Humanities Reference And Research Collection:
Final Program Proposal

[I. Background/Charge] [II. Program Description] [III. Implementation Dates]
[IV. Recommendations] [V. Summary] [Working Group Membership]
[APPENDIX - Phase 1 Implementation] [Phase 1 Recommendations]


Humanities scholarship at UC Berkeley is a significant and dynamic undertaking which requires and deserves the highest level of library support possible in terms of collections, user services and space. Doe Library is in essence the laboratory for the humanities.

The Humanities Graduate Collection Working Group, composed of humanities faculty, graduate students and library staff, was charged with developing a program to provide the collections, services and physical environment necessary for carrying out advanced research and study in the humanities. While building on the model of the former Humanities Graduate Service in Doe Library, the Working Group believes in the need to broaden gradually the scope of the collections in order to include all disciplines within the humanities and history not currently served by other library or departmental units, to make the services offered more efficient and tailored to the changing needs of humanities scholars, and to make the spaces available more conducive to both quiet study and group consultation. In recognizing the need to redesign the humanities research facilities, the Working Group also sees an opportunity to encourage renewed interest in the Library and invigorate support for it among graduate students and faculty.

In keeping with the Library's plan to convert the second floor of Doe into a center for graduate and advanced research in the humanities, social sciences and area studies, this report recommends several shared services and courses of action not exclusive to the Humanities Reference and Research Collection (HRRC). It is our belief that they will result in the efficient use of staff and space, and a uniformity of service to the targeted constituencies.

Although the working group was originally charged with designing a service to be opened after the seismic retrofitting of Doe was completed in Spring, 1999, the University Librarian has since asked that the timetable be accelerated. We are therefore recommending that our program be implemented in stages. In the Appendix we describe a "Phase 1" service based on the transfer of existing collections and services from the Graduate Services on the 5th floor of Moffitt to an available space on the second floor of Doe. As seismic work is completed, the Working Group expects the expansion of collections and services into the newly available space as described below.

To the top


The Humanities Research and Reference Collection is being designed to provide non-circulating research collections of primary, secondary and reference materials essential to humanities scholarship; services including circulating reserves, reference and research consultation, and an electronic resources center; and facilities including study and consultation space, seminar rooms and photocopy machines.

To the top


Phase I: Spring, 1998

Phase II: Spring, 1999, and continuing

To the top


[A. Collections] [B. Services] [C. Physical Facilities] [D. Staffing Needs]
[E. Funding] [F. Review Process/Implementation Group/Ongoing Group]

A. Collections

The collections of the HRRC are at the core of its mission, and they must be both ample and well-tailored to the needs of Berkeley's humanities scholars. They should evolve through close consultation between library staff and the Berkeley faculty and graduate students who use the service, and should constitute a body of materials which grows and changes over time in order to reflect the transformations in humanities scholarship, the content of graduate programs, and the interests of new generations of Berkeley faculty and students. In addition to significantly improving access to the major works in the humanities, the Humanities Research and Reference core collection should ease competition for the often only circulating copy of a work in Main or Moffitt.

Owing partly to the way the old HGS was set up and developed, and partly to the existence of branches dedicated to other humanities disciplines, the traditional orientation of this facility has been preponderantly toward History and English. Without proposing to duplicate existing humanities libraries, this Working Group believes that one goal of the new HRRC should be the eventual provision of materials to humanists in a broad range of disciplines. We by no means advocate collapsing branches such as AH/C in HRRC, if their primary constituents are satisfied with existing arrangements. But in this era of burgeoning interdisciplinarity and shrinking budgets, we think ideals of inclusiveness rather than fragmentation should be reflected, as much as possible, in the scope of HRRCs holdings.

Specifically, the collections should include:

1. Standard editions of canonical authors in the humanities.

The Working Group recommends doubling the size of the current collection, both to bring it up to date and ultimately to include those authors and areas of the humanities not currently represented.

Total volumes: 15,000

Linear feet of shelving: 1615 feet

Funding: Not currently funded; we recommend the creation of a $10,000/annum HRRC canonical authors fund, adjusted annually for inflation, to be augmented in future as a more accurate picture of the real need emerges.

2. A core of secondary materials including historical, theoretical, philosophical, critical and other scholarly works deemed pertinent to humanities research and teaching.

The Working Group recommends doubling the size of the current collection, both to bring it up to date and to include those authors and areas of the humanities not currently represented.

Total volumes: 15,000

Linear feet of shelving: 1615 feet

Funding: Not currently funded; we recommend the establishment of a $10,000/annum core secondary works fund, adjusted annually for inflation, to be augmented in future as a more accurate picture of the real need emerges.

3. A collection of core reference works for humanists, including bibliographies, indices, encyclopedias, gazetteers, dictionaries and other standard compendia in print and computerized form.

We regard the Humanities Research and Reference Collection as the appropriate home of many, if not all, of the reference works in the humanities and history currently housed in the reference room on the second floor of Doe Library. Although the reference collection should be in close proximity to the other HRRC collections, it does not need to be shelved in the same room.

