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Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

PaulAyris18 December 2017

Strategic Operating Plan 2018-21

I read in the recent edition of the Staff Newsletter that I have been given the honorary role of Father Christmas for the next 300 years…

Well, I will do my best to please… And, starting as I mean to go on for the next 299 years, I share with you the Library’s Operating Plan (2018-21), which was presented to UCL Library Committee at our meeting on 6 December. The Strategic Operating Plan 2018-21 is a key document for the Library, updated every year, which explains what strategic activity the Library is undertaking, how that work links to the Library Strategy and to UCL’s Strategy for 2034.

In terms of what the Library is going to do in the coming 36 months, the best place to look is the Table of Objectives and Actions on pp. 14-15 of the Operating Plan. Here you will see 20 objectives linked to the 6 KPA headings of the Library Strategy. Those greyed out in the Table have already been delivered.

The Operating Plan was noted by Library Committee, but actually authorised at the annual meeting I have with our Provost and President to discuss the Plan. This meeting took place on 27 November. It’s a time when the Library is invited to present its plans for the coming 3 years and to answer any questions that senior members of UCL may have on what we say.

Happily, the Library passed its exam with flying colours. We were commended for coming in on budget each year, for the excellence of our service provision and the impact that the Open Access publishing of UCL Press is having on the dissemination of UCL research. We also agreed objectives in the coming 12 months, which are spelled out in the Plan.

It only remains for me to wish every member of UCL Library Services ‘Happy Holidays’ as we approach the Christmas break. I include in this posting two festive pictures from Dublin. Regarding the second, I would (Blue Peter fashion, for those who remember) say that it is not good practice to try this at home, or indeed anywhere else.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

PaulAyris27 October 2017

UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Library

26 October saw the formal opening of the refurbished  UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Library.

GraziaA full description of the work which has been undertaken to deliver this fantastic new facility can be seen here.

There were three formal speeches to mark the official opening – from Grazia Mazotti, Ben Meunier and Jay Woodhouse.

The new layouts underline a number of principles which are embedded in the Library Strategy and UCL 2034.

First, the move from a traditional paper-based library to one which is geared more closely to responding to how University and NHS users actually need and use learning spaces. The provision of so much computer hardware, and the flexibilty of the desks in allowing this kit to disappear if the space is needed for more conventional learning, speak directly to the User Experience.

Jay and BenSecond, the new layouts illustrate the close partnership working that exists between UCL and its NHS partners. The library service in Child Health is a joint library service, offered equally to HE users and to the NHS.

Third, the new library layouts could not have been accomplished without partnership working between the Library and ISD in Professional Services. The sharing of a common vision for the future of UCL library and learning spaces helped to develop a first class vision for what shape the library service could take for HE and NHS users.

Finally, I would like to add my personal congratulations to everyone involved in this project, particuarly to library staff in Child Health and to the Library’s Buildings team. All have worked tirelessly to deliver a first-rate library and learning experience from which we will learn much, as we prepare for the delivery of the New Student Centre and 1,000 new learning spaces in 2019.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

PaulAyris25 October 2017

Visit by UCL Council

On 25 October 2017, UCL Library Services was honoured with a visit by members of UCL Council. The Council is UCL’s governing body, which oversees the management and administration of UCL and the conduct of its affairs, subject to the advice of the Academic Board on matters of academic policy. Council approves UCL’s mission and strategic vision and its long-term academic and business plans. Council delegates authority to the Provost, as chief executive, for the academic, corporate, financial, estate and human resources management of UCL.

DSC02332The visit started with a tour of the Cruciform Hub, led by Anna Di Iorio through a packed learning facility. Anna explained the philosophy behind the design of the Hub, the emphasis on digital delivery and the practice of 24-hr opening in this and other UCL spaces. The tour ended with Council members being able to meet Vikram Ajit Rajan Thirupathirajan, MBBS student Year 2, and to ask him questions about his use of the Hub.

The final part of the visit consisted of a presentation which I gave on the Library’s performance in delivering the Library Strategy, which can be seen here as Strategic Directions 15-18 for Council. I was able to show that the Library was on target to deliver 89 out of the 94 Actions which make up the Strategy by July 2018. In the discussion afterwards, Council asked about the % of total institutional budget devoted to support the Library; and the impact of UCL Press as the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press. Council members then left for the Council meeting proper, armed with gift bags which contained more information and handouts from UCL Library Services.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris22 October 2017

Library Strategy – Implementing the Future


The Library Strategy provides the framework for delivering the Library’s contribution to UCL’s 2034 Strategy.

At its meeting in September, the Library Leadership Team undertook a review of the Library’s progress in implementing the Library Strategy. This is done by looking at the Action Lines, 94 of them, in the 6 Implementation Plans which are designed to deliver the Library Strategy in the current Strategy period, which lasts until July 2018.

Progress is excellent and Library colleagues are making great progress in delivering what we said we could do.

