University Libraries

An Informal Summary of University Policies, Procedures, and Resources for Undergraduate Instruction

OID: Faculty Consultation

University Libraries

The UCLA Library system is large and spread out, and students may feel overwhelmed and anxious when given an assignment that requires them to use the library. Even advanced students may not know how to identify, locate, evaluate, and use the full range of print and electronic information materials they need. It is always worthwhile to check the level of students’ experience and ability with library and information sources when planning an assignment that includes research beyond the assigned readings. An instructor who expects students to use the library or specialized resources, or who has a large class should consult with library staff beforehand to facilitate any arrangements helpful for his or her students. The names and telephone numbers of contacts in each library unit are listed on the Library web page at

Charles E. Young Research Library

The Charles E. Young Research Library (YRL) primarily serves the research needs of faculty and graduate students from the humanities and social sciences, the School of Public Policy, and the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Of the more than eight million volumes in the UCLA Library collections, over three million are housed in the YRL. Also located in the building are the Department of Special Collections, the East Asian Library, as well as Library Administration and Library Development, which handles donations and fundraising.

College Library

The College Library, located in the Powell Library Building, provides instructional and supplementary materials including classics, standard works, and text books needed by undergraduates in the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences.

Most UCLA students have never used a large decentralized academic library before coming to this campus; undergraduates should therefore be encouraged to use the College Library. Its collection of books and periodicals is specifically designed to meet their study needs. Course reserve materials, which may include lecture notes, past examinations, and Academic Publishing Service (APS) readings as well as books and articles are listed in the College Library Reserves database at

College Library also offers online help in information researching, plagiarism avoidance and documentation specifically for students:

The “Road to Research” is a self-paced tutorial in 4 modules: Starting Points, Find It, Judge for Yourself, and Road Etiquette. Students can log in and have their pre-test and quiz scores recorded. Instructors can also log in and view student scores at any time at

“Bruin Success with Less Stress” is a self-paced tutorial defining plagiarism, illustrating how to avoid it by documenting sources, with quizzes:

“How-to-Guides” is a series of guides for using and thinking critically about research tools, including databases and web sites.

“Information Literacy Help Menu” offers a complete list of a wide range of types of help available to UCLA instructors for their students.

Special Collections

The Department of Special Collections, housed in the Charles E. Young Research Library, provides access to the UCLA Library’s central collection of rare books and manuscripts in the humanities and social sciences, as well as transcripts of interviews conducted by the UCLA Oral History Program. The Department's rare book holdings consist of some 333,000 volumes, while its non-book holdings comprise more than 30 million manuscripts, 5 million photographs and negatives, ephemera, maps, works of art, architectural drawings and models, and other graphic arts material.

Other special collections include: Arts Library Special Collections, Elmer Belt Library of Vinciana, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Music Library Special Collections, and the UCLA University Archives. Location information for each library is located at the Special Collections homepage at

Subject libraries

The resources of other campus libraries are devoted mainly to subjects related to the interests of departments or schools in which they are situated, but their materials are available to all faculty and students. The UCLA Library system includes the following subject libraries: Arts, Biomedical, East Asian, Law, Management, Music, and Science and Engineering.

In addition to the UCLA Library, many other information resources are available to the UCLA community. The archives and collections listed below are independently managed by individual UCLA departments and centers: ASUCLA library, American Indian Studies Center Library, Asian American Studies Center Reading Room, Center for African American Studies Library, Chicano Studies Research Center Library, English Reading Room, Ethnomusicology Archive, Film and Television Archive, Institute for Social Science Research Data Archives Library, Instructional Media Library, and the UCLA Oral History Program. For information about access policies and hours of service, contact the archive or library directly:

Specialized services

Listed below are a number of services that instructors can use to facilitate students’ library use and that may also be helpful to faculty members in conducting their own research:

Library databases

UCLA Library Catalog
For comprehensive access to the UCLA Library’s holdings, it is essential to use the UCLA Library Catalog Demonstrations and searching classes are offered at some libraries at the beginning of fall quarter. Arrangements can be made with the appropriate library to schedule UCLA Library Catalog training for particular classes.

As an initiative part of the California Digital Library, MELVYL is the University of California’s online catalog, containing records of the library holdings at all ten UC campuses, in addition to the California State Library, the California Academy of Sciences, the California Historical Society, the Center for Research Libraries, the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics Library, the Graduate Theological Union, the Hastings College of the Law Library, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Library.

Article databases
The UCLA Library and the California Digital Library license many databases for UCLA students and faculty that provide online access to the complete text of scholarly journal articles in a huge array of academic disciplines, newspaper articles, and popular magazines. For access to article databases, go to

Library instruction
The library offers instruction on research strategies, specialized reference tools, the effective use of online catalogs and article databases, and other methods for accessing the collections and retrieving, evaluating, and managing information. When tailored to course content, library instruction can help enhance the scope and quality of sources students use for assignments.

Librarians are available to give class presentations, which can include demonstrations of online catalogs and hands-on learning of databases to access scholarly articles. Librarians can create Web pages with links to key databases, bibliographies of relevant reference sources, and other instructional materials for individual courses. Librarians are also available for individual and small group consultations outside of class time.

Orientation tours
Some libraries offer scheduled tours and orientations at the beginning of fall quarter, and all libraries offer tours and instructional sessions throughout the year by appointment. Information and library contacts can be found at

Putting required readings on reserve helps students avoid the problem of searching for volumes that are in use, checked out, or waiting to be shelved. To provide instruction to students, the UCLA Library partners with faculty to offer class reserves. Please bear in mind that thousands of reserve items must be processed each term and that this significant workload cannot all be handled in the week before classes begin. Instructors are asked to supply reserve lists well in advance so library staff can provide timely access to assigned materials.

Materials for most undergraduate courses in the humanities and social sciences are placed on reserve at the College Library. Reserves for other undergraduate classes can be placed at the appropriate subject library or at the College Library, for classes with large enrollments. Reserves for graduate-level courses are located at the appropriate subject library or the Research Library. To access course reserve instructions visit:

Student Library assignments/research projects
Librarians are available to discuss in advance projects that require the use of library resources and to offer suggestions for implementing them. The objective of the consultation is to make sure the library has sufficient resources to meet the goals of the assignment and to determine whether special instruction for the class is advisable. A consultation in advance is particularly important when the class is large and the term papers or research projects require use of library resources.

If students come to see you one by one, asking for help with their research and cannot demonstrate that they can do research for the coursework you have assigned, students may want to use tailored online research guides for specific courses or subjects. By investing a couple of hours in working with a librarian you can create a web page of information resources for your course.

To make an appointment for consultation for the appropriate library visit: