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New bookable study spaces service launches on 7th January

RobertDrinkall7 January 2019

We’re pleased to announce that a new service, which enables UCL students to book study spaces in a number of library-managed locations, launches today, 7th January.

This service can be used by current UCL students (including those with multi-affiliations), and customer services staff are able to make and cancel bookings on behalf of UCL users where applicable. Login is via UCL userid and password.

For further details about the system, please see the Customer Services section of LibNet, and the new service’s help page.

BME Update

Andy GPow4 October 2018

As you may have noticed, the distribution of BME articles to lib-list has slowed down considerably in recent months, largely due to a reduction of entries made to the racematters address list.
This may be due to the fact that our primary contributor is spending a great deal of time in preparing the latest UCL Race Equality Charter (REC) application. The UCL EDI office now reports to the Provost who is keen for UCL to again attain the Bronze award and the submission date is getting closer, due at the end of the year.

The REC aims to ‘provide a framework through which institutions are encouraged to identify and reflect on institutional and cultural barriers impacting upon staff and students. Member institutions develop initiatives and solutions for action, and can apply for a Bronze or Silver award, depending on their level of progress’.

Amongst the UCL initiatives to tackle BME staff and student inequalities:

•  UCL are set to publish the latest EDI strategy which is a 10 year plan which is expected to be centred around inclusion for staff and students;

•  The Centre for the study of Racism is expected to be established soon with a masters degree expected to be an eventual offering;

•  Activities around Liberating the Curriculum is on-going;

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/research-based-education/liberating-curriculum

•  The efforts to reduce the Student attainment gap (3% at UCL) is gaining momentum with Deans declaring their pledge to the cause.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/human-resources/news/2018/jul/deans-pledge-further-race-equality-ucl

•  Inclusive Advocacy – A new sponsorship programme has been introduced to ensure high-performing, under-represented groups reach their full potential at UCL.

However, despite the initiatives, a lot of work is still needed to redress the inequality balance. One of our BME medical students and recent former BME student officer wrote a very strong article back in December outlining some serious issues faced by our students:

“Last year when I was studying medicine, I attended a fair held to pick courses for 3rd year and was left disgusted when a student reported one of the tutors saying “Don’t let any Blacks or Hijab-wearing people over here to sign up. I have so many more instances that have come up and receive emails on this every other week.”

With the Library due to roll out a new strategy in the coming months, a BME list of potential ideas/objectives has been submitted to the Library EDI committee. It would be good if the library can make a contribution towards the BME initiatives.

Should you like to share your thoughts and ideas on BME matters please do get in touch.
Thank you to all who contacted me following the many BME articles sent last year, your support is very much appreciated.

Fellow members of the Library EDI committee should also be available should you like to discuss matters on diversity.

“Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society”

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris14 August 2018

Library Strategy 2015-18: how did we do?

The Library Strategy 2015-18 formally ends in August 2018. In it, we set ourselves 94 goals to be delivered by the end of the Strategy period. How did we perform against our objectives? Our aim was to complete 90% of the Actions during the Strategy period. Here is an analysis of what we actually achieved.

There were 6 Key Performance Areas (KPA):

  1. User experience
  2. Staff, equality and diversity
  3. Finance, management information & value for money
  4. Systems and processes
  5. Sustainable estate
  6. Communication, Open Access & outreach

The results were as follows:

KPA Done Green Amber Red Total
1 16 3 0 0 19
2 17 2 1 0 20
3 14 1 0 0 15
4 12 4 1 0 17
5 8 0 1 1 10
6 12 0 1 0 13
Total 79 10 4 1 94

Done = Action performed

Green = Action not completed in Strategy period, but fully expected to be completed in the coming months

Amber = Difficulties meant that the desired Action could not be fully completed

Red = Difficulties meant that Action was impossible to complete

Taking the Done and Green Actions together, this means that 95% of the Action lines in the Implementation Plans for the 6 KPAs have been delivered.

There are many, many fine achievements to record. Speaking personally, let me highlight just one which has been particularly successful.

Sustainable Estate Action 5:

Objective:

We will continue to seek opportunities to develop new learning spaces. Library will benchmark provision against international competition.

