WCILCOS 2012 Conference: Chinese Through the Americas

University of British Columbia’s Asian Library is pleased to announce that, in cooperation with the Ohio University Libraries, it will host the 5th WCILCOS International Conference of Institutes and Libraries for Chinese Overseas Studies on Chinese through the Americas. The event will be held May 16th to 19th, 2012 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

The conference now seeks roundtable, panel and paper proposals as well as poster presentations. Please visit http://wcilcos.library.ubc.ca for details.

Mourning Mr Anthony Hardy

The UBC Library Human Resources has the following announcement:

“Anthony Hardy passed away at his home today, May 25, 2011.
Anthony, originally from Indonesia, completed his Master’s degree in Library Sciences from the University of Indonesia. He worked as deputy head of the central library of the Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta before deciding to relocate to Canada. In November 1990, Anthony joined the UBC Library as Indonesian language Bibliographer in the Asian Library; a position he held to the present date.

On behalf of all of us at UBC Library, we extend our deepest sympathies to Anthony’s wife, his children and extended family members. He will be remembered fondly and missed.”

New Westminster Multicultural Festival (May 21)

UBC Asian Library and the CHRP program will join the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS) this Saturday (May 21) at the New Westminster Multicultural Festival.

From 12 noon to 5:30pm, visit our booths at the Fraser River Discovery Centre, say hi to our friendly Indic Librarian and Chinese Language Community Archivist, or watch a few educational short films at the theater.   Learn more about the Asian heritage and culture through the interactive games and demonstrations.  You’ll also find music performances, fashion shows and other fun proprams  at the River Market and Hyack Square.  For more information, please visit VAHMS website at http://vahms.org/2011/04/new-westminster-multicultural-festival/

Where Did the Immigrants Actually Come From?

UBC Asian Library, in collaboration with the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives remounts the exhibit “Where Did the Immigrants Actually Come From?” This exhibit was first shown in the Asian Library in 2010 followed by a two-year project on mapping the villages and towns recorded in the Head Tax database.

The very idiosyncratic dialects of the immigrants from a myriad of villages and towns of southern Guangdong left behind a pool of sometimes indecipherable documentation of their roots. The inadequacies of custom personnel to accurately capture and document the villages and towns of origin in verbatim form culminated in a host of Romanized forms for reported places.  As a result, research based on the place of origin has been rendered fuzzy and inaccurate. Since 2008, Asian Library has organized 20 rounds of community-based meetings with Taishanese / Zhongshanese-speaking participants to match the towns and villages of origin reported by 90% of the immigrants with the original geographical names in Chinese scripts.

The exhibit is now on until July 3rd, Tuesday to Sunday daily 11am-5pm at the Chinese Culture Centre Museum in Chinatown (555 Columbia Street, Vancouver).

Click here for the detailed description of the project and the Head Tax database.

Asian Library Summer Hours (Apr 28- Sept 2, 2011)

Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:00pm
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays & holidays
Visit here for UBC Library open hours

Film on the making of Asian Centre now in cIRcle

The Consulate General of Japan recently made us aware of a short film entitled “The Big Idea“, which looks at Dr. Iida’s proposal to transport the roof of the Sanyo Pavilion (at the 1970 Osaka Expo) to UBC to create the Asian Centre. The film includes footage from the Osaka Expo, as well as UBC Campus at the time. UBC Archives has now digitized this film and has made it available through cIRcle. Please click on the following link to get to the item page, and then select “view in browser” (under files in this item) to quickly open and view the film.

Easter Open Hours

Asian Library open hours during the Easter weekend
(April 22-25):

Friday:  closed
Saturday: 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
Sunday: closed
Monday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Visit www.library.ubc.ca for branch hours.

Asian Library Open House 2011: Spring Book Sale

Spring is back, so is our popular annual book sale! As the part II of Asian Library Open House 2011, this book sale carries new, used, and hard-to-find books and magazines in different Asian languages (mainly Chinese and Korean) and some in English.  Prices range from 10 cents to $5 but most of them are 50 cents only!   You should find books you like!  Bring a tote bag with you.  ALL ITEMS CASH and CARRY.

Same day at Asian Centre:

IDENTIVERSE: Group Exhibition of UBC 3rd Year Painting & 4th Year Art Theory – Some of the exhibit shown in our Open House Part I continues to be on display on the upper floor of the Library.

Vancouver Mokuyokai’s 27th Annual Ohanami
(Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival)

Celebrate spring under the cherry blossoms with a tea ceremony, garden tour, haiku writing, kamishibai (Japanese storytelling), origami, yukata-dressing, Japanese food and traditional music at UBC Nitobe Garden, an authentic Japanese garden illuminated by lantern-light for this special event. At 6pm, ring the Pacific Bell outside UBC Asian Centre and send your prayers to those affected by Japan earthquake. For details please visit Vancouver Mokuyokai Society’s website.

