X Close

LibNet staff news



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:


We will continue to seek opportunities to develop new learning spaces. Library will benchmark provision against international competition.


£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)

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris10 August 2018

New Senior Management Team

The current Library Strategy has now formally been completed and a report on the Library’s success in achieving its objectives in the 94 Action lines will be presented at the next meeting of Library Committee.

The Library Strategy is currently overseen by the Leadership Team. The role of the Senior Management Team (SMT) is  different – to oversee the operation of the Library on a daily basis and to lead on policy development. The fantastic work of both teams was highly commended as part of the Library’s entry in the THELMA Awards for 2018.

The new Library Strategy is currently in the final stages of being developed and will be signed off by Library Committee in the first meeting of the new academic session. Feedback has suggested that some colleagues find the distinction between the Leadership Team and the Senior Management Team difficult to understand. You said, and we listened. So, for the coming Strategy period, the two committees will be merged into one. The revised Membership and Terms of Reference can be seen in the new set of SMT Terms of Reference.

SMT will continue to meet regularly as it is the primary policy-making group in the Library. Its actions and decisions set the framework within which initiatives and projects are progressed throughout UCL Library Services. Within UCL Library Services, it has ultimate responsibility for all the Library’s services and infrastructure. However, for 3 meetings a year, the SMT will become the Library Strategy Committee. In this form, it will oversee the preparation, communication, delivery and maintenance of the new UCL Library Services Strategy, which will set the Library’s overall priorities for the duration of each Strategy period.

The change to the new committee structure takes place on 1 September 2018. Please do not hesitate to ask me, or any member of the new SMT, if you have any questions.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Building a shared vision for UCL Library Services

Benjamin Meunier12 April 2018

Developing the next Library Strategy


When is the new strategy launching? The Library Leadership Team is starting to develop the new Library Services strategy for the next academic session.

 How to get involved… What we all do on a day-to-day basis delivers the high-level strategy. Without you, there would not be a service.

As part of the consultation process, KPA Leaders are keen to attend staff and team meetings over the coming weeks. Ask your manager to contact m.leggett@ucl.ac.uk to schedule a meeting for your team. You can also complete the quick, online survey. We will publish more information as the KPA Leaders prepare the outline for the new strategy.

Why having a strategy is important We’re good at what we do but we want to be better. Having a strategy helps to be clear on our collective objectives and move forwards. Planning our strategy is also an opportunity to learn from our competitors and friends.

How the Library Strategy relates to UCL 2034 UCL Library Services’ strategy focuses on the specific work the Library can undertake to support the long-term goals set out in UCL 2034. This in turn supports the university to achieve its vision.

Read more about UCL 2034

Library Leadership Team (follow the link to see who we are)

Complete the survey


Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris9 March 2018

Library Committee, March 2018

On 5 March, Library Committee met for its second meeting of the year. There were three items of substantive business – a report from me on progress in implementing the Library Strategy, an analysis of the ongoing work that the Library is pursuing in terms of collection management, and possibilities for future development of learning space provision across UCL Library Services.

My report to Library Committee on strategy implementation is available as a pdf file: PVP Report.  The Report is arranged under the 6 Key Performance Areas of the Library Strategy. At the meeting, I highlighted two or three issues for further discussion – future provision for the needs of research postgraduate students (PGRs), attainment in the ReadingLists@UCL service, and an overview of the results of the 2017 Staff Survey, with a note that a Working Group of Library staff is writing an Action Plan to accompany the findings, which will be presented at the next meeting of Library Committee.

My Report shows that the Library has been successful in a number of activities across the whole range of the Library Strategy. The biggest single challenge, which is also something to celebrate, will be the opening of 1,000 digitally-enabled learning spaces by this time next year in the New Student Centre.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris17 February 2018

New Student Centre

Friday 16 February 2018 saw the topping out ceremony for the new Student Centre. This tremendous building development is a pivotal objective of the UCL 2034 strategy and of the Library Strategy, which are designed to enhance the Student Experience and to provide an environment fit for education, research and outreach in the 21st century.

The photograph to the left shows the current state of the interior of the building. Topping out marks the fact that the building has reached its full height in terms of construction. No fitting out has yet been undertaken in the interior of the building. That comes next.

A large group of UCL staff, including members from the Library, joined the construction teams to celebrate the topping out ceremony. There were a number of speeches to mark the occasion led by the Provost and President of UCL, Professor Michael Arthur. The Provost spoke of the importance of the UCL 2034 strategy to deliver a first class student and research experience. The delivery of the vision contained in UCL 2034 is of fundamental importance for the future health and vitality of the institution as one of the great research universities of the world.

The topping out ceremony itself took the form of the Provost inscribing a concrete block with his name and title, which will now be secured into the structure of the building.

The Student Centre, when fully open this time next year, will mark a transformation for the service which the Library can provide to UCL students. The building will be operated by the Library and contain 1000 digitally-enabled learning spaces. There will be no paper provision in the building. Library collections will remain in the existing UCL family of libraries. If borrowed by the student they can, of course, be brought to the new Student Centre for personal use. The type of learning spaces the Library will provide is being closely modelled on the learning spaces which we already provide in the Cruciform Hub and in the UCL Institute of Child Health. These are in fact the model we aspire to for all UCL’s libraries.

One of the most striking things, which I noticed when I joined the UCL group for the topping out ceremony, is that the views from the top of the building are stunning. Pictured here is the view of Wilkins’ Dome in UCL and UCLH across the road in Gower Street. And the Student Centre will offer a new thoroughfare through UCL, helping to unite the campus and to bring a greater sense of community to staff and students on the site.

The opening of the Student Centre marks a very important development for the Library. It will transform the Student Experience and the way students use libraries and learning spaces across UCL. This will give us the opportunity to continue to re-think our existing library spaces and how they are used.

The topping out ceremony marks the start of a year of communication in and from the Library as UCL fits out the interior of the building and we plan for the full operation of the Centre. Ben Meunier this week gave an interview to CILIP, and there will be other interviews and national Newsletter articles to announce the birth of what is a major development in academic libraries throughout the whole country. It augurs well for a bright future for UCL students working in a cutting-edge building.

Paul Ayris


UCL Library Services

Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris18 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

Paul Ayris27 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

Paul Ayris25 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

Paul Ayris22 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

Paul Ayris15 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