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Donald A. Barclay - Deputy University Librarian

What Exactly Does Donald Do?

Helping Students, Faculty, & Staff with Research Questions
For anyone who needs assistance with research, I am a library jack of all trades with experience in just about every subject under the sun. You are welcome to schedule a research consultation with me (or any other UC Merced Librarian).


My Job in the UC Merced Library
I am the Deputy University Librarian and have been with UCM Library since 2002, long before UCM had a campus, faculty, or students. In my current position I work closely with the University Librarian, Haipeng Li, on such things as library planning, strategy, budget, collections, and staffing. There are a lot of really bright people working in the library, both career staff and student employees, and listening to what these smart folks have to say—and then giving them room to put their great ideas into action—makes my job that much easier. I think of the library as a lab and the students who are employed by the library as partners in our on-going information-science experiment, here as much to learn as to earn money. Many library student employees work in the library for the entire time they are at UCM, and it is great watching them grow and succeed as students and, eventually, alumni.

In addition to being a manager, I get to do a bit of reference, teaching, and other real librarian work. This helps me stay in touch with what is going on with the people who actually use the library. My goal is to see that UC Merced Library provides its community of users with the information they need for research, instruction, and learning. This means squeezing the maximum out of a budget that, no secret, should be bigger than it is. It also means communicating with library users so effectively that they are able to discover and access the information resources provided by the library with the fewest roadblocks and the least need for assistance from library staff. I'm also very intent on providing the campus with a library building that meets the diverse and dynamic needs of a growing student body.

Work for the UC Systemwide Libraries
There would not be a UC Merced Library worth speaking of if it were not for the combined power of the ten UC Libraries. Since August 2015, I have serve on the UC Libraries Direction & Oversight Committee (DOC). Reporting to the UC Council of University Librarians, DOC oversees the UC Libraries Advisory Structure. Starting in 2018, I will serve on the Working Group for the Systemwide ILS Planning Project. 

My Research Interests
I am interested in a number of research areas related to libraries and information science and have published widely in these fields. Lately I've taken an interest in how artificial intelligence might be used to improve the success of undergraduate researchers working on papers and projects for their courses.

I am also interested in literary studies and have edited or authored several books and articles related to the literature of the American West and to children's literature.

See the Published Books and Published Book Chapters and Articles for lists of my publications.


My Personal Stuff

Before I came to UC Merced, I worked as a librarian at the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, the University of Houston Library, and the New Mexico State University Library. I earned my M.A. in English and my Master of Library and Information Studies degrees from UC Berkeley. In between my Berkeley years, I taught composition and American Literature at Boise State University, and way back in the day I worked as a fire fighter for the U.S. Forest Service .


I now live in Merced with my better half, our three human girls, and our three girl dogs. The female side of the family's assorted interests include mathematics, theater, Hot Cheetos, SpongeBob, and rawhide chewies. I am a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club.

Professional Interests

Information Literacy

Scholarly Communication

Higher Education Administration

Literature of the American West