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Wellbeing Champions update: UCL LaSS Library

Sharon AJames16 May 2019

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs that UCL Library Wellbeing Champions will be writing about the work, ideas and events that they have been involved in or created. This update highlights some of the initiatives Jon Siah and I have taken at the UCL Language and Speech Science Library since attending training in early 2018. This involved completing the one day Mental Health First Aid for HE course followed a few weeks later by a day of Health & Wellbeing Champion training. Since then, along with other Library Wellbeing Champions, we have also attended the UCL Wellbeing course Suicide: Spotting the Signs.

Therapy dog Indiana Bones qualifying as a Wellbeing Champion

As Wellbeing Champions we help UCL staff and students by using our listening skills and signposting relevant services or resources. We also regularly take part in Wellbeing meetings and events. For example, Jon and I helped facilitate two ‘Life, Work, Balance’ sessions at the Library Staff Conference in 2018 and I also created posters and distributed resources at the Marketplace Stall during the lunch period.

Jean and Yinka keeping cool at the 2018 Library Conference on Wellbeing

In the weeks beforehand I liaised with Library Finance to acquire funding for fans and then sourced and ordered them for the Marketplace Stall. These were distributed to conference attendees to help with their wellbeing over the course of a long and very hot day.

We also regularly update the LaSS Facebook and Twitter accounts with wellbeing information and have emailed Liblist with resources such as the Sleepio and Silvercloud apps. For LaSS staff, we held a fun Wellbeing Crafternoon at the end of last year using a craft pack ordered from Mind. At this Christmas-themed event, the team were able to relax and catch up with one another while creating handmade decorations for the library.

Photo from the Halloween Wellbeing walk

Another successful event was the Halloween Wellbeing walk arranged by Jon which started at Brunswick Square and ended at Gray’s Inn Walks with a large attendance of nearly 40 people from all over UCL.

Wellbeing Corner at LaSS 

Most recently we have developed a Wellbeing Corner in the LaSS reading room for library users. This features a noticeboard covered in information such as how to manage stress and exams and the contact details of the UCL Student Psychological and Counselling Services and Student Support and Wellbeing. In holders underneath we have placed helpful leaflets, a laminate with advice on how to cope with panic attacks, copies of a local walking map, and coloured pencils and home-made colouring books.

Wellbeing Corner also has a selection of newly purchased self-help books that include guidance on how to deal with anxiety, low self-esteem, OCD, eating disorders, depression and insomnia. We sourced these from a reading list originally created by Teaching & Learning Services for the School of Pharmacy’s Wellbeing section: http://readinglists.ucl.ac.uk/lists/B89CADDC-EEF1-9C7C-2991-E1BEA2F44BC0.html  As well as these books some additional ones were bought and we are hoping this new collection will be helpful for students and staff. Please feel free to come over and have a look at Wellbeing Corner and borrow the books.

At the moment LaSS Library is involved in the Wellbeing Steps Challenge despite our team being called (accurately in my case!) ‘On Our LaSS Legs’. If you’re taking part I hope you’re enjoying it and a big thank you to Laurie McNamee for doing the organising.

For those interested in reading more about the UCL Wellbeing Champion role please go to: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/human-resources/health-wellbeing/wellbeingucl/get-involved/become-wellbeing-champion

Alma and related changes – update

MargaretStone3 September 2018

Further to the earlier email to library staff, here are the updated dates for the changes to Alma and related services.

Changes to loan periods and loan allowances

These will be communicated on the existing public web pages by Monday 10 September.  Details are available in the LibNet Alma FAQ.  Please check in particular those FAQ marked NEW or UPDATED.

Service outages between 5-10 September (e.g. no self service, no laptop loans, no access to MyAccount).

An updated news item has been published on the library website.  It is expected that Alma will go live by midday on 10 September.

Move to new Explore interface

New mobile-friendly interface, pointing to Alma, will go live on 10 September.  A news item about the new Explore interface was published on 24 August.

Change to databases page

The databases interface will contain the same information but be provided by LibGuides rather than MetaLib.  Scheduled for switchover on 10 September.  No change to existing URLs.  Public information on MetaLib replacement is available.

