University of the Fraser Valley

Chilliwack library display celebrates 50 years of UFV history

Chilliwack library display celebrates 50 years of UFV history

Maecyn Klassen (right) and Korina Gratton proudly stand next to the display they created at the UFV Chilliwack Library to recognize the university’s upcoming 50th anniversary.

UFV will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2024 and planning is well underway. One of the first signs of the celebration to come appeared this week at the Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park.

The library in building A has a new display put together by Maecyn Klassen and Korina Gratton. They call it ’50 Years of UFV Library.’

“This display came out of wanting to honour UFV’s history and also acknowledge UFV Library’s part in it,” Klassen says.

To do so, they’ve taken the display space and split it in half. On one side are things that would have appeared in the library in 1974. On the other are things that appear in the library now.

“We started off with a typewriter, found a Fraser Valley College mug and then remembered we had a broken laptop in our display storage,” Klassen explains. “From there it made sense to mirror two ‘desks.’ While we could have focused on many different aspects of the library — the card catalog, date due stamps, and so on — we decided to focus on the materials we provide and how technology has evolved, as it is the most visible and recognizable change.”

Books are the staple of any library, and they are scattered through the display. But Klassen and Gratton also wanted to highlight how physical media has given way to digital services of all kinds.

“Along the floor, we have a transition of materials from vinyl and floppy discs to VHS cassettes, DVDs, and The Cloud,” Gratton says. “The Cloud represents all UFV’s digital platforms from e-books to streaming videos, AskAway to Blackboard, open-access databases, and Wi-Fi.”

Everything is pulled together with a backdrop that shows photos from UFV Library’s history, from the early days at Fraser Valley College to the University College of the Fraser Valley era and up to the present day. Gratton and Klassen wanted to honour all the students, employees, and faculty who’ve made the library what it is today.

They had a ton of fun doing it.

“It was such a pleasure digging through the archives, looking through photos, and seeing how we’ve evolved over the years,” Klassen says.

Gratton adds, “As we set out the different materials in the display, it was fun to go on a nostalgic trip through our pasts and remember how and when we each started using each technology.”

Library staff from both campus libraries have also been collaborating with Anne Russell from Community Engagement, who has been seconded to work on the 50th anniversary project. Library staff members have been digitizing thousands of photos from five decades of UFV history and Russell, who has worked at UFV for 33 of UFV’s 50 years, is working to identify and document the content of the images.

“I remember from first-hand experience many of the people, events, and activities depicted in the photos, and it’s a special honour to have the task of helping to identify them. And when I need help, I can reach out to retired colleagues who either took the photos or have a strong institutional memory and can help me if I’m stumped,” Russell says. “I’m especially pleased when I scan a crowd shot from events in the 1990s and find myself in them, pen and notebook in hand.”

Russell is also working with classes involved in special 50th anniversary projects, presenting to them about the general history of UFV and creating specific presentations connected to each individual class project.