Skip to Main Content


Los Angeles chapter of the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC-LA)

LAUC-LA History

"UCLA Librarians are at variance with the other campuses of the University, as represented by their delegates to the statewide steering committee, on several major issues." Position Paper from Librarians of UCLA to All Librarians of the University of California, October 9, 1967.

This statement, in one form or another, sums up the history of LAUC-LA. Scouring the voluminous records of the past twenty-five years has only reinforced the oft-repeated adage that "the more things change, the more they stay the same." The issues that occupied much of the energy, creativity, and efforts of the founding members of LAUC-LA are still around. While the $11.00 reimbursement for lunch for all LAUC-LA Statewide Delegates in 1973 would not cover even one meal today, support for professional activity is still a major concern. The role of LAUC-LA vis-à-vis the Library Administration, how to balance the emphasis given to the four criteria upon which we are evaluated, librarian participation in the Academic Senate, how to maintain a top-ranked library in a time of budgetary constraints, the role of paraprofessionals in the library, communication between the LAUC-LA Executive Council and the membership -- all of these are themes that appear and re-appear over the years.

The UCLA Librarians Association[1] was born on September 26, 1967, with the adoption of Bylaws and election of the first Executive Council. Its gestation stretches back to 1962, when librarians at UCLA were designated as members of the University's academic staff, but this step toward true academic status has been incomplete because personnel actions affecting librarians have continued to be handled through the Non-Academic Personnel Office. This office works within a standardized, job-oriented framework which has made it difficult adequately to recognize individual growth and achievement, and has limited advancement opportunities primarily to those who have been able to undertake larger administrative responsibilities. It has been understood that the granting of academic status to librarians implied their eventual transfer to the jurisdiction of the Academic Personnel Office, which holds a totally different concept of performance evaluation.... [It] depends upon review committees drawn from the academic community itself. These committees are flexibly able to evaluate colleagues in terms of their individual development, performance, and potential.[2]

On May 11, 1967, a questionnaire sent to all librarians at UCLA asked whether to form an organization to address issues of concern. Of the 160 questionnaires sent out, 106 were returned, with 96 agreeing in principle that librarians should organize.

Although the documents found in the LAUC-LA archives do not themselves describe a specific impetus for changing the status quo, it is possible to speculate from the vantage point of a quarter-century later that the general societal changes engulfing campuses in the 1960s spurred on the movement begun in 1962. In late 1966, a Professional Subcommittee of the [Library] Committee on Orientation and Communication was appointed to discuss the status of librarians in the University of California. They held two open meetings, sent out a questionnaire on "Professional Librarianship Within the Academic Community," compiled the results into a "checklist" and distributed it to all librarians. At the same time, two University committees, the Hoos Committee[3] and the Spiess Committee[4], were ostensibly dealing with issues affecting librarians and other non-Senate academic personnel. However, the lack of proper attention to librarian concerns by these committees led an informal group of twelve librarians to meet and prepare a document on "Some Proposals on the Status of UCLA Librarians," which was sent to each UCLA librarian on May 11, 1967. The items they discussed included: Job security and tenure; promotion and grievance procedures; leaves of absence; access to research funds; opportunity for professional growth; formation of a permanent organization of professional librarians; pay scale; voice in University affairs.[5] Luckily, the first LAUC-LA President, Johanna E. Tallman, included a recapitulation of the organization's beginnings in her Annual Report.

As a result of all this activity, the time seemed ripe to consider establishing such an association at UCLA. Approximately one hundred UCLA librarians met June 8. At this meeting a resolution was passed unanimously to form an association of UCLA librarians. Frances Kirschenbaum was elected temporary chairman and a Constitution Committee was appointed to draft a proposed constitution. This committee met eleven times between June and September.... [I]deas were thoroughly discussed, reworded, and finally integrated into an overall document.[6]

As the fledgling organization sought to establish itself, it had the "cooperation and endorsement of University Librarian Robert Vosper."[7] However, on December 6, 1967, the Librarian's Office issued a memo on "Work Week for Library Staff Members," ending a twenty-year policy that those who worked nights and weekends could work 38 hours a week instead of 40 hours. The justification for this sudden change was that librarians were under the Non-Academic Personnel Office and had to conform to staff rules. LAUC-LA's response was immediate -- emergency meetings were called and the Administration agreed to defer the new policy for six months and have an ad hoc committee make a thorough study of the problem and its solution.[8]

The LAUC-LA Executive Council met every two weeks (except in summer) until 1989, when the schedule was revised to once every three weeks, and then to once a month. In the early years, the number of "special" meetings convened to discuss specific topics was an indication of the vitality of the organization and willingness of people to be involved. LAUC-LA was called upon to react to many issues as librarians stretched themselves to have more control over their working lives. Much of the work of the Association was conducted through its committees. In its first two years, there were eight ad hoc committees and five standing committees in addition to the election and nomination committees. The ad hoc committee names illustrate the broad spectrum of issues that LAUC-LA tackled:

Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate the Directive of December 6 Regarding the Work Week for Library Staff Members

Ad Hoc Committee to Observe Evaluation, Promotion and Appointment Procedures (March 1968 - November 1969)

Continuing Ad Hoc Committee on Evaluation, Promotion and Appointment Procedures (January - July 1969)

Ad Hoc Committee to Develop a Position Paper for the Association

Ad Hoc Committee on the Obligations of Librarians at UCLA

Ad Hoc Committee of the Executive Council on the Problems Faced by Librarians on Leaves of Absence or Exchanges[9]

Ad Hoc Committee to Recommend on the Credentials of the Candidate for the Position of Afro-American Bibliographer[10]

Ad Hoc Committee of the Executive Council to Consider the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Observe Evaluation, Promotion and Appointment Procedures

Ad Hoc Committee to Draft Request to Faculty Center for Provisional Membership Privileges for Beginning Grades in the Academic Librarian Series (L-1 and L-2)

LAUC-LA's internal organization has evolved to meet the changing needs of the organization. Out of its original commitment to be a democratic organization, LAUC-LA created a structure to assure representation of all librarians on its Executive Council. The large number of librarians working at UCLA made it practical to have a representative structure. Accordingly, three divisions were created: Division I (Public Services), Division II (Technical Services), and Division III (Branch libraries). In addition, there were two Member-at-Large positions to be filled by so-called "junior" librarians. In 1976, the Divisional constituencies were revised because librarians in the branches outnumbered the other two divisions. In 1981, a Bylaw revision created five Divisions and eliminated the Member-at-Large positions. The Divisions are as equal in size as possible and a Committee on Membership and Reapportionment meets annually to determine if any changes are needed.

The Bylaws have undergone several major overhauls and many minor ones. In 1972, there was a major revision and again in 1975 to bring them into conformity with the new status of LAUC in the University. Again in 1981, in addition to the Division changes mentioned above, several significant revisions were made. The Committee on Appointments, Promotions, Tenure, and Salaries (CAPT) changed its name to Committee on Appointment, Promotion, Career Status, and Salary (CAPCSS). While not explicitly stated, the implicit meaning of this action was that LAUC had finally come to terms with its own identity and was no longer trying to become members of the Academic Senate. A Committee on Programs was also established at this time. The next major revision followed the adoption of the contract between the UC-AFT and the University. LAUC-LA restructured its committees to correspond more closely to the statewide committees.

In 1979, the LAUC-LA Executive Council developed a Committee Interest Form for librarians to indicate on which committees they would be interested in serving. This resulted in the Council being able to make committee appointments in line with people's stated interests. The form continues to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to serve and identifies people who might be willing to run for LAUC office in the next election.

The first budget request, made by President Johanna Tallman in February 1968, was for $200, to cover office expenses.[11] Since the organization was not yet officially recognized by the University, donations to support activities such as attendance at statewide meetings were solicited from members and an account was opened at Security Pacific Bank in March, 1972. In 1976, this account was closed and one at the UCLA Credit Union was opened. In 1973, LAUC-LA gave $50 to the Statewide organization. In 1974, a contribution of $1.50 from each member was solicited, to be distributed as follows: $.50 to Statewide LAUC, $.50 to LAUC-LA, and $.50 to host the LAUC Assembly which was held at UCLA that year. After LAUC's official recognition by the University, the budget situation changed, since dues could no longer be collected. In 1976, LAUC-LA presented a budget request to the Chancellor, which included covering round-trip airfares to the LAUC Assembly. Not until August, 1980 did LAUC-LA get its own account number in the Library budget. In 1992, LAUC-LA's annual budget was about $6,000.

Peer Review

Integral to the transfer of librarian personnel matters from the non-Academic to the Academic Personnel Office was the development of a mechanism for peer review. LAUC-LA activists believed that it was important for LAUC-LA to make its proposals for personnel evaluation procedures before the Academic Personnel Office did, since theirs might have unacceptable elements (such as having Senate faculty sit on librarians' review committees). In February, 1968, Ed Kaye, Chair of the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, Tenure and Salaries (CAPTS), met with University Librarian Vosper and AUL Page Ackerman about having librarians review recommendations for reclassification and in March the Library Administration agreed to let an ad hoc committee "observe the 1968 round of reclassification actions."

