GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Urgent campaign to preserve the Water Resources Center Archives

Posted by George J Janczyn on May 14, 2010

Dear Water Person,

Whether you are familiar with it or not, the Water Resources Center Archives (WRCA) on the Berkeley campus of the University of California is the premier water library in the United States. Naturally it is focused on California water and is open to the public as well as the academic and professional communities. If you are not familiar with it, please take a moment to visit the web site at

Its substantial collections include hundreds of thousands of water-related documents. Its limited staff actively pursue for acquisition the documents generated by agencies, irrigation districts, retiring academics, and other water professionals and organizations. The library materials are uniquely arranged and cataloged to make access very convenient. Over 65% of its holdings are entirely unique within the University of California system.

Rather than be satisfied with simply cutting the budget of the Archives (which has already been done in fair alignment with UC recession response), the University is actively moving toward dismantling this collection simply because its traditional non-library administrative unit has deleted the Archives from its strategic plan. There has been no assessment of the value of this collection to the campus and the vast water community that uses the Archives. In 2007-8 for example, over 479,000 unique users (based on IP addresses) accessed the collections.

As a forty-year user of the Archives, I can attest to the remarkably excellent service provided to the library users, as well as its superb holdings. Copy fees are reasonable; access to documents is speedy; you can copy most items yourself (including using your own scanner or camera). As you might have seen on the Archives web site, they have undertaken many special water resources related digital projects and stay on top of this critical type of information management.

This letter is to solicit a letter of support from you, as a water person or professional, endorsing keeping the Archives intact, fully operational and accessible in Berkeley. Without your help, the collection may be broken up; reference, cataloging, and research services of subject specialists may end; active collecting may cease; or it may move far from Northern California, the seat of state government and the source of most of the water.

Please address your email letter to the following group:

· Regents of the University of California

· President Mark Yudof, University of California

· Chancellor Birengeau, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley

· Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Breslauer, University of California, Berkeley

· Director Linda Vida, Librarian, Water Resources Center Archives

You may paste in the following email addresses as a block:;;;;

We also ask that you copy (BCC) us on any correspondence so we may reuse it later in the campaign, if appropriate. Send a copy to:

Sincerely yours,

Daniel. O. Holmes, M.A., M.L.I.S.
Geographer and Librarian


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