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Library Special Collections: What We Collect

UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC) acquires archives, rare books, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, audiovisual materials, digital files, cartographic and other primary source materials of a rare or unique nature.

Our Principles for Collecting Material and What Guides Our Collection Decisions

UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC) acquires archives, rare books, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, audiovisual materials, digital files, cartographic and other primary source materials of a rare or unique nature. We acquire new holdings predominately through donations and transfers, and purchase a select amount of material. We also create new scholarly documentation through conducting oral history interviews that support our current collecting priorities.

The nature of stewarding special collections holdings requires LSC to be selective in what it acquires and makes available for research.

Library Special Collections Principles for Collecting Material

  • Engage with research, teaching, and learning that serve UCLA faculty and students, and visiting researchers.
  • Acquire rare, unique, and valuable materials.
  • Develop world-renowned collections in selected areas.
  • Emphasize collecting materials that document the history, society, and culture of UCLA, Los Angeles, and Southern California.
  • Grow our national and international collections.
  • Support existing research areas in multiple disciplines and anticipate emerging and future research trends.
  • Provide rich documentation within our collecting priorities, regardless of format.
  • Create new scholarly resources by conducting in-depth oral histories not adequately documented through traditional special collections formats.
  • Work collaboratively within a network of other institutions to collect materials and preserve cultural heritage that do not that duplicate the collection strengths of others.
  • Steward materials to preserve them and make them discoverable and available for research indefinitely.
  • Evolve over time by reviewing this policy periodically.
  • Avoid acquisitions that duplicate the collection strengths of other institutions.

What Guides Our Collection Decisions

UCLA Library Special Collections makes a full stewardship commitment to materials we acquire and make acquisitions decisions with the expectation that we will be able to preserve materials adequately and make them discoverable and available for research.

University Archives: the History of UCLA

The UCLA University Archives maintains a selection of the official records of the university, materials that document student and campus life, including athletics, selected oral histories of UCLA, and other archival and published materials affiliated with UCLA (1919-) and with its predecessor, the Los Angeles State Normal School (1881-1919).

Collecting Priorities, Criteria, and Rationale

  1. The UCLA University Archives maintains a selection of the official records of the university, materials that document student and campus life, including athletics, selected oral histories of UCLA, and other archival and published materials affiliated with UCLA (1919-) and with its predecessor, the Los Angeles State Normal School (1881-1919). [BFB-RMP-1: -ownership and responsibilities.]
    • Intercollegiate athletics –departmental records, films, photographs, and publications.
    • University photographs that document the people, places, and events of the campus. To be selected they must include sufficient identification and not be overly duplicative.
    • University publications produced by academic and other units on campus that are about those units and their activities, and that do not duplicate current holdings.
  2. Student and campus life, in any format, particularly student organization records, which a particular focus on those student groups that support under-represented voices within the archives –including but not limited to those groups that identify on the basis of race, religion, ethnic diversity, and gender diversity. Also includes student publications and academic journals.
    • Collection development in this area is conducted in close collaboration with the Librarians/Archivists for Los Angeles Communities and Cultures and will not duplicate collections held in the UCLA Ethnic Studies Centers Libraries.

Out of Scope

  • Faculty papers: these are considered, where appropriate, by subject area curators, based on their current collection priorities.
    • Please review those collecting priorities under “What We Collect” for more information
  • Alumni group records: unless the groups represent diverse communities and underrepresented voices within the archives.
  • Individual alumni papers –the university archives does not collect the papers of individual alumni, except we do consider selected papers from their time as a student. Papers that focus on their life and career after UCLA would be evaluated under the collecting priorities of the other subject curators.
  • Uncommon or especially complex born-digital file formats or born-digital and audiovisual carriers that currently cannot be accessed or preserved via our current technology and equipment.
  • Photographs for which there is no description of any kind and the subject matter is not readily identifiable.
  • UCLA Yearbooks prior to 2000 –we do not collect duplicates.
  • Academic journals produced by departments or other units.
  • University Archives is extremely selective about any memorabilia that is collected. It is normally very difficult to store and has little to no research value. Its primary value is for display and we do not engage in permanent display.

