Letter from University Librarian, Ginny Steel

Ginny Steel

Dear Donors and Supporters of the UCLA Library,

This Library newsletter issue’s cover story on Cuba highlights an ever-expanding area of UCLA Library activity: building international partnerships and preserving global cultural heritage. So I’m pleased to share with you news about recent major gifts supporting these efforts.

We are honored to receive a major grant from The Ahmanson Foundation to fund the digitization of rare and unique Syriac and Arabic manuscripts held by St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai. The oldest continuously operating library in the world, St. Catherine’s houses an extraordinary collection of ancient religious and educational manuscripts exceeded only by the Vatican Library’s.

Our project focuses on manuscripts dating from the fourth to the seventeenth centuries about history and philosophy as well as religion and spirituality. Though these materials are vital to scholars researching the history and culture of the Middle East, until now they have been largely inaccessible. Soon, high-resolution digital facsimiles will be freely available to students and scholars at UCLA and around the world.

International projects and partnerships would not be possible without the expertise of librarians and staff. I’m delighted to announce that we’ve received a major gift to create both the Su Chen Endowed Head of the Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library and the Endowed Librarian for the Arts. Creating the Library’s first two endowed positions, this gift is critical to the UCLA Library because it ensures the sustainability of our work in perpetuity. The endowment donors have asked to remain anonymous, but I want to thank them and acknowledge their generosity.

International impact and change will undoubtedly result from the UCLA Grand Challenges, which draw together faculty and researchers across campus, and the Library is central. A gift from longtime donor and leader Norman Powell helped the Library create the position of data scientist to organize and make accessible critical research data for the Grand Challenges.

Your gift joins these and countless other gifts of all sizes that enable the Library to build one of most comprehensive and highly used collections in the world, work with students and faculty whether in classrooms or online, and fuel discovery by UCLA scientists and scholars.

Thank you for investing in the Library and scholars of the future.

Virginia Steel

University Librarian