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

Making a difference: Library Services Review 2015-18

Benjamin Meunier26 February 2019

As we begin to look forward for the next 4 years in the new Library Strategy, we can also take stock of the achievements from the last strategy period and reflect on how Library Services is making a difference to UCL. As a retrospective piece looking at some of the achievements from 2015-18, we have published the Library Services Strategy Review 2015-18.

As Pro-Vice-Provost Paul Ayris states in the Foreword, we have collectively achieved the vast majority of ambitious objectives which were set five years ago to support the vision laid out in UCL 2034. This is down to the work of each member of staff across the service, combining expertise, collaboration, innovation and a large dose of perseverance to ensure that our service is as good as it can be for the benefit of our staff and students within UCL, in the NHS and other users. The Review features a number of colleagues and teams in case studies which provide a glimpse into the varied projects and initiatives which Library Services undertakes. These illustrate how our department is improving the User Experience, delivers best value for money and engages with the world beyond UCL. Inevitably, the achievements listed are not exhaustive and we will be re-introducing Annual Reports effective from 2019, on a similar model to this Review, to present the work of Library Services each year.

Some of the highlights from 2015-18 are listed on the ‘What we do’ webpage, which provides a link to the full text Strategy Review.

New Library Services Strategy launched online

Benjamin Meunier21 February 2019

The UCL Library Services Strategy 2019-22 is now available online and in print booklets:


Our 4-year strategy sets out the specific work the Library can undertake as an outstanding library service to support the long-term goals set out in UCL 2034. Within the Library Strategy, we define our values, based on the contributions of many colleagues from across the service. Thanks again to colleagues who contributed to shaping the strategy through the workshops and meetings at site libraries in the past 18 months. The Library Strategy is organised around six strands of activity, or Key Performance Areas (KPAs):

KPA leaders from the Library SMT oversee each of the KPAs, which contain the specific actions we have committed to delivering during the lifespan of this strategy. For more information, please visit the webpage. If you would like a print Strategy booklet for your team, these can be collected from Daniel Kordik (Main Library room 107, d.kordik[at]ucl.ac.uk). The Library SMT acts as the Library Strategy Steering Group.

We invite all members of Library Services to the Strategy launch event on 20th March and look forward to seeing many of you there!


UCL Library Services “Highly Commended” in Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards

Benjamin Meunier22 June 2018

UCL Library Services gained recognition as an “Outstanding Library Team” in this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards, where UCL was highly commended. For 2018, the 10th anniversary of these national awards, there was stiff competition from other institutions, with 8 libraries shortlisted in 2018, including the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The winners were the White Rose Libraries Consortium (Universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield) for their collaborative work on a repository service (White Rose Research Online) and an online press. The consortium’s joint management of print holdings was also considered to be of national importance.


Senior managers, including the Provost and a number of Vice-Provosts, have shared their congratulations. Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research) said:

“Great recognition of the outstanding UCL library … Wonderful to know we have such a strong and respected division in UCL.”


There is cause for feelings of deja-vu – we were highly commended in 2016. This is UCL Library Services’ second accolade in 3 years from the THELMAs’ jury, recognising the quality and consistency of our service. Specific areas which were recognised in 2018 spanned work on the User Experience, Staffing, Equality and Diversity and Communication, Open Access and Public Engagement. Highlights included:

–  Increased the number of study places on campus by over 500 in the summer of 2017

–  Reached 65% of all taught courses on our ReadingLists@UCL service– the highest coverage rate amongst our research-intensive peers. We have grown our digital library to suit demand with Patron-Driven Acquisitions. Use of e-books increased by 45% in 2017!

–  Extended opening hours. We opened the Main Library throughout the Christmas period for the first time in 2017, and over 500 students were working in the library between Christmas and New Year

 – Our 11th annual Staff Conference explored the theme of Customer Service Excellence.

–  Exceeded 50 publications and 1 million downloads from UCL Press since its launch in summer 2015. That is an amazing achievement for a young Press, which is helping to re-define the meaning of academic publishing.


As noted in our submission to the awards, “UCL Library Services represents an outstanding community of professionals, dedicated to enhancing the user experience and developing new publishing models which open up the knowledge and wisdom of UCL research and teaching to a global audience”. This commendation is one which was earned through the collective strengths and hard work of colleagues throughout Library Services. So congratulations and we look forward to celebrating this achievement at the next Staff Conference in a few weeks’ time!

