Eiji Yutani


Collection development, Libraries, Area Studies, Japan


March 15 of this year marked the fifth anniversary of my arrival at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). On a bright, warm spring day in 1988,1 moved to the arid, scenic suburban La Jolla campus from the equally beautiful and balmy city of Berkeley where I had worked as a Japanese bibliographer for the century-old University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Library for two and a half decades. The past five years here in southern California have been one of the finest chapters of my professional life — perhaps the last — and a truly fascinating one. As I reflect on the thirty-year journey that started in Seattle and moved through Cambridge, Berkeley, and San Diego, I find I have been fortunate to have had a driver's seat under the guidance of concerned and skillful library administrators here in San Diego and to have the illuminating experience of building a new collection from scratch and undergoing an adventure in learning that is still in progress. During the initial phase of this experience, I, a newcomer in an entirely unfamiliar environment, faced the challenges and became one of the chief architects in building the emerging collections and services that support the growing Japanese studies programs at UCSD. As a result, I now have a story to tell — an interesting story, I hope — about how one endeavors to shape the direction and scope of new collections and to adapt to radical organizational change. An invitation from Professor Tsuen-hsuin Tsien, the guest editor for the commemorative 100th issue of the CEAL Bulletin, has provided me with an opportunity to tell that story. It is a tale of a bibliographer's experiences at the small but growing University of California campus, seen from the comparative perspective of my many years at UCB, one of the oldest and largest academic research libraries in the United States. This tale will also describe my working partnerships with administrators at UCSD - how we helped and complemented each other, what we learned from working together, and how our collaboration has benefitted the library and its users.