Result:

£1.4M additional funding agreed for learning space projects in summer 2018. In total, an additional 534 study spaces were opened during 2016-17 across UCL Library Services, mostly completed in summer 2017. Ratio of students:seat will be better than the Russell Group average after the New Student Centre opens in early 2019.

The Library, Houghton Hall, Norfolk

This is a tremendous outcome. The 2018 NSS results for UCL were recently published. Q19 is: The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well. The level of satisfaction expressed by UCL students was 85%, up 2% on last year’s score. One of the reasons for this is undoubtedly the increase in learning space provision which the Library can offer. And we hope that this improvement will continue into 2019, when the New Student Centre opens in February with 1,000 new digitally-enabled learning spaces.

There are many narratives like this that can be constructed to illustrate the tremendous work that all members of Library staff have done to deliver the 2015-18 Strategy.  I have enjoyed attending departmental and team meetings, along with colleagues, to discuss strategic directions. The feedback and suggestions we have received are excellent and we will take note of them as the new Strategy is developed in detail. I thank you for your contribution and look forward to working with you all in the new Strategy period, once the new Library Strategy is signed off by Library Committee in the autumn term.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

CESB Summer Projects Update

Collette E MLawrence3 August 2018

Science Library Basement – Staff Lockers

Due to refurbishment taking place, staff lockers located in the basement will need to be emptied by Friday 10th August 2018. If you do not have access to the basement via the staff lift, a member of the buildings team will be at the ground floor staff lift at 10.00am  throughout next week to allow access. The contractors will be moving the lockers and relocating them to the short-loans area in the Science Library Café.

Science Library Entrance

As you may be aware, work has started on the refurbishment of the Science Library entrance, new security gates and security area are being installed. A new desk area and swing gates are being installed by the membership desk. On Thursday 9th August 2018 the current Service Desk will be relocated to make way for preparation works for the delivery and install of the new desk. On Thursday 9th August 2018 there will be no Membership or Enquires service available while the desk is being relocated.

LaSS Library

Refurbishment has started in the reception area and new window installation, with new power to desks in the reading room.

Archaeology Library

New sustainable lighting is being installed throughout the library and reading area, using energy efficient LED lamps throughout.

If you have any queries please contact Phil and Ricky, phil.watson@ucl.ac.uk, r.estwick@ucl.ac.uk 

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris7 July 2018

LIBER Conference 2018 (Association of European Research Libraries)

4-6 July saw the 47th LIBER Annual Conference take place in Lille. The theme of the meeting was Research Libraries as an Open Science Hub: from Strategy to Action.

The venue for the Conference was the LILLIAD, the Learning Centre for Innovation at the University of Lille. With easy metro links from the centre of Lille and Lille Europe, which is serviced by Eurostar, Lille is one of the easiest cities to reach from London on the continent of Europe.

The theme of the meeting, attended by 430 delegates from across Europe, was centred on turning Open Science theory into practice. The meeting started with a speech by Professor Dr Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in France. The Minister launched A National Open Science Plan for France at the meeting – a great coup to have European libraries host such a prestigious launch.

I was joint author of a paper at the Conference, along with our UCL Press European representative, Dr Tiberius Ignat, on the cultural change needed in universities and by Society to embrace the changes that Open Science brings. The photo to the left shows our audience (including 2 members of UCL Library Services) assemble in sweltering (!) heat to listen to the paper, which we intend to publish in the coming months. This is important because attendance at the LIBER Conference each year forms one of my 3 training activities required by the UCL Appraisal process. To this requirement, I personally add into my Appraisal objectives that I speak at one international meeting each year, where the written text of the presentation is peer reviewed and published in Open Access.

The Conference was full of discussion about the role of libraries in offering a leadership role in introducing Open Science practices into universities. There were also many practical examples to offer Best Practice. One excellent example came from the libraries of Catalonia, presented by Anna Rovira and Dr Ignasi Labastida from Barcelona. The Catalans have developed a collaborative model for measuring levels of compliance with Open Access by academics, allowing benchmarking across Catalonia.