More About the Collection

For more information about the collections and materials available online see: UCLA University History Research Guide.

Los Angeles History and Culture

For decades, UCLA Library Special Collections has been documenting the breadth of Los Angeles area history and culture, going back to the Mexican and Spanish eras. Traditional strengths include Californiana, early photography, historical periodicals, maps, literature, the arts and fashion, the papers of outstanding civic figures, and ethnic communities, especially Japanese Americans, African Americans, Chinese Americans, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans.

In 2009, the UCLA Library created Collecting Los Angeles, placed an emphasis on broadly defined communities whose history was overlooked but crucial to understanding the development of the metropolis. In 2019, LSC created the position of Archivist/Librarian for Los Angeles Communities and Cultures.

Two curators were hired for this position, Lizeth Ramirez and Dalena Sanderson-Hunter, who have slightly differing specialties. Please see their descriptions and contact information below:

Lizeth Ramirez
Librarian/Archivist for Los Angeles Communities and Cultures | Bibliotecaria/Archivista para Comunidades y Culturas de Los Ángeles
phone icon 310.206.5275
email icon

Current Collecting Priorities

  • Ethnic community history, particularly:
    • African-American Community
    • Central-American Communities
    • Chinese-American Community
    • Filipino-American Community
    • Japanese-American Community
    • Korean-American Community
    • Mexican-American Community 
  • LGBTQ communities, including:
    • Minoritized LGBTQ communities
    • Transgender community
  • Social justice movements such as:
    • Environmental movements
      • Climate change
      • Los Angeles River
    • Labor/Unions
      • Education/teacher unions
      • Labor movements and protests
      • Unions representing minoritized communities
    • Urban Planning/Policies
      • Displacement
      • Gentrification
      • Transient populations
  • Culinary and Food Culture, including:
    • Chefs, Bakers, Sommeliers, other restaurant staff
    • Food trucks
    • Nutritional (dietary) movements
    • Restaurants
    • Street Vendors
  • Other Los Angeles centered topics, including:
    • History of printing and publishing
    • History of UCLA
    • Punk culture


  • Materials unrelated to the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, or Southern California.
  • Materials of unknown provenance, where copyright and intellectual property rights are unknown.
  • Material that is held at other libraries or is readily available elsewhere.

Collection priorities will be reviewed periodically and updated as needed. They do not preclude the acquisition of archives, rare books, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, audiovisual materials, digital files, and other primary source materials of a rare or unique nature that fall outside of the above described collection priorities.

Para ver la descripción de Lizeth en español, descargue este PDF.

Dalena Sanderson-Hunter
Librarian/Archivist for Los Angeles Communities and Cultures
phone icon 310.206.3776
email icon

Current Collecting Priorities

  • Community history of marginalized ethnic and racial communities including
    • LGBT of Color communities
    • Bohemian and literary history
    • Social Justice Organizing
    • Youth culture
    • Professional Organizations
    • Intersectional identity communities
  • Environmental activists
  • African American music and music culture
  • Civic history of Los Angeles
  • The environmental movement
  • Everyday People-Local Color

Collecting Methods

  • Acquiring physical collections via deed of gift
  • Acquiring digital surrogates where appropriate
  • Post-custodial model, providing assistance by offering support, assisting in arrangement of collections, and establishing access
  • Oral history projects


  • Materials unrelated to the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, or Southern California
  • Collections held at other special collections or readily available elsewhere
  • Partial collections when major portions of the collection have already been deposited elsewhere
  • Materials that are damaged beyond use by age, insects, and/or mold
  • Materials in formats that LSC cannot provide access to and are unlikely to be able to do so in the future
  • Large works of art or artifacts


History of Medicine and the Sciences

Library Special Collections documents the history of thought and practice, discoveries and inventions, research trends, communities and communications, and teaching methods and materials in medicine and its allied health fields and in the biological sciences. Our most significant efforts are devoted to building collections that meet the curriculum needs of UCLA students and faculty, and the research needs of scholars on a local, national, and worldwide basis. We are devoting greater effort to acquiring historical materials which complement but go well beyond longtime collection strengths by expanding into new and underrepresented topics and perspectives, non-dominant and underdocumented local and Pacific Rim communities, and controversial literature in medicine and the sciences.

