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Annual Report FY 2017-18

We build community.

Drawing of books as a bridge

For high schoolers, a bridge to Berkeley

The Library’s mission extends beyond this campus. Last year, the lending unit of Interlibrary Services partnered with local high schools to open our collections to the community. Throughout 2017, Shannon Monroe, head of Interlibrary Lending, or ILL, visited and hosted librarians from across the Bay Area to spread the word about the service and teach them how to request materials for students. In the spring of 2018, the pilot program’s first semester, ILL fulfilled nearly 40 requests for student projects — with materials ranging from historical Jewish documents to old California maps and census reports. Monroe, who attended Oakland public schools, says the program was created to share Berkeley’s resources with the underserved schools and families that need them most. ILL is also working with high school librarians and administrators to bring students to UC Berkeley for a tour of the Library and its services. “I completely relate to that community,” says Monroe, adding that she was taken aback when she arrived at Berkeley as a freshman. “If we could start early with some of these kids who don’t think they have the opportunity to come to Cal, we could open that door.”

The story of the West, in treasures

One treasure at a time, The Bancroft Library’s rich collection on Western Americana helps tell the story of the West. Now, these materials — which make up the most heavily used collection at Bancroft — are about to become even more accessible. Leadership gifts totaling $4 million toward an $8 million goal launched Bancroft & the West, a new initiative that will help sustain the vital Western Americana collection and engage scholars with the materials that, piece by piece, illuminate the history of the vast expanse that stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, from Alaska to Panama. Two million dollars from an anonymous donor and $1 million from Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bancroft III funded an endowment for the Western Americana curatorship. An additional $1 million from the same anonymous donor launched an endowment for the Western Americana program to sustain and grow this vital resource. “We are honored to provide scholars with increasing opportunities for inquiry into this collection, preserved at one of the premier research institutions in the world,” Paul “Pete” Bancroft says.

Curated by Theresa Salazar, second from right, the Western Americana collection makes up the largest and most diverse group of research materials at The Bancroft Library. Its treasures include manuscripts, maps, books, photographs, and many other materials. (Photos by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

a volume from the 1860s is full of photographs of Yosemite Valley and surrounding areas

A volume from the 1860s is full of photographs of Yosemite Valley and surrounding areas.

A diary describes life in a wealthy Bay Area family during the Great Depression.

A diary describes life in a wealthy Bay Area family during the Great Depression.

Holding on to history

The C. V. Starr East Asian Library was recently gifted the archives of the Chee Kung Tong — a benevolent society that helped Sun Yat-sen, founding father of the Republic of China, and other Chinese revolutionaries overthrow the last imperial dynasty of China. The San Francisco chapter of the Chee Kung Tong offered housing and protection to immigrants in Chinatown during the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.


Purchases for the Western Americana collection include 16 manuscript and print items from the California Gold Rush, among them “The Dying Californian” broadside and an 1860 letter from a miner.

To support Bancroft & the West, contact the Library Development Office at 510-642-9377 or