The Ad Hoc Committee to Observe Evaluation, Promotion and Appointment Procedures (March, 1968 - November, 1969), chaired by Mildred Badger, prepared a report suggesting a five-member committee to review all recommendations for promotion and all documentation for relating to applicants for appointment. Discussion of this report revealed that some librarians still perceived themselves as staff rather than as academic. For example, some suggested that librarians could take classes to prepare for future promotion. Others felt that "criteria for appointment and promotion are still too exclusively job oriented and do not allow enough scope for recognition of individual professional and academic development." Because of these concerns, the Continuing Ad Hoc Committee on Evaluation, Promotion and Appointment Procedures (January - July, 1969), chaired by Ed Kaye, was appointed to work on a proposal for a permanent structure.

The Continuing Ad Hoc Committee held a number of open meetings to involve as many people as possible in the design of a proposal which would be acceptable to librarians and would meet the requirements of the Academic Personnel Office. Many of the concerns expressed in these meetings are still adhered to: people should not sit on review committee of someone in their own department; time limits (e.g., a calendar) should be set; appointees may initiate actions on their own behalf; a person may request that someone not be on their review committee. After incorporating suggestions made at the various meetings, a Final Report was submitted to the membership and overwhelmingly approved in July, 1969, by a vote of 120 to 13.

The basic structure of the Peer Review process described in the Ad Hoc Committee's Final Report, Proposal for the Establishment of an Association Committee to Advise the University Librarian on the Appointment, Promotion, and Reclassification of Librarians at UCLA, has withstood the test of time. Over the years, various refinements and adjustments have kept the process in conformity with current APM provisions and new policies adopted by LAUC-LA, but the framework remains intact. The Committee-at-Large (now called the Committee on Peer Review), from which three-person subcommittees are selected, is co-ordinated by the Vice-Chair of LAUC-LA, who transmits review files from the administration to the confidential review committees. Each year, the Committee-at-Large reported on any difficulties they encountered. This is still done under the rubric of Peer Review Committee Debriefing and suggestions may be incorporated in the next year's procedures. The record number of reviews conducted in a short time period must be the 133 personnel actions completed in six days in June, 1973!

One section of the Final Report defined "Criteria for Appointments, Reclassifications, and Promotions" based upon the University-wide "Criteria for Appointment and Promotion," already in place for teaching faculty. The four criteria were: 1) Librarianship; 2) Professional Competence and Activity; 3) University and Community Service; and 4) Research and Other Creative Work. There was some initial concern that librarians would get caught in a "publish or perish" trap with criterion 4, although there was not much further mention of this specific issue.

In 1975, the Library Personnel Office issued Procedure for Personnel Actions on Appointees in the Librarian Series at UCLA. This has been incorporated into the annual Call for Recommendations for Academic Merit Increases, Promotions, and Career Status (Call), which "provides instructions, guidelines, and summaries of policies regarding merit increase, promotion, and career status recommendations affecting appointees in the Librarian Series at UCLA." The Call also includes several appendices, several of which were originally LAUC-LA reports adopted by the membership. Also, although the Call is an Administration document, LAUC-LA is regularly asked for suggestions of additions and clarifications which are incorporated into the next year's edition. A major revision of the Call was done in 1978 and another in December, 1980, when the Statement of Professional Achievements (SPA) was introduced into the peer review process. This document, written by the candidate under review, was designed to explicate the activities outlined under Criteria 2-4 in the Data Summary. The SPA is specifically not a self-evaluation (which has traditionally not been required of UCLA librarians). Its intent is to provide each candidate with an opportunity to identify individual career goals and to assess accomplishments, achievements and potential in relation to these goals.

Sometime in the late 1970s, the tradition of having an annual meeting to discuss the Call and the peer review process at UCLA was instituted. The Call meeting featured brief presentations by the University Librarian, a Review Initiator, and the Peer Review Coordinator (LAUC-LA Vice-Chair), designed to acquaint all librarians with the peer review process at UCLA. It was also an opportunity for the University Librarian to state publicly his/her expectations for various personnel actions (e.g., merit increases, promotion, and movement to Librarian V). In 1984, the first Peer Review Documentation Workshop was held to assist librarians in preparing their individual review packets. This workshop was in addition to the annual meeting on the Call. It was more informal, offering helpful hints on gathering and organizing material for the Data Summaryand guidelines for what to include in the Statement of Professional Achievements.

