UC Berkeley Library > Library Collections > Mission and History

Mission and History

(from the Collection Development Policy Statement, 1982)

  1. To identify, acquire, organize and disseminate all forms of recorded information which are pertinent to existing research and instructional programs.

  2. After research and instructional needs are met, to collect and organize a broad range of materials, in order that the Library may be prepared to support new or changing programs as these emerge.


In 1869, UC Berkeley was the first University Library in the State of California. It held 1,036 volumes to support UC's opening class of forty freshmen. The Library was open 4 to 5 p.m.

For 2006-07, the Association of Research Libraries ranked the UC Berkeley Library the #1 public research library in the United States. Berkeley's holdings in 2006-07 included over 10 million volumes; 89,000 serial titles; 6.9 microform units; nearly 500 thousand government documents; 5 million graphic and cartographic items; 89,000 audio/visual items, and over 44,000 films.

The intervening almost-140 years of phenomenal growth and the highest quality acquisitions have been shaped by local individual commitment within the contexts of private gifts and public funds; demands by an ever-growing community of scholars with ever-broader and deeper interests; and unimagined, much-welcome and often very challenging changes in technology.

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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 11/20/08. Comments?