Annual Report of the Library 2004-2005

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Annual Report of the Library 2004-2005

Celebrating the Foundations

As the 19th century neared its conclusion, Phoebe Apperson Hearst made two significant investments on behalf of her beloved University of California.

In December, 1897, a Programme for the International Competition for the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Architectural Plan was published and widely distributed, inviting the submission of plans to build a Berkeley campus as “a single beautiful and harmonious picture as a painter fills in his canvas.” This plan led to the creation of Mrs. Hearst’s “City of Learning” on the slopes of the Berkeley hills, designed and built by architect John Galen Howard.

In 1899, Mrs. Hearst commissioned two Oxford University archeologists to travel to Egypt to excavate an area in the ancient village of Tebtunis. She was intent on the University of California entering the 20th century with the potential to become one of the great universities on the planet. This would require establishing world class research collections for Berkeley’s Library. This excavation led to a vast collection of papyri and ultimately the creation of the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, residing today in The Bancroft Library and, indeed, housing the greatest and largest collection of papyri in the United States.

The 1897 plan for “two hundred and forty-five acres of land . . . whose bold slope will enable the entire mass of buildings to be taken in a single coup d’oeil”—and the unexpected find in 1899 of archeological treasures in Egypt—personify clearly in 2005 the essence—the foundations—of the University of California, Berkeley, the finest public research university in the world.

In 1899 at his inauguration as President of the University, Benjamin Ide Wheeler, a devoted friend of Mrs. Hearst and visionary par excellence, sounded the clarion bell for the University’s and the Library’s future:

“Among the demands for the internal development of the University none rank in my estimation with those of the Library. The present collection has been made with great skill … If the best [students and faculty] are to be brought here and kept here, we must be able to assure them first of all that the Library will afford them the means to keep their learning abreast of the times…”

Those priorities resonate today. Just as Mrs. Hearst’s desire to help establish a great university in Berkeley provided a strong and unshakeable base, the Library remains as the intellectual foundation of the campus and one of its finest achievements. With its great collections that connect faculty and students to the ideas and records of events that have shaped humanity, the Library, indeed, serves as the foundation for each student’s education and the cornerstone of UC Berkeley’s international leadership in research. The now ten million-volume collection places the Library among the largest and most significant in the world.

Great libraries do not exist in the abstract; they must be cared for, supported, preserved, extended, and used. Without proper care, their luster will tarnish; without proper support, their strengths will weaken. Knowledge and wisdom, seen on the shelves and online, are the sum and substance of the UC Berkeley Library. The excellence of the Library is well understood by the people who care about it and especially by those who support it.

Each year, the Association of Research Libraries ranks North American educational institutions, using quantitative measures of library collections, expenditures, support, and staffing. In 2005, the UC Berkeley Library ranked fourth, immediately behind Harvard, Yale, and Toronto, making Cal’s Library, for the fourth year in a row, the first among all public universities in the United States.

This year has seen the Library begin to undergo some tremendous changes with its facilities. For years, the campus has made significant seismic improvement to its buildings, including Doe Library. Beginning in the fall of 2005 through 2007, the Doe Library Annex will undergo a complete renovation to make the building safer and more accessible. To prepare for the construction, many library services and collections have had to relocate—some to temporary quarters on and off-campus, and others to new permanent locations within Doe Library.

Heller Reading Room, Bancroft Library

The Bancroft Library, an irreplaceable cultural treasure, will be expanded and its facilities improved to support the preservation and use of its rare and unique collections. In order to begin the seismic work and building upgrades, Bancroft was temporarily closed June 1 through October 17. The range of the Bancroft’s collection of books, records, photographs and artifacts is breathtaking, but so is the volume of materials. This summer, Bancroft moved 500,000 books, 50 million manuscript items and 2.8 million photographs. The manuscripts alone take up 35,000 linear feet of space, which means that, in the unlikely event they were laid end to end, they would stretch more than 6.6 miles. While many of Bancroft’s collection will still be available in its temporary quarters this fall, much will be in storage for nearly two years during the building renovation. Both the Regional Oral History Office and the Mark Twain Papers and Project have also been relocated to temporary quarters.

The success to date of the Centennial Campaign for The Bancroft Library that made this move and renovation possible was due to the very generous support of our friends, volunteers, and donors. With a little more than $3 million left to raise to meet the campaign goal of $32 million, we are confident that we will achieve that goal and keep Bancroft accessible and safe for at least a hundred more years.

