The Education collection serves the needs of pre-service teachers, faculty and students in the Faculty of Education as well as a number of other departments, including Social Work, English and Children’s Literature, the First Nations House of Learning, the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, the Disability Resource Centre, the English Language Institute and professional centres such as the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, British Columbia School Trustees Association and school boards. There are five departments, 140 faculty members and around 2000 students in the Faculty of Education. The collection supports a broad range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development courses, as well as academic research.

Overview of the strengths of the existing collection

The Education Library collection serves as the foundation for teaching and research in the Faculty of Education. The library’s development is unique and changing. For nearly twenty years, materials supporting practica and basic pedagogical courses comprised the core holdings of what was a Curriculum Laboratory. Now, the Education Library collection is comprised of children’s books, school texts, and multimedia for K-12, as well as, professional monographs, serials, microfiche, electronic resources dealing with teaching strategies, ideas and research in Education.

Current areas of collecting

The education collection covers theory and practice of teaching, philosophy of education, teacher education, special topics in education, history of education and educational research on curriculum, adult and higher education, school counselling, school libraries, administration, early childhood, etc. focusing primarily on British Columbia.

Research and publishing characteristics

For foundation courses such as the history, measurement, psychology or sociology of Education, the literature is international and overlaps heavily with other disciplines. Because schools are controlled by culture and politics, publications concerning applied teaching methodology vary according to political jurisdiction making books from different countries distinct. Volume in all these areas is high with activity divided between commercial publishers, university presses, professional associations and government agencies. Average prices must be considered medium but it would be more accurate to describe them as erratic because they range form free to extremely expensive. Unlike many other disciplines, monographic and serial literature have approximately equal importance. A substantial number of journals in education are moving from associations or universities to commercial publishers with dramatic price increases. Electronic titles are now proliferating but it is not clear how important these will be to the total picture of educational publishing.

Representative curriculum tools are usually produced by different publishers than those responsible for professional materials. The volume has always been overwhelming but of little importance because the aim, in areas other than children’s literature, is to build a sample collection. Of much more significance is the long-term pattern of increasing bibliographic and technical complexity which is exacerbated by a need for continual updating. Kits uniting print, software and video are often replacing traditional sets of textbooks and guides. Political and administrative decisions to provide pupils with a wide array of approved materials rather than a limited number of prescribed items compound these problems. An important but ironic development is that the B.C. Ministry can no longer afford to place recommended materials in faculties of Education.


Monographs, encyclopedias, dictionaries, serials, electronic resources, textbooks, curriculum tools, kits, videos, DVDs, CDs and children’s literature are acquired extensively. Tests are largely excluded but the Education Library has agreed to purchase a limited number for the Psychoeducational Resource Centre.

Chronological limits


There is an emphasis on the study of education in the last 50 years, however material about the history of education from 1800 on is also collected.

Publication date

The majority of acquisitions will be for current publications, with retrospective purchasing to fill collection gaps and to meet research needs of users, in particular faculty.


Bibliographers from the Education Library collect overwhelmingly from English language sources. However, to support the FOPIC program and provide for the significant number of preservice teachers maintaining interest in francophone matters, appropriate French titles are commonly purchased although realities governing Canadian schools cause the majority of such materials to come from Quebec. Works in other languages are peripheral but a few well known monographs of broad interest are chosen from German, Spanish and Italian publishers. Slavic and Asian titles are acquired by specialized bibliographers for other parts of the Library.

Geographic origin

The overwhelming majority of publications come form Canada, the United States or the United Kingdom. However, for a few subjects such as the History of Education, Comparative Education and Adult education, the theoretical extent of geographical origins is considered to be worldwide.


The Education Library selects works describing institutions or schools outside Canada only if they are extremely significant. Unless they are of special significance, geographical studies concerning educational matters outside of North America and selected areas of Europe are avoided. Information explaining medical problems of special students beyond the scope of matters for which teachers would be responsible is left to Life Science Libraries. K-12 teaching packages involving computer assisted instruction or other expensive medias are purchased very selectively for experimental trials by particular departments.

Collections in other UBC Libraries/ Areas of overlap

Koerner Library: History of the university and other institutions of higher education, in their social, intellectual and institutional context. Historical treatment of other topics in education not of primary interest to students in education (including foreign language materials). General stack and reference collections in such areas as Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Social History, Economics, Librarianship, some aspects of Children’s Literature and Physical Education. General resources for subjects taught in high schools. Statistics concerning Canada and the world. Newspapers and many other resources detailing facts about Education.

Woodward: Medico-educational issues concerning ways to arrange education for special pupils or elderly learners.

Law: Information concerning laws relating to teaching, school boards and teachers.

Fine Arts/Music: Material for preservice teachers preparing for teaching assignments in K-12 classes.