the original illustrator, the book has been reinterpreted by hundreds of artists, including Blanche McManus, Arthur Rackham, A.E. Jackson, Ralph Steadman, Barry Moser, Tove Jansson, and Lisbeth Zwerger.

Featuring items from RBSC’s Alice 100 Collection, the exhibition showcases the many illustrated editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. One of the most famous artists on display is Salvador Dalí. Published in 1969, the Dalí Alice contains original woodcut remarques in a linen and leather case. Other highlights include the 1866 first edition of Alice illustrated by John Tenniel, a nineteenth century facsimile of Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript, and a calf-bound set that bears Alice Hargreaves’ signature.

The Illustrated Alice is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first and second floors of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from October 6 through October 31, 2015, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning October 17, RBSC will also be open Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or


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Chelsea S.

Posted on October 8, 2015 @11:10 am by cshriver

Chelsea S.
Dear Mr. Potter
I remember going to pick up my pre-ordered copy of “Deathly Hallows” and smiling at all of the people I passed who also had the book under their arms as I walked home. I spent the day reading on a sunny porch until I had to leave to pick up a friend from the airport. Sitting in my car in the parking lot, I read some more, hoping the plane would be delayed and wondering why I hadn’t planned this visit better! Luckily, jet lag meant that an afternoon nap was in order, and I finished the book, trying hard not to cry too loudly, while my friend snored on the couch. I’ve been so proud and happy to be part of this amazing community, one that continues to flourish long after the last page has been read.
Hogwarts’ House
Post Category
Harry Potter Stories


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“Dear Mr. Potter…with love from the Rain City”

Posted on October 8, 2015 @9:58 am by cshriver

Image of Ashlyn fan art

Harry Potter fan art by native Vancouverite and children’s book author, Ashlyn Anstee

We are delighted to announce a new exhibition curated by Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library, Harry Potter and the Rain City!

The exhibition spans three UBC’s library branches and features books from the Harry Potter series that have been newly added to the RBSC collection, as well as stories and memorabilia from Vancouver-area people and businesses most deeply impacted by the series.

Now we want you to share your Harry Potter story with other fans across Vancouver, British Columbia, and the world! How has the Harry Potter series impacted and inspired you? What are some of your best Harry Potter memories? What has Harry Potter and the Potter fandom meant to you? What would you say to Mr. Potter (or his creator, J. K. Rowling) if you had the chance? Submissions will be posted to the RBSC blog as new content is received.

The exhibition Harry Potter and the Rain City is free and open to the public, with locations at the David Lam Library (2nd floor), Koerner Library (3rd floor), and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Ridington Room (3rd floor). For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at 604 822-2521 or

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