Los Angeles: Libraries
In the mid-1960s, the University Library at Los Angeles
was one of the youngest of the important libraries in the country.
It was made up of the University Research Library, the College Library,
and a number of specialized libraries. In addition to its more than
two million volumes, the library contained extensive holdings of
government publications, pamphlets, manuscripts, maps, microtext
editions, music scores, recordings, and slides.
The first book acquired by the library was
Hayden's Survey of Wyoming and Idaho in 1883, two years after the
establishment of the Los Angeles State Normal School. By 1919, when
the normal school became a part of the University, the collection
had grown to 24,000 volumes and the library was run by a staff of
four. The staff had increased to 12 and the collection to 42,000
volumes when John E. Goodwin became librarian in 1923, but he noted
a lack of "much of the essential literature in the various
fields of knowledge," and in his first annual report, recommended
that at least $75,000 a year be provided for books and bindings
and to purchase older materials essential to a research library.
Goodwin's recommendation was not approved (in
fact, it was not until 1940 that the budget reached $75,000), but
he was able to plan for the orderly expansion of the library by
the immediate reclassification of books from the Dewey Decimal System
to the Library of Congress classification system. Goodwin was also
able to counter the proposal being considered at the time that the
library at Los Angeles remain a small working collection with Berkeley
serving as the only University research library. By the time he
retired in 1944, the Los Angeles collection had increased to 462,000
volumes, the number of staff members to 52.
Lawrence Clark Powell was chosen as the next librarian.
During his service (1944-61), the library had to provide new collections
to support many new programs of study that were instituted on the
campus. Also, long awaited physical expansion was begun. The central
book stack was completed and expanded, bringing the library's total
book storage capacity to 800,000.
Robert Vosper was appointed as University
Librarian in 1961, and the following year, ground was broken for
the first unit of the University Research Library which was completed
in 1964. At that time, "some 14 miles of books and four million
index cards" were carted across the Los Angeles campus to the
new six-story building, which then became the administrative center
for the campus library system. The research library housed the main
reference, circulation, and periodicals service and the catalog
and acquisition department. The College Library (also known as the
Main Library) was then converted into an open stack undergraduate
library of 150,000 selected volumes.
Specialized Libraries and Collections
Among the specialized libraries were the
Government Publications Room in the College Library Building, a
depository for the official publications of the federal and California
state governments, the United Nations, and a number of other international
organizations; the Government and Public Affairs Reading Room, also
in the same building, contained official publications of California
cities and counties; and the Oriental Library, with books, journals,
newspapers, and other materials in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean
languages. Some 14 additional specialized libraries were housed
in the departments which they primarily serve.
Supplementing the University Library was the William
Andrews Clark Memorial Library (located ten miles from the campus)
of about 72,500 books, pamphlets, and manuscripts, featuring English
culture of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries,
and the history of Montana.
The Department of Special Collections, established
in 1951, contained rare books, pamphlets, manuscripts, the University
archives, certain subject collections of books, early maps and files
of early California newspapers. During its first ten years of existence,
the department acquired a number of major collections. Among these
is the Michael Sadleir collection of Victorian fiction, generally
regarded as the finest of its kind, which concentrated on minor
British novelists of the nineteenth century; a 3,000 volume collection
of British children's books from 1790 to 1850; and a large collection
of Western Americana formed around the nucleus of the library purchased
from California bibliographer and bookseller Robert Ernest Cowan,
which contained materials concerned chiefly with the history of
northern California, including papers of individuals and organizations
prominent in the last half of the nineteenth century.
The Los Angeles library ranked 36th in the
country in 1931 when it first reported its figures to the Princeton
Library Survey. In 1964-65, it ranked 11th.
|Elizabeth F. Fargo
|John E. Goodwin
|Lawrence C. Powell
|Robert G. Vosper