Getting Acquainted with the UCLA Library and Cluster Program Resources Presented by the Cluster Peer Research & Writing Specialists!

Welcome to the Cluster Program, new Bruins! The UCLA Library is here to aid in your academic endeavors. Your Peer Research & Writing Specialist and Library Liaison are here for you too!

Here, you'll learn about:

  1. Introduction: The History of Powell + the Cluster Program
  2. Getting Started with the Library: Physical Technology, Software, and Applications
  3. Finding Support: Getting to Know Your Peer Research & Writing Specialists
  4. Accessing Resources: Writing and Research Deep Dive
  5. Staying Connected: In and Out of the Classroom

A valid BruinCard and face mask worn over the nose and mouth will be required to enter all UCLA libraries. UCLA’s current COVID-19 protocols require all individuals—whether fully vaccinated or not—to wear a face covering indoors in all campus buildings. Examples of acceptable face masks are two-ply woven fabric masks or face coverings, surgical masks, non-woven KN95 masks and N95 respirators. Scarves, Balaclavas/ski masks, single-layer fabric masks, neck gaiters, bandanas and turtleneck collars are unacceptable.

For up-to-date information and building hours, please visit our FAQ:

Let's get going!

1. Introduction

The History of Powell Library

The first two buildings constructed at UCLA were Powell Library and Royce Hall. Each building was inspired by LA’s picturesque landscape and similarity to northern Italy, and George W. Kelman and David Allison modeled the buildings based on several Italian churches and basilicas. After the 1994 earthquake, careful and meticulous restoration ensured that Powell continues to be a multifunctional centerpiece of UCLA.

The Cluster Program

The UCLA Cluster Program is an innovative initiative designed to help freshmen successfully transition to UCLA. They are year-long, collaboratively taught, interdisciplinary and open to entering freshmen only. They offer 4 GE Credits, 18 units towards your degree, 3 quarters of honors credit, and a Learning Community, where you can build relationships with your fellow students, your TAs and your faculty.

2. Getting Started with the Library

CLICC (Campus Library Instructional Computing Commons) provides long and short-term laptop lending. While supplies last, students can check out a laptop for the entire quarter (Mac or PC)—just submit a request via the form linked below. (Note that you'll be prompted to make an account first.) Short-term/one week laptop rentals (Chromebooks) are also available from Powell and YRL.

For the most updated information about CLICC's services, please visit: CLICC - Fall 2021.

If you are on campus, you'll automatically have access to UCLA Library resources when you use a campus internet connection. If you are off campus, you can still access millions of resources paid for by UCLA Library! You just need to set up the UCLA VPN.

Once you configure your computer for off-campus access to UCLA Library resources using a VPN or Proxy, you'll be able to access e-books, articles, music, videos, and more! Please visit our Remote Access guide for getting VPN configured with VPN or Proxy. As well, we have instructional videos on setting up VPN for Mac and Windows.

For Windows

For Mac

Zoom is the video conferencing platform for almost all synchronous, virtual classes at UCLA. It's a really useful application and through your UCLA login you automatically have a licensed account!

Computer, check. VPN, check. Zoom, check. Now, we'll show you how to access our collections!

3. Finding Support

Getting to Know Your Peer Research & Writing Specialist

Cluster M1: Food - A Lens for Environment and Sustainability

Taylor Sieverling


Third-Year Biology Major (Computing Specialization); Environmental Systems and Society Minor

Fun Fact About Me: I became vegan after reading the book How Not to Die.

Cluster 20: Interracial Dynamics

Sofie Jackson


Fourth-Year Geography and Asian American Studies Double Major

Fun Fact About Me: I taught myself how to embroider over quarantine!

Cluster 27: Global Islam

Maizah Ali

Second-Year Cognitive Science and International Development Studies double major

Fun Fact About Me: I love to do all kinds of art, but lately I've been doing a lot of gouache painting!

Cluster 48: Political Violence in the Modern World - Causes, Cases, and Consequences

Arielle Romm

Third-Year Political Science Major; Global Studies Minor

Fun Fact About Me: My greatest weakness is Flaming Hot Limón Doritos!

Cluster 60: America in the Sixties - Politics, Society and Culture, 1954-1974

Michael Lima-Sabatini


Fourth-Year Public Affairs Major; Professional Writing Minor

Fun Fact About Me: My favorite cereal is GrapeNuts.

Cluster 70: Evolution of the Cosmos and Life

Emery Grahill-Bland


Fourth-Year Astrobiology and Science Literacy Major (Individual Major Program)

Fun Fact About Me: I really love opossums, I think they’re hilarious!

Cluster M71: Biotechnology and Society

Maxwell Grollman


Fourth-Year Human Biology and Society Major

Fun Fact About Me: I really love listening to podcasts when walking and running. Some favorites are Planet Money and Dr. Death.

Cluster 73: Mind Over Matter - The History, Science, and Philosophy of the Brain

Makena Tinney

Second-Year Psychology Major

Fun Fact About Me: I have a phobia of Ed Sheeran.