In December, 2004, the University Library was thrilled to learn that it had been awarded a $5 million grant for Bancroft’s reconstruction project from the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation of Oakland—an exceptionally generous grant. But the Valley Foundation then agreed to add another $5 million as matching funds for new private support. Because of this challenge grant, donors have already begun to contribute generous gifts.

Among recent generous donors to this project are the Koret Foundation, Mrs. Ormond S. Lamson, the William H. Bowes Charitable Foundation, the Joseph M. Long Foundation, and the Thomas J. Long Foundation. This is an exciting time to be part of this renewal effort, and we look forward to celebrating the centennial of the Bancroft Library in 2006 with 100% of our goal attained. We’re nearly there!

In addition to this major capital undertaking, a series of other projects are providing safer and more pleasant spaces for arts, humanities, social science and area studies scholars wanting to use reference materials, newspapers, microforms, and current periodicals.

The historic North Reading Room reopened in February, 2005 after an extensive renovation. Thanks to the generous support of Library donors, such as Mrs. Jean Gerlinger Doyle, this room has been restored to match its original state in 1910. This includes a new floor, fresh paint, new window treatments, refinished and restored historic tables and chairs, new table lighting that duplicates the original table lamps, and the restoration of the ceiling plaster and fixtures. Some finishing touches are still being done, but the room and its reference collections are available for use.

The Government Reference collection has been moved from the East Reading Room to the North Reading Room. Current periodicals have been moved to the freed-up space in the East Reading Room. This room has been furnished with comfortable seating and improved lighting to create a welcoming environment that encourages on-site reading and browsing.

This year also saw the opening of the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library. The new building provides additional space and enhanced technological support for the collections and services of the Music Library, including its outstanding collection of rare books and manuscripts. The building bears the name of Jean Gray Hargrove, a graduate from the Class of 1935 in the Department of Music, whose generous gift to the department made the project possible. Situated at the east end of North Field, the Hargrove Music Library now forms part of the Arts Quadrangle along with Wurster, Kroeber, Hertz, and Morrison Halls.

The Music Library also will benefit greatly from the bequest of Professor Edgar and Mrs. Ingrid S. Sparks who established an endowment that will allow for the acquisition of rare printed material and manuscripts useful in the study of music, musicology, composition, theory and performance.

East Asian Library

Construction on the new East Asian Library building began this spring and is scheduled to be completed in 2007. The new library will be named for the late Cornelius Vander Starr, whose foundation made the lead gift for the library and became pivotal in the success of the project. Starr, who died in 1968, was a UC Berkeley student early in the last century and founded the American International Group, Inc., now one of the largest international underwriters of commercial insurance. The Starr Library will be the first freestanding building dedicated to East Asian collections in the United States.

Again this year, gifts from UC Berkeley alumni, faculty and Library friends, combined with income from the endowments, have helped improve the Library’s collections with purchases of materials in rapidly changing and interdisciplinary fields and of updated reference collection resources. For example, ARTstor is a new database of approximately 300,000 images, documenting artistic traditions across many times and cultures. This resource embraces architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design as well as many other forms of visual culture. Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 is a new database resource for those studying US history and US women’s history. Organized around the history of women in social movements in the US from 1600 to 2000, it contains more than 20,000 pages of documents, 600 images, and over 600 links to other websites, plus a dictionary and chronology.

Harry and Margaret Clark made the Library a beneficiary of their estate and established an endowed fund for the acquisition of books, periodicals and related materials in the field of history. The Library’s collections also have been buoyed by the donation of Dr. Lisbet Rausing, earmarked to support the acquisition of library materials in any form. And Walter and Jocelyn Kaufmann created a new gift annuity that will eventually provide generous unrestricted support of Doe Library.

The UC Berkeley Library began in 1868 with a collection of 1,036 volumes transferred to the newly-formed University from the original College of California. The traditions evident in the early years of our soon-to-be great institution evolved into the broad and strong foundations that continue to provide academic strength and enrichment today. Throughout these past 137 years, the Library of the University of California has benefited from the loyalty and generosity of alumni and friends. Its collections have grown and its services expanded as a result of the recognition of the crucial role the Library plays both in the community and on the campus, especially for students and faculty. In 2004-2005, the Library received nearly 6000 gifts totaling almost $14 million from alumni, faculty and friends—an amazing record of support and vote of confidence for the value of the University Library.

This 2005 Annual Report serves to recognize and acknowledge our generous Library donors for 2004-05, who continue the tradition of Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Benjamin Ide Wheeler to care for and support the Berkeley campus and its incredible Library. Thank you for maintaining Cal’s foundations of excellence.


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Originally published Fall 2004. Server manager: contact