For more information, contact:

Russell Johnson
Curator, History of Medicine and the Sciences
phone icon310.825.6940
email icon

Current Collecting Priorities

Instead of organizing collection development into traditional subject-based categories, we have reorganized our collecting priorities into several clusters which chiefly represent multidisciplinary teaching and research initiatives at UCLA. These will evolve as needs are met or change, and in coordination with feedback from students, faculty, and researchers. Additional input will come from colleagues who are responsible for curating rare books, manuscripts, local communities, international studies, and other genres and fields which may provide fresh perspectives on the history of medicine and the sciences.

  • Medical Humanities
  • History of Popular Medicine and Science
  • Visual Representation of Information in Medicine and Science
  • Healthy Campus Initiative
  • Botany and Zoology

More About the Collection

For more information about the collections and materials available online, see Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences Research Guide.

World Histories and Cultures

Global Histories and Cultures

UCLA Library Special Collections' holdings cover a range of geographical areas beyond the United States. Traditional strengths include Mexican manuscripts, pamphlets, and ephemera from the colonial era through the twentieth century; and historical photographs, independence-era publications, and Literatura de Cordel from Latin America.

For more information, contact:

Simon Elliott
Visual Materials Specialist
phone icon310.206.0580
email icon

Ruby A. Bell-Gam
Librarian for African Studies and International Development Studies
phone icon310.825.1518
email icon

A. Jade Alburo
Librarian for Southeast Asian Studies, Pacific Islands Studies, and Religion
phone icon310.825.7785
email icon

Current Collecting Priorities

  • Photographs and related research materials from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Pacific Rim, Middle East
  • Latin American history and culture
  • Travel and exploration, including women travelers and the Antarctic

Special Formats

  • photograph albums
  • graphic novels
  • games
  • Cuban artists' books

More About the Collection

Manuscripts, Rare Books and Print Culture: History of Printing and Publishing

History of Printing and Publishing

Library Special Collections' holdings support research in the history of printing, the book trade and bookmaking, and the graphic arts. Traditional strengths in our collections include Western European medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, Middle Eastern manuscripts, and early printing (1465-1600), in particular, early Italian printing (including the foremost collection in North America of the Aldine Press). Our collections of British and American children's books (many of which date back to the eighteenth century) and artists' books also exemplify the craft of bookmaking and publishing.

Collection Development Policy and Current Priorities

See also: Discover Collections on our home page: UCLA Library Special Collections.

UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC) acquires archives, rare books, manuscripts, printed ephemera, photographs, audiovisual materials, digital files, objects, and other primary source materials of a rare or unique nature. We acquire new holdings predominately through donations and transfers and also purchase a select amount of material. We also create new scholarly documentation through conducting oral history interviews that support our current collecting priorities.

The nature of stewarding special collections holdings requires LSC to be selective in what it acquires and makes available for research. This document outlines the Rare Books and History of Printing philosophy, collecting scope, and current priorities, along with the criteria it applies in evaluating potential acquisitions

Rare Books and the History of Printing is a subsection of UCLA Library Special Collections

This collection documents the global history of printing and rare books and includes materials ranging from the earliest East Asian and European printing to contemporary pop-up books.

