California Cooperative Latin American Collection Development Group



The combined Latin American collections in the Stanford and Berkeley libraries offer an extraordinary intellectual resource of major research value not only to Stanford and Berkeley faculty and students but to the Latin American scholarly community in general. The collections at Berkeley have been consistently developed for almost a century and are particularly strong in archeological and ethnographic materials, in art, drama, education, law, literature and religion. Berkeley's Bancroft Library is renowned for its holdings on colonial Spanish America, on Mexico, and on Central America. The Berkeley libraries maintain a collection of more than 530,000 monograph volumes, 3,385 periodical titles, 32 newspapers, and 1,625,600 manuscripts on Latin America.

The retrospective strengths of the Berkeley collections complement the large Latin American collections at Stanford, which are the result of efforts concentrated in the past two decades. The general emphasis at Stanford has been on materials on the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular attention to Brazil and the social sciences. The latter collections are strongest in political, social, and economic changes since World War I throughout Latin America. Stanford has directed collecting efforts to post-1810 histories of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and Mexico in addition to a broad emphasis on Brazilian history. The Hoover Institution's holdings on contemporary Cuba enjoy an international reputation and are supplemented by extensive materials on other Latin American countries in the 20th century. In all, the Stanford Latin American collections contain more than 181,000 monographs, 1,387 periodicals and 33 newspapers.

Combined, the Stanford-Berkeley Latin American Collections are among the most comprehensive in the United States.


In the past ten years the two universities have developed and implemented a broad program of inter-library cooperation. Support for this program has come from the Alfred Sloan Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and more recently, from the federal government through its HEA Title VI program.

The two library systems share an on-line Catalog Data File, regularly exchange and update serials records on microfiche, and extend direct borrowing privileges to faculty and graduate students at both universities. An inter-library bus service transports users and materials four times daily, making possible rapid inter-library loans. In addition, Stanford participates in the recently initiated nine-campus University of California Shared Purchase Program.

Among the collection development units in the two systems, the Latin American and East Asian components have participated most actively in the articulation of joint collection management techniques and collection development policies within the larger context of inter-library cooperation described above. The Latin American efforts have been strongly supported by the two Centers for Latin American Studies, grants from the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the federal government, particularly through the establishment in late 1981 of the Joint Stanford-Berkeley National Resource Center in Latin American Studies. In 1976 the Latin American curators at Stanford and Berkeley began a series of evaluations to determine the adequacy of the collections to support research and curricula, and to provide data for drafting a sound joint acquisitions policy which would take into account the strengths and limitations of each library's holdings.

These evaluations were originally supported at Stanford by the Bonsall Fund, and at Berkeley by funds provided by the Department of History. Beginning in June, 1980 the evaluations were continued with funding from Mellon Foundation grants to the respective Latin American Studies Centers. Evaluation procedures have been standardized, and entail cyclical reviews of collections in history, the social sciences, scholarly journals, publications of Latin American social science research institutions and faculties, and general news coverage. Discussions are currently under way between the Government Documents Departments at the two libraries to establish similar cooperative procedures and agreements.

In February, 1982, acting upon the extensive evaluations and reviews, the two Latin American curators agreed to divide responsibility for the acquisition of certain categories of materials from the various countries of Latin America in order to expand the resource base of the Stanford-Berkeley libraries and enhance the educational and research programs on Latin America at both institutions. The joint acquisitions policy developed by the curators rests upon a three-tiered categorization of materials which reflects current academic needs at Stanford and Berkeley, and conforms to the collection development policies of both institutions:

1) Works of major importance and materials in frequently used fields.

2) Essential but less frequently needed materials.

3) Materials which may fall into either of the first two categories but which are unusually difficult to obtain because of the problems of bibliographic control and the realities of publication and distribution systems in Latin America.

The Berkeley-Stanford agreement focuses specifically on materials in the second and third categories. Each library will continue to collect materials in the first category in accordance with its current collection development policy. Examples of materials which will be encompassed under the new agreement are: publications, both monographs and serials, of non-major universities; newsletters and annual reports of small banking and financial institutions; reports of agricultural, manufacturing and service industries, excepting major industries such as petroleum, steel, coffee, etc.; dissertations from Latin America, and certain categories of literature and biography which are considered minor.

The sharing of acquisition responsibilities for materials in the second and third categories is a major innovation in collection development. The division of labor is one in which acquisitions are very selective in any case, so that there is only a modest loss for each library in terms of selected materials which will not be acquired and a great gain in that well-defined blocks of materials will predictably be available at one or the other library. The new agreement will allow each collection development unit to concentrate its efforts and energies on the acquisition of publications which are difficult to obtain and are not currently available in either library system. Ultimately, the responsibility for categorizing materials rests upon the judgment and experience of the Latin American curators at each institution in consultation with appropriate faculty.

Relative collection strengths, scholarly interest in multidisciplinary approaches, the existence of more than forty polities in Latin America, and established modes of publication and distribution in the region all suggest that a geographical rather than a disciplinary division of labor is the most rational approach to the allocation of development responsibilities.

Following this principle the Berkeley and Stanford curators have agreed to focus their acquisition of materials in categories two and three by country, as outlined in the table below.




 Argentina  Brazil
 Bolivia  The Caribbean
 Brazil*  Central America*
 Central America*  Chile
 Ecuador  Colombia
 Mexico*  Mexico*
 Paraguay  Venezuela

*Because of the historical development and present strength of the Brazilian collection at Stanford and the Mexican and Central American collections at Berkeley, these are excluded from the agreement. However, cooperation in these areas does occur through frequent consultation to avoid undue duplication.

The success of the joint development project rests upon the close cooperation of the Latin American curators at each institution, in consultation with librarians of the Hoover Institution, the Bancroft Library, and various branch libraries on each campus as well as the faculties of each university. The agreements will be subject to periodic review and revision. We believe that the agreements will result in greater and more comprehensive resources for collection development. Given the strong institutional support for both library groups and the support of the Stanford-Berkeley Joint Center for Latin American Studies, the joint development project will provide an increasingly comprehensive resource base in the years to come.

Curators of the Latin American Collection

James M. Breedlove
Curator for Latin American & Iberian Collections
Stanford University Libraries
Gaston Somoshegyi-Szokol
Librarian for the Hispanic Collection
University of California, Berkeley


CALAFIA Documents

[an error occurred while processing this directive]