Campus library voted into prestigious association

To: UCSC Community

From: Lori Kletzer Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor; Elizabeth Cowell Richard L. Press University Librarian, Presidential Chair

We are thrilled to announce that our campus was officially invited to join the prestigious Association of Research Libraries (ARL), with our membership effective January 1, 2022. The association is a nonprofit organization comprising roughly 125 libraries and archives at major public and private universities, federal government agencies, and large public institutions throughout North America. To be invited to join is both an honor and a testament to the great work unfolding in our campus library system, where our team is regularly creating and implementing ideas and services that advance our research, teaching, and learning.

The Association of Research Libraries serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas and is a catalyst for collective action to create, share, and sustain global knowledge. The organization advocates on behalf of research libraries, convenes research and higher education partners, shares intelligence on current issues, and develops the next generation of diverse library leaders. At a time in history when we are witnessing intense change in scholarship, teaching, and learning — indeed, in the very nature of information — the collective initiatives the ARL undertakes are of great benefit. Members lead institutions that attract millions of users annually, leaving them uniquely positioned to champion change by proactively addressing the information challenges and opportunities facing the research and learning community.

The UCSC University Library, while one of the smallest general libraries in the UC system, has shown itself to be a research innovator. The library’s manageable size and relative youth — it was founded in 1965, the year our campus opened — have allowed it to grow responsively with the campus and to innovate and adapt with agility to new information technologies, always with an eye on strengthening our academic and research enterprise.

Our library strategic plan focuses on access and discovery, research and scholarship, diversity, and student success, mirroring our institutional commitment to those areas. That clear alignment between the mission of our library system and our strategic direction as a campus was a critical factor in our admission, as ARL leadership views that as an essential qualification.

Other important factors in our election was the equitable access the library provides to substantive and diverse information resources that address the full scope of research and learning on our campus, and our well-developed and still evolving use of digital tools and methods in support of teaching and research.

The ARL also requires its members to have significant activities in preserving and ensuring broad access to rare and unique holdings. We have a unique and rich Special Collections enterprise. Our collections include notable holdings of California photographers, the Lick Observatory Collection, a substantial Counter Culture collection including the Grateful Dead, and significant literary archives featuring papers from such authors as Robert Heinlein and Kenneth Patchen.

We are thrilled by this recognition of our outstanding University Library, recognizing that ARL invitations are coveted and few. This achievement is something our full campus community should take pride in.