In 1981, the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, Tenure and Salaries (CAPTS), chaired by Judy Kantor, prepared a major report, "Criteria Guidelines for Librarian Personnel Action." Following discussion at the Spring, 1981 Assembly, it was adopted and included as an Appendix to the Call the following year. In August, 1987, the "Criteria Guidelines" were revised to make them more concise, eliminate redundancies, and give a sense of progression through the ranks. At the same time, the "Data Summary Guidelines" were revised to clarify the categories, accommodate changes in librarians' activities, and standardize the format. These two documents are distributed to all LAUC-LA members as part of the Call.

LAUC-LA's Advisory Role

While peer review was, and remains, a central focus of LAUC-LA's mission, it was apparent from the earliest days that LAUC-LA also took seriously its mandate to advise the Library Administration on matters relating to the operation of the Library and issues of professional concern. There was much discussion in 1973/74 about the role and status of LAUC-LA. University Librarian Page Ackerman met with the Executive Council several times. She asked the Association to identify specific areas in which it should be working in the Library, similar to its "essential role in handling peer review."[12] In her 1973 Annual Report, President Phyllis Mirsky wrote that "One major issue facing the Association is the need for clarification of LAUC-LA's role vis-a-vis the Administration and a determination of areas of responsibility it might assume in the Administrative Network."

The UCLA Library Administration has had a variety of administrative/organizational structures over the last twenty-five years which bring together the library's middle-managers. In February, 1968, the suggestion was made to include the LAUC-LA President and Vice-President on Department Heads mailings. From the beginning, LAUC-LA was represented at the Library Advisory Council -- first by the President and later by Executive Council members on a rotating basis. When a reorganization in 1977 created the Library Executive Advisory Committee (LEAC) and the Administrative Information Meetings (AIMS), LAUC-LA continued to be represented at AIMS on a rotating basis by a member of the Executive Council. As these groups evolved into the Administrative Conference (AdCon), the LAUC-LA Chair[13] was automatically a member by virtue of holding the office.

Some specific instances where LAUC-LA's advice was sought (and in some cases not sought) include the following:

In August, 1968, there was discussion about the appointment of an Assistant University Librarian for Personnel and Staff Development. LAUC-LA agreed that this position should be held by someone with an M.L.S. A November 5, 1968 letter from President Jim Mink to University Librarian Vosper stated "The Executive Council further recommends, in fact, strongly urges, that the University Librarian, beginning early in 1969, adopt the custom of holding an annual meeting of the entire library staff to present a state-of-the-library message and answer and/or discuss questions from the floor."

In early 1970, President Norah Jones called a special meeting so that librarians could respond to a request from Personnel Librarian Anthony Greco for input on developing the sections of the University's Administrative Manual (later called theAcademic Personnel Manual) which would affect librarians. LAUC-LA members have continued to be effective participants in analyzing and critiquing proposed revisions to the Academic Personnel Manual which affect the Librarian Series.

For several years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, LAUC-LA responded to various iterations of the proposed Library Specialist Series, which attempted to create a classification of staff positions that would seriously compromise the Librarian Series. LAUC-LA went on record as opposing all the proposals promulgated.

The LAUC-LA Committee on Library Policies grappled with the recurring problem of funding cutbacks in a 1982 Report of Budget Constraints. The committee formulated suggestions for the administration on how to cope with the shrinking budget. Some of the points covered included the question of hours of service v. quality of service; more communication with the staff; depending on job vacancies and attrition rather than layoffs to decrease the staff.

In August, 1982, LAUC-LA responded to a request from University Librarian Russell Shank for input on the then-current Library organization. The suggestions outlined in the resultant response included a number of ideas that have materialized -- an indication either of the effect of LAUC's advice or of a similar approach and outlook between library management and line librarians. For example, LAUC-LA recommended that there be a Personnel Officer for the Library (although opinion was mixed on whether the person should have an M.L.S.), that there be a Collection Development Officer at the same level as the Assistant University Librarians for Public Services and Technical Services, that a URL Librarian was not needed, that outside fund-raising should be assigned to someone on the staff, and that a Budget Officer with a strong accounting background was needed.

Again, in 1984, UL Shank "expressed interest in hearing how librarians feel about working in the UCLA library system." The Executive Council had lengthy discussions on the issue, with some people unsure about really getting a consensus of opinion and others feeling that the opportunity to improve communication with the Administration. An open meeting was held in July, "to stimulate discussion about how librarians feel about being librarians at UCLA....The results of the discussions were consolidated at the end of the meeting and were later synthesized by the Executive Council into a report for the University Librarian."[14] One of the most important -- yet intangible --results of the July meeting was the public affirmation of the pride people had in being librarians at UCLA.

