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Collette E M Lawrence24 April 2019

Building Team blog – Summer Projects 2019

If you have any queries regarding projects please contact Jay james.woodhouse@ucl.ac.uk

The Library has secured funding for four projects from the Central Estates Strategy Board (CESB) for this summer. These are:

Science Library – To create a new accessible toilet to be installed on the ground floor. This will include with a hoist and changing facilities. To be undertaken as soon as possible at the start of the summer, the project is likely to take fourteen weeks.

Graduate Hub, South Wing – Refurbish the main room and kitchenette. This area will become more study focused with individual study spaces, rather than sofas. The Kitchenette and Main room will be redecorated, new floor covering and all new furniture. In the computer room the chairs will be replaced. The duration of this project will be ten weeks.

Senate House Hub – This will repurpose the Senate House hub into a Post Graduate Research (PGR) only space. The front half of the space will be for PGR, while the rear area will be for funded Centre for Doctorial Training (CDT). Some of the existing furniture will be relocated within the space, with some new furniture and an additional card controlled door. The duration of this project will be ten weeks.

Institute of Education – The entrance will be refurbished with new turnstiles and a combined Library/ISD service desk, similar to the Science Library Learning Lab Help point installed last year. Smart Shelves will be installed, this is an alternative to an auto sorter. The duration of the project six weeks towards the end of the summer.

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

Student Choice Awards – celebrating library staff

utnvrev10 April 2019

The UCL Student Choice Awards are a way for students to thank an amazing member of staff, and let them know that their hard work makes a difference. All UCL students are invited to nominate members of staff who have, in some way, made their experience at UCL a particularly good one. They are judged by students themselves and so are especially meaningful. There are several categories including Amazing Support Staff and it is very gratifying to see that four members of UCL Library Services staff were nominated in this category. Congratulations to Nazlin Bhimani, Peter Field, Vanessa Freedman and Debora Marletta. For more information about the awards see: http://studentsunionucl.org/make-change/make-your-voice-heard/student-choice-awards/student-choice-awards-2019-all-nominees

New bookable study spaces service launches on 7th January

Robert Drinkall7 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

ucylapo4 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

Paul Ayris14 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 M Lawrence3 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

Paul Ayris7 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 M Lawrence28 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 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: