Getting Acquainted with the UCLA Library and Cluster Program Resources Presented by the Cluster Embedded Inquiry Specialists!

Though our physical spaces are closed, the UCLA Library resources are still active virtually. Your Cluster Embedded Inquiry 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 Embedded Inquiry Specialists
  4. Accessing Resources: Writing and Research Deep Dive
  5. Staying Connected: In and Out of the Classroom

Note: for up-to-date information on library services and resources, please visit our COVID-19 Response: Library Information and Resources page.

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

Need a laptop? A MiFi? Headphones? Other equipment? CLICC has got you covered!

If you need a laptop, MiFi, or other equipment from the Campus Library Instructional Computing Commons (CLICC), please complete the Instruction Equipment Request form for students. Supplies are limited but we will do our best to accommodate your request. Please note, you will need an account in our ticketing system to access the form and will be prompted to create one if needed. Once your request has been processed, you will be contacted with a specific day and time to pick up your equipment. Should you have any issues with your CLICC devices, and the sticker on them begins with FAC or ITO, you can also contact UCLA IT support!

When you're 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 Embedded Inquiry Specialists

Cluster M1: Food - A Lens for Environment and Sustainability

Taylor Sieverling


Second-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.

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: My favorite remote learning strategy is making weekly, detailed schedules to keep me on track!

Cluster 20: Interracial Dynamics

Sofie Jackson


Third-Year Geography and Asian American Studies Double Major

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

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: My favorite remote learning strategy is trying to watch asynchronous lectures the day they are released.

Cluster 27: Global Islam

Hanna Young


Fourth-Year World Arts & Cultures Major (Psychology Focus); Community Engagement and Social Change Minor

Fun Fact About Me: I play four instruments and compose music.

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: One of the things that has been most helpful for me during remote learning has been keeping a running document of all of the most important/most used links and Zoom meeting IDs. Plus, I’m always a fan of using paper planners to keep track of things!

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

Adeel Siddiqui


Second-Year Business/Econ Major; Cognitive Science Minor

Fun Fact About Me: I have an identical twin brother, and we’ve watched The Usual Suspects 18 times.

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: My favorite remote learning strategy has been creating makeshift workspaces away from noise and distractions.

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

Michael Lima-Sabatini


Third-Year Public Affairs Major; Professional Writing Minor

Fun Fact About Me: My favorite cereal is GrapeNuts.

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: My favorite strategy is keeping my camera on during live lectures; it helps me engage with the material and reduces the temptation to multitask.

Cluster 70: Evolution of the Cosmos and Life

Emery Grahill-Bland


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

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

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: My favorite remote learning is to take classes at the time they would be normally held. Or if out of you're not in PDT take them at the same time scheduled, in your time zone to maintain some structure!

Cluster M71: Biotechnology and Society

Maxwell Grollman


Third-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.

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: Using Google Calendar for everything. If I have classes, work, a club meeting, or a call with a friend I use Google Calendar to schedule it (and include zoom links if possible) so I can keep track of what I have going on.

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

Jacy Black


Fourth-Year Psychology Major; Professional Writing Minor

Fun Fact About Me: I’m a big fan of Christopher Nolan Movies (Inception, Memento, Interstellar), Star Wars, and ballet/lyrical dance.

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: If you aren’t able to attend all classes synchronously every week, I prefer to set a designated time where I will watch all missed lecture videos. That way I stay accountable to keeping up with the lecture material and don’t fall behind.

Cluster 80: Frontiers in Human Aging

Fayez Kanj


Third-Year Computational and Systems Biology Major

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

Favorite Remote Learning Strategy: My favorite remote learning strategy is using the screen share feature on zoom which allows me to work with the student in real time to give them feedback on their papers.

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 Embedded Inquiry 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
  • 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
  • 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

4. Accessing Resources: Research


As a Cluster student, your first stop for all things research and writing-related are the Cluster LibGuides. Each page is customized for your cluster by your inquiry specialist and liaison.

Watch the video below to learn more about Cluster LibGuides!

As a UCLA student more generally, your first stop for all things research and writing-related is the UCLA LibGuides, which house information for all disciplines. Use the links below to search our guides by subject or to take a look at them all!

UCLA E-Books and HaithiTrust

Through the UCLA Library you have access to thousands of e-Books, hundreds of thousands of eJournals and millions of online articles!

Check out the video below to learn how to find e-Books on reserve and through UCLA Library. We'll also show you how to search HathiTrust's Temporary Expanded Access Service, a collaboration of academic libraries preserving a massive collection of scanned books from around the world.

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! The library can now loan out course materials digitally to accommodate remote learning.

To access e-books & articles on course reserves, please visit the UCLA Library Catalog site listed below. Once the link has been triggered, you will be re-routed to the official library catalog. For best search results, click on the "Course Reserves" tab and continue to further narrow your search.

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

Embedded Inquiry 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 Embedded Inquiry Specialists 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.


Powell 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 Embedded Inquiry 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 Inquiry 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! Last Spring Quarter, librarians created a workshop series all about transitioning to remote learning, “Remote Control”.

Virtual Study Spaces

For class projects and other collaborative assignments, the library has created virtual study rooms students can reserve. In these study rooms, you have access to a Zoom pro account.


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.

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

Campus Interactive Map

Use the map below to find our favorite study spots at UCLA and watch our video to learn more about them!

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"