Since Gloria Werner became University Librarian in June, 1990, she has met with the Executive Council a number of times and sought counsel on various issues affecting librarians. Some of the matters she has discussed with LAUC-LA relate to peer review, others with the direction the library must take as it faces the fiscal constraints of the 1990s.

Over the years, LAUC-LA has been vigilant in tracking the appropriate classification of library positions, in several instances questioning the posting of library assistant positions that should have been librarian positions and raising the issue with administrators. For example, in 1979, an intended library assistant position in the Chicano Studies Research Library was changed to a librarian posting. When the Graduate School of Library and Information Science planned to appoint a library assistant to be in charge of their Laboratory Collection, LAUC-LA questioned the decision and the position was posted in the Librarian Series. A library assistant position in the Data Archives of the Institute for Social Science Research was changed to a librarian position.

Much of the work of LAUC-LA committees consisted of responding to statewide reports or requests for information. For example, in 1980, we were asked to respond to a letter written by UCLA's Head of Reference, Ann Hinckley, to LAUC President Joyce Toscan. She raised the issue of whether librarians should be expected to fulfill Criteria 2-4 for advancement and set forth the idea that Criterion 1 was sufficient. At the LAUC-LA Spring Meeting, the membership discussed the letter and voted to maintain the status quo and not recommend any changes in the criteria by which librarians were evaluated.

Local issues were occasionally introduced, which resulted in committee reports, discussion, and incorporation into local procedures. For example, in 1984, the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, Career Status, and Salary proposed that "union activity" be "considered valid University Service just as LAUC activity is considered University Service." This recommendation was accepted by the Executive Council and incorporated into the "Data Summary Guidelines."

In 1985, the Committee on Library Policies considered several major issues which resulted in significant statements on behalf of UCLA librarians. The first was a Report on the Utilization of Volunteers in the UCLA Library System, which concluded, after a thorough investigation, that "UCLA should not utilize volunteers within the Library System." Their second report was on Emeritus Status for Librarians, an issue raised by librarians recently retired or about to retire. Since emeritus status is not automatically conferred on retired librarians, the committee looked at the available options and recommended that "the Library Administration take a more active role in reviewing the careers of individuals retiring at the Rank of Librarian; the highest in the title series, and put forth for nomination to Emeritus status those who have demonstrated substantial and significant achievement on a continuing basis."

Academic Status

As librarians endeavored to establish themselves as academic staff within the University community, they continually had to eliminate obstacles both large and small. One of the earliest LAUC-LA committees was concerned with giving "junior librarians" (those at L-1 and L-2 rank) a reduced membership fee in the Faculty Center comparable to what was offered Assistant Professors. Although there was some support, Jim Mink's Annual Report of the President for the Year 1968/69reported that the Faculty Center declined to change its policy pending a reassessment of the total dues structure. The situation had not changed by 1976, when Ann Hinckley wrote to the UCLA Legal Counsel about the Faculty Center's discrimination against Assistant Librarians, who were denied the provisional membership given Assistant Professors.

In 1974, a major issue for LAUC-LA was to what extent and under what circumstances a librarian should submit a manuscript to her/his supervisor before sending it to the intended publication. A report, "Standards of Publications for UCLA Librarians," was prepared jointly by the Library Policies Committee and the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, Salaries, and Tenure.

LAUC-LA and the Academic Senate

LAUC-LA has had a somewhat ambivalent relationship with the Academic Senate at UCLA. From the earliest period, even before LAUC-LA was founded, there was some sentiment for librarians becoming members of the Academic Senate. One of the papers in Goals for UCLA Librarian (1969) provides this tantalizing tidbit: "some years ago the UCLA Senate voted to include professional librarians in the Academic Senate. This noble effort sank without a trace when it encountered the need for approval by the Berkeley Academic Senate." (p.39) UL Vosper was supportive of this goal, but overtures made after the Hoos and Spiess committee reports were not well-received. LAUC-LA President Norah Jones also dealt with the issue in her 1969/70 Annual Report. In 1969, an administrative committee appointed by Chancellor Charles Young to follow up on the Hoos and Spiess reports had recommended full Senate membership for librarians of the rank of V[15] and above, and inclusion of others in a parallel non-Senate body which is envisioned as a loose federation of such work-oriented associations as the librarians have already formed. Since any decisions regarding changes in the composition of the Academic Senate are likely to be made no later than this spring [1971], it is essential that the Association clarify its own views on the question of Senate membership without delay.[16]

