Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Librarian, Koerner Library, UBC Library | Vancouver Campus

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Librarian Koerner Library, UBC Library | Vancouver Campus
Full-Time Ongoing

Anticipated Start Date: April 3, 2017

The University of British Columbia Library is one of the largest academic libraries in Canada and consistently ranks among the top university research libraries in North America. UBC Library has 14 branches and divisions, two campuses (Vancouver and Kelowna), one off-site hospital library, and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre—a multi-purpose teaching and learning facility. The Library’s collection of over 7M items includes 1.4M ebooks, 229,020 electronic journals, 850,000 maps, audio, DVD/video and graphic materials, and 1,703 bibliographic and fulltext databases. More than 300 knowledgeable employees – librarians, management and professional staff, support staff and student staff – provide users with the excellent resources and services that they need to further their research, teaching and learning. The UBC Library Strategic Plan 2015-2017 can be viewed at To learn more about working with UBC Library and to explore our aspirational values visit UBC Library–Why work with us.

Position Summary

The Koerner Library and UBC Library Research Commons provide services and collections to support the research needs of students, faculty and staff, with a focus on the humanities and social sciences in the Koerner Library collections and services, and prioritization for graduate students in the interdisciplinary Research Commons. The GIS Librarian works within the Koerner Library while providing campus-wide GIS support across all departments, faculties and within the Research Commons. The GIS Librarian works closely with UBC campus and external partners, including UBC’s Advanced Research Computing (ARC) service.

The GIS Librarian provides expertise and leadership to support the current and evolving GIS research needs at UBC, and in planning and developing library services related to the acquisition, discovery, use, and management of locally and externally available geospatial data and tools across a wide range of disciplines. The GIS Librarian reviews and updates services in response to user needs, and provides specialised reference service and instruction to faculty and graduate/undergraduate students in the use of geospatial data. The GIS Librarian is responsible for the acquisition, discovery, use and management of map and cartographic collections. The librarian provides web-based and classroom instruction and assistance in the use of information resources, and provides oversight of Research Commons workshops and consults on various aspects of GIS services, such as GIS and data visualization tools, and specialized tools and software. The librarian participates in the development of library policies and procedures, actively participates on library-wide committees and teams, and collaborates with colleagues within the Library, partners across campus and at other institutions, as well as with data providers.


  • A graduate degree from an accredited school of Library, Archival and Information Science
  • An academic background in Geography, GIS, or a related field
  • Experience providing research assistance and public services (reference, instruction, and liaison) to academic and research communities
  • Demonstrated ability to support research and provide reference and consultation for common and advanced GIS software tools, in an academic library environment
  • Demonstrated experience with a variety of geospatial processing software, including the suite of ESRI ArcGIS software (desktop, server, mobile, and online versions)
  • Demonstrated ability with current metadata standards for geospatial data and cartographic materials
  • Ability to identify, retrieve and use geospatial data resources as well as communicate knowledge to researchers with varying levels of technical expertise
  • Experience with relational databases and geodatabase management
  • Programming or scripting experience for GIS applications
  • Familiarity with data visualization techniques and tools
  • Demonstrated commitment to responsive and innovative information services practices and trends in GIS
  • Excellent analytical, organizational, planning, and project management skills
  • Ability to develop and maintain cooperative and productive working relationships and engage in workplace culture within and across a complex organization and a rapidly changing environment
  • Experience teaching workshops, facilitating group discussion, and making presentations
  • Experience developing partnerships, designing and completing projects as well as successful collaborations around the provision of programs and services
  • Ability to recognize, respect and work effectively with individuals and groups with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Takes initiative in learning about language and issues relating to equity and diversity.
  • Models and demonstrates good communication through active listening and appreciative inquiry and open to providing and receiving timely, constructive feedback.
  • Listens to, encourages and expresses creative and innovative ideas. Open to experiment and improvise with new ways of approaching processes, tasks or problems.


  • Experience supervising staff
  • Experience acquiring, developing, using, and evaluating print map collections


Reports to the Head, Koerner Library. In consultation with the Head, plans and implements GIS services for users. Works collaboratively with the Data/GIS Analyst and Librarians across UBC Library in the provision of services. A high degree of planning, collaboration and coordination with other faculty and staff in the Library and with campus and external partners is required, particularly with the Research Data Librarian, cIRcle, the Office of the Vice President, Research and Advanced Research Computing (ARC) and UBC IT staff. Works with faculty, staff, students and the public. Works with colleagues at other libraries on shared initiatives. May supervise the work of library staff and students in the provision of GIS services.


