University News

Lawrence Clark Powell, Former University Librarian and Founding Dean of the Library School, Dies


Library education pioneer Lawrence Clark Powell, UCLA's second university librarian, founding dean of the former School of Library Service, and namesake of the campus' historic Powell Library Building, died Wednesday, March 14, 2001, at La Rosa Health Center in Tucson, Arizona. He was 94.

Powell began his career at UCLA in 1938 as a junior assistant in the Library's acquisitions department. He became University Librarian and Director of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in 1944 and directed the UCLA Library during the next 17 years. During his tenure the Library's holdings grew from 400,000 volumes to 1.5 million volumes as it expanded to serve more students and faculty and new areas of study and research.

"Larry Powell was a great bookman who understood clearly what a research library required," said UCLA University Librarian Gloria Werner. "During his years here he developed the foundations for the Library's remarkable collections, which have grown to support UCLA's acclaimed programs of study and research in many fields."

Toward the end of his tenure as university librarian, Powell led the effort to create a professional library school at UCLA. The former School of Library Service, later becoming the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, was born in 1959 with Powell at its helm. Today, the Department of Information Studies is part of UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

"We are grateful to Lawrence Clark Powell for his vision of graduate library education at UCLA and for his continued support of our academic programs and our students over the years," said Virginia Walter, chair of the Department of Information Studies. "His life and career have inspired all of us to be engaged, passionate advocates for libraries and librarianship."

Powell retired from UCLA in 1966, and in honor of his many years of dedicated service to the university, the Powell Library Building was named for him. This building, one of the first two buildings constructed on the Westwood campus in 1927-29, houses the College Library, the main undergraduate library; the College Library Instructional Computing Commons; the Office of Instructional Development; and the Film and Television Archive Research and Study Center.

In 1971, Powell moved to Tucson, Arizona. He served as a consultant to the University of Arizona on projects including a survey of the library, the construction of a new library building and staffing, and accreditation of the library school.

Among his many books are "California Classics: The Creative Literature of the Golden State" (1971); "The Manuscripts of D.H. Lawrence" (1937); "A Passion for Books" (1958); "Photographs of the Southwest" (1976), a collaboration with photographer Ansel Adams; and "Robinson Jeffers, The Man and his Work" (1940). He also wrote numerous articles on literary, historical and bibliographic topics for scholarly and general-interest periodicals.

Powell was born in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 3, 1906. He earned a bachelor's degree from Occidental College in Los Angeles, a doctorate from the University of Dijon in France and earned a certificate in librarianship from the School of Library Service at the University of California, Berkeley.

Powell is survived by a son, Norman.

There will be a memorial service on Sunday, April 8, at 2 p.m. at the Singing Wind Book Shop near Benson, Arizona.



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