Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) houses outstanding research collections of rare books, pamphlets, photographs, archival research materials, historic maps and charts, and fire insurance plans and realia. The main area of specialization is British Columbia. Other major collections include: pre-Confederation Canadiana, Pacific and Arctic exploration, books about the people of BC, the fur trade, Canadian literature, pre-1900 Canadian travel literature, the Chinese in British Columbia, the Canadian Pacific Railway and steamship system, English 19th Century literature, Canadian, English, and American children's literature, the sports of golf and croquet, the history of cartography and the evolution of the English dictionary. Author collections include Robert Burns, Aldous Huxley, Malcolm Lowry, George Woodcock, and Louis Zukofsky. The William C. Gibson History of Medicine and Science Collection is an outstanding collection of more than 5,000 volumes on the history of medicine and the natural sciences. RBSC's archival collections are particularly strong in British Columbia's fishing, forestry, and mining industries, with important records relating to BC art literature, history, and politics.
Rare Books and Special Collections is located in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall.