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LCCOS staff news


News for colleagues within the LCCOS department.


UCL 2034 Progress Report

By Benjamin Meunier, on 4 December 2019

UCL has published the Progress Report 2019, highlighting some of UCL’s key achievements and steps towards realising the vision set out in UCL 2034. Highlights in this year’s report start with a Library Services initiative, the UCL Open megajournal as an example of academic leadership. You can see the review on the 2034 website at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/2034/progress-report-2019

Here’s a summary:

Principal Themes 

  1. Academic Leadership
    UCL Open’s Megajournal – The Constitution Unit’s role in a think-tank for Northern Ireland – Forming closer ties with the European Space Agency
  2. Integration of Research and Education
    Posters in Parliament – UCL’s 1000th Arena Fellow – the Bloomsbury Theatre and Performance Lab
  3. Addressing Global Challenges
    Antiretroviral treatment preventing the transmission of HIV – Developing a legal tool to protect refugees’ rights – Helping an indigenous community restore parts of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest
  4. Accessible and Publicly Engaged
    Public art at UCL – Growing community-university partnerships in East London – Building robots inspired by nature
  5. London’s Global University
    Working with Camden to drive innovation and social change – planning approval granted for new UK Dementia Institute – “Cosmic Coffee”
  6. Delivering Global Impact
    The RELIEF centre working to better integrate the forcibly displaced – Tackling chronic pain in children – Biogas project awarded Horizon 2020 funding

    Key Enablers

    1. Best Student Support – the Accommodation team’s Welcome programme
    2. Valuing our Staff – Welcome to UCL programme for onboarding new staff
    3. Financing our ambitions – an update from the It’s All Academic campaign
    4. Excellent systems – new UCL Staff Intranet
    5. Sustainable estate – Transforming the IOE
    6. Communicating and engaging – the #MadeatUCL campaign

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

By Paul Ayris, on 21 November 2018

UCL Library Services Strategic Operating Plan 2019-21

Every year, the Library is expected to issue a Strategic Operating Plan (SOP), drawing on the Library Strategy, which details what we will commit to deliver in the coming 3 years. The Strategic Operating Plan 2019-22 was duly submitted on Friday 16 November. Click on the link to read the whole document (43pp).

Every professional service, and every academic Faculty, has to submit a SOP each year. In this way, UCL can ensure that all the major activities undertaken across UCL are aligned with UCL 2034.  The Library SOP does not only acknowledge the importance of this institutional strategy. The new Library Strategy has also been very important in creating the framework for this strategic planning document. The new Library Strategy was approved by Library Committee earlier this term, following extensive consultation in the Library and across UCL, and will shortly be made available on the Library’s website.

There are 6 Key Performance Areas in the new Library Strategy and the SOP, and these are:

  • User Experience
  • Staffing, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Finance and Management Information
  • Systems, Collections, and Processes
  • Sustainable Estate
  • Communication, Outreach, and Open Science

There are 73 Actions identified in the Implementation Plans for the Library Strategy and these will be delivered and monitored by KPA leaders through the new Library Strategy Committee. So 2019 will be an exciting time as we implement a fresh wave of activity. But perhaps the most significant action identified in the SOP is the opening of the Student Centre in February 2019. Here is the picture that I took today (21 November). 1,000 digitally-enabled learning spaces will transform the learning experience of UCL students based in Bloomsbury. It will also enable us to re-think some of our existing learning spaces after the new Student Centre comes online. The new SOP rightly highlights the impact that this major new building will make on the Library and on the 3,000,000+ visits to library spaces that already happen each year, making UCL one of the most heavily used academic libraries in the UK.

Please feel free to share any comments on the SOP and the new Library Strategy, once published, so that these can be shared with the Library Strategy Committee and elsewhere.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

By Paul Ayris, on 17 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

By Paul Ayris, on 18 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)

UCL Special Collections opens new reading room in the Wilkins building

By Benjamin Meunier, on 23 November 2016

On Monday 21st November 2016, a group of Library Services staff and supporters including UCL academics and Professional Services staff celebrated the formal opening of a new reading room which will allow wider access to UCL’s rare books, manuscripts and archive materials for research and public engagement, supporting UCL’s distinctive Connected Curriculum.

Dr Paul Ayris said a few words to mark the opening of the reading room, sited at the heart of UCL. Paul highlighted that the project had delivered a high-spec space which UCL could be proud of. The opening marks a new phase in the history of UCL Special Collections, which started largely as a set of collections donated by the widows of early professors at UCL. Developments are afoot to establish permanent new bases for the treasures held in Special Collections, with a collaborative venture in partnership with Senate House Library and members of the federal university, as well as expansion facilities in future phases of UCL East. Paul congratulated all those involved in establishing the new reading room, and the party toasted the future of UCL Special Collections.

UC School pupils

As described in a recent tweet, the site where UCL Special Collections’ new reading room is located was once a playground for University College School pupils…

What’s in our Special Collections?

UCL’s collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books date back as far as the 4th century AD and cover a vast range of subject areas, notably: London, Social History, Latin America, Jewish Collections and the Orwell Archive – which is the most comprehensive body of source material for Orwell studies anywhere in the world.

A selection of Special Collections treasures were on show at the event.

A selection of Special Collections treasures were on show at the event.

Did you know?

  • Some of the earliest donations to the Library include the 4,000 books given by Jeremy Bentham in 1833.
  • We recently discovered the manuscript of a poem by Byron inscribed into Samuel Rogers’ The Pleasures of Memory (London, 1810).
  • The first major manuscript gift, a magnificent 13th-century illuminated Latin Bible, was presented by William Steere in 1859.
  • Sonia Orwell, George Orwell’s widow, chose UCL Library Services to house the precious manuscripts and notebooks of the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm.

The new reading room is located in the South Junction and is open weekdays from 09.00-17.00 with appointments to consult material between 10.00 and 16.00. The room can hold up to 8 readers at any one time.

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

By Paul Ayris, on 15 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

By Paul Ayris, on 7 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: Leadership and Management Awards

By Paul Ayris, on 24 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

By Paul Ayris, on 31 July 2015

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

Today 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.

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