(An occasional series describing a less-well known library or archive in Southern California, and its relevance to transportation history)
To be an effective transportation (or other kind of) historian, it is often necessary to access older documents in print or microfilm. Not everything is on the Internet (yet…)
However, old books and periodicals can be hard to find. No library has infinite space, and as new materials arrive, the old ones have to go.
But someone, somewhere, just might need some of these items for research. Throwing them away is not an option, so where do they go?
If the library in question happens to be one of the southern University of California campuses (UC Los Angeles, Irvine, Riverside, San Diego or Santa Barbara), there is a good chance that these documents will end up at the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF), hidden away on the UCLA campus.
Here is just a tiny sample of what awaits the transit historian at the SRLF.
More about the SRLF
The SRLF, which opened in 1987, is where older and lesser-used library materials are stored. Nearly six million books, journals, films, microfilms, government documents, and other documents are housed in a climate-controlled environment. Since the actual bookshelves are not open to the public (“closed stacks”), users must request materials from staff, either in person at the SRLF, or via the online catalog.
The SRLF is open weekdays, 1 to 5 pm. It is closed weekends and University holidays.
To use SRLF materials, you will need a library card. Non-UC users not otherwise eligible for a free card may either pay for a card that allows checkouts, or get a free “Access Only” card. Obtain your card at one of the other campus libraries before coming to the SRLF. Most books and journals in the SRLF, with the exception of certain “rare books” can be checked out (if you have borrowing privileges) or simply used in the library.
Visiting in person
Of course you can drive to campus, park in Lot 17, and pay $9.00 (if you don’t already have a UCLA parking pass). But since this blog is pro-public transportation…
It is possible to walk to the SRLF. However, the area in and around the facility is hilly, and the walk takes me about 20-30 minutes from the center of campus
There are also a couple of transit choices. The free Campus Express bus, which normally runs between campus and Westwood, also has another route running between McGowan Hall and the SRLF. This “Northwest Shuttle Van” connects with the main Campus Express route at the McGowan Hall loop, or you can walk to/from the MTA bus stop at Hilgard and Wyton (MTA #2/302, #305). The disadvantage is that the shuttle van runs only from 11:30 am to 2 p.m; leaving you stranded if you wish to stay at the SRLF longer.
Another option is to walk along the “Saxon Trail” from the bus stop at Gayley and Landfair (MTA #2) onto campus. Although this trail has a bad reputation, that I really don’t want to get into here, the real danger is probably tripping and falling on the badly maintained trail…
There is no pedestrian access to the SRLF from Veteran Avenue. Period. Don’t ask.
Let your fingers do the walking
It’s probably easier to request SRLF items via the UCLA Library Catalog. Materials can be delivered to the on-campus library of your choice. Materials requested by 11 am will be delivered by 4 pm the same (business) day; otherwise, they will arrive by 4 pm the next day. The library will also send you an e-mail reminder, if you gave them an e-mail address when you applied for your card.
You can also obtain SRLF items by asking your local public, college or other library to borrow them for you. Fees and other conditions may apply.
http://www.srlf.ucla.edu/ (official SRLF page)
This video shows the process of using the catalog to request items. But a ten minute walk from the center of campus to SRLF? I doubt it!
http://infomaster76.blogspot.com/2009/02/southern-regional-library-facility.html (another good page describing the SRLF – with pictures of the closed stack areas. Interesting!)
Comments and corrections welcomed!