The UC Berkeley Library was founded with the University in 1868. From an initial collection of 1,000 volumes it has grown to include over 11 million volumes. Housed in several dozen physical libraries throughout the campus, the Library provided patrons 2.7 million physical items and 33 million article downloads in 2012. Globally, the Library has millions of exchanges with users through in-person visits, circulation requests, and online or phone conversations about research questions. Second only to the University's homepage, the Library website is perhaps the most visible face of our University to the world and the most tangible demonstration of its core values: excellence and access.
The University and the Library cannot exist without each other. Because the Library -- in both its physical and virtual forms -- is ubiquitous in the everyday lives of faculty, students, administrative staff, scholarly researchers, and the general public worldwide, it is difficult to make a case for its role in sustaining the academic preeminence of the University except by imagining our University and our world without it. There is simply no great University without a great Library. The Library is the heart and circulatory system of our research and instructional mission; it is the essential pump that takes in the life-blood of learning and circulates it throughout the campus community and beyond our walls to our furthest public extremities; it makes research happen; it makes learning possible; it draws new learning back into the system only to generate more learning and send it out to circulate again.
The Commission has concluded that the centrality of the Library to the range of learning and research at Berkeley warrants a serious strategy of major reinvestment. The Library, aided by the campus administration and the Academic Senate, should devise a detailed execution plan for this reinvestment, along the lines of the Commission's recommendations, coupled with a plan of both cost-saving and revenue-generating measures. To face the challenges of the next twenty years the Library should align its organizational structure and its institutional culture with the rapidly changing needs of faculty research and student learning. The campus community as a whole should assume the financial and intellectual responsibility of active partnership in this important endeavor. Because the health of the entire academic enterprise depends upon the Library, there should be no higher priority for campus investment and no greater responsibility for the Campus Administration and the Academic Senate than the effective stewardship of the Library.