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UCL Library Services “Highly Commended” in Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards

Benjamin Meunier22 June 2018

UCL Library Services gained recognition as an “Outstanding Library Team” in this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards, where UCL was highly commended. For 2018, the 10th anniversary of these national awards, there was stiff competition from other institutions, with 8 libraries shortlisted in 2018, including the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The winners were the White Rose Libraries Consortium (Universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield) for their collaborative work on a repository service (White Rose Research Online) and an online press. The consortium’s joint management of print holdings was also considered to be of national importance.


Senior managers, including the Provost and a number of Vice-Provosts, have shared their congratulations. Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research) said:

“Great recognition of the outstanding UCL library … Wonderful to know we have such a strong and respected division in UCL.”


There is cause for feelings of deja-vu – we were highly commended in 2016. This is UCL Library Services’ second accolade in 3 years from the THELMAs’ jury, recognising the quality and consistency of our service. Specific areas which were recognised in 2018 spanned work on the User Experience, Staffing, Equality and Diversity and Communication, Open Access and Public Engagement. Highlights included:

–  Increased the number of study places on campus by over 500 in the summer of 2017

–  Reached 65% of all taught courses on our ReadingLists@UCL service– the highest coverage rate amongst our research-intensive peers. We have grown our digital library to suit demand with Patron-Driven Acquisitions. Use of e-books increased by 45% in 2017!

–  Extended opening hours. We opened the Main Library throughout the Christmas period for the first time in 2017, and over 500 students were working in the library between Christmas and New Year

 – Our 11th annual Staff Conference explored the theme of Customer Service Excellence.

–  Exceeded 50 publications and 1 million downloads from UCL Press since its launch in summer 2015. That is an amazing achievement for a young Press, which is helping to re-define the meaning of academic publishing.


As noted in our submission to the awards, “UCL Library Services represents an outstanding community of professionals, dedicated to enhancing the user experience and developing new publishing models which open up the knowledge and wisdom of UCL research and teaching to a global audience”. This commendation is one which was earned through the collective strengths and hard work of colleagues throughout Library Services. So congratulations and we look forward to celebrating this achievement at the next Staff Conference in a few weeks’ time!

The Times Higher Education have provided the email signature below, which colleagues are welcome to append to signatures after their contact details:


The Director’s View: Leadership and Management Awards

Paul Ayris24 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