Dear Bruin Community:
I write to share the news that after a decade of leading the UCLA Library, Virginia “Ginny” Steel will be retiring at the end of 2023. Under her leadership, the UCLA Library has consistently ranked as one of the top research libraries in North America, and she has served our university community immeasurably during her years here. We expect to launch a national search for her successor during the spring quarter.
Steel became our Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian in July 2013 and has since been responsible for overseeing the majority of the UCLA libraries, including eight campus facilities and UC’s Southern Regional Library Facility. She joined UCLA from UC Santa Cruz where she served as university librarian. Prior to that, Steel held library leadership positions at UC San Diego, MIT, Arizona State University and Washington State University.
During her time as UCLA’s university librarian, Steel led significant updates to our library facilities, including redesigns, the addition of new furniture, incorporation of active learning spaces and other improvements. In 2019, she integrated the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the second-largest repository of motion pictures and broadcast programming in the U.S., into the UCLA Library administration and collections. She has been a champion of the Modern Endangered Archives Program, which preserves at-risk cultural heritage materials from around the world, and for which the Library received its largest grant to date — totaling $13 million to support the program. Steel also played a prominent role in advocating for greater open access publishing within academia.
Steel and the Library team have focused on adding and enhancing student services, including expanding the support of on-site and remote work. Some of the other student offerings have included the creation of the Lux Lab, which offers 3D scanning and printing, and the addition of instructional space in the Young Research Library that will allow undergraduate students to use primary source materials in their coursework. Steel also allocated funding to support the development of UCLA Library’s Data Science Center and the creation of its workshop and resource offerings.
Steel has a history of thought leadership and service in the library community. She serves as a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees. She was also a past chair of the board of the Center for Research Libraries and chaired the Association of Research Libraries Advocacy and Public Policy Committee. Additionally, she is past chair of the SPARC Steering Committee and past president of the Library Administration and Management Association.
While we are thankful to have Ginny with us for the rest of 2023, I hope you will join me now in thanking her for her service to UCLA and the larger academic library community — as well as expressing our deep appreciation for all the work the UCLA Library does to support teaching and research. We will miss her leadership and wish her the best in her next chapter.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost