History Room
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UC Berkeley Library
History Room

The Library Staff

The Library's first full-time staff member was Joseph Rowell, who began his tenure as University Librarian in 1875. The Library was a one-man operation until 1881, when the collection moved to the Bacon Art and Library Building and Rowell hired the Library's second staff member, a student assistant who also acted as janitor. Many of the tasks these two performed to find, purchase, organize, and make available the Library's collection (then 17,000 volumes) are still central to the Library's role on campus: to provide access to library materials, to create a congenial place for study and thought, and to offer services that connect students and scholars to the world of information and ideas.

As of Spring 2006, the Library employed about 375 staff members, providing the skills and expertise crucial to ensure that UC Berkeley has the best research and information collections and environment possible.

Library staff of 1914

The staff of the University Library, 1914.
(Joseph Rowell, top row left, Harold Leupp, the second University Librarian, middle front).

Library Conservation

Library conservators are skilled book artisans who preserve and repair priceless and unique artifacts that would otherwise crumble under the stresses of time and use.

Circulation today Circulation then

Circulation staff check out books and journals, place recalls and searches for those that are not on the shelf, and request retrieval of materials stored at the Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF) in Richmond.

Library Privileges Desk

Staff at the Library Privileges Desk answer questions about overdue bills and blocked accounts and handle applications for library cards and stack passes.

Teaching Library English Class

Teaching by Library staff includes classes using primary sources and instruction in the use of electronic databases. Staff work to ensure that all Berkeley graduates are thoroughly familiar with the information resources and tools in their major field of study, are trained to use them effectively, but are also prepared to conduct a search strategy in any field.

East Asian Library books

Selectors are responsible for acquiring and maintaining the depth and quality of UC Berkeley's distinctive collections. Seen here are staff in 1947 uncrating the newly acquired Mitsui Collection, comprised of nearly 100,000 volumes from Japan.

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