Labor and Industrial Relations Collection

I. Collection Description


To support the teaching programs of the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the master’s and doctoral levels and in the management and labor extension programs both in Champaign and at the Chicago campus; to support dissertation research and the advanced research of faculty members, primarily in the Institute, but also in related departments, such as economics, sociology, psychology, business administration, law, and history; to support the work of practitioners, especially in the personnel and affirmative action offices of the University, but also in government agencies, enterprises, and labor unions locally and throughout the state.

History of Collection:

The Labor and Industrial Relations Library began in April 1947 as an office collection located in Mumford Hall. The library was intended as a working collection of basic reference tools and materials needed for the immediate activities of the Institute. The librarian had a joint appointment in the Library and the Institute and was also responsible for purchasing materials on labor from a general library allocation for the Bookstacks. In December 1948, the Institute and its Library moved to a building on South Sixth Street, and then into their present location in the spring of 1962 when the Institute acquired its own building and the library became a departmental library.

The library has remained a working collection, mainly because of space and financial limitations, relying on the Bookstacks and on other departmental library collections for backup. From the beginning, great emphasis was placed on collecting materials published by labor unions and pamphlet and fugitive material. Special strengths in the collection have resulted from faculty interests and donations. Former librarian Archie Green’s interest in labor folklore and folksongs resulted in a strengthening of the collection in those areas in the early 1960s. The strong interest of several faculty members over the years in international and comparative labor relations has created a strong collection in that area. In the mid-l960s, the library purchased a fine collection of materials in Japanese on labor and industrial relations in Japan. Because of problems in servicing this collection, in 1972 it was transferred to the Asian library.

Estimate of Holdings:

50,000 volumes.

State, Regional and National Importance:

With the closing of the A. G. Bush Library at the University of Chicago, the Labor and Industrial Relations Library became the only specialized labor collection in the state. It is among the better specialized university labor collections in the country. Special strengths of the collection are in international and comparative labor relations, unions and bargaining in the construction industry, and the quality of work life.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Labor and Industrial Relations Library.

Location of Materials:

35,000 volumes are located in the Bookstacks consisting primarily of historical and foreign language material. 11,600 volumes are located in the Labor and Industrial Relations Library. The remaining materials, relevant to labor, are also located in the Commerce, Education and Social Science, Illinois Historical Survey, History, Law and Engineering Libraries.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Goldberg, Elizabeth Doupe. “Problems and Resources of Research in American Labor History.” (Unpub. term paper for LIS 427, December 23, 1971).

McCoy, Ralph E. and Elizabeth 0. Hogg. University of Illinois Library Resources on Labor and Industrial Relations. Champaign: Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, University of Illinois, 1949.

Onsi, Patricia Wilson. “Labor History Resources of the University of Illinois.” Labor History 7 (Spring 1966): 209-215.

Shapiro, Rose Beck. “A Survey of Industrial Relations Research Libraries in the U.S.” Master’s thesis, Graduate School of Library Science, University of Chicago, 1962.

Soltow, Martha Jane. “University Industrial Relations Libraries: An Overview.” Special Libraries 67 (April 1976): 195-201.

“University of Illinois Library Resources on Labor and Labor Relations.” 1946 (Unpub.).

II. General Collection Guidelines


Standard statement.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restrictions. Labor movements and labor unions are, however, primarily phenomena of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Geographical Guidelines:

No restrictions. Special interest in unions in Illinois. There is little interest in Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and the Arab Middle East and North Africa.

Treatment of Subject:

Standard statement. The library attempts to acquire materials to support current research and graduate teaching in the Institute’s areas of concentration: collective bargaining, including labor relations, labor law, arbitration and dispute settlement, labor unions, labor history; international and comparative industrial relations, including foreign labor unions, labor law, industrial relations systems of foreign countries; human resources and labor economics; human resource management, including organizational behavior, industrial psychology and sociology, working conditions, occupational safety and health, compensation and benefits. Materials in supporting subject areas, such as labor statistics, as well as whatever can be identified on labor in Illinois, are also collected. Awareness of current research at sister labor institutes is maintained through a cooperative exchange agreement. Practitioner literature, materials on instructional theory and practice for use by extension faculty, and popular literature for use by students in extension programs are all acquired selectively. Great emphasis is placed on collecting serial, monographic, and ephemeral material published by labor unions and workers’ organizations and on obtaining histories of unions. Vertical file materials are also extensively collected both through gifts and purchases.

Types of Materials:

Standard statement. Great emphasis is placed on collecting materials published by labor unions and workers’ organizations. Vertical file materials are also extensively collected both through gifts and purchases.

Date of Publication:

Standard statement.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions. Materials acquired are primarily published in North America, Western Europe, and Japan.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments

Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

Labor & Industrial Relations Collection
Employee benefits 2 Labor Commerce
Job analysis 2 Labor
Job evaluation 2 Labor
Pay structures 1 Labor
Pay surveys 1 Labor
Performance appraisal 2 Labor
Arbitration 4 Labor Law
Collective bargaining 4 Labor
Contract administration 4 Labor
Labor movements 3 Labor
Industrial relations 3 Labor
Labor history 4 History Labor
Labor laws 4 Law Labor
International activities of labor unions 3 Labor
LABOR ECONOMICS 4 Labor/Commerce
Working-class movements 4 History Labor
History of individual labor unions 4 Labor History
Discrimination 4 Law Labor
Wages and hours 3 Labor Law
Occupational safety and health 4 Labor Applied Life Studies/Law
Social security, pensions 3 Labor Law
Unemployment insurance 3 Labor Law
Worker’s compensation 3 Labor Law
Labor standards 3 Labor Law
LABOR UNIONS (organizing, federations, political activities, Administration, education, history) 4 Labor
LABOR FOLKLORE 3 Labor English/Music
All areas 4 Labor Commerce
Working conditions 4 Labor Engineering
Job design 4 Labor Commerce/Engineering
Technological change 4 Labor Commerce/Engineering
Selection and staffing 1 Labor Commerce
Training and development (except executives) 2 Labor
Adult education 1 Education Labor
International 4 Labor
Human resource information systems 0 Labor
Employment promotion 3 Labor
Personnel policies 4 Labor


Version Date: January 2007