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The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

By Paul Ayris, on 20 March 2020

An extraordinary week

Main Library stairs

I wanted to write at the end of what has been the most extraordinary and challenging week I can remember in my professional life. I am enormously proud of the way all colleagues have worked together to support our researchers, teaching staff and students. The Library’s covid-19 Working Group, chaired by Ben Meunier, has worked tirelessly to identify how the Library should best respond to the crisis which confronts us. They have been absolutely brilliant in giving their time and energy, beyond all reasonable expectations. And that goes for all members of staff in the Library, who have worked as part of the team, to deliver the best possible continuing support for the UCL community. I read and hear so many stories of contributions and effort beyond the call of duty – it makes me proud to be a member of this library community.

Now, we are beginning to settle into new patterns of working remotely and digitally. All our libraries, with the exception of the Student Centre, are closed for the foreseeable future. I have today been holding meetings and having chats with colleagues both via Microsoft Teams and via Skype. It’s a new way of working, and one that we will all get used to in the coming weeks. But I would stress the importance of physical and mental well being. The regular covid-19 updates, both from the Provost and from the Library, will give guidance and advice on this crucial matter. It is important that we still feel that we belong to a community which works and celebrates together. The crisis in our midst will pass and, together, we will emerge strong at the other end.

As we move to our new ways of working, I wanted to share one very positive piece of news which bodes well for the future.

From January this year, the Library has been undergoing an Internal Audit, performed by KPMG. The subject of the Audit is the way the Library has implemented and monitored the new Library Strategy. The UCL Library Services Report is due to go to UCL’s Audit Committee at the end of the month. I am proud and delighted to say that it gives the Library top marks for its work in Strategy development, implementation and monitoring. Its conclusion is ‘We have reviewed the processes around Library Services Strategy at University College London (“UCL”) and have reached an overall assessment of ‘significant assurance’ (green), which exceeds management’s expectation of ‘significant assurance with minor improvement opportunities’ (ambergreen)’. This is a fantastic result. The ‘management expectation’ was not mine, but senior managers’ in UCL. To have achieved full marks in this Audit is outstanding.

I take the result of the Audit as a sign of great things to come. The current covid-19 crisis is challenging, but we can and will come through it united as a team. The Audit result for the Library shows what a tremendous team we have and what great achievements we can make in the future in one of the greatest universities in the world.

Stay healthy and safe.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

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