Remembered by fellow librarians at UBC as a “bibliophile, scholar, and librarian,” Basil Frederick Stuart-Stubbs served as University Librarian at UBC from 1964 to 1981 and Director of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies from 1981 to 1992.
“I had the honour of knowing Basil for many years, admiring his achievements from across the country. He was truly unique, an icon in the evolving story of librarianship in our country,” says Ingrid Parent, UBC’s University Librarian and President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. “I considered him to be a generous mentor, a revered colleague, and a dear friend to many. He will be missed.”
When Basil passed away in 2012, his wife and colleagues chose to honour his memory by establishing a book prize in his name.
“Basil and I shared the better part of our lives at UBC where we were both students and librarians for most of our careers,” says Brenda Stuart-Stubbs, a reference librarian at UBC’s Koerner Library. “Basil completed a BA Honours in Philosophy and I earned both my degrees here (BA in History and MLS). We met at UBC.”
As a fierce intellect and passionate advocate of Canadian literature and librarianship, Basil’s work significantly impacted UBC Library, its collection development efforts and writing and publishing in British Columbia. To honour his long and distinguished career, the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia was established at UBC Library. The prize recognizes a non-fiction work about British Columbia by a Canadian author.
“An annual book prize leaves a legacy that reflects so many of Basil’s goals during his career: connecting readers and authors, promoting Canadian authors and publishing, and supporting excellence in scholarship,” explains Brenda.
UBC Library’s inaugural Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize was awarded during a special ceremony at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC on May 7th, 2013.
“Twenty titles were submitted by publishers for consideration of the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Book Prize,” says Brenda. “It was difficult to select the winning book. We decided that Derek Hayes’ book: British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas best met the criteria.”
Other titles shortlisted for consideration included Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page by Sandra Djwa and Father August Brabant: Saviour or Scourge? by Jim McDowell.
For winning author Derek Hayes, a UBC alumnus, being selected for the inaugural Basil Stuart Stubbs Award is “a great honour. It’s very special to be chosen like this.”
Derek’s book introduces a wide range of maps, photographs, prints and drawings that takes readers into the sometimes vanished worlds of British Columbia. From the Gold Rush right up to the Torch Relay of the 2010 Olympics, this work significantly contributes to understanding the nature and development of British Columbia.
For the man who dedicated so much of his life to promoting and preserving Canadian literature at UBC Library and beyond, the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Book Prize is a fitting tribute. Through his legacy, Basil will continue to support local authors and writers and inspire generations of people living in BC to come together at UBC Library.
To honour Basil’s memory and support the award, please consider a contribution to the Basil Stuart-Stubbs memorial fund.