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Launch of UCL’s new Sustainability Strategy

Catherine LSharp30 October 2019

The launch of UCL’s new Sustainability Strategy last Thursday evening was appropriately held in the new Student Centre, a building that has been awarded the highest BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating, recognising its sustainable design and construction. The event began with the Provost celebrating UCL’s key commitment to divesting from fossil fuels by the end of 2019.

We were treated to some inspiring words from Professor Geraint Rees, Chair of UCL’s Sustainability Steering Group (also Dean of Life Sciences and UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (AI)), and Richard Jackson, UCL’s Sustainability Director. Prof Mark Miodownik gave a fascinating talk about the work that UCL academics are doing on sustainability, particularly his EPSRC-funded project Designing-out Plastic Waste, which brings together UCL academics in Chemistry, Engineering, and Behavioural Science to research, design and introduce solutions to the plastic waste problem. UCL has committed to achieving a plastic-free campus within the next five years.

The new strategy focuses on three signature campaigns:

Positive Climate
The goals of this campaign include net zero carbon buildings by 2024; a net zero carbon institution with UCL generating all its own renewable energy by 2030; exploring ways to help staff and students reduce the impact of their travel; and introducing 100% vegetarian catering for events and hospitality.

The Loop
This campaign focuses on tackling unsustainable consumption by supporting UCL’s local economy and specifying products with the highest environmental and wellbeing standards. By 2021, social environmental and modern slavery audits will be carried out on UCL’s largest suppliers, and sustainability ratings will be introduced on products both online and in canteens.

Wild Bloomsbury
This campaign aims to introduce nature-based solutions to Bloomsbury by working with Camden and UCL local partners. By 2024, UCL will create 10,000m2 extra biodiverse space – the equivalent of around one and a half football pitches. This will include green walls, brown roofs and pocket gardens to increase biodiversity and reduce the impacts of pollution in the heart of London. Other measures include developing an active travel strategy and launching live air pollution monitoring for the UCL campus.

Global Climate Strike: Library Services staff taking action as part of global movement, 20 September

Benjamin G MMeunier27 September 2019

At lunchtime on 20 September a group of Library staff showed their support for the global climate strike by joining colleagues and students in the Front Quad. The below is a write-up of the events on the day by Catherine Sharp, one of the Main Library Green Champions, who attended the event.

“We heard an inspiring talk from members of the Islington Extinction Rebellion group, who described the risks of still-rising carbon emissions, including droughts, floods, extreme heat, wildfires, crop failure, disease, population displacement and species extinction – with human extinction becoming ever more likely. Climate tipping points could lead to irreversible change even if global temperature can be limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but on current estimates the remaining 1°C carbon budget will be used up very soon (see the CO₂ mitigation graph below).

The Extinction Rebellion representatives described the evolution of the movement, which was formed less than a year ago. They encourage people to participate in its non-violent civil disobedience to the extent that they’re able, and understand that the climate crisis can seem overwhelming. The next big action will begin in London on 7 October. UCU supports the work of Extinction Rebellion, and a UCL Extinction Rebellion group has been formed.”

Library Services staff are at the forefront of making UCL more sustainable, as demonstrated in our strong performance in the Green Impact scheme year after year. I had the pleasure of visiting The Bartlett Library in Central House last week, and witnessed how the team there is supporting recycling and sharing information through a prominent display of resources on sustainability at the entrance of the Library.

The new Sustainable UCL Strategy will be launched on 17 October in the Student Centre. After the launch, there will be lots more information on how you can get involved in playing your part in helping UCL to become one of the most environmentally-friendly universities in the UK and act as a model for other organisations to show that change is possible.

Library Facilities and Projects Team Blog: Summer works update

Collette E MLawrence31 July 2019

There will be several projects being carried out during this summer, the details are below, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the Facilities and Projects team james.woodhouse@ucl.ac.uk, phil.watson@ucl.ac.uk or c.lawrence@ucl.ac.uk:

Senate House Hub : Work to refurbish the Senate House Hub will be starting on 12th August 2019. During this time Senate House Hub will be closed, the work will take about 4 weeks to complete and will be re-opening in early September 2019. When the space re-opens it will be a dedicated Post Graduate Research (PGR) and Centre for Doctorial Training (CDT) space. There will be new training room fitted, an increase of study spaces and additional comfortable study spaces.

