UCLA Library Acquires Papers of Justice for Janitors

April 20th, 2012

The UCLA Library has acquired the historical records of the Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles, documenting the activities of this dynamic labor organization with deep links to the city’s working-class immigrant and African American communities.

Donated by Services Employees International Union United Service Workers West, the records document the movement’s development of innovative organizing and research strategies, demographic changes in the building-service workforce, and the transformation of labor union policies toward immigrant workers.

The Justice for Janitors collection includes business records, correspondence, educational and training materials, publications, and an extensive collection of photos, among other content. Most of the materials date from 1985–2000, with a few items dating back to the 1940s. The collection will be housed, preserved and available for research in UCLA Library Special Collections in the Charles E. Young Research Library.

We are honored to accept this important collection marking a significant moment in labor history. Together with our extensive collections documenting aspects of educational, political and social history in Southern California, its contents will enable students, faculty and scholars to more fully explore industrial relations and labor activism throughout the region.

Starting with a shrinking base of downtown building-service workers in the late 1980s, Justice for Janitors had grown into a powerful city-wide organization by the early 2000s. Combining street actions with industry research, the campaign pioneered a new approach to gaining collective bargaining rights for low-wage workers. A successful city-wide strike in 2000 drew the support of many Los Angeles community and political leaders, including Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Mahony.

“The Justice for Janitors records will be an outstanding resource for scholars and the public,” said Tobias Higbie, an associate professor of history and associate director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. “As a key part of the revival of labor unions in Los Angeles, the janitors have been a model for many other community organizations and unions. Along with oral histories of activists and staff, the collection will help us understand an important chapter in Los Angeles’ recent past.”

The collection came to UCLA through a collaboration between SEIU United Service Workers West and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment to document the history of Justice for Janitors and its context. UCLA graduate and undergraduate students in labor and workplace studies, as well as the Chicano studies and history departments, contributed to the effort, along with the UCLA Center for Oral History Research and UCLA Library Special Collections. A selection of photographs and documents from the collection is available online at http://socialjusticehistory.org/projects/justiceforjanitors.


Preserving UCLA’s Fiscal and Academic Strength

April 5th, 2012

The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost recently sent this update to the Deans.  I am sharing it here as it well states the situation that faces UCLA and the UCLA Library as well.  You will note that in a number of areas mentioned, we have taken action within the Library to address this challenge.   As we go forward, we will continue to work along with the campus to address these issues.

Gary E. Strong, University Librarian

To: Faculty, Deans, Vice Chancellors, Vice Provosts, Chief Administrative Officers, Directors:

I am writing to update you on our response to California’s unprecedented budget crisis and its impact on our campus. Over the past decade, state support for the University of California has dropped by more than 50 percent. In the past year alone, state funds for UCLA were cut from $470 million to $340 million and, despite uncertainty about the future budget, we expect further cuts. Tuition increases have not fully replaced the loss of state monies. On top of this, UCLA faces unfunded mandatory cost increases, primarily due to pension contributions but also faculty merits and increases resulting from system-wide collective bargaining agreements.

We are managing our budget within a changed policy environment. A new “funding streams” model that has been implemented by the UC Office of the President (UCOP) has two key components. First, campuses can now keep all non-state revenues they generate, such as tuition and overhead from grants. Tempering this good news is a second aspect of the model: Campuses must pay a tax (1.6 percent of the prior year’s expenditures) in order to support UCOP’s operations and initiatives. In our planning, we must keep in mind that most restricted funds, such as extramural grants and endowment funds, cannot be directly taxed or cut to achieve our budget targets.

On February 27, 2012, Chancellor Block and I met with UCLA administrative and Academic Senate leadership to discuss how UCLA will address our budget situation in this new context. If we fail to act, our general fund—the major source of funding for our academic programs—risks falling into deficit. Our highest priorities are preserving UCLA’s academic quality and offering excellence in graduate and undergraduate education. I will work closely with the deans and the Senate—who will in turn work with department chairs and faculty—toward these goals.

