History of the Ethnic and Gender Studies Library

When the Ethnic and Gender Studies Library (EGSL) opened during the 1995-96 academic year, it marked an important milestone in the UCSB Library’s equity and diversity initiatives.  Before that time, the library had two ethnic studies collections:  the Black Studies Library and Colección Tloque Nahuaque, both of which were created in 1969 within their respective campus research centers, and later moved to the library in 1971.  When the four-story wing of Davidson Library was built in 1977 it was designed to accommodate these two collections.  They have continued to serve Chicano and Black studies students, faculty and researchers associated with these academic departments.  

In 1995, with the founding of the Asian American Studies Department, the library responded to the need to support the courses and research of this new department, expanding on its commitment to equity and diversity. It added an Asian American Studies collection and four new collections to the existing two.  The EGSL was remodeled and expanded, effectively doubling the seating space and more than tripling the book capacity.  Since its inception, this wing has functioned as far more than a collections and research area. Students and researchers describe it as a welcoming, culturally-invigorating space that they consider a home away from home.

EGSL now consists of six distinct collections: the Andelson Collection (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies), the Asian American Studies Collection, the Black Studies Collection, Colección Tloque Nahuaque (Chicana/Chicano Studies Collection), the Feminist Studies Collection, and the Native American Collection.  Each collection has its own librarian subject specialist.

On October 27, 1999, the California State Legislature gave special recognition to EGSL’s Colección Tloque Nahuaque and the Black Studies Library on the occasion of their 30th anniversary.

The materials within each discrete collection are arranged according to the Library of Congress classification system. Reference materials in EGSL are integrated and are located at the back of the room, along with the current, unbound serials for the collections.  For questions, please speak to EGSL manager Jennifer Thompson, or to the respective subject librarian.

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