Looking for information from previous years? Check out past highlights below!
The Library is in a state of rapid change in terms of its learning and research spaces: with the evolution of the recently opened Inclusive Technology Lab and Innovation Library, and the imminent opening of the campus Teaching & Learning Centre in Fall 2018, we welcome the opportunity to increase the functionality and aesthetic of our spaces to provide students with the best possible experiences as they progress through their academic careers.
Inclusive Technology Lab
In 2017, 140 students registered with the Library’s Inclusive Technology Lab (ITL); 86 were new to the ITL and 54 were returners from the previous year. The Lab also facilitated 206 loans of specialized technology to 57 individuals.
Thanks to generous donor support, the Library formalized an ongoing, part-time ITL Coordinator position which holds weekly drop-in hours and provides individual consultations. In 2017, 118 individual consultations on how to use assistive technology were conducted by the Coordinator; in addition, she led three workshops on assistive software and made two in-class presentations to computer science students about assistive software and the ITL. Peer Technology Assistant duties were also modified to include peer drop-in support in the ITL; since September, two students have answered 26 peer technology questions in the Lab. The Library holds one event per term in the ITL with the goal of increasing community amongst students, raising awareness of the services and technology available, and gathering feedback on our efforts.
The ITL has an Advisory Council comprised of students, staff, and faculty from across campus. This group meets twice per year and provides guidance on how to improve ITL services and programming; members are also working with IT, Media, and Classroom Services to explore options for improving access to some assistive technologies campus-wide.
Since the Lab’s renovation and expansion in 2016, students have become more familiar with the technology available, and use it in more individualized ways. Technology consultations have increased substantially, expanding the scope and depth of the software and tools being used. For many users of the lab, the peer-to-peer guidance has done more than simply provide motivation and support; it has helped to create a sense of community and mitigated anxiety over using the equipment and services, resulting in many students using the Lab’s technology to a fuller potential. This specialized public space allows students to study in a manner that matches their own distinctive needs, and promotes a more inclusive campus relating to disability issues.
“Students found the hands-on experience with the hardware a great way to learn about the resources available to them. They really enjoyed the software demos and found them really useful for their own studies. Some students even signed up to volunteer to help out in the Lab because they thought the Lab is a great way to support the students’ learning experience.”
In 2015, the UBC Okanagan Library, in collaboration with the Okanagan Regional Library (ORL), launched its physical presence within the downtown Kelowna branch of ORL, allowing members of the Okanagan community and the university access to UBC’s vast online information resources in a convenient urban location.
In 2017, the Innovation Library relocated within ORL’s Kelowna branch to a higher-visibility location and underwent a minor renovation that included addition of improved furnishings and technology. Numbers of visitors have increased over the past year, and with the August onboarding of our new Communications & Engagement Librarian and UBC’s decision to be present in the Okanagan Innovation Centre, we look forward to working more closely with our downtown colleagues and neighbours to further raise the Library’s profile.
Visitors to the Innovation Library last year were engaged in a wide variety of research endeavours. The space is extremely popular with genealogical researchers from the community, and our student librarians have presented several times to this group, including in a dedicated session this year that saw 13 local researchers book a group tour of the facility. Student users have come not only from UBC Okanagan, but also from other educational institutions, and include distance learners from institutions such as Athabasca University. Community users varied from historians to scientists, retired professors to guest lecturers.
2017 programs included the summer’s Genealogical Society event Where was your family 150 years ago? and September’s highly successful Queer in Kelowna: A community-university conversation events, both hosted in partnership with the Okanagan Regional Library. Earlier in the year, the Innovation Library hosted community members from the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society enrolled in UBC Okanagan’s Downtown Education Project, UBC Okanagan’s 2017 Writer in Residence, and the Faculty of Creative Studies’ Creative Writing Workshop. The Library is currently engaged in a planning cycle with ORL to set potential dates and topics for upcoming joint programming.
Teaching and Learning Centre and Library Main Floor Renovation
Currently under construction, UBC Okanagan’s Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) seeks to reimagine the campus learning experience, facilitate interdisciplinary research opportunities, and contribute to community engagement. Connected to the existing Library on its main and third floors, the TLC considers emerging technology requirements and responds to student demands for interactive spaces that support both collaborative and independent work.
The TLC’s spaces and services collectively represent a unique assembly of campus partners dedicated to providing outstanding facilities and support to students, faculty, and community members involved in teaching and research, learning and engagement. Key features include:
- Hundreds of student seats for informal study and learning, in a variety of configurations including individual and group, active and stationary, collaborative and quiet, basic and technology-enhanced;
- Special Collections & Archives Vault and Reading Room for preservation and consultation of rare and valuable materials as well as institutional records;
- Technology-rich Teaching & Visualization Lab to support enhanced teaching and research;
- Engagement Theatre, for public presentation and community engagement;
- 400-seat lecture theatre, specifically developed to support innovative pedagogy;
- Digital Media Technology Centre for creation of multimedia (video and photo creation/editing, 3D modeling), including training space;
- Shared Helpdesk space, with support and staffing provided by IT Services/UBC Studios and the Library; and
- Graduate Student Commons and workshop rooms.
In parallel with TLC construction, the Library is planning a renovation to its main floor which will better align services and spaces between the two facilities. While still in the design and budget stages of development, key elements of this renovation include:
- A reimagined service zone that removes physical barriers and better showcases Library and other campus supports for student learning;
- An active learning classroom that will support Library instruction activities and, in partnership with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, offer a new kind of learning environment for instructors interested in further developing their teaching practice;
- A satellite Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) location that will offer a rotating leisure reading collection and the opportunity for on-campus holds pickup; and
- Improved seating options for informal learning, in configurations to encourage both individual and collaborative work.