About Us

The Chapman Learning Commons

The Learning Commons website is an evolving collection of student-curated learning resources to support academic success and wellness. Based out of the Chapman Learning Commons in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the Learning Commons website is a collaboration between UBC Library, the Centre for Teaching, Learning & Technology and the Centre for Student Involvement & Careers. Through an emphasis on peer-led, student-driven initiatives and shared-decision making, we strive to enrich academic support and enhance the experience of all UBC students, with an emphasis on the first-year undergraduate experience.

The website provides companion resources to our in-person services in the Chapman Learning Commons, where we provide access to advanced technologies, collaborative work areas, workshop space and learning support. Home to the Centre for Writing & Scholarly Communication and AMS Tutoring drop-in help, the Chapman Learning Commons emphasizes a learner- and student-centered approach to services.

Our friendly team of Chapman Learning Commons Assistants work on the level 3 Information Desk in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and assist library-users with the technology in the space, loan out a wide range of equipment and help students connect with key learning resources and services on campus.

Photo of UmaimaUmaima
Hello! My name is Umaima (pronounced like Memma) and I am a 5th year Economics student pursuing a minor in Philosophy. On a typical day, you can find me listening to podcasts, exploring Vancouver's eateries, or discovering interesting music and art. I strive to increase awareness of our services, and learn more about general resources at UBC and pass along that knowledge to students.
Photo of MalloryMallory
My name is Mallory and I am a Creative Writing student in the Master of Fine Arts Program. My first book of poetry is coming out with BookThug Press in 2018. I love meeting new people and I am here at the Chapman Learning Commons to chat, help and make student's days more efficient and brighter. Toss any question my way and I will do my best to track down an answer.
Hi! My name is Arman and I am a Bachelor of Science graduate with a major in Chemistry and minor in Commerce. I am currently enrolled in the Diploma in Accounting Program and am excited to be back at the CLC Desk. I see it as a new challenge to take on to better myself in a professional and personal manner. So, if you're in the area, stop by and say hello. I'll be by the desk saving the world one printing at a time.
Photo of GenaGena
Hey, I'm Gena. I'm a Creative Writing Graduate student and am originally from the Sunshine Coast. I finished a BFA at UBC a few years ago, traveled for a year, worked for a year, then missed student life so much that I'm back! I enjoy rain storms, good books, and trashy TV. Come say hello!
Photo of NurlailaNurlaila
Hello! My name is Nurlaila and I am a 3rd year history major. I enjoy being in a busy environment and being a CLCA helps me in knowing more about the campus and the student body while still honing my problem-solving skill. If you ever feel like you want to maximize your time on campus but don’t know where to start, drop by our desk and we’ll help you figure it out!
Photo of YadhawYadhaw
I was born on the tropical island of Mauritius (by Madagascar) and raised in Dakar, Senegal (West Africa). I am currently in my 4th Year at UBC, completing my dual-degree with a Major in Economics and a Masters of Management. My hobbies include gym, yoga, skiing, and mostly spending time with friends. See you at the desk or around campus (:
Photo of CameronCameron
Hi! My name is Cameron and I'm a fourth year student studying Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Nanotechnology & Microsystems. I've been with the CLC a couple years now and continue to strive to improve both the effectiveness and visibility of our services on campus. Outside of class you'll likely find me discussing politics with friends, exploring the outdoors, or watching Rugby. Come by and say hi!
Photo of NicoleNicole
Hi everyone, I'm Nicole! I'm in my fifth year in the English Honours program with a minor in Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice. You can usually find me in various places on campus crying over the amount of reading I have to do. The library printers have finally learned that I would rather be feared than liked. If they're giving you any trouble, just let me know. I'm pretty scrappy.
Photo of KathrynKathryn
Hello! My name is Kathryn and I’m in my second year at UBC, currently studying Environmental Sciences. When I’m not at work or studying, I’m usually playing with my cat, listening to podcasts, taking a nap, or catching up on some television shows. My experience so far as a CLCA has been nothing but exciting and I’d like to deliver the same experience for all patrons so please don’t hesitate to stop by the desk!
Photo of CassandraCassandra
Hi! My name is Cassandra Precious Adjetey. I am a second year student planning to pursue Economics and Statistics. The only time you will find me not nodding to lecrae music, or Jonathan Mcreynolds, Nf, KB, Thulin, Elevation, bethel, Mali music, etc is at the CLC desk. So come talk to me, you have my full attention.
Photo of GraceGrace
Hello there! My name is Grace 🙂 I am a fourth year Major in International Relations (IR)and Minor in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ). When I am not working or studying, you can probably find me watching Nigerian TV shows: Real Husbands of Lagos or Jenifa’s Dairy. If you have any inquiries, please feel free to ask me any questions!
Photo of BrianBrian
Hello! I’m Brian and I’m a 4th year marketing student in Sauder. I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Beijing before coming to UBC. Outside of the CLC desk, you can find me spending an unhealthy amount of time playing FIFA, taking photos and listening to R&B. Drop by the CLC desk to say hello!
Photo of BryceBryce
Hi Friends! My name is Bryce and I am a 5th year Integrated Sciences student. I am fairly new to this position as I started working for the CLC team in September. During my free time, I enjoy listening to music and playing all kinds of sports. If you see me at the desk or have any problems regarding the Chapman Learning Commons, feel free to chat or say hello!

