Save the UCLA Arts Library

UCLA Library Management, behind closed doors and without consultation with the UCLA community has decided to close its Arts Library, potentially as soon as January 2010.

For decades, the Arts Library has served faculty, students and the Southern California community as an essential cultural resource. In terms of research and scholarship it supports some of the nation's best programs in the arts, architecture, art history, film, television, theater and the humanities. With over 270,000 volumes and unique collections, the Arts Library is a singular institution in Los Angeles, a burgeoning center for the arts. It must be preserved.

We understand that the UCLA Library must meet a nearly $2 million shortfall. However, the permanent elimination of a critical UCLA institution must not be the solution to a short term budget crisis.
Professor George Baker and I started this petition on August 19 to rally support for keeping the UCLA Arts Library open and for beginning conversations about its survival both in the short and long terms. In the 12 days this petition appeared on the Internet, 3,962 concerned people from all over the world added their signatures. Many of them also provided thoughtful commentary. I offer this to you as a means of showing in part the importance of the library as an institution whose reach extends far beyond our Westwood home and as a means of illustrating in some fashion how an arts library's collections are different from many others. I personally found this to be very illuminating on a number of different levels. It is my hope that you do as well.


Steven Nelson
Associate Professor of African and African American Art History
Chair, UCLA Graduate Council, 2009-10
UCLA, Department of Art History
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