Graduate Hub: Work will be starting on 12th August 2019 , the work will take about 4 weeks to complete, during this time this space will be closed for the duration of the works, and re-opening early September 2019. This is work is taking place to increase the number of study spaces, have more study focused furniture and a refurbished kitchen and main study rooms.

IOE Entrance:Work is taking place with effect from 12th August 2019, users of the Library will be redirected by additional signage and assistance from Library staff and Security. The project will install new turnstiles with accessible lanes in and out, a new single combined service desk with Library and ISD in one place, Smart Shelves return system and a new self-issue kiosk. This work is due to be completed by early September 2019.

Changing Places Accessibility Toilet – Science Library: work for this will be starting on the 12th August 2019. This will create the first nationally listed Changing Places Toilet at UCL.  The work will take about 7 weeks to complete.

Electrical Infrastructure on Central Campus: Noisy works will be associated with the drilling etc. with installation of cabling containment.  We are not expecting this to generate any vibration issues.

The works are the replacement of the two Transformers associated with the T2 Substation, located at the Ground floor level of Petrie Museum.  All works will be confined to within the substation rooms, but will generate noise during the working week, and will – on the weekend of Transformer delivery – impact the Malet Place road way usage.

Outline programme:

  • 22nd July – 2nd August – Cable / Containment and associated builders works:
  • 3rd/4th August – Transformer # 1 replacement (Load management)
  • 5th August – 6th September – Remaining preparation / modification works:
  • 7th/8th September – Transformer # 2 replacement
  • 9th – 13th September – Final snagging and making good.
  • 13th September – Work completed

Science Library Windows: There will be contractors surveying the windows at various times throughout the Science Library, this is in preparation for work to start in the summer of 2020 to replace them.

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris29 July 2019

Library Strategy update

2019 saw the adoption of a new Library Strategy by UCL Library Services. How is the Library faring in delivering on the 6 Key Performance Areas the Strategy contains? As Pro-Vice-Provost, I have compiled an analysis which I share with the many visitors who visit UCL Library Services, as well as with UCL committees such as UCL Library Committee. On Thursday 25 July, I had the honour to share the strategy with Mohammed Jassim, who was until recently Director of Mosul University Libraries in Iraq. His library system was desecrated by ISIS and his colleagues are facing building a new library structure and organisation from scratch. It was very humbling to hear about the current state of library services in Mosul.

Of the 6 Key Performance Areas (KPAs) in the Library Strategy, the most successful to date is undoubtedly the one on Sustainable Estate, where the opening of the Student Centre has already revolutionized the way students study in UCL. With 1104 learning spaces, managed by the Library, it is a major addition to the suite of library and learning spaces which UCL can offer. Under the User Experience KPA, the Library has also seen an increase in its 2019 NSS (National Student Survey) score to 86%, up 1% on the previous year. This is another step towards the target of 90% satisfaction that the Library aims to achieve amongst all third-year undergraduates surveyed.

Main Library stairs

The Library is also the first Division/Department in UCL to achieve Customer Service Excellence accreditation, passing in all 57 criteria at the first attempt – a very notable achievement and a fantastic confirmation of our wish to put the User at the centre of the library experience. The CSE Accreditation Report made particular mention of the contribution made by Library staff: “The staff appeared ‘passionate’ in meeting and exceeding customer expectations and clearly understand what was meant by customer service excellence. All staff appeared keen to deliver an excellent service to ensure Library Services was both ‘leading the way’ and exemplar for other library services. The assessor was also very impressed by the overall staff commitment such as their attention to detail, the desire to continually improve things and the professionalism displayed by them.” This statement is a great confirmation of the Library’s commitment to developing the skills of its staff in KPA2 – Staff, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Every member of Library staff, through their professionalism and commitment, plays a really important role in delivering the Library Strategy and in making UCL one of the best universities anywhere in the world in which to study and do research.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Library Services receive 19 prizes at Sustainability Awards 2019

Benjamin G MMeunier19 July 2019

Library Services collected a record array of awards at the Sustainability Awards ceremony 2019, which was held on Thursday 18th July. 19 Library teams participated in the Green Impact scheme this year, and both Richard Jackson (Sustainability Director) and Fiona Ryland (Chief Operating Officer) commended the department for such a strong demonstration of commitment to tackling sustainability issues.