But back to the LILLIAD. The recent merger of 3 universities in Lille has created a wonderful opportunity for the University Librarian of the merged libraries, Julien Roche, to create a blueprint for what the 21st century library looks like. A central theme is one of Innovation. The picture to the left shows a typical set of learning spaces in this impressive building. In many ways, it mirrors what the learning spaces in the UCL Student Centre, to be run by the Library from the New Year, will look like. But UCL has gone one step further than Lille. The LILLIAD houses paper collections, largely in science and technology, but the Student Centre in UCL will be a 100% digital learning experience, open 24 hours a day.

I have returned from the 47th LIBER Conference full of optimism about the leading role that libraries can play in the Open Science agenda. UCL Library Services is already seen as a European leader in this space, and this activity will develop further as we adopt a new Library Strategy. It is an exciting time to be leading such a monumental change in European universities.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

 

 

Buildings Team Blog: Commencement of CESB Summer Projects 2018!

Collette E MLawrence28 June 2018

Science Library – Post Relocation

With effect from Tuesday 3rd July 2018, the post sacks and pigeonholes, currently in the Security hut, will be relocated to 2nd floor staff kitchen area, to mirror the Main Library.

Science Library – Replacement Security Gates

With effect from Monday 9th July 2018 the main entrance to the Science Library will be closed for works to be carried out for the installation of the new gates and dismantling of the Security hut, and refurbishment of the whole space. Plenty of signage will be placed at the front of the Library and around the library redirecting users to enter and exit via the Darwin Walk into room G15 where Security will be based for the duration of the works and to enable access to the 1st floor via the back staircase.

We will send further updates and details as the projects progress. If you have, any queries please contact phil.watson@ucl.ac.uk and r.estwick@ucl.ac.uk

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

Benjamin G MMeunier22 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:

 

Lockers for students – now available at the Cruciform Hub

Benjamin G MMeunier8 May 2018

We are pleased to announce that today, Tuesday 08/05, a new service has been launched in the Cruciform Hub. UCL lockers for students are now available at the touch of a UCL ID card, for short loan (1 day or over the weekend). The project has been a joint development by Library Services and ISD, working with Estates and approved suppliers iLockerz. The Cruciform Hub will act as a pilot site with 44 lockers. If successful, additional banks of lockers will be rolled out to replace existing lockers and potentially added where there is demand from Site Librarians and library users.

Ben Meunier (Director of Operations) said: “This is a service which UCL students have been requesting for some time, via surveys and ad hoc requests. We have a small number of banks of key-controlled lockers at some sites, however it has been challenging to manage. This new system is easy to use for students and it ensures that we can easily monitor whether lockers are being emptied as necessary.

I am very grateful to the project team in ISD and Library Services who have helped to bring this project to fruition, particularly Maria Fernandez as Project Manager and the Library team at the Cruciform Hub, who have worked hard to ensure that the system can work for our users.”

Details on the service can be found at the dedicated webpage: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/lockers. The pilot is restricted to UCL students but the service may be extended to other groups of library users in future, subject to demand.

 

Ben Meunier (Project Sponsor), Anna Di Iorio (Librarian, UCL Cruciform Hub and Site Libraries Manager) and Peter Dennison (Business Service Owner)

CSGUK: Inspired ideas from the sharp end: a knowledge sharing event – Morning presentations

Sharon AJames10 April 2018

Part One: Sharon’s feedback on the morning

On Thursday 22 February I attended a Customer Services Group UK (CSGUK) knowledge sharing event aimed at front-line staff with another UCL Language & Speech Science Library Assistant, Jon Siah. At this event we had the opportunity to hear from other Library Assistants about the projects they had created and implemented. Before they provided us with lunch there was also a guided tour of the University of Bedfordshire’s spacious new library at its Luton campus but the day started at 10am in a relaxed way with drinks, pastries and a chance to chat to the other participants, some of whom had come from as far as Cornwall and Swansea.

Luton campus library’s cloud foyer

The first presentation was ‘Managing Student Demands and Delivering Student Demands in a Converged Service’ by Louise Bailey from the University of the Creative Arts who talked about how the Library and Student Services (which includes academic support, finance and careers advice) are converged. This Gateway service comprises a mixture of Desk staff who provide students with a variety of academic and personal information and advice. For example, they are able to book a tutorial in person, by phone or by email with two Learning Development Tutors from the Library who are embedded in students’ courses and available to help in areas such as reading, writing, language development, assignments and lesson plans.

However, at busy times such as the weeks before dissertation deadlines, it was found that these tutors were fully booked but some students did not show up and others missed a chance to receive assistance. Because of this, Library Assistants developed a live Google spreadsheet that updates instantly from a waiting list of students if there are any no-shows. Staff on the Gateway Desk manage student expectations and explain the need to be flexible and students on the waiting list provide their deadline date and agree to be on campus during the relevant week so that they are on hand to attend a session. It was found that students greatly valued this collaborative arrangement as they felt involved, more assisted by staff and the system, and that they were taking responsibility for their own learning.

Playing library Snakes & Ladders

The second presentation was ‘Innovative Ways of Promoting the Library to New University Staff: Making Library Services Memorable’ (Monika Koziel and Martina Xenia Baldi, City, University of London). The presenters explained that at City there is a procedure in place to introduce all new staff, including admin and academics, to the university. This Welcome to City event includes a World Café at which eight university departments give regular 10-minute introductory presentations. Last year, one of these presentations was a Snakes and Ladders game created by Library Assistant Monica that also included a booklet with further information about the questions on the board and provided links to library resources. Because City has design standards, certain rules were followed such as using the Library colours and changing the font so that it was more readable. Copyright issues meant that Monica created all the images herself. This game was very popular with participants who enjoyed it so much they returned in their lunchbreak to play it again. Monica is currently adapting the game for another university who want to use it and, after conducting a feedback group with colleagues, it is also being considered for use in student inductions. Overall, it was found to be a less tiring way for staff to facilitate inductions and a more fun and interesting method for users to learn about the library.

The I’m Taking a Break card with space for students to fill out the time they left

The last presentation of the morning was ‘#thatsbetter – The I’m Taking a Break Card Story’ led by John Mason and Tim Spring who explained that, because Birkbeck University runs most of its courses in the evening, the library is always busy from 4pm onwards. In the past, various schemes have been tried during exam time to stop students reserving spaces by leaving their possessions at unused desks for long periods but these were not always successful. In this recent project, as well as having staff roving the library, an I’m Taking a Break card was created saying that the student would be away for up to 30 minutes and with a space for them to write down what time they left.

The back of the card has tips for students

Due to the popularity of the project and student demand, several batches of this card needed to be printed because users coming into the library quickly got into the habit of picking them up from the entrance desk. As a result, the I’m Taking a Break card is now being considered for the next round of exams because the project produced better seat availability, fewer complaints to staff and positive feedback from students who felt more involved in monitoring themselves, others and the library space.

Each floor has a Library Info Point

Before lunch we set off on a guided library tour, starting from the Cloud training room on the sixth floor all the way down to the electronic stacks in the basement. We were all impressed with the amount of room, the great facilities the users have access to and the variety of spaces and study areas. Above all, the day was inspiring because seeing the projects these Library Assistants had devised demonstrated the hard work, skills and talent front-line staff bring to the running of university libraries. My colleague Jon continues this blog by reporting on the afternoon presentations and library tour so keep reading for more interesting info.

Part Two: Jon Siah’s feedback on the afternoon

Sharon and I were led on a tour of the impressive new library building, spiralling down through the concrete cavern until we were in the basement trying our hands at operating the electronic rolling stacks. If getting them to work was an intelligence test at which we failed miserably, then once we had finally figured out the controls, testing whether or not there was a safety mechanism by standing in between them as they slowly closed in was a test of bravery in which we redeemed ourselves. Although that said, acting out the garbage disposal scene from Star Wars, was perhaps not the best display of intelligence either. Importantly, no one was hurt, since as predicted, there is an ankle level buffer that detects humanoid forms. So we continued on the grand tour, making our way back up through each light and airy level and beginning to feel a little sleepy after the morning’s exertions. Fortunately, a state of the art place like this has a solution, which we found in the shape of the grand union between the dentist chair and a giant motorcycle helmet (see pic below).