  • Early Italian printing, including the Aldine press, 1450-1600
  • Fictitious imprints, such as Pierre Marteau
  • California imprints, early 19th century to present
  • Historic children's books–primarily British and American--including pop-up, and toy and movable books
  • Contemporary artists' books
  • Photographs and related research materials from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Pacific Rim, Middle East
  • Latin American history and culture
  • Travel and exploration, including women travelers and the Antarctic
  • East Asian print

Collecting Philosophy

1. Strengthening distinctive collections by diversifying their contents

The distinctive collections at UCLA are our greatest asset. We will continue to strengthen our collections by specifically targeting materials that will diversify their contents. Diversity, in this case, does not simply mean adding titles that we do not hold. Rather, it means that we seek to bring new materials representing non-hegemonic voices into our collections. We will actively seek materials that represent the considerable contributions of women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community to the history of printing.

This aspect of collection development is primarily intended to allow us to overcome the Eurocentric legacy of traditional collection development. It is desirable to build context around materials in ways that fundamentally challenge collecting practices which ‘othered’ materials within the collection. LSC must seek to honestly reflect not just the gaze of the colonizer at the other, but must intentionally seek to represent the dialectical relationship between the oppressors and the oppressed. With this in mind, the acquisition of objects that represent a hegemonic view should be paired (whenever possible) with materials that create a dialogue or relativize universalist claims.

2. Building webs of relationships within LSC

At present, many of our collection strengths have been developed in isolation. In order to enhance our distinctive holdings, future collection development will seek to build and enhance relationships with other materials in LSC. For example, while UCLA – LSC is one of the largest holders of Ethiopic manuscripts in North America, our holdings in Early Italian Ethiopic printing are weak. Actively seeking examples of Italian Ethiopic printing will allow us to both develop one of our distinctive collections and link the priorities of the history of printing to an unsurpassed manuscript collection. Relational collection development within LSC will enable us to create more coherent collections that encourage researchers in archival and manuscript materials to further avail themselves of printed materials.

3. Activist collecting

Because of the history of our collecting practices, it is a fact that many communities that should have been represented by LSC collections have been neglected and excluded. When the need presents itself, funds are to be sought out that will actively address some of the areas of neglect. Collecting in these new areas is only defensible when 1) there is a clear and present need for the collection; 2) there is widespread support from other members of LSC staff and University Faculty; 3) and the collection enhances existing collection strengths.

Collecting Priorities

The following is a list of existing strengths which will be actively supplemented over the next several years of collection development in consultation with faculty and library staff.

  • Early Italian Printing: Given UCLA LSC’s unsurpassed strength in this area, we will continue building out our collection in Early Italian printing. The focus of collection development in this area will include: 1) ephemeral materials; 2) Accounts of foreign places; 3) non-Italian language printing in Italy. Pursuit of selected materials will occur through consultation with research faculty affiliated with CMES.
  • Latin American: While we have a strong collection of materials from 19th century Mexico, we have little from the period of Spanish colonial rule or in indigenous languages.
  • Indigenous Language/Colonial Printing: Within LSC there are small pockets of texts that reveal the importance of printing in indigenous languages and in colonial contexts. We will actively seek out materials which will allow for these neglected and suppressed stories to be expressed without our collection. In particular, in collaboration with international studies, we will seek to collect materials printed in the early modern Philippines. Moreover, new areas of collection should reflect communities that are associated with Los Angeles.
  • Non-European language printing: LSC has remarkable holdings in early Near Eastern and East Asian printed books. These collections have regrettably been neglected. For example, despite the remarkably robust community of Korean-American in Los Angeles, LSC does not own a single example of pre-modern Korean printing. Targeted acquisitions will make sure we both represent this community and enhance our existing strengths in East Asian Materials. New acquisitions will by pursued according to teaching and development priories discussed with the East Asian Library and faculty.
  • Women/LGBTQ/History of Sex: Women have been active in the printing trade for hundreds of years, and LGBTQ voices are often neglected in the history of printing. In line with library policies to diversity our collections, we will make special efforts to include these materials.

More About the Collection

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

The UCLA Library Special Collections holdings of medieval and Renaissance manuscript materials created across Western Europe is comprised of approximately 400 bound manuscripts, and hundreds of documents, leaves, and bifolia. The collection is an exemplary teaching collection for paleography, history of the book, as well as the history and culture of the Medieval and Renaissance eras.