Move from SFX to Explore services

SFX links from third-party databases are being updated with links to an integrated Explore service.  SFX links will continue to work for a few months, to provide continuity.  Described in the news item about Explore from 24 August.

Changes to Explore login, including new passwords for non-UCL library members

Login to the new Explore interface will change from 10 September.  Details are available in the LibNet Alma FAQ.

Changes to library accounts for UCL members with multiple UCL statuses

Alma will merge library accounts into one, for UCL members who have multiple statuses, e.g. are both staff and student.  Users will receive the highest privilege level, and will be able to use any of their UCL identities to access their single account (userid for Explore and barcode for self-service).  If any issues arise, please refer the user to the library Membership team in the first instance.

Changes to study space bookings pages

The current study space booking system, which is based on Aleph, was closed down on Friday 31 August.  We are working with ISD on the replacement system, but unfortunately it is not available.  In the interim, study spaces will be available as first-come, first-served, and the existing web address will show the information about study spaces without any booking links.

Digital library service changes for library users

MargaretStone28 August 2018

Alongside the Alma project, there are some imminent changes which affect library users, which I’d like to summarise here.  Communications through our web interfaces have begun and will continue over the next few weeks.  If you have any queries, please contact the Digital Libraries Team on their usual address.

Changes to loan periods and loan allowances

These will be communicated on the existing public web pages on Monday 3 September.  Details are available in the LibNet Alma FAQ.  Please check in particular those FAQ marked NEW or UPDATED.

Service outages on 3 and 4 September (e.g. no self service, no laptop loans, no access to MyAccount).

A news item will be published on the library website in the week commencing 27 August.

Move to new Explore interface

New mobile-friendly interface, pointing to Alma, will go live on 5 September.  A news item about the new Explore interface was published on 24 August.

Change to databases page

The databases interface will contain the same information but be provided by LibGuides rather than MetaLib.  Scheduled for switchover on 3 September.  No change to existing URLs.  Public information on MetaLib replacement is available.

Move from SFX to Explore services

SFX links from third-party databases are being updated with links to an integrated Explore service.  SFX links will continue to work for a few months, to provide continuity.  Described in the news item about Explore from 24 August.

Changes to Explore login, including new passwords for non-UCL library members

Login to the new Explore interface will change from 5 September.  Details are available in the LibNet Alma FAQ.

Changes to library accounts for UCL members with multiple UCL statuses

Alma will merge library accounts into one, for UCL members who have multiple statuses, e.g. are both staff and student.  Users will receive the highest privilege level, and will be able to use any of their UCL identities to access their single account (userid for Explore and barcode for self-service).  If any issues arise, please refer the user to the library Membership team in the first instance.

Changes to study space bookings pages

The current study space booking system, which is based on Aleph, will be closed down on Friday 31 August.  We are working with ISD on the replacement system, but there is a chance it may not be fully functional from 3 September.  In that case, study spaces will be available as first-come, first-served, and the existing web address will show the information about study spaces without any booking links.

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 

Customer Service Group UK (CSGUK)

BreegeWhiten31 October 2016

CSGUK formed in April 2012, although it was originally called the ‘M25 Customer Services Group’ because it was affiliated with the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries (a group representing member Libraries across the South East). In the summer of 2014 the group was renamed CSGUK and it became independent and national.

CSGUK is not a formal membership organisation but a group supporting professional development, collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst all levels of colleagues providing customer services within Libraries. However, it does have a formal structure for delivering its resources, news and events. There is a steering group and four task groups: Communication, Benchmarking, Events, and Resources. I am a representative on the Communication task group, and Rachel Nelligan is a representative on the Benchmarking task group. Our roles involve meeting up with our groups at least once per term, and working on CSGUK tasks.

UCL recently hosted the Communications task group meeting, where six colleagues from across the UK met up for the day, to overhaul the CSGUK communications. This included devising a communications strategy, focusing on communication channels (including social media and the web page), communicating with all levels of customer service staff working in UK libraries, and communication for the upcoming conference.
Every year the CSGUK organises a Customer Service conference, and this year the theme is ‘Equipping Customer Services staff to provide accessible and inclusive services’. It takes place on Monday 28th November, Woburn House, and is open to all levels of library staff (see below for details).