Asian Library Open House 2011: Exhibits

The Asian Library and the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory are pleased to present two displays – Identiverse and Dimensions of the Asian World at UBC – as part of the Asian Library Open House 2011.


Viewers are invited to conceptualize “Asianness” as a construct in Canada by examining various cultural products – paintings, writings, photographs, quotations, images and video clippings, facts and figures.  Alongside the growing Asian student population at UBC is a rich array of Asian-themed activities, the ever-expanding Asian Studies programs and research, and the participation of non-Asian students and staff in these initiatives.

By featuring the 2010 Maclean’s article entitled “‘Too Asian’?” alongside B.C. responses to the segregation of coloured students from Caucasian children in the 1920s, viewers are prompted to ponder the tension between coercive practices of exclusion and assimilation. Excerpts of UBC’s forum on the thought-provoking Maclean’s article, as well as quotes from the Library’s Diversity Caucus discussion on the same piece, capture some thoughts about the Asian world on campus.

Please come and visit the display which is in the foyer of the Asian Centre from March 13, 2011.

INDENTIVERSE: Group Exhibition of UBC 3rd Year Painting & 4th Year Art Theory

IdentiverseIdentiverse, a combination of “identity” and “diversity,” explores the transitions and struggles of ethnic groups regarding their individual and cultural identities. The identities of university students are also examined.

Opening Reception:
Sunday March 13 4-8pm

Exhibition Dates:
March 14-17   12noon-5pm
March 18  11am-3pm

Asian Centre Auditorium & Asian Library Upper Floor

Co-organizers Asian Library | Art History + Visual Art + Theory
Sponsor Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society
Institute of Asian Research |  Chinese Language Program, Asian Studies Department | Punjabi Language, Literature & Sikh Studies, Asian Studies Department

Access to E-Books and Expanded On Line Database

With the support from a family trust fund, our subscription to Duxiu is paid up and service guaranteed. What is as exciting, if not more exciting is that the Library has also committed to fund the expanded and full access to all 9 China Academic Journal Databases. Now we have access to the China Doctoral and Master Dissertations database; the Conference Proceedings database; the Yearbook full-text database; the Core Newspaper and Reference Works Online databases on top of the 3 journal databases we currently enjoy. Please note that newly named China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database has replaced the former “China Academic Journals.”

Mapping the Villages & Towns Recorded in the Register of Chinese Immigration to Canada from 1885 to 1949

The mapping of geographic names recorded in the head tax database was launched in the fall of 2008 as one of the “Asian Library’s Partnerships with Communities’ Program Series”.  It took 20 rounds of community-based meetings with Taishanese/Zhongshanese-speaking participants to match the towns and villages of origin reported by 90% of the immigrants with the original geographical names in Chinese scripts. With the findings, community members interested in their genealogy, UBC students and indeed scholars from all over the world are able to work toward an international research network for reporting the roots of emigrants from Guangdong, China from 1885-1947, during which head tax was levied on incoming ethnic Chinese. (more)

Hanfu (汉服) Exhibit

Hanfu or Han Chinese clothing refers to the historical dress of the Han Chinese people (the biggest ethnic group in China), which was worn for millennia before the establishment of the Qing dynasty in 1644.  It is a product of collective wisdom and artistry, and can best reflect the ethnicity of Han people. Some other Asian countries like Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Bhutan also have implemented Hanfu elements in their own clothing.

Hanfu Club (汉服学社) consists of a group of students who are enthusiastic in the Hanfu culture and wish to revive Hanfu. In collaboration with the Asian Library, they created this exhibit with the aim to introduce the various types of Hanfu with one at a time.  The display is set up in the foyer of the Asian Centre and is changed every other week until November.

Welcome to the Asian Library!

Eleanor’ Message

Message from Eleanor Yuen
Head, Asian Library
of British Columbia

This year, we are celebrating our 50th birthday truly at another new era of knowledge creation and curation.

We know that it is imperative that we revisit our roles, re-configure our service model and repurpose our facilities. From the inception with the amassing of Chinese and Japanese classics in humanities to being the very place that users at UBC and beyond turn to for information on Asia, we have filled our shelves, physical and virtual with more than 580,000 items and delivered information on multiple platforms that is rich with databases, web sites, blogs, videos, images, audios and much more. We respond to users’ changing study habits and demands, face-to-face or online through social networks. Our commitments to the community run deep and we have been welcoming an exponential number of community members. We are privileged to call the beautiful Asian Centre home but we have yet to improve the functionalities of the space and the ambience of the library.

