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SMT Surgery dates

RozzEvans8 August 2019

Further to my previous blog post from July (and June Hedges’ lightning talk at the Library Staff Conference) we are delighted to announce that the first SMT Surgery will be taking place on Friday 16th August.  SMT members Rozz Evans (Head of Collection Strategy), Karen Jeger (Head of Collection Services) and Peter Dennison (Head of Customer Service) will be available between 10.00 and 12.00 in Room 770 at the Institute of Education.

Colleagues are able to book a slot by emailing lib-smt@ucl.ac.uk or are welcome to drop-in on the day (although you may have to wait a short while if SMT members are already speaking with colleagues).  You can come on you own or as part of a small group, and can specify that you would like to see a particular member of SMT  (from those available) if you prefer.

Apologies that this is rather short notice, but don’t worry if you can’t attend this one.  The pilot will be running until December and the following future dates have now been agreed:

11th September (2.00 – 4.00 pm)

4th  November (11.00 – 1.00 pm)

10th  December (5.00 – 7.00 pm)

These sessions will be advertised a minimum of two weeks in advance of the date via the LibNet blog and will include the location and names of SMT who will be present.

As this is a pilot, we are planning to refine the process as we go along so we will be seeking feedback from colleagues.

We look forward to seeing some of you soon!

The Three Muskebeers win the LSG quiz

GillianMackenzie30 May 2019

A few weeks ago, the Library Social Group (LSG) hosted a pub quiz at the College Arms on Store Street, after a slightly extended (ahem, two-year-long) hiatus.

Five teams pitted their wits against each other, having their knowledge of cover versions, pop culture and close-up library objects tested to the limit. Quiz co-hosts Phil Leonard and Gillian Mackenzie guided teams through six rounds, who were competing for the £30+ cash prize, plus for the coveted LSG Quiz trophy!

The winning quiz team, The Three Muskebeers

All of the teams taking part performed respectably (a word used repeatedly on the night), but the ultimate champions were The Three Muskebeers (although, there were four of them in the team).

We got some really positive comments about the evening (not least that the quiz itself was a “well-oiled machine”), which we hope will encourage more quizzers and teams to join us next time:

“The Library Pub Quiz was the perfect opportunity to meet colleagues I don’t already know or hardly ever get to see, and then alternately suffer the embarrassment of my own ignorance or boast over my superior pop culture knowledge. In other words, a really great night!”

Thanks to all who came along, and see you again soon for another round.

 

 

 

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

Benjamin G MMeunier4 May 2018

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

Professional Services Awards

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

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

The categories for awards this year are:

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

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

Library Craft Club Relaunched

AndrewWatson1 May 2018

Icelandic jumperAfter a temporary hiatus, the Library Craft Club which ran from 2007-2015 has been relaunched!  Meeting on a monthly basis this time, sessions will alternate between the first Tuesday and Thursday of each month so that those on part-time schedules have a chance to join in.

We meet in Room 417 in the Science Library between 12.30 and 1.30 pm. You don’t need to be competent at any craft. Simply drop in (with your lunch if you wish) any time during that hour to see what’s going on, catch up with your colleagues and allow yourself to be inspired.  There’s a box of materials you can dip into to get yourself started.

Knitting has always tended to take precedence, but over the years enthusiasts have brought along crochet, tapestry, origami, beading and even spinning (we have a drop spindle and fleece in the Craft Club box for those who fancy having a go).

So why not drop in? Email me if you’d like to be added to the mailing list. I can also add you to sessions on Outlook so they will appear in your calendar.  Forthcoming sessions:

  • Thursday 3rd May (introduction to crochet)Knitted leaf
  • Tuesday 5th June
  • Thursday 5th July
  • Tuesday 7th August
  • Thursday 6th September
  • Tuesday 2nd October
  • Thurdsay 1st November
  • Tuesday 4th December

Andrew Watson
a.m.watson@ucl.ac.uk

Photos: Icelandic jumper – Harriet Lilley
Knitted leaf – Andrew Watson

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 

Have your say on the design of the new LibNet

KarenFlood31 October 2017

From the new year, we’ll have a brand new LibNet with refreshed content and a new look and feel. The fabulous Chris Carrington in the Digital Libraries team has been working away on the designs and we’d love to hear your thoughts.

We have put together five colour schemes to choose from (images below). Which one is your favourite?

Do you have any comments on the designs?

(Please note: The header pictures are examples only. If you have any suggestions do let us know!)

Please complete the online survey by Monday 20 November to help us to create a digital space you would love to use.


The final five

Click on a screenshot to view it full size.

Green

Home page, green

Home page, green

Other page, green

Other page, green

Orange

Home page, orange

Home page, orange

Other-page, orange

Other page, orange

Pink

Home page, pink

Home page, pink

Other page, pink

Other page, pink

Stone

Home page, stone

Home page, stone

Other page, stone

Other page, stone

Yellow

Home page, yellow

Home page, yellow

Other page, yellow

Other page, yellow

Once you’ve chosen your favourite you can complete the online survey.

Helen Mirren, Katya Galitzine and other guests at the joint UCL SSEES Library and British Library panel discussion

Wojciech AJanik9 June 2017

On Monday 5th June a panel discussion “Émigrés from Revolution” took place at the British Library. It was a joint event between UCL SSEES Library and the British Library and was inspired by our collections.