During the ceremony, Professor Geraint Rees (Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences and SMT Sustainability Champion) and Fiona Ryland presented the awards to colleagues from all parts of UCL for sustainability achievements.

The full list of awards to Library Services sites, below, is testament to the outstanding work of Green Champions and colleagues throughout the department who are taking the initiative to reduce waste and energy consumption and to promote a sustainable environment at work. I am grateful to the Library Sustainability Committee, who have overseen this work, and particularly to Sarah Lawson and Noel Caliste who helped to coordinate the substantial collective submission from Library Services to the Green Impact assessors. Many of our sites were audited by the Green Impact team, and as Chair of the Sustainability Committee I have had the privilege of visiting sites myself to witness the huge amount of work which underpins these awards. I visited LASS Library last month, where in the past year the team organised events to raise awareness of sustainability, manage a flourishing collection of plants and even installed a bug hotel in the outdoor (naturally!) courtyard at Chandler House. I know that there are many other great initiatives in different sites and teams, and look forward to visiting the Bartlett Library in the near future.

Eastman Library Bronze
Main Library Bronze
Science Library Bronze
Central Library Services (department) Bronze
Student Centre Bronze
Queen Square Library Bronze
IoE Library Silver
Bartlett Library Silver
ICH Library (GOSICH) Silver
IoO Library Silver
Royal Free Library Silver
Senate House Library Silver
IoOrthop Library Silver
Ear Library Gold
Cruciform Library Gold
Institute of Archaeology (IOA) Library Gold
SoP Library Gold
LASS Library Gold
Wickford Stores Gold

Many of Library Services’ Green Champions attended the Sustainability Awards ceremony on 18th July

 

 

Congratulations to all the staff who were involved in Green Impact 2019. Each of these awards requires significant work and dedication to obtain the necessary credits. I would like to congratulate all the Green Champions and especially commend our 6 teams who achieved “Gold” this year: Wickford, LASS, SoP, IoA, Cruciform and Ear.

This is important work, which demonstrates some of our values (“empowering our staff and students” and being “eco-friendly”). Sustainability, and specifically our performance in Green Impact, is a key part of delivering the Sustainable Estate KPA in the Library Strategy.

To find out more about the work we are doing, including a Sustainability Reference Guide for the whole department, we have a Sustainability page on LibNet. Do get in touch if you would like to get involved!

Collette E MLawrence24 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.

UCL Student Centre nominated for Civil Engineering Award

Benjamin G MMeunier12 April 2019

The Student Centre has been shortlisted for the ICE London Civil Engineering People’s Choice award, which is excellent news. To win, we now need to win the public vote… 

Please take a moment to vote at: https://www.ice.org.uk/about-ice/near-you/uk/london/awards/london-civil-engineering-awards

It’s up against some big hitters like Heathrow T3 and Victoria Station upgrade, so we’d like all of your support. UCL Estates are also encouraging all UCL staff and students to vote.

For colleagues on Twitter, please retweet at: https://twitter.com/TransformingUCL/status/1113816001114775552

Voting closes 17.00 Sunday 28 April.

 

Library design and European collaboration

Benjamin G MMeunier10 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

Estates strategy consultation forum opens to UCL community

Benjamin G MMeunier5 April 2019

An online consultation forum has been launched by UCL Estates for staff and students to share their ideas and thoughts on UCL’s current estate and their views on opportunities and investment priorities for its future development.

 The consultation will feed into a refreshed strategy for the university’s estate, which UCL Estates is preparing to align the next phase of UCL’s physical development with UCL 2034. The strategy will consider UCL’s buildings and physical estate, the impact of UCL East and other satellite locations and the opportunities for growth.

 Among the comments and discussions posted so far include the need to for the strategy to ensure UCL sites outside of its Bloomsbury campus feel part of the UCL family and a suggestion for innovative bike storage on campus.

Visit the forum and share your views.

NB: After entering your UCL email address you will be sent your individual access link, which you can bookmark. You will be automatically logged in for a period of 30 days after which you will need to revisit the original email link.

Making a difference: Library Services Review 2015-18

Benjamin G MMeunier26 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.