In response to student demands, UC Santa Barbara created its first ethnic studies programs in 1969. The library’s Chicana/Chicano Studies collection was established in 1971 and was a direct result of this movement. As one of several leading collections of its kind, the Colección serves as the university's major source of information on the cultural heritage and history of Chicanas/Chicanos and Mexicans in the United States. The collection is named after Tloque Nahuaque, an Aztec god who took several forms. In his appearance as Quetzalcoatl, he was the patron god of learning and knowledge.
Colección is a research collection that actively collects popular literature as well as academic materials. The collection includes materials on a variety of topics related to Mexican Americans, including art and music, biography, education, history, literature, religion, and sociology. In addition, there are materials on bilingual education, cultural identity, immigration, labor issues, and other similar topics. Because of the broad nature of Chicana/Chicano Studies there are also materials relevant to research in this area in other locations throughout the library.