Current Collecting Priorities

  • Materials that bring new documentation of or by those to whom access to the knowledge and power held by those of higher religious, scholarly, or social classes was limited or denied during the medieval through 17thcenturies.
  • Manuscript materials written by or for use by women.
  • Manuscript materials in vernacular languages, including Spanish language, and early literature.
  • Manuscript materials that evidence who owned and used them, how and for what purposes.
  • Materials from which one can learn about manuscript and bookmaking methods, artisans, and their sources, and will facilitate codicological study and research.
  • Materials offering exemplary forms of writing and scripts that will facilitate paleographic study and research.
  • In striving to select exemplary objects for teaching, we value manuscript materials that may be incomplete or imperfect where their content is rich, over materials that are of high monetary value due to the amount and level of artwork they hold, or because they are traced to an origin of high power.

Out of Scope

  • Manuscripts that duplicate our current holdings of medieval and Renaissance Western European manuscripts; e.g., Western European liturgical manuscripts, unless they embody characteristics listed under Current Collecting Priorities (above).
  • Manuscripts that would overlap with medieval and Renaissance manuscript strengths of other local institutions, such as French illuminated manuscripts or English bibles and illuminated manuscripts.

More About the Collection

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Twentieth- and Twenty-first Century Literature

The archives and personal papers of writers of a broad range of experiences and genres complement the UCLA Library Special Collections’ print holdings of twentieth and twenty-first-century literature. Ranging from writers, including Angelenos as well as those who emigrated from other parts of the U.S. and other countries, many have imagined both Utopian and dystopian Californias in genres and forms including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and journalism.

Current Collecting Priorities

  • Archives of writers whose voices have not been heard or are under-recognized in the Academy, with a focus on Los Angeles writers of color; LGBTQ, and writers of all abilities.
  • Authors who have immigrated, or whose parents or families have immigrated from Mexico and Latin American countries, Africa, Asia, the Near East, Southeast Asia, and diasporas across the globe, with emphasis on the interconnections of the many cultural influences and stories that comprise Los Angeles’ unique identity.
  • Writers who have explored new forms of written and performative expressions.
  • Records of local writers’ collectives, book stores, and literary centers where contemporary writers and artists have gathered and read or performed their works.

Collecting Criteria

  • Content pertinent to UCLA faculty teaching twentieth-and twenty-first-century literature.
  • Content that supports collecting and teaching areas of library partners and subject librarians, including English, International Studies, East Asian Library, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies.

Out of Scope

  • Comprehensive collections to include multiple drafts of a given work of an author.
  • Large objects and artifacts owned by writers and poets, including awards.

More About the Collection

For more information about the collections and materials available online see:

Past exhibits in Library Special Collections

Performing Arts (Music, Film and Television, and Theater)

UCLA Library Special Collections selectively acquires, through purchase and gifts, materials in all formats that document the performing arts created in and around Los Angeles and Southern California including film, television, dance, theater, and music.

Performing Arts Collection Development Priorities

Within each area, collecting priority is given to archival materials that are created by organizations and/or individuals that represent Los Angeles, and Southern California, and those that reflect the work of underrepresented voices in these industries.


The collections document film in both aesthetic and technical aspects, spanning the history of the media from its beginnings to the present day. The holdings include the papers of artisans, writers, directors, and performers; the records of producers and studios; and a variety of posters, ephemera, and stills.

  • Under-represented independent and studio filmmakers
  • L.A. Rebellion papers and documentation
  • Industry: cinematography, production design, scenic design, editors
  • Community partner-related collections (e.g. – Outfest, Sundance Institute, etc.)
  • Selected notable UCLA alumni


The collections document television in both aesthetic and technical aspects, spanning the history of the media from its beginnings to the present day. The holdings include the papers of artisans, writers, directors, and performers; the records of producers and studios; and a variety of posters, ephemera, and stills.

