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Archive for the 'Finance, management information and value for money' Category

Do you know how to…

Sandra I Enwesi22 August 2022

… pay your supplier

Infographic explaining the process of paying a supplier. Contact lib-fin@ucl.ac.uk for assistance.

Helpful resources

Something new : Updated guides for paperless process for staff and student expenses

Sandra I Enwesi28 October 2021

The Library Services Finance team would like to bring to your attention a few updates to the Libnet Finance page .The Finance Transformer launched a series of  service improvements last year and one of these enhancements includes that staff  and students across UCL can now claim their expense digitally.

Staff and students can now follow a fully paperless process for the submission of expense claims in iExpenses. Claims can now be submitted and processed using receipt images only, removing the need to send paper receipts to Accounts Payable.

The Myfinance guide on the Libnet Finance page has recently been updated with these new guides which  explains the step by step process for making a general expense claim digitally for UCL staff  and for UCL students .

Non-UCL staff and Non UCL students still need to complete a manual expense claim form which needs to be submitted to AP.

All links can be found under Myfinance  here  https://www.ucl.ac.uk/libnet/finance   


SCONUL 20/21

Sandra I Enwesi7 June 2021

The SCONUL (The Society of College, National and University Libraries) return is an annual insight which provides a detailed picture of the workings of UCL Library Services , allowing us to take stock, plan and benchmark our performance against our peers. In total there are 34 sets of measurements which are reflective of the different areas of the library.

I have collected the stats for the past 9 years and we ( UCL Library Services) have never missed the submission deadline and the timely submission as well as the success of the annual return has been possible because of the collaborative spirit of UCL Library Services staff ,even in the thick of the lockdown last year with many many staff working from home , basking in the joys of home schooling (phew!) , literally taking the phrase “hanging in there” to a whole new level , we still delivered the annual return on time with Zero queries and for this I am very grateful and proud.

This year’s return 20/21 will soon be open and as always I will be collecting promptly, if you provided any stats in the last return but will not be doing so this year please let me know in an email  s.enwesi@ucl.ac.uk and advise who has taken over.

Aggregate figures for the academic year (1 August to 31 July) are generally required. Thank you 

Library Committee

Paul Ayris23 February 2021

Library Committee (February 2021)

On 17 February, Library Committee met for the first time in 2021. Because of restrictions caused by the pandemic, the meeting was held virtually in MS TEAMS. I was honoured to be asked to chair it, as Professor David Price had been called away to another meeting. The text of my Pro-Vice-Provost’s Report can be read behind the link.

As usual, I described the work of the Library against the Key Performance Areas of the Library Strategy. Of particular note was the report under section 4, Finance and Management Information, on the SCONUL Statistics for 2019-20. UCL compares its performance against a select group of Russell Group universities. Here the stats show that in 2019-20, UCL Library Services was by some way the most heavily visited Library in UK Higher Education, with 3,011,764 visits.

I was also sure to underline for colleagues on UCL Library Committee the tremendous contribution which Library colleagues have made in the last 11 months during the various lockdowns. With the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February of a staged plan for withdrawal from lockdown, we have signs that life by June may return to something more like normal. I look forward to the days when I can be back in my Office and talk to colleagues in real life once again. Stay safe, well and positive.

Paul Ayris



SCONUL RETURN 19/20-It’s all in the numbers

Sandra I Enwesi19 August 2020


It is important that decisions made within the library are primarily supported by data , not only to improve productivity but to make operations more efficient.

The SCONUL (The Society of College, National and University Libraries) return is simply an annual insight , it provides a detailed picture of the workings of  UCL Library Services , allowing us to take stock, plan and benchmark our performance against our peers. In total we collect 34 measures some of which have been featured in my word cloud and are reflective of the different areas of the library.

The SCONUL RETURN 19/20 will soon be open and as I always do I will be collecting promptly, if you provided any stats in the previous return but will not be doing so this year please let me know in an email and advise who has taken over.

In the next couple of weeks I will be sending out emails requesting the stats you have collected (Aggregate figures for the academic year (1 August to 31 July) are generally required) against these set of measurements which continue to provide the information that the Library has found useful for bench marking, internal advocacy and strategic planning .

Sandra Enwesi


(Still working remotely somewhere in north London)

UCL 2034 Progress Report

Benjamin Meunier4 December 2019

UCL has published the Progress Report 2019, highlighting some of UCL’s key achievements and steps towards realising the vision set out in UCL 2034. Highlights in this year’s report start with a Library Services initiative, the UCL Open megajournal as an example of academic leadership. You can see the review on the 2034 website at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/2034/progress-report-2019

Here’s a summary:

Principal Themes 

  1. Academic Leadership
    UCL Open’s Megajournal – The Constitution Unit’s role in a think-tank for Northern Ireland – Forming closer ties with the European Space Agency
  2. Integration of Research and Education
    Posters in Parliament – UCL’s 1000th Arena Fellow – the Bloomsbury Theatre and Performance Lab
  3. Addressing Global Challenges
    Antiretroviral treatment preventing the transmission of HIV – Developing a legal tool to protect refugees’ rights – Helping an indigenous community restore parts of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest
  4. Accessible and Publicly Engaged
    Public art at UCL – Growing community-university partnerships in East London – Building robots inspired by nature
  5. London’s Global University
    Working with Camden to drive innovation and social change – planning approval granted for new UK Dementia Institute – “Cosmic Coffee”
  6. Delivering Global Impact
    The RELIEF centre working to better integrate the forcibly displaced – Tackling chronic pain in children – Biogas project awarded Horizon 2020 funding

    Key Enablers

    1. Best Student Support – the Accommodation team’s Welcome programme
    2. Valuing our Staff – Welcome to UCL programme for onboarding new staff
    3. Financing our ambitions – an update from the It’s All Academic campaign
    4. Excellent systems – new UCL Staff Intranet
    5. Sustainable estate – Transforming the IOE
    6. Communicating and engaging – the #MadeatUCL campaign

Claim your cash back : iExpense process

Sandra I Enwesi2 July 2019

Ever had to travel to another location for training but have paid from your own pocket? How many times have you needed to claim back for some money but didn’t know how? Have you logged into Myfinance and proceeded to submit a claim but halfway through the process confusion strikes and you abandon it altogether, what in the world is a project code I hear you say? Why won’t it let me?

We at library Finance get emails daily from library staff asking for guidance when it comes to claiming back expenses on iExpense and in a recent survey run by the library finance team, out of 75 responses, we found that 14% used iExpense 5 or more times in the past year, 7% have had claims but don’t know how and 10% of you found the process extremely difficult.

This is why we the library finance team have decided to run a help session  to help staff with iExpense, this would cover the major aspects of how to raise an iExpense claim this could be seasons ticket loans, expenses , travel fares etc.

This session would be run by Jean Munroe, she will be on hand to answer any questions relating to iExpense, so you are encouraged to come along , bring your question or issues and we would do our best to iron these issues out.

If after the session you still find it unclear or daunting, there would be a drop in half a day session where you will be assisted by a member of the finance team with your claims.

The date and time would be communicated within the next couple of weeks, so watch this space!


The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris30 May 2019

Increased student support for UCL Library Services

UCL takes student feedback very seriously. We have a range of student surveys, and participate in national surveys, to measure the level of happiness students feel with their UCL experience.

The Student Experience Survey was conducted between 1 March and 10 April 2019 and included all penultimate year undergraduate students. 5,185 students were invited to complete the survey, and 20% responded (n=1037).

Questions are arranged under 9 main headings, one of which is Learning Resources. This general category was the best scoring category out of all 9, with 83% of respondents saying they were satisfied, an increase of 3% over 2018 and an impressive increase of 7% over 2017.

The most important question concerning library resources and services is this one – the library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well:

Question 2019 2018 Difference
The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well. 85% 80% +5

This is a great result, showing an increase of 5%. Indeed the result is so good that the score to this question made it the highest scoring question in the whole of the survey. One of the reasons for the increase is, of course, the addition of the Student Centre to the library footprint, with its 1,000 new learning spaces. The Centre had just opened when the survey was held and, already, its impact is being felt in rising levels of student satisfaction.

Many congratulations to all members of UCL Library Services – all of whom have contributed to the reputation of our services and the impact they make on the student body. It’s a great performance and bodes well for the future.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Develop your entrepreneurial skills – free training available to UCL staff

Benjamin Meunier15 April 2019

UCL Innovation & Enterprise is here to support the UCL community to develop their ideas and entrepreneurial thinking. That includes all Professional Services staff, as well as academics, students and alumni.

If you are interested in learning how to think in an entrepreneurial way, or have an idea you want to build into something real that impacts the outside world, please take advantage of this free programme of activities. 

Examples of Professional Services staff who have already had support from UCL Innovation & Enterprise include Alice Chilver, who has developed a national network for women in HE and Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate whose natural haircare business recently won $500K in a competition.

Here are some upcoming events that may be of interest.


