Dedicated Food Studies Librarian Essential Ingredient of New Institute

The UCLA Rothman Family Institute for Food Studies, which aims to become a world-leading center devoted to food studies in the United States, was established earlier this year with a transformative gift to UCLA’s Undergraduate Division from an anonymous donor. The donation includes a significant endowment for a dedicated food studies librarian, believed to be the first in the nation.

“Having a dedicated librarian as part of the Rothman Family Institute for Food Studies is an investment in academic excellence and campus and community collaboration,” said Dr. Wendelin Slusser, associate vice provost for the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center. “Prioritizing the inclusion of a trusted resource into the institute ensures that students and faculty will have the essential materials and services they need to accelerate their research and teaching.”

Embodying the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary study and cross-pollination of research fields, the Rothman Family Institute for Food Studies is a dynamic hub with spokes including UCLA Library, the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center, Undergraduate Education, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA School of Law, Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA College, UCLA Recreation, Students & Food Literacy, Environmental Science, the University of California, and executive leadership initiatives.

The Rothman Family Food Studies Librarian’s role within the institute is designed to ensure that graduate students, undergraduates and faculty are well-resourced for conducting research and for developing courses on global food-related issues in areas including sustainable food production, disparities that lead to food and health inequities, effective methods to promote knowledge of food across diverse communities, and innovations in food systems and policy that may support human and planetary health.

Helping researchers evaluate sources of informa- tion is another vital component of this food- focused librarian, especially considering the vast amounts of misinformation and disinformation circulating on social media.

Given the extensive and varied history and culture around food- related studies, the librarian will also build upon the Library’s existing food studies collections, with continued support from the Marcie Rothman Endowment for Food Studies, which funds curation of the Library’s interdisciplinary food studies collection, established in 2015.