The IK Barber Learning Centre

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre celebrated its grand opening in April 2008, is dedicated to lifelong learning for users at BC and beyond. In 2002, Dr. Irving K. Barber donated more than $20 million for the construction of the Learning Centre at UBC. The B.C. government contributed $10 million, and UBC provided the balance of funding. Located at UBC’s Vancouver campus, the innovative Learning Centre is built around the refurbished core of the 1925 UBC Main Library, one of the first buildings constructed on the UBC campus. It offers 250,000 square feet of new and renovated space that supports learning and research for users at UBC, throughout the province and beyond. The Learning Centre is a gateway to UBC Library, the province’s largest academic library. It also includes UBC’s School for Library and Archival Science, along with UBC programs that have pioneered interdisciplinary learning for undergraduates, including Arts One, Science One and the Coordinated Arts and Coordinated Science programs.

Community Engagement

Community engagement is a key commitment of the Learning Centre, and of UBC. Indeed, it is enshrined in Place and Promise, UBC’s strategic plan. It is also listed as a strategic direction in UBC Library’s strategic plan, and is reflected in the Learning Centre’s Statement of Purpose and Charter of Principles. The Small Business Accelerator, which focuses on assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout British Columbia, is an excellent example of how the Learning Centre is working to achieve its community engagement objectives.

At the Learning Centre, we know that engagement with community transforms service development, learning and research – it creates commonality, sparks debate, inspires inquiry, encourages contemplation, fosters relevance and advances excellence. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that they fulfill UBC’s commitment and the Learning Centre’s inspiring mission in ways that make sense to community, respect community expertise and provide value to community priorities. 

In 2009 the Director of the Learning Centre and the Community Engagement Librarian traveled to five cities accross BC to consult widely about the various communities' needs for secondary market research. Our existing information services emerged from those important discussions, and we are grateful for the many colleagues and organizations that continue to work with us today.