Our 2016 Highlights
The UBC Okanagan Library remains undersized to serve our current student population. At present, there are 684 seats available. Of these seats, approximately 54 (7.9%) are located within study rooms, 37 (5.4%) are soft seating, 287 (42%) are quiet, individual study, and 120 (17.5%) are dedicated to group study. We also provide computer access with 123 desktops (both Mac and PCs) available to students, as well as 42 laptop computers available for either 7-day or 24-hour loans.
|“The library needs more study space! Not all the students can fit, and for commuter students like me, who have nowhere else to go, it’s annoying.”|
|– 2nd Year undergraduate student, Humanities|
Inclusive Technology Lab
UBC Okanagan Library’s Inclusive Technology Lab (ITL) resulted from a desire to enhance services offered by the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) and further support academic success for students with disabilities. The ITL welcomes both DRC-registered students with short- and long-term disabilities, as well as students who have an academic interest in learning about assistive software.
The ITL welcomes individuals contending with a broad range of disabilities, from students with visual, hearing, or physical barriers to students with neurological disabilities, including brain injuries, autism, mental illness, ADHD, or temporary disabilities such as a broken arm. The space assists these students in four key workspaces designed for individual and group work: two computer labs with six workstations, a large distraction-reduced study space, and a collaborative space for practicing presentations, which includes an adjustable work table, TV screen, and printer.
In its inaugural year, the space, equipment, and services provided by the ITL yielded both social and academic benefits. The Lab’s supportive environment is helping to empower students by giving them the tools they need to become effective learners, reducing barriers to their academic success. Consequently, cross-campus awareness for the ITL is building, which is reducing the stigma for students needing this extra support. Greater awareness of the ITL has also resulted in an increase of registered DRC students. As of September 2015, the DRC had 285 students registered to use its facilities. By April 2016 this number reached 400, an increase of 100 students from a year earlier.
|“I think it [the ITL] was a great idea as now I can access texts that I normally wouldn’t be able to. The university should definitely keep and expand the lab so that students with need could have a smooth academic experience as I had with its aid.”|
In April 2016, students rated the ITL very highly in supporting their studies. They appreciated the easy access to assistive technology and to quiet, distraction-free space. Now that the ITL is established, we have come to learn that our combination of space, technology, and lending support services is unique in a BC library setting. A representative of Assistive Technology BC stated that in his opinion UBC Okanagan had set a new standard among post-secondary institutions within BC.
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. The Innovation Library is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of students involved in experiential and community service learning opportunities, faculty members engaged with community-based research, and community researchers in the Okanagan. A unique two-year pilot project, the initiative was jointly supported by a private British Columbia-based foundation and the Irving K. Barber Learning fund.
Though the role welcomed a new incumbent in Summer 2016, our Community Innovation Librarian was involved in programming and events throughout the year, including the One Book Kelowna launch, Kelowna Genealogical Society Conference, Focus on Fanfiction workshop, and Interior Health’s Evidence Matters webinar series. The librarian also sat on the organizing committee, and participated in coordinating events, for Central Okanagan Heritage Society’s Heritage Week.
|“The Innovation Library has been greatly helpful to me for conducting research. Instead of having to go all the way up to the campus near the airport, participants and myself are able to make use of a space in the heart of the city. Having a librarian available who can help with any questions that may arise, has been very helpful.”|
|– Research Assistant, Faculty of Education|
In Fall 2016, the Innovation Library extended its hours of operation to 46 per week (from 27 per week in 2015) through the addition of a UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS) Co-op student. In addition, following some renovations at the ORL’s Kelowna branch, the Innovation Library is relocating to a new, higher traffic space in early 2017, significantly increasing its visibility.
2017 promises to expand outreach through engagement with industry and community organizations including UBC Okanagan Co-op partners, Interior Health (which has recently opened a new building immediately across the street), and technology sector colleagues such as Accelerate Okanagan and its members in anticipation of the 2017 opening of the Okanagan Centre for Innovation.
Teaching and Learning Centre
Through 2014’s #MoreLibrary campaign and subsequent referendum, students confirmed their commitment to the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) project by agreeing to fund up to $10M. With additional government funding formally announced in early December 2016, UBC Okanagan’s TLC will reimagine the campus learning experience, facilitate interdisciplinary research opportunities, and contribute to community engagement. An expansion of the existing library featuring exciting new facilities, the TLC will consider emerging technology requirements, and respond to student demands for interactive spaces that support both collaborative and independent work. Specifically, the TLC plans include a state of the art 400 seat classroom, informal learning/collaborative study areas, quiet/independent study spaces, group study/case rooms, a graduate student commons, a digital media centre with a visualization lab which will facilitate high resolution data modeling for research and teaching, and an immersive theatre space that will allow public presentation and sharing of student and community research. In addition, a new special collections and archives facility will support research, teaching, and community linkages in social sciences and humanities disciplines, and provide vault facilities appropriate for the long-term preservation of rare and valuable physical collections, works of art, and institutional records.
|“Need way more space.”|
|– 4th year undergraduate student, Science / Math / Computer Science|