Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre represents a significant investment in rebuilding and expanding the historic Main Library.

In its original state, the building was confusing to navigate, seismically unsafe, and unable to address the service needs of Library users and staff. The original structure consisted of the ‘heritage core’ built in 1925 and three wings (north, south and east) that were added over the years. The heritage core is a landmark piece of campus architecture that serves as the physical and symbolic center of UBC. It was retained and renovated to current building code standards. The substandard wings were demolished and rebuilt as new construction in such a manner as to frame the original 1925 core.

Approximately 46,483 square feet of the ‘heritage core’ remains, and approximately 193,303 square feet of new building was reconstructed.

Integrated into the building is a state-of-the-art “Automatic Storage & Retrieval System”. One of only a handful in Canada, this system uses integrated software control to provide a fully automated document archival. The system operates in a controlled environment that has the proper humidity and temperature, and is free of dust and other contaminants to preserve the library holdings.