(Note: although the spaces proposed in Phase 1 of the HRRC program are not adequate for the purpose of housing these reference materials, appropriate additional spaces for this purpose on the second floor of Doe beyond the core HRRC floor plan will emerge from preparations for Phase 2 of the project.)

Total volumes: 20,000

Linear feet of shelving: 2150 feet

Funding: Currently funded; we recommend continuation of funding for building the reference collection housed in 200 Doe at its existing level, adjusted for inflation.

4. The existing Modern Authors Collection (XMAC).

This collection comprises the works of the most significant 20th century British, American and Anglophone literary authors.

Total volumes: 11,000

Linear feet of shelving: 1200 feet

Funding: Currently funded by the Library at $6,400; we recommend increasing funding to $8,000/annum and annual adjustments thereafter for inflation.

5. A core collection of current periodicals.

As part of the ongoing process of consultation between faculty and library staff, we recommend that approximately 50-75 titles be identified as most pertinent to research and teaching in the humanities, and designated for transfer from the Periodical Room to HRRC. We further recommend that approximately 10 very heavily used titles be identified and designated for purchase by HRRC.

Total number of titles: 75

Linear feet of shelving: 144

Funding: Only a small collection of duplicate history journals and continuations is currently funded by the Library; funding for an additional 10 duplicate subscriptions must be provided.

B. Services


A shared service for all graduate reserves in the humanities, social sciences and area studies.

Longer-term reserves (1-day, 7-day) should be shelved in close proximity to the HRRCC collections. A secure, staffed closed reserve shelving area and desk needs to be created for 2-hour reserves.

Total volumes: 4,000 open reserves, 500 volumes closed reserves

Linear feet of shelving: 550 feet open reserves

Funding: Reserves are currently funded from Moffitt Library collections resources.

Staffing: Student staff could operate circulation function; presumably processing could be done on site or in a central library location.

Equipment needed: Public service desk, computer workstation for circulation functions


A humanities research and reference service for graduate students, faculty and advanced researchers comparable to that offered to social scientists in the Government and Social Sciences Information Collection is highly desirable.

Staffing: Currently staffed by Humanities and Area Studies Resource Group.


A site for the use of digital full-text databases available online or on CD-ROM, as well as convenient access to online library catalogs and Internet sources.

Although GSSI already has a fully developed collection (mostly of government publications) and an area for its use, it would be feasible for HRRC and IAS to share a service. Most of the CD- ROMs located here would not warrant networking because of their specialized nature and relatively low use. This facility could work in conjunction with the proposed closed reserve area. As a shared service, the Electronic Resources Center would not have to be located within the HRRC.

Equipment: Ten Pentium PCs with attached CD-ROM players and network access

Furniture: Ergonomic tables, chairs, lighting for each of the computers

Staffing: Staffing to help with content and technical problems is highly desirable. If located near the reserve desk, staff there could serve both purposes.

C. Physical Facilities


A site for core collections and study spaces.

In order to meet the needs of humanities scholars who need to consult research materials on the premises, and in many cases to conduct long term research projects in the Library, we propose the creation of 60 study spaces which have the capability of supporting network connections. Each study space should be adequately lit for reading, and should be located in a quiet area conducive to study and the consultation of library materials.

Proximate areas for consulting large-format volumes of reference materials are also required. A mixture of open study spaces, semi-private carrels and comfortable seating is needed. Provision for security of personal possessions and charged library materials must also be made. It is essential that many of the study spaces be located in the HRRC itself, with the core non-circulating collection.

In Phase 1 we recommend the establishment of a baseline HRRC facility with 60 reader spaces consisting of chairs and tables; each station needs a network connection and electrical outlet.

In Phase 2 (or once Phase 1 baseline seating has been achieved) we recommend the establishment of additional seating as follows:

Furniture: Ten individual study carrels with network and electrical outlets for personal computers and ten comfortable seating spaces

Equipment: Four Library Information System computers for catalog and network access

Shelving: See "Collections," sections 1, 2, 4 and 5 above.


In Phase 2, another essential feature of the Humanities Research and Reference Collection is the inclusion of a seminar room or rooms which could be used for informal gatherings of humanist researchers, library instruction and other appropriate purposes.

These rooms could be shared by all 2nd floor services and regulated by the Reserves Desk.

Furniture: Large table and chairs for each, computer and projection equipment in at least one room.


The service will require an adequate number of photocopy machines adjacent to the collections, with provision made for redundancy in the event of machine failure.


The final design of the spaces for collections and their consultation should make adequate provision for security of the collections, including appropriately-situated security trellises and complete security stripping of the collections.

D. Staffing Needs

Staff will be needed to run and to provide security for the graduate reserves unit and the electronic text unit; to process and shelve books in the reserves, reference and core collections; and to provide reference and research assistance. We recommend:

E. Funding

In addition to the startup funding needed to shape and furnish the physical location of the HRRC, it will need ongoing, dedicated funding in two areas of its operations: staffing for the shared graduate reserves units and for maintenance of the collections and physical environment, and funding for building the core and reference collections (including journal subscriptions and digital resources). We recommend that a clear budget line within the Humanities and Area Studies Resource Group be established for these purposes.