We are pursuing a four-part strategy to ensure our fiscal and academic strength.

First, we must increase non-state revenue. Enrollment of nonresident undergraduate students is critically important because nonresident tuition helps cover the costs of educating all students. Self-supporting programs, professional school differential fees, and Summer Sessions revenue sharing are other important sources of funds. Selective conversion of some professional degree programs to self-supporting status will help free up funds for our core academic programs and avoid deeper cuts to undergraduate education. Fundraising also plays a key role in this effort.

Second, we are striving to deliver our academic programs more efficiently. We have slowed faculty hiring and reduced the requirements for many majors. I ask you now to continue reviewing requirements for majors and to consider cutting small courses and reducing the number of majors, so that we can focus our resources more effectively.

Third, we are continuing to reduce administrative costs while increasing efficiency. Units such as research administration, the graduate division, and information technology services have undergone major restructuring. Across the campus, hiring has slowed, and units have addressed budget challenges through attrition, retirements, leaving open positions unfilled for a longer period of time, and organizational changes. We have reduced purchasing, energy and transactional costs.

Fourth, we are engaging in systemwide partnerships to obtain access to new tools and systems. UCLA will be an early implementer of a new UC payroll and human resources system (UCPath), expected to be in operation by July 2013, which will eventually lead to long-term savings in both staffing and operational costs.

Our leadership meeting began and ended with the reaffirmation of our commitment to academic excellence. We must, and we will, preserve the quality of our academic programs, act aggressively to retain our faculty, hire faculty in high-priority areas and compete effectively for the finest graduate students. We will also continue to offer an undergraduate education and student experience that is second to none.

UCLA’s superb faculty and staff are among our greatest strengths. You are the reason that more students apply to UCLA than to any other university, that we receive over $1 billion per year in extramural funding and that we rank among the top research universities in the world. Thank you for your dedication to our students and our community.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

UCLA VirtualTour Spotlights the UCLA Library

April 2nd, 2012

The new virtual tour of UCLA for prospective studies includes two segments on “favorite places to study.”  The first features the Charles E. Young Research Library and can be found at http://virtualtour.ucla.edu/#/tour-video/places-to-study-and-relax-part-1/

The second features the Powell (College) Library and can be found athttp://virtualtour.ucla.edu/#/tour-video/places-to-study-and-relax-part-2/


Biomedical Library featured in YouTube Video on Snapshot Day

April 2nd, 2012

The UCLA gathers various statistics four days a year to give us a “snapshot” of how the libraries on the campus are used. Following is a link to the Biomedical Library video recently done for UCLA Library Snapshot Day in March 2012:


The new south campus student center was liberally used as a backdrop for interviews!


UCLA Library Partners with CLIR on New Data Curation Fellowships

April 2nd, 2012

The UCLA Library is partnering with the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) on a new data curation fellowship program.  Funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the program will provide recent PhDs with professional development, education, and training opportunities in data curation for the natural and social sciences.

An expansion of CLIR’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Academic Libraries, which the UCLA Library has participated in for a number of years, this new fellowship is designed to develop highly skilled, knowledgeable specialists through during two-year postdoctoral fellowships. The aim is to create scholarly practitioners who understand not only the nature and processes of their own disciplines but also how research data is organized, transmitted, and manipulated. Other partner institutions are Indiana University, Lehigh University, McMaster University, Purdue University, and the University of Michigan.

Further information and position descriptions are available at http://www.clir.org/fellowships/datacuration. Applicants must have received a PhD in a discipline no more than five years before applying (i.e., after April 1, 2007). All work toward the degree, including dissertation defense and final dissertation editing, must be completed before starting the fellowship. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled, but no later than June 30, 2012.


UCLA Library Receives Major Gift for Project Focused on Ephemeral Media of the Middle East

February 29th, 2012

Facebook posts, tweets, photos among resources to be digitized, preserved

 The UCLA Library has received a grant of $3.4 million from the Arcadia Fund to launch an initiative to digitize, preserve and provide broad public access to print items, images, and multimedia and social networking resources produced in the Middle East. 

 Increasingly, the day-to-day reality of current events in the Middle East is documented not in the pages of printed newspapers but through Facebook postings, tweets, smart phone photos and other informal ephemeral media. The new International Digitizing Ephemera Project will focus on collecting this documentation, organizing it and making it available, together with digitized versions of relevant print items, to offer primary sources that students and scholars can utilize and build upon in instruction and research. 

 Over the past several years, the pace of political and cultural change in the Middle East has been breathtaking, and this initiative will enable us to capture and provide access to non-traditional documentation of these earthshaking events.  The UCLA Library is deeply grateful to Arcadia for its exemplary generosity and for sharing our vision of the importance of this region and these new research materials.

 The UCLA Library will collaborate with three international partners on the five-year project. One of the partners, the National Library of Israel (NLI), has already been identified; the two remaining ones will be chosen by the project director and advisory board. 

 NLI has developed a three-year initiative to oversee the digitization of approximately 150,000 printed ephemera items, including posters, leaflets, tickets, postcards, and broadsheets from throughout Israel’s history.  In collaboration with the UCLA Library, NLI will make these items available online to an international audience of scholars, researchers and those interested in Israeli culture and history.

 The dynamic pace of events and change in Israel’s relatively short history, coupled with the plethora of cultures, religions and nationalities that comprise Israel’s heterogeneous population, make the collecting, digitizing and preserving of printed ephemera particularly crucial as a tool for research and a bridge to cross-cultural understanding.  The day-to-day reality of current events is increasingly documented not in the pages of printed newspapers but in informal ephemeral media.  The collection will be integrated digitally from source materials in libraries, archives and other collections throughout Israel, and will seek to represent its diverse population to the greatest extent possible: Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious communities, the ultra-orthodox Jewish community, Arab Israeli and Druze populations, as well as immigrant communities such as Ethiopians, whose cultural heritage is at particular risk of disappearing without record.

 The project is expected to offer a model that other institutions can adopt for collaborative international preservation and access activities. In the long term, the UCLA Library also hopes to expand it to other areas of the world, such as eastern Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and Central America, where traditional documentation of events and communities is lacking and researchers must rely on ephemeral primary sources.

 Arcadia is the charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. Since its inception in 2001, Arcadia has awarded grants in excess of $200 million. Arcadia works to protect endangered culture and nature. Arcadia has made several major donations to the UCLA Library, the most recent being a $5 million, five-year gift to support transformative change in developing, preserving and making collections accessible.

UCLA Young Research Library renovations completed; usage levels have doubled

February 24th, 2012

The UCLA Library completed renovations to the major public spaces in the Charles E. Young Research Library in fall 2011, and the new facilities have proven to be extremely popular with UCLA students, faculty and visitors.  During the fall quarter, over 195,000 people visited the library, more than double the number during the same period the year before.

 The renovations focused on the first floor and lower level of this classic Mid-century Modern building, designed by A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons. The executive architect for the project was the global interdisciplinary design firm Perkins and Will, with Eva Maddox Branded Environments. 

 “Guided by the themes of discovery, journey and collaboration, we developed these new spaces to support pedagogy and research, both now and into the future,” said UCLA University Librarian Gary E. Strong. “Academic research libraries are no longer defined by their physical collections, and this redesign reshapes our collection access, services and facilities to support our users throughout their academic and professional careers.”

 The Young Research Library provides research-level collections, services and facilities for graduate students and faculty in the humanities and social sciences. It was constructed in two phases; the first opened in 1964 and the second in 1971.

 In accordance with University of California policy, the renovations adhere to green building principles established by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) national rating system. The building is expected to achieve the status of LEED Gold (Commercial Interiors 2.0) once the U.S. Green Building Council completes its review of the library’s documentation.

