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Dear Friends of the UCLA Library,

After more than a decade serving as the inaugural Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian, I recently announced my decision to retire in December 2023. I am proud of all we have accomplished together, from creating our first endowed librarian position to making the Film & Television Archive a thriving part of the Library; from space and service upgrades to establishing the Data Science Center.

While the search for my successor will begin this quarter, it’s too early to say goodbye – there are many things I still plan to accomplish, and the needs of our students and campus community will always remain the focus.

The Library is one of the largest student employers at UCLA, and students are involved in almost every aspect of our work, from digital technology to working with archives. We take great pride in helping students pay for their education while providing valuable professional experience for their careers beyond UCLA.

Our students’ experiences remind us that fundamental to achieving UCLA’s teaching mission is reducing barriers to access and making education affordable. Students can expect to spend at least $1,500 per year for course materials, including textbooks, and for some majors the amount is much higher. Among the ways we make education affordable include:

  • Providing low- or no-cost alternative textbooks through our Affordable Course Materials Initiative;
  • Working with faculty to identify, purchase and make materials available for specific classes or class assignments so students don’t have to buy copies of their own;
  • Creating new positions focused on access, such as the Metadata Librarian for Open Access who identifies openly available educational resources.

These approaches, and others, make the world of difference for our students, the majority of whom receive need-based financial aid. That’s why endowments for collections and librarians remain priorities for the Library. I’m especially grateful for donor support that makes this work possible. Thank you.

Best regards,

Virginia Steel

Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian