University Librarian Emerita Gloria Werner is fond of saying that she was born and raised professionally at UCLA. Arriving on campus in 1962 for graduate training in medical librarianship, Gloria rose from a reference librarian position to Biomedical Librarian and Associate University Librarian in 1979. Pinch-hitting for a fellow administrator in the University Research Library in 1983, Werner immersed herself in new areas of technical services and automation. In 1990, she succeeded Russell Shank as University Librarian.
Werner’s 40-year tenure at UCLA coincided with enormous advances. With computer applications for libraries in their infancy in the early 1960s, Werner led the technological transformation securing grant funding to bring paper-based card catalogs online. Thus the UCLA Library’s collections, now numbering more than 10 million volumes, are accessible to scholars worldwide.
Werner is a strong advocate for the instructional role libraries offer, especially teaching students to develop search strategies, evaluate retrieval and exercise critical thinking. The 1996 Powell Library rededication after extensive seismic retrofitting, introduced the highly popular College Library Instructional Computing Commons, interactive computing classrooms, laptop lending services and what has become universal WiFi access. The beautifully remodeled building is now the busiest intellectual commons for undergraduates on campus. Werner’s efforts ensured these technologies were easily accessible to students and faculty.
During her UCLA career, Werner was a consultant to other libraries in America and Asia, served on university accreditation teams and edited the journal of the Medical Library Association. In 1996-97, she served as president of the Association of Research Libraries, focusing on copyright and intellectual property.
Following her 2002 retirement, Werner continues to treasure her ties to UCLA. She is an honorary member of Gold Shield Alumnae, on the Board of Women and Philanthropy, and maintains ties to the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts in the Hammer Museum for which Werner and her deceased husband Newton ’57 were donors for many years. She also established a generous endowment for discretionary use by her UCLA Library successors. Werner remains an active member of the Docent Council at LACMA, indulging the passion developed as an undergraduate studying art history at Oberlin College. She is also a UCLA Foundation Governor, having served on their nominating committee.