In 1948 Richard C. Rudolph, chair of the UCLA Department of Oriental Languages -- now the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures -- traveled to China on a Fulbright grant to study archaeology and on a personal mission to purchase books to support the university's Chinese program. In the wake of the Communist takeover, Rudolph hurriedly combed through bookstores in Beijing and Chengdu for reference works, encyclopedias, and large collected works known as collectanea, all of them original wood-block-printed books. On his way home he bought more books in Japan. Rudolph purchased a collection totalling more than ten thousand volumes on this trip.
The Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library was established in 1948 to support UCLA's teaching and research programs in East Asian studies. The library selects, organizes, and makes available Chinese-, Japanese-, and Korean-language materials, and its staff provides reference and instruction services to optimize access to and use of the collections.
The library's primary mission is to serve UCLA and University of California (UC) students, faculty, and staff. Its resources are available to others by special agreement and when it does not conflict with its primary mission. Library materials are also available to scholars at other institutions through interlibrary loans.
Reference services are provided from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the service desk in the reading room area. The library usually conducts orientation workshops during the fall and winter quarters and at any time upon request; these sessions provide an introduction to the library; the UCLA Library Catalog, and UC-wide Melvyl Catalog and search strategies for each; electronic resources; and romanization schemes for the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages. Printed instructional materials are also available.