"The library was the part of the university that first attracted me when I came from Europe because I have always loved books. Though my interests have ranged over several aspects of the university, I have always come back to my first love.
I hope the library will continue to grow and prosper, and that this new addition will make more books more available to the university and the community."
-- Walter C. Koerner, Nov. 4, 1993
Ill health prevented Walter C. Koerner from attending the site dedication ceremony on Nov. 4, 1993 for the new UBC library that would bear his name.
But the message he sent to be read on that occasion spoke of a dream which becomes a reality on March 10 as the university celebrates the official opening of the Walter C. Koerner Library.
"With the opening of the Walter C. Koerner Library, the services and resources available to students and the community have dramatically expanded," said UBC President David Strangway.
"In addition to providing desperately needed space for UBC's rich and diverse collections, this state-of-the-art facility provides on-line access to information from around the globe, a critical link in ensuring that UBC keeps pace with our increasingly knowledge-based world."
Designed by Architectura and Arthur Erickson, the $24-million building is the first stage of a long-term redevelopment plan for the UBC library system.
The new building integrates the services and collections of the former Sedgewick Undergraduate Library with related Main Library resources: the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, Government Publications and Microforms and Interlibrary Loans as well as the library's central administration offices.
Future plans include additional phases which will allow the relocation to the new facility of all materials currently housed in Main Library, the third largest research library in Canada.
UBC's library holdings comprise more than nine million items, ranging in format from rare Babylonian clay tablets to medieval manuscripts, Oriental scrolls, CD-ROMs and an expanding collection of on-line resources.
"This new library is an important investment in promoting further discovery of knowledge," said University Librarian Ruth Patrick.
"Hundreds of computer workstations and laptop docking ports give access to global systems and databases on demand, as well as to computer training labs teaching Internet skills to navigate to knowledge anywhere in the world."
She added that $1 million a year will be earmarked for new digital acquisitions.
"Our great friend and donor, Walter Koerner, gave so much to the university and the library," Patrick said. "No name could do more to inspire us as we approach the next millennium."
Walter C. Koerner library facts