May 26, 2022

From the College Press: "Bringing UBC Libraries Out of the 1990s"

From The Ubyssey (U. of British Columbia):

Just a quick glance at Koerner Library and the newly renovated Irving K Barber Learning Centre (IKB) shows how libraries are evolving on campus.

“Koerner represents a different time, back in the early 90s where the model for learning was that formal learning only happened in the classroom from professors, then students go away and learn by themselves,” said Simon Neame, director of IKB.


Jo Anne Newyear Ramirez, associate university librarian, recalled a time when she passed through the basement level of Koerner Library to find that students had rearranged study carrels to facilitate group study. “IKB tries to support social learning with open spaces, and tables and chairs that easily move around,”  Neame added.


Digitization of printed materials freed up a lot of space to make room for group study spaces, but don’t expect printed materials to become extinct at UBC.

“It is currently in a state of transition,” said director of library digital initiatives, Allen Bell. However, the storage of printed materials no longer needs to sit on open shelves, thanks to innovations such as the automated storage and retrieval system in IKB.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.