Asian Library 60th Anniversary Celebration (1960-2020)

Message from the Acting Head

The Year 2020 marks the 60th anniversary of the Asian Library at the University of British Columbia. In East Asian culture, a 60th anniversary is a significant milestone. It represents the beginning of a new life cycle at the end of one full life cycle, a sexagenary cycle. In Chinese, jiazi (甲子is the first term of a sexagenary cycle. In Japanese, the term Kanreki (還暦) literally means “return and “calendar.” Hwangap (환갑) in Korean also carries the same meaning: the year you were born returns. This year we cannot celebrate in person due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but we can celebrate virtually. Members of Asian Library have put together this online exhibit in celebration of this momentous anniversary. The exhibit consists of five parts, listed below, each focusing on aspects of the UBC Library’s strategic directions. We trust you will find value in exploring each of these areas and find how, in combination, they allow us to fulfill our mission to provide the necessary services and collections in service to our students, faculty, researchers, and community.

Asian Centre, home of the Asian Library, on 1871 West Mall, Vancouver, B.C.

Building and Spaces: The Asian Library has been calling the beautiful Asian Centre home since 1981. Why is there a Japanese-style building on UBC Vancouver campus? How have spaces been improved to meet users’ changing needs? Read the stories on our building and spaces.

Collections: The Asian Library maintains both print and digital collections over 700,000 volumes, which forms one of the largest Asian collections in North America. In this section, librarians will uncover some of the treasures hidden among the shelves and recommend invaluable electronic resources that are helpful during this time of remote learning and teaching.

Research, Learning and Teaching: Libraries always play a critical role in support of research, learning and teaching excellence. For many years, the Asian Library has been the very place that users come to for resources on Asia. Check out how we have enhanced the experiences for faculty, students, and more.

Community Engagement: Over the years, the Asian Library has successfully created connections and partnerships with units and groups on and off campus for meaningful engagement and knowledge exchange. Let’s review some major outreach activities through a slideshow of event photographs in the last two decades.

People: At the UBC Library, faculty, staff and student employees all play an integral role in supporting the Library’s mission, vision and values. In this section, we pay special tribute to Tung King Ng, the first Head of Asian Library. Also meet the team 2020 of twelve and get a glimpse at who we are and what we do.

The Asian Library is a hub of scholarship, learning and community connections, where research meets community. A heartfelt thanks to the many users, both at UBC and beyond, who have been giving us continued support in the past 60 years. As we move forward, we will remain committed to providing users with excellent resources and services and strive to bridge between the cultures of Asia and the West.

Adolfo Tarango
2021 February


The UBC Asian Library wishes to give special thanks to Linda Joe and Eleanor Yuen, former Heads as well as Tsuneharu Gonnami, former Japanese Librarian for providing valuable information to this exhibit.

We also recognize the guiding efforts of Asian Library Head, Shirin Eshghi Furuzawa, currently on parental leave, who has led and will be leading the Asian Team and Library in developing and addressing the information needs of the campus and broader community.

This exhibit is created by Asian Library librarians and staff (Sae Yong Kim, Jing Liu, Sarbjit Randhawa, Tomoko Kitayama Yen, and Phoebe Chow) with help from Graduate Academic Assistants (Saromi Kim, Haruho Kubota, Vivek Vinod, and Niping Yan).


a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

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