Workshop Space

Virtual Tour

The Chapman Learning Commons, located on Level 3 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on the UBC Vancouver campus, includes two workshop spaces, the Dodson (302) and Lillooet (301) Rooms. The Dodson and Lillooet Rooms are available for booking by UBC faculty, staff and students. Room booking fees may apply.

Events and activities in the Dodson and Lillooet Room should contribute to lifelong learning and student academic success by enhancing information technology skills, learning skills, wellness and by promoting unique, open learning opportunities. Events must be public, open to all students and have campus wide impact. Please note that we are unable to host closed events, meetings, classes, fundraisers, events that are commercial in nature and/or involve the solicitation of funds of membership, or concerts/recitals (with the exception of the Dodson Music Series).

Through the workshop space provided in the Chapman Learning Commons, we strive for an environment that fosters dialogue and discussion and that supports student learning. The Chapman Learning Commons management team reserves the right to make decisions around what events are deemed appropriate for our space.

Dodson Room Features


Capacity: 40 (up to 60 with additional chairs)

Furniture: Movable Tables / Movable Chairs

Room type: Workshop/Presentation Space


  • Projector, multimedia
  • Computer, Windows PC w BluRay/ DVD player
  • Connection, HMDI, laptop VGA w Audio, & Auxiliary Video with Audio
  • Connection, AirMedia
  • Screen, Powered Projection
  • Podium
  • 10 Rectangular Tables
  • Lectern
  • Monitor, PC
  • Microphone, Wireless Handheld
  • Microphone, Wireless Lapel
  • Lecture Capture
  • Some AC in walls
  • Windows
  • Flooring - Carpet
  • Network/ Internet Access port
  • WiFi

Lillooet Room Features


Capacity: 40 (up to 60 with additional chairs)

Furniture: Movable Tables / Movable Chairs

Room type: Workshop/Presentation Space


  • Projector, multimedia
  • Computer, Windows PC w BluRay/ DVD player
  • Connection, HMDI, laptop VGA w Audio, & Auxiliary Video with Audio
  • Connection, AirMedia
  • Screen, Powered Projection
  • 10 Round Tables
  • Lectern
  • Monitor, PC
  • Microphone, Wireless Handheld
  • Microphone, Wireless Lapel
  • Lecture Capture
  • Some AC in walls
  • Windows
  • Flooring - Carpet
  • Network/ Internet Access port
  • WiFi

Find something you don't recognize? Please refer to the definitions of our AV terminology on this page.

