Oxford Union Society Library Strategy Committee - DOC

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					                     Oxford Union Society Library Strategy Committee
                              Minutes for Meeting – HT 2008
                       13th February 2008 – 10:15am Morris Room

     Present: Daniel Johnson (Library Committee Nominee), Rev. David Johnson
     (Library Committee Nominee), Su Lockley (Librarian-in-Charge), Emily Partington
     (Union President), Margaret Robb (Representative for Sarah Thomas), Ed
     Waldegrave (Junior Librarian), Christopher Walton (OLDUT Secretary), Lindsey
     Warne (Bursar), Philippa Warr (Library Graduate Trainee and Secretary), Fiona
     Wilkes (Nominee of Board of Curators), and Jeremy Worth.

     In the absence of the Senior Librarian the meeting was chaired by the Union

1.   Apologies

     Apologies were received from James Methven (Senior Librarian), and Amanda
     Saville (Nominee of Board of Curators).

2.   Membership

     Margaret Robb introduced herself to the Committee and the Committee members
     introduced themselves to her.

     Daniel Johnson tendered his resignation from Strategy Committee.

3.   Minutes and Matters Arising

     Item 4: the Librarian-in-Charge reported that the Bodleian library charges £12.50 for a
     six month membership but most colleges do not charge. Many college librarians felt
     that allowing external researchers to use library facilities provided an opportunity for
     good PR.

     Item 4: Christopher Walton clarified that the sale of the accessions registers took
     place as part of the Library book sale TT2001.

     Item 7: the Bodleian exhibition “Beyond the Work of One” is going ahead as planned.
     The Oxford Union Library contribution (the King & Country Debate cuttings book)
     was assessed for insurance which raised questions regarding the current insurance
     policy for the books in the library.

     The Bursar explained that the Union cannot afford to insure the entire collection at its
     true value, and that since some materials are irreplaceable for a number of reasons
     greater insurance would not actually provide greater protection of the collection.
     Fiona Wilkes confirmed that this was not an unusual situation for a library.

     The Chair asked whether it was worth creating a separate insurance policy for the
     book. Jeremy Worth suggested that instead of increasing the insurance the Union
     should increase the level of security. The Bursar proposed placing the book in the
     Oxfordshire Record Office where it could be maintained in appropriate storage and

     better protected from hazards such as fire. Fiona Wilkes agreed and pointed out that
     the material would still be accessible and could be better used to focus interest if it
     was only put on public display in the Union building for short periods of time.

     Jeremy Worth mentioned the possibility of using reproductions for display purposes.
     Daniel Johnson pointed out that some already exist. The Librarian-in-Charge also
     noted that digital images exist and have been submitted for publicity for the Bodleian

     It was decided that the Union should transfer the book to the Oxfordshire Record
     Office after the Bodleian exhibition.

     The minutes were passed.

4.   Library Staff Responsibilities

     The Librarian-in-Charge described the current staffing situation and gave a brief
     overview of current staff responsibilities as requested at the previous meeting (item 4,

     It was pointed out that in the intervening period the Deputy Librarian had resigned but
     that applicants for the post are scheduled for interview on Wednesday 20th February,
     2008. In response to a question from the Bursar the Librarian-in-Charge confirmed
     that the Deputy Librarian job description will not change.

5.   Library Strategy for Graduates

     At the previous Strategy Committee meeting (2007MT5) graduate Union membership
     was discussed; specifically efforts that the library could make to attract graduate
     students. The Committee was invited by the Librarian-in-Charge to review changes
     made thus far and offer any suggestions for further improvement.

     The Committee agreed that special provision should not be made for graduate
     students on research courses since the materials required would be too specialised and
     therefore too little used.

     Fiona Wilkes suggested that as there is currently not much support in libraries for
     those on Education courses such as the PGCE this could be an area for the Union to
     begin purchasing. The Junior Librarian warned that expanding the collection to
     incorporate entirely new subject areas could result in overstretching the library’s
     resources (in terms of both space and budget). Margaret Robb pointed out that PGCE
     and MBA courses are high intensity meaning that students tend not to stray from their
     immediate department and are unlikely to have enough free time to make Union
     membership worthwhile. She also noted that the Said Business School provides some
     college funding for MBA resources meaning that those libraries are better able to
     cover that subject area. As a result, Margaret Robb suggested the Union Library ought
     to keep to collecting in existing subject areas rather than branching into new ones.
     Fiona Wilkes disagreed since her experience was that readers would like better
     coverage of Social Science subjects especially with respect to taught course reading

     The Library will proceed by targeting graduate reading lists and assess levels of
     borrowing for these.

6.   Self Issue

     The previous meeting raised the possibility of introducing a self-issue system in the
     Union Library. The Librarian-in-Charge outlined the results of several visits to
     Oxford libraries which already use self-issue and gave estimated costs for installation
     (approximately £21,000) and maintenance (approximately £2,000 per annum). She
     also outlined problems a self-issue system may raise.

