Xwi7xwa Library

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Xwi7xwa Library
Country Canada
Type Academic library, Archives
Location University of British Columbia, Greater Vancouver
Coordinates 49°15′56″N 123°15′24″W / 49.26546°N 123.25663°W / 49.26546; -123.25663
Branch of University of British Columbia Library

The X̱wi7x̱wa Library IPA: [wewä] is an indigenous library at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The library, which draws its name from the Squamish word for echo, is notable for its approaches to organizing First Nations knowledge and major collections and holdings.


X̱wi7x̱wa Library began as a small collection of aboriginal materials in a mobile home. The collection was maintained in conjunction with UBC's NITEP Indigenous Teacher Education Program.[1]

In 1993, the Library became the First Nations House of Learning Library, part of a Longhouse for indigenous students and scholars. In 1995, the University's senate established a X̱wi7x̱wa librarian position.[2] This position was first held by Gene Joseph.[3]

In 2008, the Library began a project of digitizing materials related to the First Nations House of Learning Longhouse. In general, the Library is very active at digitizing materials to better share university resources with Aboriginal people worldwide.[4]

As of 2015, the Library held over 15,000 items, consisting primarily of Aboriginal materials.[2]

Classification and Cataloging[edit]

The X̱wi7x̱wa Library uses First Nations House of Learning (FNHL) Subject Headings, a local taxonomy that remedies many of the shortcomings of the Library of Congress Subject Headings with regard to First Nations materials. This classification system arranges First Nations geographically and refers to them using their own names, rather than alphabetically by their European names.[1]

The Library also records a subjective measure of suitability of materials that may be used to teach Native children. This practice rejects dominant conceptions of cataloging as "objective" and recognizes the ongoing misrepresentation of Indigenous people.[2]

In 2004, the 11,000 FNHL headings were lost due to a system migration, and were not recovered again until 2009.[5]


  1. ^ a b Lin, Brian (8 July 2004). "Library a Gem in Aboriginal Scholarship". UBC Reports: 7. doi:10.14288/1.0118270. 
  2. ^ a b c Doyle, Ann; Lawson, Kimberley; Dupont, Sarah (December 2015). "Indigenization of Knowledge Organization at the Xwi7xwa Library". International Journal of Library and Information Studies: 107–134. doi:10.14288/1.0103204. 
  3. ^ "VIU Honours First Nations Advocate with Honorary Degree | News | VIU". news.viu.ca. Retrieved 2018-06-03. 
  4. ^ "Xwi7xwa Library June 2008 Update". 26 April 2013. doi:10.14288/1.0103212. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "Xwi7xwa Library June 2009 Update". 26 April 2013. doi:10.14288/1.0103207. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 

External links[edit]