John E. Smith, former librarian of the city of Santa Barbara and adviser to USC's Pakistan Project, was appointed UCI Librarian in June 1963, fully two years after opening of the campus. Smith considered the founding and building of the library to be "the chance of a lifetime." On opening day the stacks contained 100,000 volumes.
The UCI Libraries have grown considerably in the years following. With over 3 million volumes, four library facilities and 230 full time staff, the Libraries have continued to serve the campus needs as they have evolved through the years.
In 1981, the Libraries celebrated acquiring its 1 millionth volume. Chancellor Dan Aldrich commented, "like the rest of the university, of which it is the heart, the library will always be in a state of being and becoming."
Langson Library and the Libraries Gateway Study Center were two of the first buildings on campus built by William Pereira. The first 8 permanent buildings were completed on the main campus in 1965, designed by famed architect William Pereira in the California "Brutalist" style. Subsequent buildings constructed during the remainder of the 1960s and into the 1970s conformed to Pereira's futuristic vision.
The 1980s and 1990s saw a shift in architectural style to the postmodern. UCI attracted nationally and internationally celebrated architects, each of whom contributed a unique vision. The goal was to make UCI's architecture as distinctive as its academic programs. In 1994, famed architect James Stirling designed Ayala Science Library which continues to be an iconic campus structure and an example of the constantly evolving architectural style of the growing campus.
The UCI Libraries consist of four library facilities that serve the UCI campus faculty, students, staff and are open to the community. Each library facility contains public computers, printers, instructional spaces and comfortable, stimulating study environments.
The Main Library was renamed the Jack Langson Library in 2003 in recognition of a gift from the Newport Beach entrepreneur. Langson Library supports research and instruction in the arts, humanities, social sciences, education, and business and management, as well as special collections and government documents. It features a state-of-the-art Multimedia Resources Center with multimedia production software and video equipment, a Technology-Enhanced Classroom (TEC) for hands-on learning, and a Student Communications Room for Internet and e-mail access.
The Langson Library offers quiet study space in a wide range of options including 852 individual study spaces located primarily on the third, fourth, and basement floors. Special Collections and Archives is located on the 5th floor of Langson Library.
- Langson Library collections consist of various subjects: social science, literature, fine arts, film, education, political science, music, law, history, anthropology, geography, philosophy, psychology and religion.
The Ayala Science Library hosts one of the largest consolidated science, technology, and biomedical libraries in the nation. It supports research and instruction in science, medicine, and technology including astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and physics. More than 2,000 individual study spaces, faculty and graduate reading rooms, 50 group study rooms, and a late-night study center are available, as well as the Interactive Learning Center which provides a computer laboratory, an instruction center, and a digital media production laboratory.
The Ayala Science Library offers quiet study space in a wide range of options including 2000 individual study spaces located primarily on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors. The Ayala Science Library offers over fifty study rooms of varying sizes, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
In 2001, the UC Irvine Medical Center Library was renamed the Forest J. Grunigen, M.D. Medical Library (GML) in honor of Dr. Forest Grunigen (1905-1999), UC Irvine School of Medicine founder, graduate, professor, and alumni. As the largest medical library in Orange County, the GML serves the clinical information needs of the UC Irvine Medical Center and the teaching needs of the School of Medicine, as well as providing service to area physicians, healthcare professionals and students, medical libraries, and the public. The facility offers two computer technology facilities featuring an instructional laboratory and an Information Technology Center.
The library collects current scholarly information, primarily electronic, which supports the clinical, educational, and research needs of its users. The collection covers health, the practice of medicine and related allied health care disciplines, nursing, research and methodological literature, and reviews or state-of-the-art reports. The library's emphasis is on providing materials at the point of need. As a result, the collection includes thousands of electronic journals, electronic books, and databases.
One of the most popular student destinations on campus, the Libraries Gateway Study Center, located adjacent to Langson Library, is a modern state of the art facility with comfortable and functional furnishings, and 90 computers for student use. One of the original campus buildings, the facility was renovated in 2009, resulting in a 60% increase in student use. The Center also offers 13 study rooms offering full wireless connections, power outlets, and wired ethernet network connections.
- Open 24 hours pre-finals and finals week.
- Libraries Gateway Study Center is a designated Quiet Zone.
To learn more about the UCI Campus and the University Libraries, please visit two important websites documenting the campus history and interesting facts.
The Anteater Chronicles: This website is a service of the University Archives in the UCI Libraries presenting topics in UCI history, as well as databases of campus buildings, founding faculty, significant events, Olympic athletes and more.
Anteater Antics: This blog is created by the University of California, Irvine Libraries Special Collections and Archives staff and is where they showcase random items from university collections you might not otherwise see. The items have been selected because they are historic, nostalgic, or just plain made us smirk. Visit often to learn the answer to the burning question, "Guess what I found in the basement?"