The Times Higher Education have provided the email signature below, which colleagues are welcome to append to signatures after their contact details:


What can grant money be used for

Sandra I Enwesi14 May 2018

Professional Services Conference – invitation to register and enter your team for a Professional Services Award

Benjamin Meunier4 May 2018

As announced in TheWeek@UCL, this year’s Professional Services Conference will be held on Tuesday 5 June at Logan Hall, UCL Institute of Education. The theme of the conference is ‘Working in Partnership’ and the organisers have planned an exciting, interactive programme. Registration is open so book your place now. Library Services staff are eligible to register, subject to line manager approval. Although we are part of the Office of the Vice-Provost (Research), you can register with a “Library Services” ticket (in the list): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ucl-professional-services-conference-2018-tickets-45721610568

Professional Services Awards

Nominations for the Professional Services Awards opens today (Friday 4 May) and closes at midday on Friday 18 May. ‘Working in partnership’ happens across all areas of Library Services, so please consider putting forwards your team(s) or initiatives which you have been involved in. Library Services has been successful in previous conferences, with awards granted to the Main and Science Library Daytime and Evening/Weekend teams in 2016 (https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/libnet/2016/02/04/library-services-teams-win-excellent-service-award/) and UCL Press in 2017 (https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/libnet/2017/02/16/ucl-press-wins-ucl-brand-ambassador-award/).

The Professional Services Conference is a real opportunity to showcase the work of Library Services in partnership with academic colleagues and other professional services teams, and how we contribute to making UCL one of the world’s best universities for study, research and sharing knowledge.

The categories for awards this year are:

  • Working in Partnership
  • Sharing good practice
  • Process review/system improvement
  • Improving efficiency
  • Improving service user satisfaction 

If you are interested in nominating your team for one of these awards, please email professionalservices@ucl.ac.uk and they will send you a nomination form and guidance notes. Details and templates for nominations will be available from the Professional Services webpage shortly, and nominations open from today until the deadline for submissions on Friday 18th May at 12 pm: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/professional-services/prof-services-awards


Sandra I Enwesi2 May 2018

Please click here for the full SCONUL result ‘Survey Results and Statistics’

UCL Library Services shortlisted (again) as Outstanding Library Team

Benjamin Meunier12 April 2018

I am pleased to report that UCL Library Services has been shortlisted for the third consecutive time in the ‘Outstanding Library Team’ category of the THE Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs). This year marks the 10th anniversary of the awards. Library Services was recognized for the achievement of a number of goals we set out in the Library Strategy, including (under KPA headings):



User Experience

  • Increased the number of study places on campus by over 500 in the summer of 2017
  • Reached 65% of all taught courses on our ReadingLists@UCL service– the highest coverage rate amongst our research-intensive peers. We have grown our digital library to suit demand with Patron-Driven Acquisitions. Use of e-books increased by 45% in 2017!
  • Extend opening hours. We opened the Main Library throughout the Christmas period for the first time in 2017, and over 500 students were working in the library between Christmas and New Year


Staffing, Equality and Diversity

Our 11th annual Staff Conference explored the theme of Customer Service Excellence. As part of the ceremony, a Library Staff Awards scheme celebrated our staff for their outstanding demonstration of Library Services’ values.


Communication, Open Access and Public Engagement

By championing Open Access and Open Science, we are inventing new ways of how a University can engage with the wider world, sharing its knowledge and learning for the good of Society.

Since we launched UCL Press in summer 2015, we have published 56 monographs and are producing 8 journals. These have been downloaded a staggering 705,000 times in 221 countries. We expect to pass the million download mark sometime in the Summer of 2018. It’s an amazing achievement for a young Press, which is helping to re-define the meaning of academic publishing.



THE editor John Gill said: “The Thelmas are unique in shining a deserved spotlight on often unsung heroes from across the professional services and administration of our world-leading universities, and it’s an honour for Times Higher Education to organise an event celebrating their achievements. This year’s shortlist – once again featuring almost half of all UK institutions – shows that talent and dedication continue to abound, as well as a determination to find creative solutions to problems as and when they occur.”

Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 21 June 2018. To be shortlisted for the THELMAs is already a significant achievement, and a tribute to the hard work and commitment of staff across UCL Library Services in delivering outstanding services.



Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris5 January 2018

New to UCL

First of all, a very happy New Year to all colleagues in UCL Library Services. I hope everyone feels rested after a mid-winter break.

When I got back into UCL this week, I received the results of the New to UCL survey (2017), which measures levels of satisfaction with many aspect of service in UCL by new UCL students.

Here are the pertinent results in tabular form as they refer to the Library:

Use one or more of the libraries within UCL

95% satisfied

1% down on 2016

Access online library resources e.g. e-journals, e-books

91% satisfied

1% up on 2016


These are really great results and a happy way to start 2018! In total, the New to UCL student survey found that 93% of students surveyed are satisfied with their overall arrival experience here (down by 5% against last year).

New To UCL was designed by the Office of the Vice-Provost (Education) after extensive consultation across UCL to assess the student application and arrival experience. 21,000 students were surveyed in November and December 2017, with 7,740 responding. The response rate was just under 37%. 38% of undergraduates, 36% of postgraduate taught students and 46% of postgraduate research students responded to the survey.

These survey outcomes for the Library are a tremendous and sustainable result. Every single member of staff should feel congratulated as their work is being noted and appreciated by our students.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Transforming Our Professional Services (TOPS)

Benjamin Meunier3 January 2018

It has been some time since I last wrote about TOPS, so as we start the New Year, I would like to provide a brief update. But first, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for a successful 2018.


As a reminder, the vision for the TOPS programme is for UCL to provide effective, efficient and integrated professional services that enable us to achieve our vision of academic excellence, sustain our position as one of the top ten universities in the world and create an environment in which our staff can personally develop and fulfill their potential.


The TOPS programme has been set an initial list of priorities to start work on in 2018, which were outlined by the Provost in December. These include:

• Research and innovation support services

• Improving the student experience

• Relieving the pressures on the Bloomsbury estate

• Improving procurement practices to enable more investment in the academic mission

• Making better use of our estate

• More fulfilling and rewarding careers


Thankfully, more detail is emerging from the TOPS programme following consultations conducted 2017 with over 1,700 staff and students at UCL. The ideas are developing into more practical objectives, from the high-level aspirations listed above.

These ideas are described on the TOPS webpages: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/transforming-our-professional-services/tops-emerging-ideas. There are few references to Library Services specifically, except to note our enabling and supporting role within “UCL Research Support” (under the Research Support Services tab).  Library Services is not one of the areas which TOPS is looking to transform, as I have mentioned in previous posts this recognises the high quality of our services and the levels of satisfaction with the Library from our diverse user groups. Nonetheless, many of the strands of TOPS are pertinent to Library Services, as a department and as members of UCL staff. For each of the areas which TOPS is focusing on, there is a PDF file which provides some detail about the emerging ideas. Within these documents, a brief summary sets out what the TOPS team heard from a large number of colleagues regarding the issues they are facing, for example around Estates, IT, Finance or People services – these are challenges which are shared across UCL (you may recognise these from your own experience) and which TOPS aims to address.

There have been some changes in the Programme Team and Tom Rowson has taken on the role of Programme Director, in addition to his role as Director of Planning. Tom will work with his team and the TOPS Executive Group to take forward the TOPS programme in 2018.

Feedback from the latest round of consultation is due to be published on 19/01. I will send an update once this is made available. 



Brexit phase one deal viewed as positive news for universities

Benjamin Meunier14 December 2017

Ahead of the European Council tomorrow, I am writing with a brief summary on the agreement which was signed off in the early hours of Friday 8th December, when Prime Minister Theresa May and Jean-Claude Junker agreed a deal on key issues to enable discussions to move on to Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

The joint report published by the British Government and EU negotiators has been broadly welcomed by Universities UK and the Russell Group, as good news for universities on key issues, including:

  • progress on securing the residency rights of other EU citizens living in the UK
  • the UK’s continuation in existing EU programmes fostering collaboration between institutions, including Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+, and
  • the European Investment Bank.

Universities UK welcome in particular “the fact that agreement has finally been reached which should ensure that the 46,000 other EU nationals working across the university sector can remain in the UK indefinitely. In addition, we are encouraged that today’s agreement offers further clarity that UK universities, students and researchers will continue to be able to participate in incredibly valuable programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ until their end dates.” Jo Johnson has confirmed that UK organisations and individuals will have continued full access to Horizon 2020 for the duration of the programme, until the end of 2020. It is also helpful that the cut-off point for EU nationals to be covered by the agreement has been agreed as the date the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, rather than earlier dates which have been mooted. People with settled status will be able to spend up to five consecutive years outside of the UK without losing this status.

One caveat on the deal, even after its expected ratification at the EU summit tomorrow is that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, meaning that some aspects of the phase 1 deal may be revisited. However, there is a widely-shared sense of hope from EU and UK parties that the key issues around citizens’ rights and continuing budgetary contributions will not be jeopardised by the next phase of negotiations.

Hopefully, colleagues affected by Brexit will feel that the greater sense of clarity emerging from the negotiations provides some comfort, after a protracted period of uncertainty. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister wrote a letter to EU citizens in the UK to reiterate that the rights of EU citizens in the UK and those of UK nationals living in EU countries were now secured, and provide reassurance for the future.

For further advice, UCL Library Services staff can refer to the EU referendum portal: www.ucl.ac.uk/eu-referendum. You may also access personal support from the University’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) on a confidential basis. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year for staff.