Our 2010 team of ten needs to champion the necessary transition from print to on-line collections and help patrons to adapt to the state-of-art information skills. Predictions about information trends and future technologies may always be fraught with uncertainty. While we are excited by the opportunities on the horizon, we also have to reposition ourselves for the burgeoning virtual world and the growing and diverse user communities that support and challenge us. It is no long satisfying to find strength in the supremacy of number. Rather, with the largest Asian collection in Canada in seven languages as the cornerstone of the library, we must stay forward-looking, courageous, agile and adaptable.

Together with our users, may we strive to bridge Asian culture with that of Canada and indeed North America and be a living library of Asian studies and research in the new era of information ecology.

Could we combine wisdom of the east
with the progress or “push” of the west in a Latin phase of 3 or 4 words
Sketch of UBC Crescent Frank Westbrook fonds, Box 1-17

Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.
— All things are changing, and we are changing with them

Cheers to the three “r” s at the Asian Library!

Peter Ward Open Essay Contest

In celebration of the Asian Library’s 50th birthday, UBC Library is pleased to announce the Peter Ward Open Essay Contest.

The contest’s theme is “How has the Asian Library helped you achieve your goals?” It aims to challenge students and community users to review their experiences and contemplate the Asian Library’s future. Essay topics on collections, services, facilities, space and your vision of the Asian Library will be accepted.

The winning essayist will receive $500!

At the Asian Library, we strive to bridge Asian, Canadian and North American cultures so we are truly a living library of Asian studies and research. We respond to users’ changing study habits and demands, face-to-face or online. Our commitments to the community also run deep.

We are privileged to call the beautiful Asian Centre home – but we would like to improve the Library’s space and ambience. By sharing your experiences and ideas, you will be part of a milestone in the Asian Library’s development.


Essay submissions will be judged by a panel of UBC faculty and librarians. Entrants are encouraged to use images, videos, sound files and other formats to illustrate their ideas.

Application Rules:

  1. The contest is open to all.
  2. All entries must be received (mail or electronic) on or before deadline date. Mail to:

Peter Ward Essay Contest
The Asian Library
1871 West Mall, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z2

OR submit by e-mail to asian.library@ubc.ca

  1. Submissions in any ONE of the following languages will be accepted: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Punjabi, Indonesian, English.
  2. All essays must be titled and signed, accompanied by an electronic file.
  3. Essays must contain a minimum of 1,000 words and no more than 1,500 words.
  4. Essays must be typed, double-spaced, on one-sided 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  5. Student entries should include the name of the school or university the entrant is attending.
  6. All entries must include a cover sheet with the entrant’s legal name, mailing address, e-mail address if available and telephone number.
  7. The Asian Library retains the right to quote, publish or upload the essays in part or in entirety for administrative and educational purposes.
  8. All entries become the property of the Asian Library and will not be returned to the writers.

The winner will be notified by mail or e-mail and invited for the presentation of the award on March 5, 2010 at UBC.

An experimentalist Indo-Canadian writer – Ravinder Ravi

Ravinder Ravi is a well-known writer and poet who has more than 80 publications including the famous and well known Restless Soul. He has fully exploited fresh themes and techniques causing him to be the rightful winner of many awards including the Pride of Performance Award, the Fellowship Award, The Best Writer Award as well as the Amrita Pritam Memeorial International Award of Distinction. Ravinder has a unique and bold style and as Dr. Kohli says, he is truly “an experimentalist”.

From now through March 2010, come check out Ravinder Ravi’s collection displayed on the upper floor of Library.  For more information, please contact Sarbjit Randhawa, Indic Librarian, at 604-822-2162.

Cantonese Music: Where East meets West


Westernization has been a major process in Chinese music since the beginning of the 20th century, illustrated by the adoption of Western harmony, counterpoint and performance practices. Western elements have also influenced the design of instruments, introducing new sonorities to traditional texture.

Created by the Asian Library, this exhibit includes samples of hammer dulcimers, two-stringed fiddles, three-stringed lutes and a zither, along with scores. It’s believed that Steven Lee, who was an active member in Vancouver’s Chinese community in the 1940s and 1950s, collected these instruments.

You can visit the display, which is in the IKBLC Gallery located on 1961 East Mall [map], until December 7, 2009.

Asian Library joint digitization with FAMILYSEARCH, GSU, Utah

Digitization of Chinese Clan Association Publications



In collaboration with FAMILYSEARCH, Genealogical Society of Utah, USA

Field Supervisor, FamilySearch Imaging Services at work:
Aug 18th, 2009 –

Cataloguing Backlog Project

The Cataloguing Backlog Project that comprises 40,000 monographs in seven Asian Languages will begin in May 2009. Titles from special collections such as Jing Yi Zhai and Punjabi/Hindi/Sanskrit/Urdu materials of the Shastic Program, that are never in the library catalogue will be prioritized for cataloguing, so are missing out titles of catalogued series. Please stay tuned for periodic progress reports from the language librarians.

Binding Backlog Project

The Binding Backlog Project will start in April 2009. A full time staff will be hired to help bind 6,000 Chinese, Japanese, Korean and South Asian serial back issues. Print issues which are available on-line in dependable and reputable databases that the library has been subscribing for more than three years will not be bound except for very rare circumstances that call for a duplicate copy. Please contact respective language librarians or Shaun Wang, Circulation Supervisor at shaun.wang@ubc.ca for assistance.

Digitization of Ming Pao, Western Canada Edition

In collaboration with Ming Pao, the digitization of the “Community News” is launched, starting from its inception issue of October 15, 1993. To date, articles after January 2008 are available for searches, free-of-charge. Older archival issues are uploaded to the database weekly or at more frequent intervals.

Please click here to go to the database.

Here is a screen shot of the database’s home page:


UBC Asia Voila ! 2009

Come out to UBC’s beautiful northwest quadrant and enjoy some of the many Asia-related cultural resources on campus! to celebrate the Asian Heritage Month. This is the first-of-kind event in UBC which involves more than 10 University departments and units offering a one-day event to celebrate Asian Heritage Month.

Asia Voilà features traditional Asian dance and music performances, films, art and photo exhibitions, lectures on poetry chanting and calligraphy, guided library tours and workshops, an Asian languages round robin, a book sale, Nitobe Garden tours and more! Please visit the ASIA VOILA website for more info.

In Loving Memory of Professor Edgar Wickberg (1927-2008)

Edgar Wickberg, Professor Emeritus of the History Department at UBC, was a renowned scholar on China and Southeast Asia. He was also very much part of the history of the Asian Library, serving as a member of Asian Library’s Advisory Committee for 10 years from 1970 and offered valuable advice and guidance on collection development and services, especially on Chinese-Canadian studies even in his post-retirement years. We continued to receive his recommendations on books and journals last summer although his energy was already very much compromised by his failing health then.

Being extremely generous of his time and resources, he was very committed to assisting the library to fill the gaps in the collection by donating materials he collected at conferences and research trips. Although his key interests were Chinese Overseas in Southeast Asia and Canada, he amassed sizable bodies of valuable Chinese materials on the early Republican years and Chinese history in general.

In 2008, he made more donations to the library, which were combined with his earlier gifts to become a special legacy from this endearing scholar and teacher.

A display of his donations is set up on the upper floor of Asian Library from January 2009. To complement his materials, a few titles, relevant to the broad theme of Chinese-Canadians are also added to the display.

Related link: Edgar Wickberg memorial page

Circulation Desk: public services

Carrell with work station

Carrells: first come first served

Computer work stations are inside the door at far end

High ceiling with skylight

Display cases for displays of various themes

Upper floor stacks: CJK books with call number range A-F, H and P-PL

Asian Lower Level books and exit to circulation area

Asian Lower Level Books, Relocated from the Upper Floor

Reference, Audio-Visual and Language Learning sections

CJK journals on the left; Asian Lower Level and CJK art books on the right

CJK books with call number J, L, PM-Z: watch out for rolling shelves

Print here with your UBC Card/Guest Card

Newspaper reading area; Asian New Books at back

Work stations, copier and microform reader

Seminar room with TV, DVD and video cassette players: book in advance

Seminar room for classes and group studies: book in advance

Copier and stationery for your convenience

To Lower Floor; Librarians’ offices

To Upper Floor

To Ground Floor

Display Honouring Master Toa Wong 梨園樂韻在卑詩

Cantonese Opera

Come check out “Cantonese Opera in British Columbia” (梨園樂韻在卑詩), a dynamic display created by Asian Library.  As part of the UBC Centennial Program, the display honours Master Toa Wong (黃滔師傅), who helped build and document the collection of Cantonese Opera costumes in UBC’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA).  This display is also part of the “Honouring Master Wong Toa” event (梨園拾趣: 表揚粵劇大師黃滔) on January 17, 2008, which was hosted by UBC St. John’s College, MOA, Asian Library, Office of AVP International Community Partners, as well as Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC, C.A.R.E. Housing Society and S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

Master Wong has kindly donated 586 Cantonese opera recordings to the Asian Library. These recordings are mainly on cassette tapes which represent the bulk of his teaching materials and  his private collections assembled since his days as a musician with Jin Wah Sing Musical Association (振華聲藝術研究社).

You can visit the display, which is in the foyer of the Asian Centre, until the end of August.

Cantonese opera Cantonese opera


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