  • Local Los Angeles Television
    • Newsletters – newsletters of local stations
    • Local LA TV history, post-Kerner commission/late 1960s-1970s. In particular, producers representing marginalized communities via the work on local stations such as KCET and KMEX
  • Primetime network milestones (selected) – firsts, women, under-represented artists
  • Materials related to the reception of TV programming; ratings, letters, fan magazines


The majority of the music holdings cover the Los Angeles region in the twentieth century and include American popular music,  papers of Los Angeles émigré composers, oral histories and papers of Los Angeles jazz musicians, and the music industry. Antiquarian music holdings date back to the ninth century and include music manuscripts, Italian libretti; early printed editions (including first editions) of full scores, and piano-vocal scores of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century operas, and original editions of musicology texts. 

  • Under-represented music-making communities in Southern California, particularly including musical traditions of immigrant communities
  • Women composers, musicians, and other women in the music industry (conductors, engineers, executives, etc.)
  • Collections that document the process for music in film, television, and media


Los Angeles theater is represented by the records of local theater groups and includes collections of playbills, scripts, and assorted production materials.

  • Los Angeles theater companies – particularly those that feature the work of local playwrights and theater designers, and whose performances center the lived experience of Los Angeles communities
  • Los Angeles-area playwrights and theater designers

More About the Collection 

Labor unions, an over-arching topic found in each subject area, will be considered in collaboration with Los Angeles Communities and Cultures collection development.

See the following Research Guides for more information about these materials:

Artists' Books

The UCLA Libraries’ holdings of artists’ books include over 1,000 editions and unique works, ranging from fine press editions to sculptural and dynamic books with movable parts, to newly imagined forms and definitions of what a book can be and how its message can be conveyed.

Current Collecting Priorities

  • Works that reflect the politics of power and contemporary challenges to individuals and communities, especially those related to emigration or diaspora, otherness in society, and issues having a global environmental impact.
  • Works that envision solutions to those challenges, whether they be based on fact or imagination.
  • Works that relate topically to other LSC collections that are strengths + high priority; e.g., contemporary emigration and immigration (including from Latin American, Middle Eastern, Southeastern Europe, Southeast Asia/Philippines)

Collecting Criteria

  • Works that reimagine the parameters of the book format in new ways, or expand the concept of the printed codex as a vehicle for intellectual and aesthetic expression.
  • Works that resonate on a personal, communal, or global level with regard to current human challenges.
  • Works that integrate well its message with its material form and craft.
  • Works that challenge commonly held perceptions, assumptions, or biases that have become widely accepted through enculturation, education, and media saturation by, for example, juxtaposing visual imagery and language that present new or alternative ways of viewing, interpreting, and understanding the physical and spiritual world.

Out of Scope

  • Artists’ books whose form and content duplicate the collecting strengths of other local institutions and UCLA Library units.

More About the Collection

Some exemplary artists’ books held in the UCLA Library Special Collections, UCLA Arts Library and other local Southern California institutions can be seen in these exhibits:


The UCLA Library Special Collections’ dance holdings support UCLA's long-standing participation in the creation, study, and reconstruction of modern dance, contemporary ballet, dance for stage and screen, kinesiology, dance therapy, education, criticism, and dance performance reflecting cultures throughout the world. The collections represent and support the exploration of dance scholarship, notation, education, and criticism.

Current Collecting Priorities

  • Archives of dance artists and companies not traditionally documented, represented, and supported by the Academy and by concert venue audiences.
    • Contemporary dance forms that echo the experiences of local communities and cultures.
    • Dance forms that strive to break racial barriers through dance.
    • Dance forms that elevate awareness and appreciation for dancers of color, LGBTQ dance groups, dancers with different physical abilities, hip-hop, fusion, breakdance, street dance, site-specific, and performance art.
    • Dance in L.A. 1960s-present that broke away from canonical East Coast concert-based performance successes; e.g., Black modern and modern jazz choreography.
  • Traditional dance performed by those who live in or have immigrated to L.A. from geographic origins worldwide; e.g., Hawaiian dance and hula, traditional Brazilian dance.

