Letter from the University Librarian - Fall 2020

Dear Friends of the UCLA Library,

This is an extraordinary time right now in the world. I’ve been a librarian for nearly 40 years, and I’ve never seen a period when access to libraries was more important for universities, for research, and academic success.

As remote learning continues at UCLA, our students, faculty, and other researchers need materials and services that only the Library is able to deliver. Despite the physical closure of our buildings, we’re answering thousands of research questions, hosting virtual workshops and events, fulfilling digitization requests, making available millions of digitized volumes from our collections, and acquiring new digital materials to advance remote learning. None of this would have been possible without donor support

While we innovate, the Library is also preparing for a new financial reality. Dramatic, long-term budget cuts are on the horizon that will require us to thoughtfully consider the shape of our organization. How can the Library most effectively contribute to maintaining UCLA’s standing as the top public research university in the country and simultaneously downsize? What do our students and faculty most need from us now and in the immediate future? How can we continue to move knowledge forward? 

Over the coming months, we will be re-examining and answering these questions, meeting with donors, and engaging with our research community. As we trim budgets, we will not shy away from making strategic investments. Maintaining and enhancing the excellence of our collections, while also increasing diversity and representation, remains a top priority. The pandemic has revealed an even greater urgency for access to digitized resources and the unique learner-led and data science services that set the UCLA Library apart. 

These times call for a partnership with dedicated donors like you who value the pursuit of knowledge and what it can add to everyone’s lives. I thank you for your continued support.


Best regards,

Virginia Steel

Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian