What is Rare Books and Special Collections?

Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) at the University of British Columbia Library occupies the central role in developing and hosting the Harry Potter and the rain city exhibit.

Katherine Kalsbeek is Acting Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, and she acquired the first edition Harry Potter titles that you see in the exhibit.  She worked closely with branch heads to enable this exhibit to live in three campus locations.  Chelsea Shriver is a Librarian and an Archivist and she curated the exhibit, working closely with the individuals and companies who contributed the items, content and stories which enrich the exhibit by providing both compelling details and striking visuals. Her interpretative labels shape the narrative of the impact that this series has had on so many people and organizations.

Rare Books and Special Collections is a unique and treasured part of the UBC Library system. It houses significant collections of rare books, special collections, archival materials, maps, and much more. The collections at RBSC are open to UBC students and faculty, as well as researchers from around Canada and the world.

In addition to materials related to British Columbia’s history, industry, and culture, RBSC has an impressive collection of historical and canonical children’s books, including the Arkely Collection of Early and Historical Children’s Literature, the B. Roslyn Robertson Collection, the Alice 100 Collection, and the Historical Textbook Collection.

With such collecting strengths, the Harry Potter books—already so essential to the children’s literature genre—have a natural home at Rare Books and Special Collections.

Please visit RBSC in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (1st floor) to learn more and to explore some incredible unique and interesting collections.

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