However, LAUC-LA was overly optimistic in thinking that any real change would take place. The recommendation for AULs and Librarian Vs to be accepted as Academic Senate members was not even referred to the Ad Hoc Reorganization Committee of the Academic Senate in 1970. In 1975, the Senate Committee on Library invited LAUC-LA to send observers to their meetings. Initially, the LAUC-LA President appointed the LAUC-LA representatives, but eventually, representing LAUC-LA at the Committee on Library meetings became one of the duties of the Chair and Past-Chair. In 1976 and 1979, there were further attempts to have LAUC-LA members appointed to other Senate committees, to no avail. In 1991, the Executive Council tried once more to initiate communication with the Academic Senate, after analyzing which committees would be of particular interest to librarians. The Senate was still not receptive to having librarians join them on committees other than the Committee on Library.

LAUC-LA and Collective Bargaining

In the 1970s there was a lot of attention given to the topic of collective bargaining. Prior to the 1975 official recognition of LAUC by the University, librarians at UCLA were informing themselves on the subject of collective bargaining and investigating how LAUC related to it. At the March 23, 1972 General Meeting of the UCLA Librarians Association, one agenda item was "Collective Bargaining for Academic Librarians." On October 4, 1972, there was a special meeting to discuss a proposed Committee on Salaries and the position of LAUC vis-à-vis the University Federation of Librarians, University Council-American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) in relation to the salary question. At issue was whether LAUC should support UC-AFT in its effort to obtain a larger percentage of inequity salary adjustment than was granted by the University.[17] The members finally decided that a formal liaison between UC-AFT and LAUC could do more harm than good at that time. In early 1973, there was some talk of LAUC becoming a "voluntary organization," as an alternative to establishing stronger ties to the University. However, in 1974, LAUC-LA delegates to the Assembly were instructed by the membership to vote against a proposed standing committee of representatives from voluntary organizations such as UC-AFT or the California State Employees Association (CSEA).

After ratification of the first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UC-AFT and the University in August, 1984, LAUC-LA experienced a resurgence of interest and activity. UCLA librarians were deeply involved in the statewide ad hoc committees on APM revisions and developing a Librarian Code of Conduct, which were appointed as a direct result of several MOU provisions. LAUC-LA and the UC-AFT have often addressed the same issue from their respective points of view, which in many instances have been complementary.

LAUC-LA and University Governance

Once the enabling letter from President Hitch was promulgated in 1975, establishing LAUC as an official organizational unit of the University, the position of LAUC-LA underwent some subtle changes. The Administrative Group (UL and AULs) invited LAUC-LA to meet and discuss the new status and its implications. Around the same time, Page Ackerman announced her retirement. The Executive Council immediately began investigating how to become involved in the search for a new University Librarian. Coincidentally, their request crossed in the mail with a letter from Executive Vice Chancellor William Gerberding asking for nominations of librarians to serve on the search committee. The desire of LAUC-LA to be involved in a serious way in library operations was articulated early, as this excerpt from the minutes of the March 3, 1972 Council meeting illustrates:

After some mention that a number of high level library personnel will be retiring in the next few years, and that it was quite likely that there would be reorganization and restructuring...a suggestion was made that a resolution from the Executive Council would be in order. The resolution to be submitted to Mr. Vosper, University Librarian, with copies to A. Greco, Assistant University Librarian (Personnel) and the Library Newsletter, read as follows: As the result of their deliberations on 3 March 1972, the Executive Council of the UCLA Librarians Association wishes to reiterate their position that the Association must participate in all stages of position planning and staff selection at the level of Librarian III and above.

The Library Administrative Officers requested a meeting with the Executive Council to discuss the resolution and agreed to take "under consideration a procedure for implementing better communication and feed back [sic] between LAUC and the administration when positions such as unit heads are to be posted and applicants from both inside and outside the UCLA library system are to be considered for the position."[18] Designated LAUC-LA representatives have served on search committees for all subsequent AUL and UL positions.

LAUC-LA was asked to comment on UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young's performance when he was reviewed several years ago. The LAUC-LA Chair, Vice-Chair, and Past Chair have met with various Vice-Chancellors to discuss issues of concern to the membership. When APM revisions related to librarians have been proposed, the Vice-Chancellor for Faculty Relations has asked for LAUC-LA's comments before formulating his reply to the Office of the President. This has been in addition to the normal request for LAUC-LA reaction through statewide LAUC.

