Teaching and Learning Los Angeles through Engagement with UCLA Library Special Collections

Kelly E Miller, Robert D. Montoya


This article presents a case study of how library services and special collections, in particular, can be integrated into undergraduate education by engaging strategically with a high-impact area of the curriculum and concentrating on courses related thematically to collection strengths. The goals of such engagement include enhancing student academic success and increasing the visibility and use of library services and collections. During the academic year 2012-2013, the UCLA Library's Teaching and Learning Services and Library Special Collections partnered with the Division of Undergraduate Education's Freshman Cluster Program to experiment with embedding librarians into instructional teams in order to improve students' research skills. In “Los Angeles: The Cluster,” a year-long, interdisciplinary course focused on the history, architecture, and culture of Los Angeles, librarians collaborated with faculty and graduate student teaching assistants to incorporate primary sources, especially rare and unique cultural heritage materials, into the undergraduate curriculum. In this article, Kelly Miller provides an overview of the library’s partnership with the Freshman Cluster Program, and Robert Montoya describes his experience as an embedded librarian in the LA Cluster.


Undergraduate research; first-year library instruction; special collections and undergraduate learning; archives and education

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