Collecting Criteria

  • Archives of Los Angeles-based dance artists, companies, and choreographers.
  • Dance genres that formed the identity of L.A. dance, ca. 1960s-present.
  • Dance archives that support or supplement dance taught in UCLA World Arts & Cultures/Dance Department.
  • Interviews that capture the legacies of L.A. dancers, choreographers, managers, and dance critics.
  • Contemporary dance forms that echo the diversity of dance expressions and cultures.

Out of Scope

  • Costumes (other than a few exemplary items).
  • Large musical instruments, props, or sets used in dance training or performance.
  • Materials for which there are donor restrictions that prohibit making them fully accessible.
  • Collections whose origins are not connected to the Los Angeles area either historically or theoretically.

Our focus is on collecting materials that shed light on choreographies, technique and training, and performance processes that can be viewed and handled in the Special Collections Reading Room, or in one of our classrooms.

More About the Collection

For reference and other secondary resources on dance, see the following Research Guides:

Punk Music and Culture

Who We Are

The UCLA Library Punk Collective is a DIY group of punks who are interested in collecting and preserving the music and culture of the Los Angeles County punk scenes. The working group began in 2013 and consists of catalogers, archivists, audiovisual archivists, library staff, students, faculty, and other community members. The UCLA Punk Collective actively participates in outreach and programming within UCLA and throughout Los Angeles County. We work closely with our colleagues in the Music Library who steward commercially released punk recordings.

UCLA Library Punk Collective Members

Kelly Besser Jordan Cain Maile Chung Gabbie Cortina
Caroline Cubé  Yasmin Dessem Josh Fiala Joe Gallucci
Doug Johnson Michael Pazmino Megan Rosenbloom Jessica Schwartz
Maggie Tarmey Annie Watanabe-Rocco Allie Whalen Jimmy Zavala


Sincere thanks to past UCLA Punk Collective Members: Peggy Alexander, Jillian Cuellar, Alex Cline, Lori Dedeyan, Megan Fraser, Gloria Gonzalez, Kearra Amaya Gopee, Melissa Haley, Tom Hyry, Courtney "Jet" Jacobs, Natalie Mattox, Eric Olsen, Cesar Reyes, Paola Salazar, Amanda Slater, and Rebecca Waldorf for their work and dedication, and to Sharon Farb and Todd Grappone for their support.

Current Collecting Priorities

The UCLA Library Punk Collective documents the development and expression of punk music and cultures by collecting and preserving the materials of the people and organizations that are part of the various scenes throughout Los Angeles County from the mid-1970s to the present.

We work collaboratively with our communities, which include musicians, photographers, filmmakers, promoters, producers, record labels, artists, writers, venues, spaces, and fans. It is our mission to inspire and facilitate the discovery and research of punk cultures.

We are particularly interested in documenting how LA punk communities coalesce around music venues and DIY spaces across the County. We specifically want to collect materials that document the histories and stories of spaces that speak to marginalized punk communities of color, feminist punks, queer punks, riot grrrls, and punks with disabilities. Within these communities, genres of interest include Afro-punk, queercore, Chicanx/Latinx punk, art-punk, straight edge, hardcore, avant-garde, and experimental punk.

(Hard)Core Values

In support of our collecting priorities and our values for ethical community engagement, we adhere to the following guidelines, which were inspired by the Zine Librarians Code of Ethics

  • Prioritize collecting directly from community members over working with third-party sellers
  • Respectfully engage with and represent community members
  • Actively collect material from under-documented scenes and communities
  • Foster lasting and reciprocal relationships with communities
  • Encourage community member participation and public use of collections
  • Collaborate on outreach and programming to spotlight the work of community members

Collecting Criteria

Formats that are particularly important to further our collecting goals are:

  • scrapbooks, diaries, and journals
  • administrative records of venues, DIY spaces, and record labels
  • original film, video, and audio, such as mixtapes, demos, documentaries, video art, public access TV programs, etc.
  • flyers, patches, and buttons
  • calendars, show schedules, guest lists, and setlists
  • interviews and oral histories
  • notes, drafts, and original writing covering the scenes
  • photographs and photograph albums
  • lyrics
  • artworks
  • correspondence and fan mail
  • publications including zines and books
  • custom punk fashion

