Classes / Tours

Please note: Before visiting, please contact us as there may be delays in accessing materials in the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS).


Rare Books and Special Collections welcomes requests for class visits to the RBSC seminar room. Through a visit to RBSC and an experience with collections-based learning and research, your students will:

  • Benefit from experiential learning through hands-on work with primary sources
  • Develop research skills in finding and using primary source materials
  • Learn proper handling and use of rare materials
  • Understand research etiquette for future work in archives, special collections, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions

We will do our best to accommodate your preferred date and time, but we recommend booking at least one month prior to the visit in order to ensure classroom availability and enough preparation time for our staff. To book a day and time for your class visit, please complete our Instructional Support Request Form.

RBSC librarians and archivists are available to host classes, providing an introduction to our collections and tips for the safe handling of materials. We are also available suggest resources that will help support the educational goal of a single lecture or an entire course.

When considering a class visit to RBSC, please keep in mind:

  • Faculty should submit their Instructional Support Request Form as soon as possible since availability is limited.
  • Once we receive your request, a librarian or archivist will be in touch to confirm the request, depending on availability, as well as discuss the class visit and determine the best materials to use.
  • Our seminar room can accommodate up to 25 students. If you have a larger class, you can book multiple sessions in RBSC to split the class into smaller groups.
  • Class visits generally take place during our reading room open hours (Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), however accommodations can be made for classes starting earlier or running later.
  • Students should complete a self-enrolled, introductory Canvas course on Rare Books and Special Collections prior to their in-person visit. Students without a UBC CWL will receive an alternative Canvas course link.
  • Every class will receive a standard 15-20 minute introduction that recaps the Canvas course and answers any questions.
  • A finalized list of library or archival materials needed for your visit (including author / creator, title, and call number / box number) should be submitted to the librarian or archivist at least one week prior to the class.

When students arrive, they should expect to follow these class visit guidelines:

  • Students should review our Handling Guidelines and thoroughly wash and dry their hands before arriving for their class visit.
  • Students must bring their student I.D. or some other form of photo I.D. When they arrive, RBSC staff will ask them to exchange their I.D.s for locker keys so they can store their belongings in RBSC’s secure on-site lockers.
  • All bags, coats, and personal belongings must be kept in a locker.
  • RBSC provides paper and pencils for taking notes. Students may also bring in laptops (without the case) and phones to take photos (without flash).
  • No food, drink, or pens are allowed in the reading room or seminar room.


Please note: At this time, RBSC is not able to offer our regular drop-in tours.

Have you ever been curious about what we do or what we have at RBSC? Join our weekly tour of Rare Books and Special Collections every Wednesday from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. for an introduction to our space and our unique materials and collections. Tours are free and open to the general public, as well as the UBC community. No need to RSVP, just drop in to learn what RBSC is all about!

If you can’t make our weekly Wednesday tour, tours of Rare Books and Special Collections may be arranged by contacting the Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian (604-822-0645) or by filling out the online form, under the Contact Us section.

The Chung Collection is housed in Rare Books and Special Collections. An exhibition of outstanding items from the collection can be seen there in the Chung Collection room. The exhibition is open to the public at no charge, and a weekly tour of the Chung Collection exhibition is available every Thursday from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.