Cluster 80: Frontiers in Human Aging

Fayez Kanj


Fourth-Year Computational and Systems Biology Major

Fun Fact About Me: I am trilingual. I speak fluent English, French, and Arabic.

Library Liaisons

Each Cluster course has a Library Liaison assigned to it. Library Liaisons are librarians who provide course-specific assistance with library resources. They work in conjunction with your course's Peer Research & Writing Specialist to ensure that your Cluster experience is as fruitful as possible.

Here's how you can contact your library liaison:

  • Custer M1: Food - A Lens for Environment and Sustainability - Ashley Peterson // ashleypeterson@library.ucla.edu // Alexandra Solodkaya // asolodkaya@library.ucla.edu
  • Cluster 20: Interracial Dynamics - Renee Romero // rromerorr@library.ucla.edu // Chris Lopez // clopez@library.ucla.edu
  • Cluster 27: Global Islam - Salma Abumeeiz // salmabumeeiz@library.ucla.edu
  • Cluster 48: Political Violence in the Modern World - Causes, Cases, and Consequences - Michelle Brasseur // mbrasseur@library.ucla.edu
  • Cluster 60: America in the Sixties - Politics, Society and Culture, 1954-1974 - Sylvia Page // srpage@library.ucla.edu
  • Cluster 70: Evolution of the Cosmos and Life - Wynn Tranfield // wynntranfield@library.ucla.edu
  • Cluster M71: Biotechnology and Society - Simon Lee // simonlee83@library.ucla.edu // Rebecca Fordon // fordon@law.ucla.edu
  • Cluster 73: Mind Over Matter - The History, Science, and Philosophy of the Brain -Katherine Kapsidelis // kapsidelis@library.ucla.edu
  • Cluster 80: Frontiers in Human Aging - Miki Goral // miki@library.ucla.edu
Library Liaisons

4. Accessing Resources: Research

Research Guide

As a Cluster student, your first stop for all things research and writing-related are the Cluster Research Guide. Each page is customized for your Cluster by your Peer Research & Writing Specialist and liaison librarian. Use the links below to search out guides by subject or to take a look at them all!

Student Research Consultations

For additional step-by-step research support, set up a Student Research Consultation. Staff will use your research questions to recommend databases and keywords, help you identify quality sources, and introduce you to citation software like Zotero and EndNote. These consultations are great for research at every stage in your academic journey at UCLA.

Course Reserves

If your course has required readings, see if they’re on reserve!

To access materials on course reserves, please click the link below to be taken to the course reserves search. You can then use the search filters to search for materials using the course’s name, instructor, code, or department.

You can also find Course Reserves in CCLE under the "Library Resources" menu.

Once you're done with research, you still might need help writing about what you've found; here are the Library and Cluster writing resources!

4. Accessing Resources: Writing

Peer Research & Writing Specialist

Not sure where to start with an upcoming Cluster assignment? Or maybe you’re looking for feedback on a finished draft? Wherever you are in the writing process, your Peer Research & Writing Specialist are here to help!

We work through individual appointments to help students clarify their ideas, sharpen their use of language, and develop their voices in college-level writing.

We also host weekly drop-in office hours, no appointment necessary. We love answering quick questions about current and upcoming assignments, our own experiences with the Cluster program, our favorite study skills, and navigating university life as a first-year student.


UCLA Library’s Writing Instruction and Research Education (WI+RE) team creates interactive modules and downloadable handouts for each stage of academic research and writing. They're created by students, for students, and some of our favorite resources include the Avoiding Plagiarism and Citing Sources Workshop and the downloadable Research Paper Planner.

Undergraduate Writing Center

While your Cluster course's Peer Research & Writing Specialist specializes in Cluster assignments and writing, the Undergraduate Writing Center is equipped to help you with writing, research, and applications more generally.

5. Staying Connected

Here are some additional resources to help you transition into your first year at UCLA. From UCLA streaming platforms to our favorite study spots, your Peer Research & Writing Specialists have you covered! Through UCLA, students have access to two streaming platforms. Be sure to connect to the UCLA VPN!

Library Workshops

UCLA Library offers workshops through the year, all of which will be offered remotely. These are a great resource to introduce students to the world of research!


During busy times of the quarter, UCLA Library hosts Stressbusters for students to take a break from studying and relax. Some of the most popular Stressbusters are guided meditations, origami stations, and, of course, hanging out with some dogs!


With movies ranging from the entire Harry Potter series, to comedies like Superbad and 21 Jump Street, Resflix is a great way to unwind after class. Please note that Resflix only works if you are physically on campus or connected to the VPN.

Resflix Home Page


For courses that require students to watch films, Kanopy is the platform most UCLA professors will use. For academic content and critically acclaimed films, Kanopy is a great resource.

Kanopy Home Page

Map of Campus Study Spots

Use the map below to find our favorite study spots at UCLA!

Other Westwood Spots

If you want to take a break from campus and are looking for study spots in Westwood, we have a list of our personal favorite spots!

  • Starbucks
  • Espresso Profeta
  • Hammer Courtyard
  • Coffee Bean
  • Cafe Synapse


Created with an image by John Schnobrich - "what’s going on here"