Of the 94 Actions:

  • 55 Actions (or 58.5% of the Strategy) has already been delivered
  • 34 Actions (or 36.2% of the Strategy) are on target to be delivered by July 2018

So over 90% of all the Actions originally planned should be delivered by the end of the Strategy period. That will be a tremendous outcome and everyone in the Library should feel congratulated on a job being well done. A more detailed breakdown of performance can be found in the accompanying Performance analysis.*

All the Actions being delivered by the Leadership Team are important, but one that has resonated particularly in UCL as we start a new academic year is the delivery of new learning spaces. UCL Library Services, ISD and Estates invested over £1.5 million in 2016-17 to develop new learning spaces as part of UCL’s commitment to put the student experience first. In total, an additional 534 study spaces were opened during 2016-17 across UCL Library Services, mostly completed in summer 2017. The Great Ormond Street – Institute of Child Health Library was completely refurbished and transformed into a fitting learning environment for biomedical learning and study, open to all students at UCL. The new Student Centre, with 1000 digitally-enabled learning spaces, will come on-stream in 2018-19.

New Portico Doors

The Library Strategy, and the Implementation Plans which underpin it, are the doorway to the future of UCL Library Services. Our ambitions and hopes for our staff, students and academic researchers are encapsulated in what we say we will do. But this is not possible without the support of all colleagues across UCL Library Services.

So, a big thank you to everyone who has been involved in delivering the ambitions of the Library Strategy. It’s a great performance to date and I know that we have more good news to deliver in the coming months.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

* If you have difficulty in viewing the detailed analysis of Library Strategy performance, please view the attachment in Chrome or Firefox, or to “Save As” and open as a PDF.

The Director’s View: New reporting line for UCL Library Services

PaulAyris15 November 2016

The role of UCL Library Services in UCL 2034

The Library Strategy lays down that our Mission is to ‘Provide an information infrastructure to enable UCL’s research and education to be world class’. Through its professionalism and concentration on the ‘User Experience’, the Library does just this.

The Dome, Wilkins Building, UCL

The Dome, Wilkins Building, UCL

Nonetheless, UCL continues to improve its service offering and to introduce changes to support that development. On Monday, 14 November 2016, UCL introduced a change to the reporting line of the Library better to reflect the Library’s Mission as an academic support Division.

With immediate effect, the Library has been moved from UCL Professional Services to report to the Vice-Provost (Research). As Director of Library Services, I have been honoured with the additional role of Pro Vice-Provost , with a remit to:

  • develop UCL’s scholarly communications offering, building on the current successes of the Library’s Open Access activity, UCL Press and our research data management offering;
  • continue the Library’s activity in collection management and collection building, in both paper and digital formats; and to look for collaborations with other collections, both in UCL and further afield in London;
  • The Director of Library Services will continue to be an ex officio member of the UCL Senior Management Team

These changes reflect the success of the Library Strategy and the great visibility that our facilities and services have across the whole of UCL. They underline the strong, historic links between the Library and UCL’s activity in teaching, learning and research.

We will continue to enjoy collegial links with UCL Professional Services. I have been asked, for example, to carry on as co-chair of the Organising Committee for the UCL Professional Services Conference in February 2017.

These developments are not related to the TOPS programme as such, which nonetheless continues to be discussed across UCL. UCL planning will continue throughout the whole of 2016/17, and it is too early to be clear what shape TOPS will take institutionally.

I will continue to post news about this week’s change as the role develops. The Library is well placed to deliver on the agenda which has been offered to us. I look forward to working with colleagues to make all this a reality.

Paul Ayris

Pro Vice-Provost and Director of UCL Library Services


The Director’s View

PaulAyris7 November 2016

Library Operational Plan and headline budget 2017-2020

Every year, the Library is required to submit into UCL its Operational Plan for the next academic year and its budget requests for Strategic Initiatives Funding (SIF). Accompanying this is a set of financial projections and an overview of the Library’s strategic plan up to 2020.

Bartlett Library, Central House

UCL Bartlett Library, Central House

Today, Andy Pow and I have submitted these documents on behalf of UCL Library Services. The documentation can be seen as Library Planning 2017-20 FINAL submission 08 11 16 with Opening Hours bid for LibNet. It is 29pp long and has taken 2 months to put together…

The strategic priorities which the Operational Plan identifies are taken from the Library Strategy and the underpinning Implementation Plans. These are all grounded in the objectives of UCL 2034.

The result is an Operational Plan for the Library which is founded in the strategic objectives of the institution. It takes account of all the work which colleagues in the Library undertake every day, and also identifies strategic new areas where the Library wants to make a contribution.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all colleagues in the Library for their unfailing contributions to the high regard in which the Library is held across UCL. And my special thanks to the Senior Management Team and to the Leadership Team, for their support and guidance as the Library develops.

So, the Operating Plan has been submitted. Andy and I have still to defend it and to advocate for more resources in forthcoming meetings with senior UCL Officers. Whilst I am cautiously optimistic, we await the final result.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services

The Director’s View: UCL Library Services Strategy

PaulAyris10 September 2016

On Friday 9 September, the Library received 3 international visitors – from University Libraries in Auckland (New Zealand) and Melbourne (Australia). They visited because the work of the Library in UCL is increasingly well Cruciform Hub_0038known there, and they wanted to see how things are done.

