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Wellbeing Champions update: UCL LaSS Library

Sharon AJames16 May 2019

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs that UCL Library Wellbeing Champions will be writing about the work, ideas and events that they have been involved in or created. This update highlights some of the initiatives Jon Siah and I have taken at the UCL Language and Speech Science Library since attending training in early 2018. This involved completing the one day Mental Health First Aid for HE course followed a few weeks later by a day of Health & Wellbeing Champion training. Since then, along with other Library Wellbeing Champions, we have also attended the UCL Wellbeing course Suicide: Spotting the Signs.

Therapy dog Indiana Bones qualifying as a Wellbeing Champion

As Wellbeing Champions we help UCL staff and students by using our listening skills and signposting relevant services or resources. We also regularly take part in Wellbeing meetings and events. For example, Jon and I helped facilitate two ‘Life, Work, Balance’ sessions at the Library Staff Conference in 2018 and I also created posters and distributed resources at the Marketplace Stall during the lunch period.

Jean and Yinka keeping cool at the 2018 Library Conference on Wellbeing

In the weeks beforehand I liaised with Library Finance to acquire funding for fans and then sourced and ordered them for the Marketplace Stall. These were distributed to conference attendees to help with their wellbeing over the course of a long and very hot day.

We also regularly update the LaSS Facebook and Twitter accounts with wellbeing information and have emailed Liblist with resources such as the Sleepio and Silvercloud apps. For LaSS staff, we held a fun Wellbeing Crafternoon at the end of last year using a craft pack ordered from Mind. At this Christmas-themed event, the team were able to relax and catch up with one another while creating handmade decorations for the library.

Photo from the Halloween Wellbeing walk

Another successful event was the Halloween Wellbeing walk arranged by Jon which started at Brunswick Square and ended at Gray’s Inn Walks with a large attendance of nearly 40 people from all over UCL.

Wellbeing Corner at LaSS 

Most recently we have developed a Wellbeing Corner in the LaSS reading room for library users. This features a noticeboard covered in information such as how to manage stress and exams and the contact details of the UCL Student Psychological and Counselling Services and Student Support and Wellbeing. In holders underneath we have placed helpful leaflets, a laminate with advice on how to cope with panic attacks, copies of a local walking map, and coloured pencils and home-made colouring books.

Wellbeing Corner also has a selection of newly purchased self-help books that include guidance on how to deal with anxiety, low self-esteem, OCD, eating disorders, depression and insomnia. We sourced these from a reading list originally created by Teaching & Learning Services for the School of Pharmacy’s Wellbeing section: http://readinglists.ucl.ac.uk/lists/B89CADDC-EEF1-9C7C-2991-E1BEA2F44BC0.html  As well as these books some additional ones were bought and we are hoping this new collection will be helpful for students and staff. Please feel free to come over and have a look at Wellbeing Corner and borrow the books.

At the moment LaSS Library is involved in the Wellbeing Steps Challenge despite our team being called (accurately in my case!) ‘On Our LaSS Legs’. If you’re taking part I hope you’re enjoying it and a big thank you to Laurie McNamee for doing the organising.

For those interested in reading more about the UCL Wellbeing Champion role please go to: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/human-resources/health-wellbeing/wellbeingucl/get-involved/become-wellbeing-champion

UCL Ways of Working

Benjamin G MMeunier9 May 2019

Last week, UCL launched the new behavioural framework for professional services staff, UCL Ways of Working.

The framework enables individuals, teams and leaders to set clear expectations, support development, have quality conversations and be their best in the workplace. The nine Ways of Working are clustered around three central themes:

The framework was built for and by colleagues working in professional services roles across UCL, from faculties, departments, institutes, other academic units, offices of Vice-Provosts (including Library Services ) and central services.

The UCL Ways of Working Wheel (see below) and Descriptors provide a simple overview of the central Ways of Working, outlining how we work consistently, successfully and happily as an integrated professional services community. Supporting indicators and steps to development are then detailed for each grade and these can be used to support appraisal conversations, induction and probation meetings, and in recruitment – writing adverts, job descriptions and preparing for interviews. Detailed guidance is available on how to use the UCL Ways of Working.


The UCL Ways of Working are closely aligned to our values:

“UCL Library Services is empowering our staff and our users. Our staff are skilled and knowledgeable experts.

We are community-minded, inclusive and innovative. Our approach to service is professional, responsive and friendly. We are proud of our service, and we are honest and transparent.

Our strategy presents our goals to be cutting-edge, visionary and eco-friendly.”

Customer Service Excellence Accreditation

Peter JDennison8 May 2019

Over the past 18 months work has been going on behind the scenes in preparation for our application for the Customer Service Excellence Standard.  Customer Service Excellence (CSE) is designed to operate on three distinct levels:

1. As a driver of continuous improvement.
2. As a skills development tool.
3. As an independent validation of achievement.
CSE Standard: Cabinet Office, 2010

 

 

The Standard is awarded by the Cabinet Office and consists of 57 separate criteria which we have to demonstrate that we meet. This is done by the submission of documentary evidence to an Assessor who will review the evidence as part of the Accreditation process. The other part of the assessment will be a two-day visit by the Assessor on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 June. The visit will consist of a combination of meetings with Library staff, students, and other UCL departments who work with us as well as observation and presentations by staff.

A Pre-Assessment meeting was held with the Assessor on 13 March which was really helpful in identifying areas which required further work and additional documentation. Our formal submission was sent to the Assessor on 8 May and we will find out in the next couple of weeks which areas our Assessor will want to focus on when he visits.

I will be working with Kate Cheney to organise the two-day visit by the Assessor. The first day will focus on our larger sites and will include a visit to the Student Centre. The second day will focus on biomedical sites. We will be given an informal indication by the Assessor at the end of the second day as to how we have performed. Thank you to all colleagues who have contributed to the process so far and to those who will be meeting the Assessor during his visit.

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.

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

Student Choice Awards – celebrating library staff

RozzEvans10 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

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.

New Library Services Strategy launched online

Benjamin G MMeunier21 February 2019

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

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/about-us/ucl-library-services-strategy-2019-22

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!

 

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.