In 1962, shortly after assuming the Office of Principal, Cecil Roper called a meeting with senior staff at the UBC library to discuss how the library needs of BCIT students could be best met. Together with Sophie Laddy, Head of Science and Technology Division of the Vancouver Public Library an Advisory Committee was formed. The first meeting of the Committee was held on December 17, 1962. In 1964, Joan Jorgensen was appointed Head Librarian.
The library originally occupied a 4375 square foot space room in the main building of the Burnaby Campus. Basic materials were housed for general courses such as Physics, Mathematics, English and Chemistry with the intent to expand the collection to include materials on technologies taught at the Institute such as engineering, electronics, and business, forestry, medical and mining technologies. By 1966, the library had outgrown its allocated space. The Advisory Committee, under the leadership of Basil J. Stuart Stubbs, Head Librarian at UBC, submitted plans that were eventually approved, for the construction of a new library building.
The new building officially opened for service in August 1968. The new premises occupied two floors of 19,000 square feet each, providing adequate space to seat 500 students and to have a collection of 100,000 volumes. Provision was also made for a student lounge, a fully equipped student typing and calculating room, a microfilm reading room and a faculty reading room.
That same year Robert Harris succeeded Jorgensen as Head Librarian. The following year the service of providing audio-visual aids and equipment was incorporated into the library as the Audio-Visual Department. The Information Resource Centre was thus formed and came under the direction of Harris. Harris resigned in 1975 and was succeeded by Jos Carver. Under Carver, the automation of library operations began. By 1979, 75,000 records had been converted to microfiche. In 1983, IBM’s integrated library system DOBIS was purchased to meet the library’s needs. BCIT was the first academic library in Canada to have a computer database of resources.
In 1985, following administrative reorganization of the institute, Paula Pick was selected as Institute Librarian for the new multi-campus library, which consisted of the amalgamated facilities, staff and collections of the former Pacific Vocational Institute and BCIT Library. The two institutes merged officially on April 1, 1986.
The position of Institute Librarian has been held by the following individuals:
- Joan Jorgensen - 1962-1967
- Robert Harris - 1968-1975
- Jos Carver - 1976-1985
- Paula Pick - 1985-1993
- Brigitte Peter Cherneff - 1993-2007
- David Pepper – 2008–2015
- James Rout – 2016-2018
- Alison Nussbaumer - 2018-present