Professional Activities Support

Support for librarians' professional activities has been a recurring issue. Initially, funding discussions at LAUC-LA meetings focussed on attendance at Statewide LAUC Assemblies. In July, 1973, Page Ackerman asked LAUC-LA to send her an "official request" for travel support and per diem for LAUC Statewide meetings. She also noted that professional development opportunities should be "a matter of cooperation among the Administration, the Librarians Association, and the Library School Liaison Committee."[19] In November, 1973, one-half of the travel expenses were given to the Statewide Delegates to attend the Assembly at UC Santa Cruz. In 1976, round-trip airfares were covered, establishing a practice that remains in effect.

The handling of funding for professional travel for some time reflected the inconsistent attitude of the Library Administration towards librarians. In 1973, a special Ad Hoc Committee on Travel Funds was formed by the Librarians Association and the Library Staff Association. "Its purpose was to formulate a realistic proposal regarding the equitable disbursement of the limited travel funds now available."[20] Both librarians and library assistants were appointed to an administrative Staff Development Committee, which awarded travel money to all. The work of this committee, which tried to meet the differing needs of librarians and paraprofessional staff, was made more difficult because the available funds varied from year to year according to the budget situation.

In April, 1974, the Ad Hoc Professional Development Committee reported that they had drawn up a preliminary list of subjects important to professional development, but that substantive matters could not be considered until questions concerning source of funding, amount of funding, and activities which could be funded were decided. In September, 1980, money for librarians' research became available through the University Research Grants for Librarians Program, augmented by the UCLA Faculty Development Program. The Committee on Academic Status was charged to prepare criteria and procedures for awarding the funds. Among the recommendations were the establishment of an ad hoc committee to make the awards and its conversion to a standing committee after two years. An Ad Hoc Committee on Research was formed to review proposals for the Statewide program. Locally, however, until 1984, Faculty Development Program proposals were reviewed by a committee consisting of the University Librarian, the Chair of LAUC, and the Chair of the Staff Development Committee. With the advent of minimum Professional Development Funding guaranteed by the contract between the University and the UC-AFT, responsibility for distributing all professional development funding for librarians was transferred to the LAUC-LA Committee on Research and Professional Development in October, 1984. Since the contract gave each campus the authority to allocate the funds to research or other activities, extensive discussion on how this should be done ensued. The proportion of money reserved for research varied from year to year. As travel costs increased, LAUC-LA made the decision to put more of the professional development money into that category and forward research proposals for statewide consideration. In 1986, the Research Committee developed a Mini-Grant program, which would make $500 awards to librarians wanting to undertake some preliminary research for a larger project or to work on a small project.

LAUC-LA and its Members

As with any organization, LAUC-LA has faced periods of declining interest among its membership. Various attempts to encourage wider participation have been introduced over the years. In October, 1983, LAUC-LA Divisions held caucuses to discuss the future direction of LAUC. This came as a result of the imminent beginning of contract negotiations between the University Federation of Librarians, UC-AFT, and the University. Four main areas of concern emerged from these meetings:

  1. Revitalizing LAUC-LA through a restructure of the Divisions, holding quarterly instead of twice-yearly meetings, and using more ad hoc committees instead of standing committees;
  2. Promoting and encouraging professional development activities;
  3. Increasing LAUC-LA's advisory role vis-à-vis the Library Administration on relevant issues;
  4. Improving communication through the library newsletter, HELP LAUC screen on ORION, inviting new librarians to LAUC-LA Executive Council meetings.

LAUC-LA did not change the annual meeting schedule nor were there more ad hoc committees, but librarians did work on the other concerns. In fact, the issue of improving communication re-surfaced in 1991, at which time a LAUC-LA e-mail distribution system was set up so that all minutes, reports, election information, etc., could be sent to each member. This ensured that everyone would receive the information and, secondarily, resulted in a significant conservation of paper.

Recognizing that many new appointees to the Librarian Series were unfamiliar with LAUC's role and history, in 1987, an ad hoc committee was charged with developing a LAUC brochure. It defined academic status at the University of California, gave a brief history of LAUC and its organization, and described the peer review process and documents governing librarians' employment at the University of California, and encouraged librarians to become involved.