To the extent that existing Library funding is not sufficient to create and maintain the HRRC, we further recommend the establishment of a major development program involving the Library and the College of Letters and Science whose goal will be to raise the funds necessary to build and sustain the Humanities Reference and Research Collection.

F. Review Process/Implementation Group/Ongoing Group

The Working Group strongly urges that at least one faculty and library staff member of this Working Group participate in future discussions of this report by the Library Planning Group, the Academic Senate Library Committee and other reviewing agencies, to amplify and defend its recommendations and to take part in negotiating any modifications judged necessary. We also recommend that this report be presented for discussion and possible refinement and revision at meetings to which all graduate students and faculty in the humanities will be invited.

Subsequent to its acceptance by campus and library groups, we recommend designating an implementation group of graduate students, faculty and library staff to prepare specific recommendations for the configuration of space and services. We further recommend that an ongoing review group be formed to gauge the success of the program and make refinements as needed.

To the top


In labelling some features of the HRRC "necessary" and others "desirable," we have tried to indicate our collective sense of priorities as to what the new facility should be and do; we recognize that not everything can be done at once. What we are proposing is not, after all, the creation from scratch of a wholly new facility, but rather the restoration of a once-thriving enterprise to the centrality and usefulness it once enjoyed. The decline of HGS has been a painful instance of the library not meeting the needs of humanists. HRRC as we envision it will renew, both practically and symbolically, the library's commitment to this constituency, and provide, to the fullest extent possible, resources and services of value to humanistic studies in general. We have laid considerable stress on rebuilding a strong core collection of non-circulating material, because pressure on our circulating holdings in the Main Stacks makes teaching and research in the humanities extremely difficult, and such pressure may increase as other libraries reduce their purchases, as UC moves toward a systemwide library, and so on.

Following the removal of the old HGS from the first floor of Doe to the fifth floor of the Moffitt Library, facilities for humanities research on campus were severely weakened. It is therefore urgent that the Library and the campus take decisive action now to restore and rebuild research services for humanists. It is the intention of this report to propose a program for such action. In the course of its preparation, we have drawn together faculty members, graduate students and library staff, whose cooperation has been critical to the development of these plans. We, the members of the Working Group, feel strongly that the program described herein represents the most viable and best service configuration to ensure Library support for humanities faculty and graduate students in the pursuit of their research and instruction objectives.

To the top


Michaelyn Burnette, Library
Jan Carter, Library
Genevieve Guenther, English
Prof. Thomas Havens, History
Phoebe Janes, Library
Prof. Donald McQuade, English
Prof. Raphael Sealey, History
James H. Spohrer, Chair, Library
Prof. George Starr, English
Gabriele Tenaglia, History
Fred Yasaki, Library

To the top


The initial meetings and email exchanges of this Working Group proceeded on the assumption that HRRC would not return to Doe until seismic retrofitting of its northern wing is completed sometime in 1998 or 1999, and that this Working Group should seek to formulate a single set of recommendations regarding the clientele, collections, services, etc. that it deemed necessary or desirable in the new facility.

At its meeting of May 14th, however, the Working Group was informed by Library Architect Yasaki that he had been asked by the University Librarian to accelerate the timetable for bringing HRRC back to Doe; although no specific date was given, Mr. Lyman expressed a wish to carry out the move as soon as possible.

In response to this welcome news, the Working Group reached the following positions:

1. An extremely promising basis for an early move already exists, in the form of the conceptual drawing of HRRC as it might be relocated to the west corridor of the second floor of Doe, prepared a year ago by Mr. Yasaki and shown to this Working Group at an earlier meeting.

2. In its review of this drawing, the Working Group found that it incorporated various features that it regards as crucial to the new facility, such as the provision of ample and civilized workspaces in proximity to a substantial part of the permanent collection, the distribution of different functions so that they are separate but there is easy movement among them, and more generally a humane ambience within a naturally well-lit space.

3. In thus endorsing Mr. Yasaki's concept, the Working Group understands it to be (as he himself has suggested) a point of departure rather than a final or a total plan; we embrace it as hastening and facilitating rather than foreclosing further stages in the planning process. As a corollary of this, it is our understanding that the HRRC that ultimately takes shape will contain areas, services, furnishings, etc. not indicated in this initial drawing, but that this nevertheless represents a constructive, sound first step in what may prove to be a gradual, incremental realization of the new facility as a whole.

To the top


A. Collections

Move existing collections from the fifth floor of Moffitt to the newly designed Humanities Research and Reference Collection.

B. Services


A temporary reserves unit could be set up in the HRRC space until a permanent space is available.


Reference will be offered in the Information Center or by appointment with selectors during the seismic retrofitting.


The Electronic Resources Unit Working Group will propose a plan to be implemented in Phase 2 of the HRRC project.

To the top


Copyright © 1997 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.
Document maintained by: Ann Moen
Last update 11/14/97. Server manager: Contact