Recognition from the Theatre Library Association

UC Press is proud to have been recognized by the Theatre Library Association‘s 2015 Book Awards.

Lois Weber in Early Hollywood by Shelley Stamp was awarded a Special Jury Prize for the 2015 Richard Wall Award, for an exemplary work in the field of recorded performance.

In order to distinguish the Theatre Library Association’s awards from other associations that focus on theoretical scholarship, jurors are asked to nominate only those books that provide evidentiary examples of an author’s use and interpretation of library/archival materials to support his/her topic. Library materials should be interpreted to mean any resources that libraries acquire—films, manuscripts, books, journals, reference books/databases, archives of ephemeral materials (e.g., newspapers, design sketches, playbills, posters)—in either their original format or in digital or other reproductions. As an association committed to furthering the advancement of archivists and librarians, as well as highlighting the diverse collections we maintain, the focus of TLA’s awards is on shining a light on the profession and the collections they make accessible and preserve.

Additionally, Menus for Movieland: Newspapers and the Emergence of Film Culture, 1913–1916, was a finalist for the 2015 Wall Award.

Congratulations to all the nominees and award-winners—we’re thrilled to be in such good company.

UC Press at the Public Library Association Conference

March saw Rachel Lee, Library Relations Manager represent UC Press at the biennial Public Library Association conference, held this year in Indianapolis. She reports back . . .

At the Press we’ve long been aware that the range of topics we publish means that some of our titles have an appeal beyond traditional academic libraries. As with all university presses, we have a responsibility to disseminate knowledge and research as widely as possible and this includes to researchers who aren’t affiliated with a higher education institution as well as the general interest reader.

This year, for our first attendance at the Public Library Association conference, we chose to highlight the Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 2. Mark Twain is an author with continuing and wide appeal and one whose titles will already be carried by almost all public libraries, which makes him part of a very selective group indeed!

At the booth, Rebecca Solnit’s Unfathomable City, a brilliant reinvention of the atlas, was really popular. It’s great to see a book that aims to expand our ideas of how any city is imagined and experienced get so much attention from librarians who are purchasing for a general audience. After all, we’re all interested in where we live.

Both Elephant Reflections and Giraffe Reflections were rarely out of people’s hands as they browsed the booth. The beautiful photography makes these books utterly compulsive reading. The prose in the books tackles serious subjects: the work of field scientists in Africa, recent astonishing discoveries, and the natural history and conservation status of these amazing creatures. These highly illustrated books carry this important information to a far greater audience than a collection of essays would achieve.

And obviously our wine and food titles are hugely popular among a general audience.

We’ve long had relationships with many public libraries across the USA, though I had never attended the Public Library Association meeting—and there are some distinct differences between public and academic libraries. While both academic and public librarians have been coping with reduced budgets, the way the libraries work means the effect is very different.

Academic librarians fulfil an incredibly demanding role, meeting the competing needs of different fields from undergraduate instruction to ground-breaking research. Academic libraries also have a commitment to maintain subscriptions to academic journals which, given the continued reductions in budget, is a task that is increasingly challenging.

For public librarians, budget reductions can mean the closure of an entire branch, particularly in areas that are underserved (such as rural or deprived urban areas) resulting in reduced support to the community as a whole.

However, both academic and public librarians are equally passionate about what they do and the services they provide.

The tone of the PLA conference was about contributing to communities. As a publisher, my own focus is on books and journals, but I got a real insight into how much of a public librarian’s work is about providing a space in the community. Libraries provide space to learn, space to relax, space to access vital information, and space for all kinds of people to indulge their love of books.

I seemed to be surrounded by equipment for children, from seats that looked like pirate ships to tiny homework tables and knee-high shelving. I was keenly aware that academic libraries are also re-tooling their spaces to encourage effective and collaborative learning.

In my quieter moments in the three days, I mused that children who grow up with access to libraries are the ones most likely to become life-long learners, and it was a pleasure and privilege to get some insight into the beginning of that journey at this positive and upbeat show.  I remember going to the library as a child and choosing books to read, and I remain an active patron of the public library today.  Through my work at UC Press, it’s great to be able to continue my support of public libraries. The Press’s vibrant list of books and journals has delighted and inspired readers for over 120 years, and I am sure it will continue to do so for many decades to come.

Why University Presses Matter

We are pleased to have Library Relations Manager Rachel Lee blogging for us as part of the University Press Week blog tour! The tour continues today at University of Hawai’i Press, who will address how university presses extend the global boundary of knowledge. A complete blog tour schedule is also available here.

Rachel LeeWhy University Presses Matter
by Rachel Lee

University Presses have long enjoyed a special relationship with libraries. In fact, several Presses function as units of their University Library. Regardless of position at their home institution, all University Presses share a unique perspective as publishers within the academy.

November sees the celebration of University Press Week (11-17 November). In 1978 President Jimmy Carter designated a University Press Week to highlight the good work done by all University Presses. 2012 marks 75 years of cooperation among university presses—not just American, but Canadian, European, and Asian as well—through the Association of American University Presses.

University Press Week provides an ideal opportunity to recognize the work done by University of California Press (and UPs everywhere) for their continued contributions to scholarship as relevant and vital members of the publishing community.

University of California Press has, for over a century, put the publishing of scholarly research at the heart of its mission. As a non profit, our stated goal is the widest dissemination of scholarly research, not a return to shareholders. UC Press is also a key partner for several scholarly societies, publishing journals on their behalf and helping to sustain financial stability for these important organizations.

As Library Relations Manager, my aim is to understand the changing needs and challenges facing libraries right now and to ensure that UC Press provides the best service we can to these vital customers. Talking with librarians at exhibits and conferences, I’m always gratified by the positive response to University of California Press and our publishing program.

So why should University Presses “matter” to libraries? In a nutshell: We are on your side. Not only as a publishers of key scholarly research but as a potential partners in new and innovative scholarly publishing. We remain independent, not driven by financial return.

It is largely true that when a journal moves to a commercial press, the subscription price increases significantly. Because this is a competitive business, keeping and retaining quality journals is a challenge for University Presses. UC Press is continually working with our publishing partners, including scholarly societies, to ensure that we provide the same level of service as a commercial publisher. UPs are able to do this through participation in JSTOR’s Current Scholarship Program and OUP’s University Press Scholarship Online. Through strategic partnerships such as these we continue to provide key research that is discoverable while providing readers with the tools they need to conduct research.

As commercial publishers combine into ever larger entities and as library budgets are squeezed harder each year, University Presses find themselves in a challenging position. We are not only confronting questions that face the industry as a whole, such as the role of Open Access and the future of the monograph, but also shifting attitudes towards humanities as a discipline in the academy.

With challenge comes opportunity and there are places where UPs and libraries can, and should, collaborate. Libraries could benefit from our many years of experience when developing projects such as digital commons, Open Access, and launching and growing new journals.

University Presses deserve libraries’ support, not as a ‘poor relation’ that merits sympathy but as a non-commercial partner engaged in work that sustains academic research without profit driven distractions. We can and want to be a key ally in library’s efforts to provide essential scholarly research to their constituents.

Does your institution have a University Press? You can support University Press Week by getting to know your University Press better. If you’re part of the University of California, or even if you’re a librarian elsewhere in the state of California, you can always drop me a line at and find out more about what UC Press is doing to support scholarly publishing.