Enterprise Bootcamp 12-14 June

Learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur. A free 3 day bootcamp to introduce you to how businesses operate. You will learn practical business orientated skills in a supportive environment details and apply here


Explore £5,000 – Explore your business idea – starts 14 May 6-8pm

Test the potential of your business idea in eight free interactive Tuesday evening sessions and get the chance to pitch for £5,000. Details and apply here


Launch £10,000 – Launch your business venture – starts 12 June

Get your business ready to go live in eight evenings of hands on workshops, gaming activities and one to one support, then pitch for £10,000. Details and apply here


First Monday – Networking next 3rd June

Everyone is welcome at our monthly networking evenings. Be inspired by successful entrepreneurs and form lasting connections with peers that could help you start or grow your business.  Details and register here



Library design and European collaboration

Benjamin Meunier10 April 2019

Earlier this year, I was honoured to be invited to join the LIBER Architecture Group (LAG), as the UK representative. I am replacing Karen Latimer, former Librarian of Queen’s University Belfast and an expert in library design and heritage architecture. The group furthers the exchange of experience between librarians and architects throughout Europe and attempts to raise the level of awareness of new projects and trends. This is done through biennial seminars, and via a database of Library Buildings in Europe documenting new buildings, renovations, refurbishments and extensions. The LIBER Architecture Group brings librarians together with building design professionals, and helps to focus concepts and planning processes and to share best practice in the sector. It operates as part of LIBER’s Strategic Direction on Research Infrastructure.

As the UK’s future relationship with the European Union continues to be under question, UCL is committed to maintaining close partnerships with European Higher Education and research organisations. The work we do in Library Services, in many areas across the service, involves work with European partners and I am pleased to be able to play a part in developing links with colleagues in the area of European library architecture.

On Monday, as part of the LIBER Architecture Group’s bi-annual meeting, I visited the National Library of Luxembourg, which is due to open in September 2019. The building is very nearly complete, and the move of collections is due in the coming weeks. It is a monumental building, and much of the construction sites I visited or saw in Luxembourg were on a large scale, reflecting the country’s ambitious plans to develop its knowledge economy.

The view inside the brand new National Library, opening in September

Façade of the National Library of Luxembourg

When it opens, the library will provide 470 study spaces, open to anyone over the age of 14. The library building was designed to meet best practice in sustainable construction, using geothermal energy and thermal mass to maintain stable environmental conditions. Storage space at the back of the building provides shelving for 300,000 items. Where collections are on open access, each shelf is fitted with an LED light strip, creating an almost theatrical feel but also practical way of ensuring that users can see clearly even when browsing the lowest shelves in a building where there is little ceiling lights (for environmental reasons and also to minimise the risk of fire).

Facilities within the library include a music room and family study room, where parents may undertake their research accompanied by young children. The library also has parking spaces for 2 “Bicherbus”, the national library bus, which travels across the country to support users in Luxembourg.

View of Luxembourg Learning Centre, at the centre of Luxembourg University’s new campus on the former steelworks

The Luxembourg Learning Centre is based within an old coal warehouse, at the foot of two huge steelwork chimneys. It is at the heart of the new Science City in Belval, about half an hour from the centre of Luxembourg City. During my visit, I learned that Luxembourg’s economy was severely affected by the loss of the steel industry in the 1970s and had to transform its economy into the financial hub it is today. However, the country is keen to diversify its economy and avoid relying entirely on the finance sector, so it is fast developing its science and innovation sector.

The Belval site is being redeveloped with EUR 1 billion already invested and a further EUR 900 million due to be injected by the government to transform this former industrial plant into a university campus associated with a wider cultural and entrepreneurial district. The industrial past is everywhere to be seen, with the plant and warehouse buildings now listed as monuments.

The Learning Centre is a high-tech library which supports around 7,000 students at the university. With 1,000 study spaces and built at a cost of around EUR 70 million, it is on a scale fit to support further growth of the university. Collections are in English, French and German, reflecting the multilingual nature of the country. Signposts on the campus are in French but all the signage in the library is in English, a decision the Library took to ensure that the majority of users could easily navigate the building. There is a welcome point and self-service RFID equipment, provided by Bibliotheca, at the entrance. The library operates with a relatively small team (24 staff in total), and their Customer Service team work closely with students on various UX projects. The library closes at night and is also closed at weekends, and they are looking at extending these hours in response to demand. For more information, including a video of the impressive building, you can visit the website of the Luxembourg Learning Centre.

The next LIBER Architecture Group seminar will be held in April 2020 and hosted at the Luxembourg Learning Centre. Further details will be circulated later this year.

Futuristic furniture and hi-tech equipment feature throughout the Learning Centre, such as these built-in tablets to provide access to national newspapers

The Learning Centre’s glass walls are wrapped around the original structure of the coal warehouse which fed the steelworks