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Guide to Special Collections & Archives

Student Jobs

Cal State LA’s Special Collections and Archives student assistant program seeks to provide an opportunity for Cal State LA students who are interested in the library science, archival and museum field. Student assistants are paired with collections and projects that relate to their area of interest and field of study. Working closely with the University Library Archivist, you will have to opportunity to build a program that works for your academic needs and interests.

As a student assistant you are fully integrated into the management and operations of the unit by attending staff meetings and contributing to decisions on polices and procedures. Student assistants also participate in public outreach by drafting blog and social media posts, and assisting with exhibits, tours, presentations, and events.

Application Process: We are no longer accepting Student Assistant applications. Please check back with us toward the end of Spring Semester 2019.

Past student assistants come from a range of interdisciplinary academic backgrounds: Art and Graphic Design, Art History, Computer Science, English, History, Anthropology, Communications, Latin American Studies, and Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies among others. They have worked, taken courses or interned at a range of local and national museums, libraries and cultural heritage institutions:

  • The Getty Research Institute
  • The Library of Congress
  • The Los Angeles County Museum of Arts (LACMA)
  • The Autry Museum
  • The Museum of Social Justice
  • The Heritage Square Museum
  • The Southwest Museum of the American Indian
  • The University of Chicago Library, Preservation Department
  • California Rare Book School (CalRBS)
  • The Rare Book School (RBS).

Current Student Assistants:

Jocelyn Acosta, Anthropology, Graduate Student

Ariana Barela, Anthropology, Undergraduate Student

Cyrene Cruz, History, Graduate Student

Bryce Van Ross, Mathematics, Undergraduate Student

Patrick O'Rourke, History, Undergraduate Student

Lindsay Reeder, Art History, Undergraduate Student

Daniel Rivas, Television, Film and Media, Undergraduate Student

Arielle Steimer-Barragán, Latin American Studies, Graduate Student


Cal State LA Special Collections and Archives Volunteer Program

Interested in archival work, curatorship or special collections librarianship? Don't know where to start? 

Cal State LA Special Collections and Archives welcome you to apply to our volunteer program! Volunteers play an important role within Special Collections & Archives, contributing to the overall success of the department.

Volunteers should have an interest in community and university archives; rare books; or archival management and rehousing. Volunteers should be able to spend at least four hours a week on assigned tasks. Opportunities are offered in the spring, summer, and fall semesters.

Current volunteers interested in extending their appointment will need to reapply.

Available projects:

  • Rehousing rare books by creating customized enclosures
  • Compiling an inventory list for incoming and backlogged collections
  • Assist with digital project maintenance
  • Conduct research for future programs and exhibitions

Spring appointment: Thursday, January 17-May 18, 2019

We are now accepting volunteers for the Summer 2019 term! To apply, submit your cover letter and resume/curriculum vitae to



Former volunteer, Virginia Castañeda (Art History MA student) and former Archives Assistant, Allina Nunley (Adjunct English Instructor) participating at the Mourning Tours Event at the Heritage Square Museum.



Cal State LA Library Prize for Research Excellence

Submit an original research paper utilizing primary sources

from Cal State LA's historical collections for a chance to win $500!

How to enter

      1. Browse our manuscript collections and/or rare book collections to identify primary sources for your research.

      2. Schedule a research appointment at Special Collections and Archives to view the materials.

      3. Write/revise your paper.

      4. Submit your completed application by Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 11:59pmEarly submissions will be accepted.


Contest guidelines

  • Only Cal State LA undergraduates are eligible to enter
  • Submissions must incorporate primary source materials from any manuscript, photograph or rare book collection housed within the Cal State LA Department of Special Collections and Archives
  • Submission must be part of an assignment for a Cal State LA course (previous or current)
  • Workshop attendance is not required
  • Length should not exceed 25 double-spaced pages (Times New Roman, 12-point font, one-inch margins)
  • Students must be officially enrolled as a Cal State LA student at the time of submission (part-time or full-time)
  • Submissions from any discipline are eligible

Submission Instructions

1. Submit the Online Application Form.

2. Email your essay (including reference pages) as a single PDF to 

Note: Electronic submissions only. No hard copies will be accepted.

Awards Ceremony

One participant will be awarded a $500 prize. The winner will be announced at a reception in the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 3:00pm.


A committee of three interdisciplinary Cal State LA faculty members will evaluate and rank papers. Download the scoring rubric below.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300