J.K. Rowling purchases Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

projectVANCOUVER (The News Desk) — The University of British Columbia announced today that the school’s main library, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, has been acquired by prominent British novelist J.K. Rowling.

Rowling told fans in a written statement that the acquisition was inspired by letters from second-year UBC student Li-Qiu Fan, who believed that the library’s Ridington Room (known affectionately by students as the “Harry Potter Room”) was actually named after Harry Potter.

When I first heard from Li-Qiu about the library, I didn’t think much of it. I get letters from deranged fans quite often. However, she kept insisting, in letter after letter, that not only was Harry Potter real, but that this was the most breathtaking room in all of UBC and that I just had to visit. I finally caved in, and fell in love with the library as soon as I walked in. I was like, I have to buy this building.

As of Aug. 13, Rowling now sits as director of the library’s Advisory Committee, which this week voted in favour of a $61,000,000 CAD renovation. When asked about the renovations, previous director Simon Naeme simply chuckled and said, “We’re just really happy to add a little magic to the experience here at UBC.”

Renovations will retrofit the building to be more in line with the “spirit of Hogwarts,” a core principle of Rowling’s model for student engagement. Planned expenditures include:

  • $5,000,000 towards the addition of secondary mobile staircases, which will connect to the current staircases at odd intervals “so as to mimic the iconic staircases of Hogwarts.”
  • $300,000 towards the acquisition of digital picture frames, which will display animated photos of previous UBC presidents (“headmasters”).
  • $30,000,000 towards the construction of four new faculty (“house”) lounges for students in Science (“Ravenclaw”), Engineering (“Gryffindor”), Sauder (“Slytherin”) and Arts (“Hufflepuff”).
  • $8,000,000 towards the removal of Ike’s Café.
  • $7,000,000 towards the hiring and training of an elite team of Dementors to replace current security staff (“They weren’t very scary-looking anyway”).
  • $10,000,000 towards the construction of a “Chamber of Secrets,” for which Rowling gave no specific purpose.

The renovated and renamed Joanne K. Rowling Learning Centre is scheduled to reopen in the winter of 2017. ♦

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Photo by DA Architects