Events in the Lillooet and Dodson Room must occur within Learning Commons open hours

AV services and room rental fees may apply in both rooms.

Interested in booking the Dodson or Lillooet Room?

  • Library Staff - Please contact your department's point person who will have access to the Lillooet and Dodson Outlook Calendar. Bookings can be made via this individual.
  • UBC Faculty & Staff - Submit your request through our online booking form. Please note that we are only able to accommodate workshops & events that contribute to learning/academic success and that are open to all students and the UBC Community (i.e. no closed events).
  • For inquiries, please contact ikblc.bookings@ubc.ca.

The Chapmans

Kay and Lloyd Chapman, Benefactors


"We chose to fund the Learning Commons because we've always believed that people learn best when they are engaged in discussion, sharing ideas and insights with one another."

It is the often the most daring ideas that have the most impact. Nowhere is this more evident than in the support that Mrs. Kay Scott Chapman (1917-2012) and Dr. Lloyd Chapman (1918-2004) have given UBC Library. Longtime supporters of UBC, the Chapmans have inspired innovative projects and programs that have improved the quality of life of students, faculty and the wider community.

Mrs. Chapman attended UBC, and graduated in 1937. Her husband, Dr. Lloyd Chapman, attended UBC for one year before completing his degree in dentistry at the University of Toronto. Beginning in 1975, the Chapmans have made a yearly gift to the library, focusing their efforts on inventive projects with the highest degree of impact. Their dedication to innovative learning is evident in their gift to establish the Chapman Learning Commons, an exceptional facility that encourages group interaction and provides access to cutting-edge technology.

The Chapman Learning Commons officially opened in 2002, and reopened in 2008 in the newly completed Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Located in the heritage section of the former Main Library, the Learning Commons has soaring ceilings, stained glass windows, and comfortable seating. The suite of programs and services offered in the Chapman Learning Commons support the Chapmans’ vision that discourse and debate with fellow learners greatly enhances the university experience by allowing the free exchange of ideas, theories and information.

The Dodsons

Suzanne Cates Dodson and Earl D. Dodson


The Dodson Room is a popular workshop space located in the Chapman Learning Commons, named in honour of Suzanne Cates Dodson (1933 – 2014) and her husband Earl D. Dodson (1928 – 2009), great friends and benefactors of UBC Library. This beautiful space was restored in 1999 to recapture its original appearance, which dates to the opening of Main Library in 1925. Suzanne Dodson's career with the Library spanned 36 years, ending in 1999 with her retirement as Facilities and Preservation Manager. The Dodsons contributed numerous gifts to the Library for the restoration and upgrading of facilities, and Earl Dodson was a former member of the President's Advisory Council on the University Library. For more information on the Dodsons and their legacy of giving to UBC Library, please visit The Dodsons: Champions of UBC Library.

From Concourse to Commons

Building the Main Library Concourse, 1925.

The Main Library was one of the first three permanent buildings on campus. The architectural style, harking back to British traditions, has been called free Tudor, Gothic revival, and part of the academic Beaux-Arts tradition. The architects were Sharp and Thompson, a Vancouver firm.

The Main Concourse, the building's centrepiece, is 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 60 feet high. The walls are finished in Caen stone, a soft, fine-grained, light-coloured limestone from Caen in Normandy, France. The walls and the exposed oak trusses supporting the roof are decorated with shields and friezes, carved and painted. In the windows along the walls are stained-glass crests of Canadian and British universities. The large cathedral windows at either end have been restored and refinished to let in light as originally intended.

From the Concourse can be seen the Canadian Jubilee Memorial window, unveiled on November 28th, 1928 by BC Premier S. F. Tolmie. The final cost was $1,600. Marking Canada's first 60 years of nationhood, it represents the Dominion and the provinces in existence at the time.

Studying in front of the Loan Desk, 1956.

