Cpl. Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP says campus security at Capilano University discovered an apparent break in and arson just after midnight Friday.
He says the fire began in the library's administration area but the emergency sprinkler system prevented the flames from spreading.
De Jong says a safe was removed from the wall and pried open but it's not yet known whether any property is missing.
He says police and fire officials have determined the fire was deliberately set, and the investigation has just begun.
Investigators plan to examine video surveillance as they try to identify suspects and are asking any potential witnesses to contact them.