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Dear Bruin Community:

It is a tremendous honor to return to UCLA to serve as the Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian. The first time I stepped into an academic library, I was 19 years old. I had recently transferred from a rural community college to attend an urban university of nearly 40,000 students with a large library system. Until that point, I didn’t know what an academic library was, but I quickly learned that the kinds of resources I needed as a college student were much different than those of my local public library.

As UCLA’s University Librarian, it is now my responsibility to help scholars from every background gain access to the materials, research help, and inclusive spaces that they need to successfully complete coursework and to build knowledge. You may be like me, a first-generation college student who had little to no understanding of the complexity of an academic library. You may be deeply engaged in biomedical research that has the potential to save lives. You may be researching an ancient manuscript for a hidden clue. Wherever your curiosity leads you, the good thing about a library is that everyone who enters is equal, an expert or a novice, depending on the subject.

Of vital importance to me is ensuring that UCLA Library is a center of knowledge and gathering. It must be a nexus of intellectual pursuit for everyone. In the coming months, I plan to listen and learn about the different needs of students, faculty, the Library team and our broader community in order to grow relevance, safeguard knowledge, and create a Library for the future–one that is a beacon of inclusive excellence that keeps pace with UCLA’s remarkable impact in California and across the globe.

I hope that when you think of the UCLA Library, you will recognize and relish it as a place of learning and engagement. As well, I hope you will think of the Library as a place where you feel a sense of belonging and where your curiosity is inspired and nurtured. To me, that would be a key measure of success. Go Bruins!

Warm regards,

Athena N. Jackson
Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian

Associated Staff Member