A world of knowledge


Academic articles and resources once reserved for university staff and students have now been made available to the public.

UBC Okanagan’s new Innovation Library at the Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library on Ellis Street opened Thursday to the public.

“This project has been a passion of mine for a very long time and it so rewarding to watch it go from just an idea to a reality,” said Heather Berringer, chief librarian at the UBC Okanagan campus.

Stephanie Hall, the Okanagan Regional Library executive director, says the resources will be invaluable to professionals downtown in different levels and branches of government.

“Often people who are in charge of making policy decisions don't have access to the research they actually need unless they go to a university campus, because these academic journals and databases are quite expensive,” explains Hall. “This has an impact on the quality of their decisions.”

Hall also says members of the public can take advantage of the vast resources when doing their own personal research about, for example, a family member's illness.

She shared the story of a friend who found out his son had a very rare illness and was told he would not live.

“He went to his local university and looked at all the latest research. These were articles that would not be available for free on the internet, and would not be in a book because they are too new,” says Hall. “He was able to find out about a treatment and they tried it and his son is with us today and is expected to live a normal life span.

“That is the power of what UBC can bring right into our downtown core.”

Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and principal of the Okanagan campus, says she is proud of the partnership with the Okanagan Regional Library

“What a wonderful occasion this is,” said Buszard. “UBC is delighted to provide an additional point of access to the university in downtown Kelowna. The Innovation Library will offer the community an outstanding new way to connect with UBC’s vast collection and knowledge resources.”

Buszard says libraries have always been the heart of a great university, but unlike libraries of the past, this new library, much like others around the world, lacks physical books.

“It is as if you can see completely different,” says Buszard. “There are no books in this university library space. It is that access to the global world of knowledge. The curated global world of knowledge that is essential to our great scholars, and is fundamental to the transformative effect that universities can have on society.”

Buszard says this particular library is the first of its kind in Canada.

“UBC and Kelowna are the first partners in what I hope will be a modern evolution of the world of universities,” says Buszard.

“I cannot tell you how delighted I am to be a part of this next great step for a great global university and an incredibly innovative community here in the Okanagan. It really is something special.”

The Innovation Library, located on the second floor of the library, will have a UBC librarian on hand for academic consultations and to support students, faculty, and the public.

“It gives people in this region access to literally billions of documents around the globe,” adds Buszard. “It comes in response to this community's desire to have that global access.”

The project is a two-year pilot program, funded partially by the Irving K. Barber Learning Fund, which supports community-based partnerships, and partially by a private British Columbia-based foundation.


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