Phone: (323) 343-3997
Mario H. Ramirez, PHD
Head of Special Collections and Archives
Mario provides general oversight for the Special Collections and Archives unit and helps establish a collaborative direction for its future and ongoing endeavors. His work focuses on donor and faculty relations, curriculum and collection development, teaching, project management, community engagement, and fundraising. His research interests include archives, human rights, Central American Studies, critical theory, and digital cultures. Mario holds a PhD in Information Studies and a Certificate in Experimental Critical Theory from UCLA, an MS in Library and Information Science and Certificate in Archives and Records Management from Long Island University – Post, an MA in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley, and a BA in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Phone: (323) 343-3977
Azalea Camacho, MLIS
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian
Azalea oversees the department’s archival and special collections. She provides Special Collections and Archives class sessions, research assistance, trains student assistants, interns, and volunteers in processing collections, and curates/manages library exhibitions. Her research interests include social movements, LA history, community-based collections, and building diversity and inclusion in the archival field/profession. She enjoys reading true crime, LA noir, science fiction; collecting vintage clothing and accessories from 1920s-1950s; and is a taxidermist in training. Azalea holds an MLIS with a concentration in Archival Studies from San Jose State University and a BS in Communications, Journalism from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Phone: (323) 343-3976
Jamie Zeffery, BA
Digitization Project Assistant
Jamie manages all digital projects in Special Collections, from implementing and overseeing workflows for the digitization and long-term preservation of archival collections to creating high-quality reproductions of requested materials for research, exhibits and publications. In addition to digitization of analog materials, she also manages born-digital collections including hosting workshops for the transcription and indexing of oral histories. Utilizing her eye for aesthetics, she also designs all outreach materials for Special Collections events and workshops and contributes to the design and installation of exhibits and displays throughout the library. She enjoys color coordination and planning elaborate foodie adventures on which she may or may not ever go. Jamie holds a BA in art history, museum studies certificate, and will graduate with an MLIS from San Jose State University in 2020.
When the Cal State LA University Library became part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in 1956, Room 2079 of Library South, the current location of Cal State LA Special Collections and Archives, became a depository for U.S. government publications. As a FDLP member, the University Library served the 34th U.S. Congressional District of California, and received catalog records for electronic federal publications and a few significant reference titles in print. As the University Library began to acquire special collections materials, administration officially established the Special Collections and Archives unit in the 1980s, and appointed a Special Collections and Government Documents Librarian in 1988. The department was co-managed by a Special Collections Assistant in its early decades and eventually by a newly appointed Archivist in 2008. After the librarian’s 2012 retirement, the University Library Archivist position was established.
Beginning 2013, Special Collections and Archives opened its doors and began to host primary source class sessions, curate exhibitions year round, as well as provide reference assistance and research consultations. In 2015, the unit began to expand its personnel by hiring a Digitization Projects Assistant to help initiate and oversee in-house digitization projects and reproduction services. During the summer of 2017, the space underwent the most significant renovations to date, including creating a hybrid reading room to accommodate independent study and research appointments. Following the 2018 reopening, the Coordinator position was established to manage reading room operations and public services.
In 2019, the unit welcomed two Faculty Librarians—Archivist and Special Collections Librarian and Head of Special Collections and Archives. The Archivist and Special Collections Librarian is tasked with overseeing the acquisition, preservation and rehousing of all rare book, manuscript and distinctive collections; formalizing and further developing the primary source instruction program; and curating and managing library exhibitions. The Head of Special Collections provides leadership and vision for the unit, and oversees collection development, donor relations and community engagement.