The Main Concourse, now home to The Chapman Learning Commons, has seen changes since the building opened in 1925. At that time the Concourse, filled with long rectangular tables, was the Library's main study room. Of course, the book stacks were not open for browsing. Students handed "Loan Slips" to a staff member at the "Loan Desk," a large counter in the Concourse. A "Call Boy" fetched books from the stacks. The Main Stacks were not fully open to all students until 1966.

John Ridington, the first University Librarian at UBC, served from 1919 until his retirement in 1940. The room to the north of the Concourse is named for him. His authoritarian reputation earned him the nickname "King John" and Main Library was called "King John's Castle".

He issued edicts and students parodied them. One such was that students were walking too much on the white portions of the Concourse floor and in future must walk on the black squares only. Some students believed it and tried to comply.

John Ridington, The University's First Librarian

Another time, in the 1930s, students issued a notice: "Due to the shortage of Library janitors, you are requested to walk only on the black tiles."

A further story from the 1940s involves Dean Buchanan, for whom the adjacent Buchanan Building is named. Dr. W. Kaye Lamb, University Librarian from 1940 to 1948 reported: "One day between terms, when the building was deserted, Dean Buchanan came up the main stairway into the reading room. At the top he stopped suddenly and said: 'I've always wanted to do this!' Striding down to the end of the room he turned about and in his magnificent voice, which echoed grandly through the rafters, he called out: 'Now loading on track 12, train number 5, for Toronto, Hamilton, Buffalo.'"

Kaye Lamb.

By 1968, the "Main Information Desk", the central information point for the Library was in the Concourse, along with the "Main Card Catalogue", the Library's only public record of its entire collection, system-wide. As many as 5 or 6 cards were filed by hand for each item in the collection. The Card Catalogue grew until it filled the Concourse. In 1978, when the Card Catalogue closed, the collection numbered about two million items. The Main Library and the Main Concourse were the focal points of the UBC Library system.

After that, the online catalogue made visits to the Concourse increasingly unnecessary. Using computers, students could look up books anywhere. By the 1990s, the Main Concourse was in urgent need of renovation and a new purpose. The University's Academic Plan set out the long term goal, to have a learning commons on campus that focussed on the needs of students.

Students in the Main Concourse, 1956. Note the famous floor!

The benefactors of The Chapman Learning Commons, Mrs. Kay (Scott) Chapman and her husband, Dr. Lloyd Chapman, generously funded the Learning Commons. Mrs. Chapman, a UBC alumna, hoped to find projects at UBC that allowed for discourse and debate and that "improved the quality of life" for all. The Commons, with its access to technology and innovative learning programs, fit the bill perfectly.

Decades ago, students filled the Concourse at study tables. Today, students once again occupy tables where they engage in discussion, but they also take advantage of the latest computer technology, a wireless network, peer programs and community events. The Chapman Learning Commons is rooted in both the heritage of Main Library and in modern technology and can once again be enjoyed by all.

The Chapman Learning Commons was officially opened in February 2002 and reopened in 2008 in the newly completed Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

Sources Franklin, Douglas. "The competition for the design of the University of British Columbia." West Coast Review 15.1 (1981): 49-57.

Shorthouse, Tom, ed. Scrapbook for a golden anniversary; the University of British Columbia Library, 1915-1965. Victoria: Morriss Printing, 1965.

Julie Mitchell

Assistant Director

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Nicholas Thornton

Learning Commons Coordinator

Chapman Learning Commons

Natalie Leung

Program Assistant

Chapman Learning Commons

Alex Kuskowski

Learning Services Librarian

Chapman Learning Commons

Julie Mitchell Managing Librarian, Chapman Learning Commons

Cindy Underhill Learning Resource Design Strategist, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology

Rie Namba Educational Resources Developer, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology

Carol Ng Chapman Learning Commons Assistant

Miya Zhang Chapman Learning Commons Assistant