As UCL Library Services is currently working towards the Customer Service Excellence accreditation, I would encourage Library staff to engage with the CSGUK website for ideas sharing, best practice, bench marking and practical tools, or apply to attend the conference!

CSGUK conference in November 2016:
http://www.customerservicesgroup.co.uk/events

Customer Service Excellence accreditation website:
http://www.customerserviceexcellence.uk.com/

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.

Summer changes at the Newsam Library

BernardScaife1 October 2016

It’s been a hectic summer for us here in the UCL Institute of Education library. We have been transformed with lots of new improvements and services introduced. We start the new academic year with some real post-merger achievements – notably the use of one card rather than two to access the library and one computing account for students rather than two. You can imagine jusy how much easier that is making our lives. Here are some of the other highlights:

Our newly configured Welcome Point has modernised our front-of-house to make a much better impact on viewing the library from the IOE’s main foyer. Note the backlit UCL branding sign on the front panel of the desk as well as the easy identification of the library by its full name “Newsam Library and Archives” for the first time since I’ve been working here.

20160930_122201

Removal of the issue desk has really opened up the entrance space and allowed us to reconfigure our self service machines in a cluster. The bespoke white book boxes were provided as part of the desk refurbishment project. Our staff have done fantastically well to adapt to the new service model and it all seems to be working very well.

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We also introduced self-service reservations based upon the model in use at other UCL library sites.

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As well as only having one computing account to contend with, we have been able to ditch our old troublesome photocopiers which were end of life and have introduced multi-function devices (MFDs). The students seem to have taken to these like a duck to water.

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Yet another major project over the summer was the migration from SirsiDynix Symphony to the Aleph system. This also allowed us to embed our catalogue and resources within Explore and means that we can now search across all the UCL libraries – a great one stop shop for our students. Below is a picture of some of the Explore machines which replaced our ageing and sluggish Mac OPACs.

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Last but not least, we are almost there with laptop loans. The hardware is installed and in a week or two we should be ready to go. It is already drawing comments from people who are wondering what it is. When you explain, you can see how impressed users are.

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I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in these projects across UCL Library service. If you are passing, do drop in and see the changes for yourself.

Science Library Roof Works

JayWoodhouse2 September 2016

As some of you may have noticed the Science Library is currently wrapped in scaffolding. This is to provide access for much need roof repair works that will be starting on Monday 5th September. The scaffolding has taken some time to erect as they have only been working at the weekend to minimise disruption to the summer schools and graduations.

As part of the works the contractors, Sykes & Sons, will be applying a roof overlay treatment (liquid plastic) and this can create odours. The new fresh air intake/ AHU unit are located on the roof where the contractors will be working, so there is a potential for the odour to enter the building. The Project Team have reviewed the COSHH data sheets for the product being used and the substance is not harmful. However, if you detect or have reported to you any odour in the Science Library over the next month, please report this immediately to the Buildings Team via lib-buildings@ucl.ac.uk and we will review the way this element of the work is undertaken.

The roof repair works will be completed before the start of term. Some of scaffolding will not be removed until after this date, again the scaffolders will only be working weekends. The scaffold blocking part of the Science Library main entrance will be removed before the start of term.

During the duration of the works the contractors will be accessing the roof via room 416. This is to limit disruption in the reading rooms as the main roof access goes via the Engineering Reading Room. Please ensure that both rooms 417 & 418 are locked after use. Keys are available form Security at the Library entrance.

Explore: Citation Trail

SarahVincent18 July 2016

Later this week, we’ll be starting a month-long trial of some new functionality in Explore. The Citation Trail is intended to improve resource discovery for users by making it possible to look up an article’s citations/cited-by information without leaving Explore – probably a familiar process for anyone who has used Web of Science or Google Scholar.

How does it work?

On some article-level results, the two buttons highlighted below will appear:

result-level

Selecting the ‘Citations’ button will return a list of articles cited by the first article:

cited-by

Selecting the ‘Cited by’ button will return a list of articles that cite the first article:

citing

For a better idea of how it’ll look in action, see this short video from Ex Libris.