Collection development and access

  • Responsible for the ongoing development, management, maintenance and preservation of geospatial data collections and print map collections within the Library. Identifies and acquires GIS data resources for inclusion in the Library’s collection, reviewing and/or acquiring new sources as necessary. Reviews licenses and contracts for appropriate terms of agreement in cooperation with electronic resources staff as needed. Coordinates with appropriate colleagues and committees to ensure ongoing assessment of GIS and map collections scope and value.
  • Participates in initiatives related to the collection, organisation and maintenance of geospatial data products generated by university researchers and affiliates through liaison with the University’s institutional repository (cIRcle) and Abacus Dataverse data repository.
  • Maintains knowledge of current and relevant metadata standards for geospatial data description, access and archiving. Creates metadata for data in collaboration with the Data/GIS Analyst, Technical Services colleagues, and metadata specialists.
  • Collaborates with UBC IT to develop ongoing and easy access to geospatial data collections. Supports relevant data preservation activities in partnership with colleagues in Research Data Management and Digital Initiatives.
  • Responsible for the acquisition, discovery, use and management of map and cartographic collections and the development and maintenance of related websites and online guides.
  • Takes the lead and works collaboratively with colleagues, including Technical Services and Digital Initiatives, to improve discovery and access for map and cartographic collections, including the evaluation of collections for digitization projects.
  • Serves as the GIS expert on relevant library-wide and University committees supporting content development and access.

Reference, instruction, and liaison

  • Builds a community of practice with UBC researchers and librarians to support GIS research needs and projects.
  • Provides specialized research assistance, consultation, and support to students, faculty, staff, and other library users related to locating, acquiring, managing, and analyzing geospatial data across disciplines, including Geography and Forestry. Also provides research assistance, consultation, and support to users in assigned liaison areas, and across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Teaches workshops on geospatial data topics, including data access and use. Creates new workshops in collaboration with liaison librarians on subject specific GIS needs, including data citation. Provides course-integrated instruction upon request in assigned liaison areas, and other areas making use of GIS resources.
  • Using the Library’s content management tools, develops and maintains a wide range of web-based resources to deliver information to users, including the creation of web pages, instructional materials, subject guides, and tutorials. • Participates in program development for services in the UBC Library Research Commons. Designs, develops, and delivers workshops targeted to graduate students and faculty on topics such as data visualization, open and licensed data resources, and other data/GIS tools. Supervises graduate student employees in the UBC Library Research Commons in the development and delivery of workshops and consults.
  • Engages in a range of liaison and outreach activities across the UBC campus, including with the Office of the Vice President, Research and Advanced Research Computing (ARC) and interested academic departments and individuals. Responsible for increasing visibility of available GIS resources through outreach efforts, and supports access and use of the resources. Promotes data resources and services provided by the Library through announcements, orientations, instruction, and collaboration with librarians and other research staff in support of researchers.
  • Liaises with data providers, professional groups, government organizations and research groups involved in the generation, dissemination, and preservation of GIS datasets. Serves as a resource for Koerner Library and UBC Library, related academic departments, and other relevant campus units on issues related to geospatial data. Serves as one of the Library’s representatives to the Data Liberation Initiative [DLI] and other relevant individual and consortia data providers.

Technology and space

  • In collaboration with the Data/GIS Analyst and librarian colleagues, oversees ongoing planning, development and coordination of the Data/GIS Lab. Is responsible for ensuring ongoing assessment of space, hardware, software and associated technology needs. Collaborates with UBC IT staff to maintain and update lab hardware and software.
  • Stays abreast on the latest updates in GIS accessibility, software, hardware, and analysis techniques.


  • Initiates and participates in needs assessment, design, implementation, and evaluation of the provision of the Library’s GIS services. Consults with Assessment Librarian to undertake this work.

Professional Development and Library Service

  • Participates in University, Library and campus planning activities, committees and task forces as appropriate. Participates in relevant conferences and meetings, makes presentations where appropriate. Assists with special projects or other temporary assignments as required.


This position will be filled as a full time ongoing position. If eligible and qualified, the successful applicant may be appointed with a confirmed appointment. Otherwise, there will be an initial three-year probationary appointment. Normally, such an appointment is reviewed by the end of the second year of the appointment, and a recommendation is made at that time to grant or not to grant a confirmed appointment. Salary will be commensurate with experience and academic/professional qualifications. We are seeking applications from Librarians with up to 15 years of experience. However, all internal candidates will be considered regardless of years of experience and are encouraged to apply.

UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. The University especially welcomes applications from visible minority groups, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to engage productively with diverse communities. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply. However, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.

Applications will include: a detailed and current curriculum vitae; and a letter of application that includes a statement of citizenship/immigration status and indicates the candidate’s education, training and work experience in the areas listed above. To view the complete job description and to submit an application, please visit the UBC Careers page at by midnight on March 3, 2017.

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