Out of Scope

  • Commercial recordings
  • Materials that are still being actively used by their creators (working collections)
  • Contemporary reproductions like digital scans, facsimiles
  • Oversize artifacts and posters
  • Materials collected or assembled, but not created, by an individual, group, or organization
  • Materials we cannot provide access to for legal reasons

More About the Collection

Our named collections are archives created or collected by an individual or group. Smaller donations may be added to our Punk zines and ephemera collection, with donor information attached to individual items.

To see our current holdings or to fill out a donation form, visit our Punk Music and Culture in the UCLA Library Research Guide.

Visual Arts

The UCLA Library Special Collections acquires archival collections and primary source materials that reflect Los Angeles’s unique cultural identity. Our current priorities for collecting primary source materials and archives of creative individuals are centered on visual arts, landscape architecture and land art, photography, and artists’ books.

Current Collecting Priorities

  • Art educators /artists working from the 1960s to the present –a period of vital political and artistic change that affected L.A. art museums, galleries, and art education.
  • Designers: modernist and post-modern, especially those whose work breaks preconceptions and crosses boundaries between design and fine art.
  • Landscape architecture and land art (design and installations that amplify awareness of environmental issues and impacts).
  • Photography.
  • Book arts and artists' books.

Collecting Criteria

  • Archival materials that enlighten the creative processes and activities of artists, including sketches and working drawings, journals, correspondence, writings, syllabi.
  • Artists and artists collectives whose work has been invisible or under-recognized by art museums, galleries, and critics.
  • Visual art forms that bridge definitive labels or disciplinary lines; e.g., fine art and design.
  • Landscape architecture that addresses sustainability and environmental impact issues through design intervention.
  • Formats may include works of art on paper, exhibit-ready works and photographic prints, concept sketches, professional project documentation, and correspondence -materials that can be housed and preserved by LSC using standard archival materials, and digitized surrogates of oversize renderings.

Out of Scope

  • Collections on artists, architects, designers, and art galleries that duplicate the collecting strengths of other local institutions.
  • Comprehensive sets of working drawings and renderings by architects.
  • Large framed works of art.
  • Large three-dimensional models.

More About the Collection

Center for Oral History Research

The UCLA Center for Oral History Research (COHR) conducts in-depth, multi-session oral history interviews with individuals who have participated in the history of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and its many communities. COHR has particularly strong collections in the history of social movements, communities of color, the arts, Los Angeles politics and government, and the history of UCLA. For a complete list of the oral histories in COHR’s collection and access to a number of the transcripts and recordings, visit UCLA Center for Oral History Research.

For more information, please contact:

Jane Collings
Project Manager
phone icon 310.267.4754
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Current collecting priorities

Most of the oral histories in COHR’s collection are conducted by COHR staff or by interviewers hired to do specific individual projects. COHR does, however, accept donated oral histories if they meet the following criteria:

  • Document historically significant phenomena connected to the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
  • Follow standard oral history methodology and are conducted by trained, skilled interviewers.
  • Are preserved as audio or video recordings that are clear and audible and that do not include significant background noise, feedback, or distortion.
  • Are accompanied by legal agreements that transfer necessary rights and permissions.
  • Are accompanied by transcripts or timed logs that can assist users in finding their way through the recordings.

In order to ensure that their oral histories meet these requirements, prospective donors are strongly encouraged to contact COHR Project Manager Jane Collings before beginning a project. Donors should also consider attending one of COHR’s introductory oral history workshops in order to familiarize themselves with oral history methodology and gain the necessary interviewing skills.

Out of scope

  • Oral histories that do not focus primarily on Southern California

More About the Collection

For a complete list of the oral histories in COHR’s collection and access to a number of the transcripts and recordings, visit UCLA Center for Oral History Research.