     It was agreed that there is currently very little demand for self-issue during library
     opening hours since there are rarely queues at the issue desk and there is very little
     free space for a self-issue kiosk in Library Reception.

     David Johnson pointed out that the physical layout of the Library combined with
     relatively few Union security staff and procedures would make setting up a viable and
     secure self-issue system very difficult.

     The Librarian-in-Charge explained that if the paper journals in the Goodman Library
     are replaced by electronic journals this would create more space for books. Increased
     borrowing would then necessitate some form of self-issue terminal and security
     provision in that part of the Library. Currently very few books and journals in the
     Goodman Library are borrowed or used so this is not a pressing concern, however the
     Committee was advised to keep it in mind for future discussion.

     The Committee agreed that the Union may have use for self-issue terminals and
     security in the future but that currently there is neither demand nor funding for such
     an endeavour.

7.   Facebook

     The Minutes Secretary described the Union Library’s Facebook site and its activity.

     Currently it is being used as to spread information about the library and its
     acquisitions. It also provides a user-friendly area which members can use to make
     suggestions or raise concerns they may have. There is a link to the Library pages on
     the official Union website and relevant applications such as WorldCat and JSTOR
     have been incorporated into the site.

     All full time library staff have administrative rights and have the ability to remove or
     deactivate comment sections if they are being abused.

     Usage of the site will continue to be monitored and adapted in order to increase
     member involvement.

     The President will ensure that information about the Facebook page will be included
     in the next bulletin.

8.    Book Conservation

      The Union Library was granted £10,000 by the Leathersellers’ Guild for book
      conservation work with the stipulation that it must be carried out at the Leather
      Conservation Centre, Northampton.

      Two conservators from the Centre have visited the Union and three priority levels set:

         1. (Highest priority) – Books about the Union, by the Union, about Oxford
            University, or by Oxford University.

         2. (Medium priority) – Books about travel.

         3. (Lower priority) – Political pamphlets.

      Current estimates suggest that all priority 1 books are able to be conserved. The
      Library will be better able to gauge the probable extent of conservation work when
      quotes from the Centre arrive.

      Following this work the Library will not be permitted to apply for financial assistance
      from the Leathersellers’ Guild for four years.

9.    OLIS Replacement

      Margaret Robb announced that OULS are still in the process of deciding whether to
      accept the new library management system VTLS. The final outcome of these
      discussions will be made public by the end of March, 2008.

      In addition to this OULS are working on creating a better and more user-friendly
      OPAC interface which combines OxLIP with OLIS. This should be operational by
      October, 2008 and is not dependent on whether VTLS is accepted or rejected.

      It was also confirmed that the Union’s library management system subscription
      (currently £1,200) will increase over the next three years regardless of the decision on

      Margaret Robb reassured the committee that staff training will be provided as and
      when it is needed and there would not be any problem transferring the Union’s
      cataloguing information to any new system.

      The Librarian-in-Charge asked whether the VPN service would still be operational
      since the Library depends on it for access to the library management system. Jeremy
      Worth said there were no plans to change this at present and that problems would only
      arise if OULS stopped issuing Union staff with University cards.

10.   Display Cases

      Jeremy Worth noted that the Ashmolean and Pitt-Rivers museums recently got rid of
      several display cases. The Treasurer will be informed and will be able to contact these
      museums in case there are any left which the Union could salvage.

      The Bursar reminded the Strategy Committee that glass display cases would be
      unsuitable as they are could constitute a Health and Safety risk.

      The placing of a display case was also discussed. It was noted that there is not much
      free space within the Library and that the other suggested sites such as the first floor
      landing needed to be kept relatively clear since they are in regular use. It was also
      acknowledged that without adequate climate controls these cases would be unable to
      regulate against fluctuations in temperature and humidity and therefore, if incorrectly
      placed, not suitable for displaying books or other material in the Library’s collection.

      The President suggested that a display case for the Union’s debating trophies would
      be useful and would not require these environmental considerations. The Bursar
      agreed and suggested that a trophy cabinet in the entrance to the debating chamber
      would be attractive to potential sponsors/donors. David Johnson pointed out that
      keeping the display case within the Library would provide greater security.

      Fiona Wilkes noted that before choosing a case it would be prudent to decide what
      was to be exhibited and for how long and base the choice of case on these factors
      rather than vice versa.

      The Bursar suggested a book sized display case rather than a full size display case as
      this would take up far less room. The Minutes Secretary suggested that if a book sized
      display case were chosen it could be placed on top of the Old Library fireplace as this
      would provide a steady base and also create an attractive centrepiece.

      The President suggested that the local museums may be able to offer guidance on the
      matter so contact details for the Ashmolean and Pitt-Rivers museums will be passed
      on to the Treasurer who will take up the matter.

11.   Matters Raised by Library Committee

      There were no matters raised.

12.   Any Other Business

      There was no other business.

13.   Date and Time of Next Meeting

      It was decided that the next meeting would be held in 5th week of Trinity Term 2008
      on Wednesday 21st May at 10:15am in the Morris Room.