Jon in the Bed Zzzone

So, after a few minutes in the Bed Zzzone, visor down and ambient music 4 playing through the speakers, one felt rejuvenated and ready for the next task of the day – lunch. It was a generous spread, but alas, there is no photographic evidence of this, since it was devoured before we thought of capturing the selection of quiches for posterity.

Laura Harvey and mannequin

On to the afternoon sessions, beginning with a talk addressing the elephant in the room, the newly dressed mannequin (modesty restored over lunch in full matron style), as an example of the types of costumes that Bedfordshire University has in its Teaching Practice Collection. Laura Harvey’s insightful talk started with the history of the institution, which began its life as Bedford Physical Education College, founded in 1903 by Mary Stansfield (who was encouraged to teach whilst a school pupil in Bloomsbury, of all places…), enrolling 12 young women to study the remedial and educational values of gymnastic exercise. Laura then went on to describe the development of the institution up until its present day status as a centre for teacher training. This involves having a large lending collection of materials and resources that budding young pedagogues need for their lessons, including topic boxes, story sacks and historical and multicultural costumes. The latter of which the team at Bedford do a great service of mending themselves by hand, whilst the collection itself is even kept in a mock-up classroom!

The next presentation was by Marina Burroughs from the University of East London, who talked about gaining the Higher Education Accreditation for her work as a Library Assistant. Knowing that the job involves a large teaching and learning component, she thought like many of us, that the work we do deserves proper recognition. Therefore, it was great to hear her talk about how she and her colleagues worked towards and gained the accreditation, since this is something that many of us at UCL have been thinking about doing or have begun applying for.

Jon uploads onto the cloud 

Rees Arnott-Davies and Iraj Sheni Mansouri rounded off the day with a discussion of the recent change to a Full Service Model for Evenings and Weekends at Birkbeck. Their team had identified a number of issues for a while, including the tendency of students to approach Shelvers (with those wielding metal trolleys often being the most visible) to ask for assistance; only for them to be directed towards the Issue Desk, then perhaps redirected to the Help Desk, and that this pinball system was probably not the best customer service. Therefore, they decided to do away with Grade 2! Thus promoting all Shelvers to Library Assistants and others to Supervisors and ensuring that every member of the team is trained to do all aspects of the role and share each responsibility. It is certainly an interesting and bold move, and nicely encapsulates the spirit of the day – “Ideas from the sharp end.” Showing how innovation led by those who actually interact with library users on a daily basis is not just possible, but judging by the positive feedback they have received from students, also highly successful.

If you would like to read up more about any of these presentations, you can find all the slides on the CSGUK website: https://www.customerservicesgroup.co.uk/ideasfromthesharpend1 

University of Bedfordshire, Luton campus library: https://www.beds.ac.uk/works/projects/lutonlibrary 

Study Space Availability information on UCL Go!

Benjamin G MMeunier14 March 2018

We’re pleased to let you know that, starting next week, students will be able to locate available study space at the click of a button thanks to the launch of the Study Space Availability feature on the UCL Go! App. 


 

As you know, this is thanks to new technology recently introduced across UCL.  The Institute of Orthopaedics Library is the only library site which has yet to be covered by the system, and the project team are working to complete this project. Small devices have been placed under desks throughout UCL Library Services’ study spaces. The devices use infra-red technology to detect if a desk is available or in use.  The devices do not collect any personal data and cannot identify individuals.

The information collected from these devices is already available for users to access on the Library website.  From next Wednesday (21st March) it will be fully functional there, and also available via the UCL Go! App. Knowing which site has the greatest availability across the whole family of UCL Library Services will enable our students to make informed decision about which direction to head in – saving them valuable time and wasted journeys.

UCL Go! is an application for students to access UCL and Students’ Union information directly from their mobile devices.  This includes access to key information such as online timetables, library services (links to Explore and library account), campus maps and UCL news. More information can be found here.

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your feedback and support in the roll out of this technology. 

If you have any questions about the project, please email the Space Availability project team

 

Ben Meunier

Margaret Stone