UBC libraries hold 3.4 million books, 19,500 periodicals, and over 6.5 million non-book items (e.g. CD-ROMs). Among their special collections are well known and extensively used materials, including the Malcolm Lowry papers and the Victorian-Edwardian collections of Colbeck, Penkill, and Angeli-Dennis papers, among others. There are also sizeable collections in the following areas: Robert Burns, Lewis Carroll, nineteenth-century Canadian school textbooks, early dictionaries and grammar books, and children's books dating from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. UBC’s collection of nineteenth-century and contemporary Canadiana both in English and in French is one of the finest in the country, and archives of journals published at UBC, such as Prism International and Canadian Literature, are also available. UBC holdings can be complemented easily with documents held at neighbouring Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria.
Rare Books and Special Collections also holds a significant collection of exploration and travel literature especially related to the exploration of what is now Canada.