In one of the sessions, I gave an overview of progress in implementing the Library Strategy and that presentation can be seen in UCL Discovery here. In the presentation, I looked at the 6 Key Performance Areas (KPAs) and illustrated how the Library was delivering on that agenda to support our users and UCL 2034.

One of the key performance areas is, of course, the User Experience. Here, I looked at all the scores which the Library has gained in external surveys, notably the NSS. The 2016 NSS scores were very good for the Library, with a satisfaction rate of 88%, the second highest score in the NSS for UCL in the 23 questions asked. In the Staff, Equality and Diversity KPA, I showed the Highly Commended citation for the Leadership Team in the 2016 THELMA Awards. For Finance, Management Information and Value for Money, we looked at SCONUL benchmark statistics to see how UCL fares compared to other Russell Group universities. For KPA4, Systems and Processes, we looked at our estates work and how we are linking our new learning spaces to increases in UCL student numbers. KPA5, on Sustainable Estate, looked at our plans for UCL Special Collections. The final KPA, Communications, Open Access and Outreach, noted the success of UCL Press and celebrated the Library’s new work in communications activity.

AnalysisAt the end of the presentation, I evaluated the Library’s progress to date as we are now halfway through the Library’s strategy period. The Implementation Plans, which underpin the Strategy, contain 90 Action Lines which are regularly reviewed by the Leadership Team. At our last meeting, we recorded that 8 of the Actions had been completed, 65 were healthy and ongoing (and so marked Green), 8 were awaiting development (Amber) and none had failed (Red); there are also 8 new Actions which have recently been added to the Plans. These figures are good, but in the remaining 18-24 months of the Strategy period the emphasis must be on turning Green Actions into Completed Actions. That is the sign of success.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services

The Director’s View: Leadership and Management Awards

PaulAyris24 June 2016

THELMA Awards: UCL Library Services’ Leadership Team

23 June was a significant day in more ways than one. It was, amongst other things, the date of the THELMA Awards for DSC00514Leadership and Management in UK Higher Education. Held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, the evening was a glittering occasion which was attended by 10 members of the UCL Library Services’ Leadership Team. The evening was compered by the comedian Jimmy Carr.

UCL came second in our category Outstanding Library Team – a fantastic performance. I was told afterwards that it was a wafer thin difference between UCL Library Services and the Award winner, University of Huddsersfield. UCL received the accolade of Highly Commended, which is very unusual. THELMA Awards usually only name the winner in each of the 17 categories of awards. However, UCL Library Services was one of only 3 institutions to receive the accolade of Highly Commended.

DSC00497It is a fantastic achievement for the Leadership Team, and indeed for the whole Library. It underlines that the Strategy we are pursuing, aligned with UCL’s 2034 Strategy, is the right one. Well done to everyone concerned.

Emboldened by this success, we intend to enter the THELMAs again next year – and then to go one step further.


Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services

The Director’s View

PaulAyris31 July 2015

UCL Library Services: UCL Institute of Education, Newsam Library and Archives

eXeXToday sees the production of the Report on the future alignment of activities and services in the UCL Institute of Education, Newsam Library and Archives, with the family of libraries in UCL Library Services.

The work has taken over 6 months and resulted in a 200-page Report, which can be seen here – IoE merger – Final Report-final version.

6 Workstreams and just under 50 members of staff have been involved in contributing to the Report. It is a fantastic achievement. The discussions have been lively, positive and 100% engaging. The result is a remarkable piece of work, which maps in great detail how the UCL Institute of Education, Newsam Library and Archives, will continue to grow and develop as a full member of the UCL family of libraries.

A big thank you to all who have contributed to the writing of this Report, not least to Rodney Amis our Project Officer who has co-ordinated all the activity and produced the splendid final version of the Report; and to Frances Shipsey who leaves us today for a new role at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Please do take time to take a look at the Report, and at what has been decided.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services

The Director’s View: Report to Library Committee (May 2015)

PaulAyris14 June 2015

Oettinger meeting

UCL Library Committee meets three times a year – we had our most recent meeting on 4 June 2015. One of the regular items on Library Committee agendas is a report from the Director of Library Services on the Library’s performance against the new Library Services’ Strategy.

After discussion in the Library Services’ SMT, we have agreed that I will circulate this Report to the LibNet Blog after Library Committee meetings, so that all colleagues in UCL Library Services can see the recurrent status reports. Please look here for the Director’s Report May15.

The circulation of this Report marks the inauguration of a monthly Blog posting to this Blog called ‘The Director’s view’. In these regular Blog postings I hope to share with colleagues my personal views on current developments in UCL, and how the Library can support them. Given my personal interests in Open Science, Open Access and Research Data Management, I hope to use these Blog postings to share with colleagues news on current developments in these areas on a global scale.

I welcome comments on these Blog posts and will do my best to reply to colleagues, time and my diary permitting.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services, UCL Copyright Officer and CEO of UCL Press