 About the library’s new spaces

 An open, collaborative research commons offers 22 flexible, technology-enabled “pods” in which students and faculty can utilize library resources, conduct research and work with one another. Holding up to 10 users, each pod contains a large LCD monitor operated by a laptop. Also part of the commons are 15 group-study rooms, a classroom and a laptop lending desk. The research commons has been very popular with both instructors and students, accommodating everything from instructional sessions to office hours to project demonstrations.

 Created in conjunction with the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities, an adjacent space houses the Laboratory for Digital Cultural Heritage. In this area, which is equipped with a large-screen rear-projection system and specialized workstations, courses are taught in UCLA’s undergraduate digital humanities minor and graduate certificate program. In keeping with the open nature of the larger research commons, all activities in this space can be viewed by those walking by, fueling serendipitous discovery and information exchange. 

 An expansive, glass-enclosed reading room supports quiet study and research while still offering views of activities in surrounding spaces. Frequently used print reference materials are housed in this room, and seating is available at both large tables and in individual lounge chairs. Librarians staff a service desk, where they answer quick reference questions and provide in-depth assistance with sophisticated research inquiries, with an adjacent consultation area for meetings with larger groups.

 The library’s conference center has been expanded to add a spacious, technology-equipped conference room. In its first few months, this new space has accommodated conferences, film screenings and large group meetings. Together with the existing presentation room, boardroom and parlor, the conference center now offers a large, flexible suite in which to present expanded programming.

 The first floor also contains an open gallery adjacent to the front entrance, which currently houses an exhibit of unique and rare special collections materials related to Charles Dickens. A second enclosed exhibit gallery will showcase UCLA Library treasures on long-term display. Two lounges and a popular coffee bar complete the new first-floor spaces.

 On the library’s lower level, former staff work space has been opened up to create a spacious, light-filled study commons framed by views onto the green berm that surrounds the building. The commons accommodates more than 100 users at tables and in individual chairs. Open stacks house newspapers and unbound periodicals, and self-service cabinets contain frequently used microformat materials and maps.

 Adjacent to the study commons, the entrance into the Department of Special Collections has been opened up. Full-length glass doors offer passers-by a view of the department’s lobby and exhibit area, inviting them to come in and see what’s on view.

 Large-format electronic signage at the building entrance and throughout the first floor and lower level also supports the renovation’s themes of discovery, journey and collaboration. With content varying by location, the signage communicates timely information, such as hours and events, showcases digital collections and new acquisitions, and honors donors.

Introducing the Code of Best Practices Now Up on YouTube

February 22nd, 2012

“Introducing the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries” is now posted to UCLA’s Youtube channel. 

 Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jrAMR94mcQ

 Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMQBAdpZjzw

More than 125 people attended this kick-off session on February 3 at the UCLA Library.  Presented by Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law and Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives, Association of Research Libraries, the presentation provides a context and background for the Code and outlines the eight principles each with described with limitations and enhancements.

The code can be accessed at:  http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/arl_csm_fairusereport.pdf




A Fascinating Friday

January 30th, 2012

The past Friday was a great day in the life of the UCLA Library.  And it was a great example of how our future unfolds.  As one enters the newly renovated Charles E. Young Research Library, you were greeted with the new exhibit on Dickens.  Note the link to see more: http://today.ucla.edu/portal/ut/dickens-200th-birthday-gives-campus-226899.aspx

And during the mid day we hosted an open house in the new Research Commons.  Every pod was an action area and the Laboratory for Digital Cultural Heritage and the instruction room were open for not only viewing, but so that faculty and students could learn about the potential of these new spaces.  As I walked through, I was struck by just how excited people are about the potential of our collaborative future.  Faculty were thinking about how they could present their courses using library collections, both physical and digital in new ways.  Library staff and graduate students were interested in the various applications and uses of the space.

The convergence of these two events was a great experience for me.  As a bookman and reader, I treasure the Dickens legacy and have been amazed at the breadth and depth of our special collections with Dickens material.  But I am also “wowed” by the potential of our new research spaces.  Our future is so rich.

Gary E. Strong, University Librarian

Holiday Greetings

December 5th, 2011