At the 1990 Spring Membership Meeting, the provocative agenda item "Is LAUC Dead?" drew a large attendance and began a series of discussions over the next two years which resulted in a new phase of interest in LAUC. The agenda item evolved from the report of the LAUC-LA Ad Hoc Committee on LAUC Participation, which was created following a report from the previous year's Nominating Committee, which had had an extremely difficult time finding candidates to run for LAUC-LA Chair. The problem areas identified by this Ad Hoc Committee echoed many of the sentiments expressed six years earlier in the Division caucuses. One of the most successful LAUC-LA events was a structured, brainstorming session organized by the LAUC-LA Program Committee in February, 1992. Out of this came a report by the Task Force on LAUC-LA Participation which was discussed at the 1992 Spring Membership Meeting. A tangible positive outcome of the intense introspection of this period was the willingness of more people to accept nomination for LAUC office.

LAUC-LA and the Outside World

LAUC-LA and the UCLA Library Staff Association have had a symbiotic relationship over the years. From the earliest days, the two organizations exchanged representatives at their respective board meetings. The issues on their agendas were often similar and concerned the work environment and conditions of employment. After 1984, when separate collective bargaining agreements covering most librarians and staff were approved, it was necessary to change this relationship. The Library Staff Association confined its activities to social and educational programs and could no longer deal with working conditions. At the same time, following the ratification of the first Memorandum of Understanding between the University Federation of Librarians, UC-AFT and the University, LAUC's advisory role became more prominent and the issues it faced were more appropriately dealt with only by librarians.

In the late 1970s, the idea arose that UCLA librarians should interact more with our colleagues across town at the University of Southern California. Accordingly, on August 18, 1978, about thirty LAUC-LA members traveled to USC for outdoor games and a barbecue dinner. UCLA reciprocated on May 11, 1979, with a dinner event held in UCLA's Sunset Recreation Center. The number of USC librarians who accepted our invitation was far fewer than the number of UCLA librarians who had gone to USC. There have been no further attempts at cross-town socializing.


LAUC-LA has had a productive first quarter-century. Over 125 librarians have served as officers and members of the Executive Council. Countless others have served on numerous ad hoc and standing committees. UCLA librarians have played a positive, constructive role in shaping their working environment and establishing themselves as involved members of the academic community. Participation in LAUC, at both the local and statewide levels, has given individual line librarians the opportunity to develop leadership skills and grapple with broad professional and University issues without holding a managerial position. The next twenty-five years will undoubtedly present new challenges for LAUC-LA, but if its past is any indication, LAUC-LA, as a mature organization, is up to the task.


[1] Although called the UCLA Librarians Association from its inception until sometime in 1974, the organization will be referred to as LAUC-LA in this chapter.

[2] Librarians Association Ad Hoc Committee on Evaluation, Promotion, and Appointment Procedures. Final Report. July, 1969.

[3] Dr. Sidney S. Hoos chaired a Special Administrative Committee appointed by the President of the University in July, 1966.

[4] Dr. F.N. Spiess chaired the University-wide Special Committee on Non-Senate Academic Ranks.

[5] UCLA Librarians Association. Annual Report of the President for the year 1967/68, 3.

[6] Ibid., 4.

[7] Ibid., 6.

[8] No report has been identified, so the resolution of the problem is unknown. Reference librarians hired after 1970 heard rumors of a 38-hour work week, but it was no longer adhered to. When the University Federation of Librarians negotiated its first contract with the University, the issue was not of a set work week, but of assuring librarians "reasonable the use of University time" so that they could participate in the activities expected of academic employees.

[9] The issue here was that when a librarian was gone on a leave of absence, parking fees had to be paid even though no pay check was issued yet benefits contributions from the University ceased.

[10] Although this committee was set up and reported in the Appendix to the Annual Report of the President for the year 1968/69, no further mention of it appears, so its genesis and outcome are unclear.

[11] Costs were much lower then. For example, a box of 1000 envelopes cost $2.00 and fourteen reams of ditto paper cost $12.46.

[12] Minutes, LAUC-LA Executive Board, Special Meeting, December 5, 1973.

[13] During the early years, the title President was used, until a Bylaws revision changed it to Chair, so as not to be confused with the office of statewide LAUC President.

[14] Librarians Association or the University of California. Los Angeles Division. Annual Report of the Chair, 1983/84, 1.

[15] At this time, Librarian V was the top rank of the Librarian Series and reserved for department heads.

[16] UCLA Librarians Association. Annual Report of the President for the Year 1969/70, 2-3.

[17] The inequity salary adjustment was sought to redress gender-based discrimination against librarians as a female-dominated profession and to bring the Librarian Series salaries in line with the salary scales of other academic titles.

[18] Minutes of the Executive Council, April 4, 1972.

[19] Minutes, Executive Council, July 23, 1973.

[20] UCLA Librarians Association. Annual Report of the President (1973), 1.