Things to note: 

  • The list of citations/citing articles may not be complete – this functionality is not intended to replace subject-specific, bibliographic databases and shouldn’t be relied upon for comprehensive literature searching. There will be a note about this at the top of the results screen, which we can re-word or emphasise as necessary
  • We may not have full-text access to all results returned by following the citation trail – please encourage users to check the full-text indicator highlighted in the screenshot above. For these results, clicking the ‘Services’ tab will redirect the user to an SFX page with links to ILL services and union catalogues
  • The citation buttons will only appear for some article-level, online content
  • The citation data itself comes from CrossRef – more information about how it is generated can be found here

We’ll be calling for feedback about this feature in mid-August, but if you have any thoughts/questions/suggestions before that or would like to pass along any user comments, please do so by emailing digital-library-support@ucl.ac.uk.

Focus on Customer Service Excellence

Peter JDennison9 June 2016

In my new role as Head of Customer Service I am responsible for the strategic development and delivery of excellent customer service across UCL Library Services. I lead the Customer Service Teams for the Main and Science Libraries and Evening & Weekend Services and I also work closely with the Head of Site Library Services, the Head of Liaison and Support Services plus the Librarians at IOE and SSEES. My remit also includes Welcome Services, Enquiry Services, ILDS and Store Delivery and Service Operations.

The User Experience KPA of the Library Strategy has a section entitled ‘Partnership with students and other users’. Its goal is to: Deliver public services with consistent excellence and, increasingly, at the point and time of need; raise the satisfaction of BME users with the Library, so that it equals or exceeds overall user satisfaction.

Obtaining the Customer Service Excellence Standard is an objective of the current Library Strategy.

Customer Service Excellence (CSE) is designed to operate on three distinct levels: Picture1
1. As a driver of continuous improvement.
2. As a skills development tool.
3. As an independent validation of achievement.
CSE Standard: Cabinet Office, 2010

We have been fortunate to have a Graduate Trainee (Fiona Whelan) work with us from January to May this year. Fiona’s work culminated in a comprehensive report covering Customer Service Excellence and User Experience in UCL Library Services.

The report details the Customer Service Audit which Fiona carried out at all of our 18 Libraries and during her travels Fiona was able to inform staff about the CSE Standard and ensured that they were involved with this project from the start. She was also able to audit the Library Service against the CSE criteria in order to identify any gaps or problem areas.

A further piece of work which Fiona took forward was the development of a draft Service Charter. This has been shared with Library colleagues across all Library Services sites and feedback has been welcomed and incorporated into subsequent drafts. Focus Groups were run with students to establish perceptions of customer service within UCL Library Services and to obtain feedback on the draft Service Charter. You can find the draft Charter on LibNet and we are still happy to receive feedback on the Service Charter until 1 July after which it will be taken to the next meeting of Library Committee for ratification.

Finally, a small but innovative User Experience (UX) Project has been run utilising ‘speaking boards’ as an alternative method to obtain user feedback. Boards were placed in the Main and Science Libraries and Cruciform Hub asking users what they thought of 24/7 opening in the library. A3 posters were also used at LaSS, IOE, Bartlett and Royal Free for the same purpose. This project had an immediate impact and elicited much feedback – not all related to 24/7 opening! Lessons have been learned from this Project such as the importance of linking the physical boards with social media (eg Twitter polls) and of responding to user feedback via ‘You said….We say’ notice boards.

Fiona’s work has been invaluable in kick-starting our focus on CSE. We are now initiating the project and will seek accreditation in 18 months’ time. In order to maintain momentum the Service Development Group, chaired by Ben Meunier as Assistant Director (Public Services), will become the CSE Steering Group from August with a revamped membership. It is currently proposed that five Task and Finish Groups will be established covering:

• Standards and Policies
• Service Improvement
• Staff
• Performance
• Communication

I would like to thank Fiona Whelan for her inspiring report and also Breege Whiten for supporting Fiona and for her ongoing commitment to Customer Service Excellence.

This is an exciting initiative for the whole of UCL Library Services to be involved in, and it will require input from all parts of the service. I look forward to working with you and to channel the enthusiasm which we have seen from all parts of Library Services around Customer Service Excellence. I will be in touch in the near future with regular updates on our progress.