Martin Sixsmith provided the introduction

P1040514

Martin Sixsmith, Katya Galitzine and Helen Mirren taking questions from the audience

The year 2017 marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution. One of the main events “in the library world”, to focus on the centenary is a major exhibition at the British Library: “Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths”. The exhibition is accompanied by various events, panels and seminars. That provided a great opportunity for UCL Library Services to co-organise, with the British Library, a public event, which would highlight our collections. To make it more lively and interesting we wanted it to be presented by the descendants of emigrants from the Russian Revolution, so that they could reflect, after one hundred years, on how the history of their grandparents has influenced and still influences them and their families. It provided us with the opportunity to showcase some of our archival holdings, especially as many of the descendants had very successful careers. We are lucky enough to have in our archives documents that were donated by world famous actress, Dame Helen Mirren. Her grandfather, Colonel Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov, initially came to the UK with the aim of buying arms for the Russian Army during World War One. Another example is the memoir of Prince Paul Ivan Lieven, that belonged to the grandfather of well-known historian, Professor Dominic Lieven. We were very lucky once again as both Dame Helen Mirren and Professor Dominic Lieven accepted invitations to the event. Princess Katya Galitzine, whose grandparents escaped via Yalta on a British warship sent to rescue Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna also accepted the invitation. However, there is also another “library link” as Katya is a co-Founder of The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library.

P1040515

Nicolas Pasternak Slater [L] and Dominic Lieven [R]

Our fourth guest was successful translator Nicolas Pasternak Slater, the son of Boris Pasternak’s sister Lydia, and the grandson of painter Leonid Pasternak and Rosa Isidorovna Kaufman, an accomplished pianist. Martin Sixsmith, former BBC foreign correspondent based in Moscow at the end of the Soviet Union, moderated the discussion, while Professor Simon Dixon from UCL SSEES provided an introduction to the event and highlighted UCL SSEES Library’s archive collections.

P1040509

From left to right: Nicolas Pasternak Slater, Dominic Lieven, Martin Sixsmith, Katya Galitzine, Helen Mirren

The event was a success. The panel was excellent and the attendance was very good. It was a very good way to promote our collections. It also enabled us to foster good working relationships with colleagues from the British Library, especially Jon Fawcett, Head of Events, and Katya Rogatchevskaya, Lead Curator of East European Collections. The cooperation was very successful so it may also lead to another joint event in the future. Of course for us it is not the end. UCL SSEES will hold a major conference later this year to commemorate the centenary of the Revolution and we need to focus on that and build on the success of the event. We would like to digitise selected items from our collection, so that they can accompany the main UCL SSEES Conference. During the panel I had a chance to talk to Helen Mirren and her sister Kate and managed to obtain permission to digitise the documents of Colonel Pyotr Mironov. Professor Lieven has also given permission for the memoir of Prince Paul Ivan Lieven to be digitised. Together with colleagues from Digital Curation, Mat Mahon and Amy Howe, we are working on digitising some other collections from our archives.

Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov Collection [MRN]

Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov Collection [MRN] held at UCL SSEES Library

Our aim is that by the time of the conference we can create a high-quality, professional and academic resource. During 2017 there will be many events dedicated to the Revolution. However it is noteworthy to say that UCL SSEES is one of the best well-known and recognised institutions in the world for its expert knowledge on Russia. Therefore, December’s conference organised by UCL SSEES will attract a lot of attention. This provides UCL SSEES Library with the momentum we need to maximize to our benefit, so that we can effectively publicize our work and our unique collections to the world audience.

Staff Survey Action Plan update: new Staff Survey Action Group to be created

Benjamin G MMeunier9 June 2017

The latest version of the Library Services Staff Survey Action Plan is available on LibNet. There has been activity on the areas which you identified as members of staff working in the Library, and the description in this version of the plan shows what progress has happened since last November. Highlights are outlined below, with a call for colleagues who would like to represent your peers in a new Staff Survey Action Group, which will devise the Action Plan for the next Staff Survey (due in late 2017).

 

Improvements to communication

Library SMT signed off a new internal communication strategy in May 2017, founded on staff feedback including findings from the Staff Survey. New strategy includes provision for more regular SMT Q&As responding to Library staff concerns or queries in monthly staff newsletter.

 

New computersImage of all in one EAP

In light of staff feedback about IT equipment in Library Services, senior management approved additional expenditure of £110,000 to accelerate the replacement programme for staff desktop PCs. The Digital Libraries Team has ordered 121 new all-in-ones to replace all the staff Desktop@UCL PCs which are the lowest spec. Exact dates for delivery are yet to be confirmed, subject to the suppliers and ISD’s lead-in times, but the aim is to have the new equipment ready for start of session in September 2017.

 

Staff Survey Action Group

The Library SMT approved the establishment of a Staff Survey Action Group, chaired by myself as Director of Operations, to oversee action on future survey findings in an inclusive and transparent way. Terms of Reference have been agreed, and I will be calling for nominees during the summer to represent all grades of staff across Library Services. If you are interested in taking part, and have any queries, please contact me.

Library Buildings Team

JayWoodhouse17 November 2016

The Library Buildings Team is please to announce the addition of Collette Lawrence, Project Support Officer to the team.

The Buildings Team are from left to right: Collette Lawrence, Ricky Estwick, Phil Watson, Jay Woodhouse

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Please continue to use the lib-buildings@ucl.ac.uk for all furniture and buildings requests.

 

 

Closure of the History corridor, 2nd floor, Main Library

Ricardo R AEstwick24 October 2016

Due to damage to the floor in the History corridor, this area will be closed for repair works between Sunday, 30th October at 1900hrs and Monday, 31st October, 0700hrs.

The repair works will take place along the whole of the History corridor, with no access to the corridor, reading room. In addition the staff entrance will be closed during these times.

This will mean that the reading rooms along the History corridor and the Dutch reading room will be inaccessible for 2 hours from Sunday 1900hrs to Sunday 2100hrs when the library closes.