General policies and principles for the Library's collections are stated in the General Collection Development Policy.  

Purpose of the Collection

The Asian American Studies collection supports the teaching and research mission of the Asian American Studies Department that takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Asian Pacific Americans (API).  Established in 1995 as the first autonomous department in the nation, the department offers an array of courses in history, literature, law, cultural studies, film, global studies, social movements, and religion—all in ways that link race and ethnicity to the study of gender, sexuality, class, and nation.

The collection also supports the work of faculty and students across departments and graduate programs especially in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Ethnic Studies. 



Major areas of interest cover the historical and socio-cultural development of Asians in America since the Nineteenth Century with emphasis on sexuality, race, class, and nation, as well as contemporary issues related to social justice, colonialism, imperialism, and inequality. 

Geographical Coverage

The Americas with emphasis on North America. With the expanding foci of the discipline related to transnational studies, materials about Asian Pacific Americans published in other countries are collected selectively.


Primarily English language publications including translations of works originally published in another language. As needed publications in Southeast Asian Languages (i.e. Tagalog) are acquired.

Chronological Limits/Period Coverage

Nineteenth Century to present

Publication Dates

Emphasis on current publications, including reprints, but older works are collected selectively. 

Types of Materials Collected

University press books are widely collected.  Scholarly and literary works from trade, small, and alternative presses are acquired.  Publications from historical societies, museums, and non-profit organizations are purchased selectively.  Reference materials such as, dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, and bibliographies are added to the collection, as well as compact discs CDs (music) and DVDs (feature films and documentaries).

When appropriate primary source materials such as posters, photographs, other ephemera including out-of-print books are acquired and maintained in the California Ethnic Multicultural Archives in Special Collections.  Government documents (i.e. immigration documents, census data) and dissertations are acquired as needed.  New journal subscriptions are added to the UCSB Library collection when the budget permits.

System-wide and Other Resources

U.C. system-wide sources purchase via the California Digital Library such as article and research databases, as well as digitized primary sources such as, Calisphere and Online Archive of California greatly support the discipline.

Subject librarian: gerardo  colmenar
Policy Last Updated: March 2015