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Oxford Union Society Library Strategy Committee Oxford Union Society Library Strategy Committee


									                    Oxford Union Society Library Strategy Committee
                             Minutes for Meeting – HT 2011
                       16th February 2011 – 2.15pm Morris Room

     Present: Hasan Ali (Junior Librarian), Will Chamberlain (Senior Ex-Librarian),
     Stephen Dixon (Senior Treasurer), Chris Flegg (Nominee of the Bodleian Libraries‟
     Director), the Rev. David Johnson (Library Committee Nominee), James Langman
     (President), Su Lockley (Librarian-in-Charge), Catherine Mackay (Minutes
     Secretary), Lauren Pringle (Librarian Elect), Ash Sangha (Ex-Librarian), Amanda
     Saville (Nominee of Chairman of Board of Curators), Christopher Walton (OLDUT
     Secretary), Lindsey Warne (Bursar) and Jeremy Worth (IT Officer).

1.   Apologies
     Apologies were received from Richard Hill (Library Committee Nominee), James
     Methven (Senior Librarian) and Fiona Wilkes (Nominee of Chairman of Board of
     Curators). In the absence of the Senior Librarian the meeting was chaired by the
     Senior Treasurer.

2.   Membership
     The Librarian-in-charge explained that the Librarian Elect, a new position in the
     Union, would now sit on this Committee. Chris Flegg was in attendance on behalf of
     Ruth Bird (Nominee of the Bodleian Libraries‟ Director). Christopher Walton
     reported that a new OLDUT Secretary, Nicholas Field-Johnson, had been appointed
     and agreed and that he would be taking over during March. The Senior Treasurer
     thanked Christopher Walton for his excellent and devoted service to this Committee
     and the Union as a whole for which he is owed a great debt of gratitude.

3.   Minutes and matters arising from previous meeting
       i.  Regarding the possibility of tours of the Union including the Chamber, the
           Bursar reported that although it was a possibility, the Chamber was often in
           use or still being tidied from an event the day before. Lauren Pringle asked
           whether the Chamber is usually locked. The Bursar confirmed this and said
           that a member of staff would be needed to show groups around.
      ii.  The Senior Treasurer noted that item 14 should read „Hilary term‟ rather than
           „Trinity term‟.
     iii.  Chris Flegg reported that she had enquired as to whether the new library
           system would work on Mac computers. She had been told it would not,
           although Jeremy Worth added that with some special software this would be
     iv.   Chris Flegg reported that many of the Bodleian libraries are now using Library
           of Congress classification for there new accessions. The Librarian-in-charge
           stated that this did not directly affect the Union library as it uses Dewey.
      v.   The Senior Treasurer asked if the possibility of joint meetings between
           Standing Committee and Library Committee had been considered or
           implemented. Hasan Ali stated that this would be difficult to work given the
           scheduling of Committees on Mondays and also unnecessary as there are
           members of Standing Committee who already report back on the decisions of
           the Library Committee.
     vi.   The Librarian-in-charge reported that the OLIS charges had now been set and
           that the charge for 2011-12 would be £2,743 and for 2012-13 it would be

             £3,767. James Langman asked what OLIS enables and the Librarian-in-charge
             explained that it enabled the staff to run the library. James Langman asked
             whether the library could consider setting up and running an independent
             system. The Bursar replied that this would not be feasible and the Librarian-
             in-charge and Chris Flegg agreed, saying that sourcing, implementing and then
             supporting a new system would be impractical and costly. Chris Flegg added
             that a lending library like the Union is very attractive to potential members
             compared to the restricted access policies at the Bodleian and college libraries.
             She also stated that these days libraries could not afford to be on a small,
             isolated library management system. Hasan Ali also noted that the Union‟s
             books being visible on SOLO was good for the profile of the library and the
             Union as a whole.

     vii.    The Rev. David Johnson noted that the library had been very busy with people
             working recently. Hasan Ali stated that the possibility of providing extra tables
             in the Old Library had been raised at Standing Committee. The Bursar stated
             that there were no spare tables in the building and that in her opinion there was
             not enough room for more tables in the Old Library. James Langman stated
             that there are other places to work around the Union.

             Hasan Ali stated that many people required numerous resources or to use those
             only available for use within the library. Will Chamberlain agreed and added
             that working in the Old Library meant you could be sure that the area would
             be quiet and that you were not going to be interrupted by a meeting. Catherine
             Mackay noted that the Goodman is often full of chairs making a bad first
             impression for those hoping to work in the there and restricting access. The
             Bursar agreed and stated that she was currently looking for a solution for the
             rather space voracious brown chairs.

             The Bursar asked if there are figures available for how many people are
             actually working in the building during the day and how many people more
             would be able to work in the library if more tables were found. The Librarian-
             in-charge said that there were figures, but that she did not currently have them
             with her. She also explained that there are currently 26 spaces to work in the
             library and that this could be increased to 30 if two more tables were made

     viii.   The Senior Treasurer asked whether the proposed one page report on the
             Union‟s finances had been prepared. The Bursar stated that this had not
             appeared. The Senior Treasurer asked the Committee whether one was still
             required. Christopher Walton reported that James Kingston had written a
             report on cost cutting in the Union, including the library but he stated that
             preparing a brief report half way through the year was of little benefit and that
             the consultant‟s forthcoming report on the library would be more useful. The
             Bursar explained that the budget across the Union had been severely cut, not
             just the library.

4.    Library Review
      i.    The Bursar reported that Elizabeth Chapman from the London School of
      Economics, whom she and James Kingston had met last term, would be reviewing the

     library, starting on 1 March. She and her administrative team will be working for 6
     days and producing a report at a cost of £7,000 plus expenses. This will not be
     charged to the Library budget. The Bursar also stated that there would be a benefit for
     the library as Standing Committee would be able to see clearly all that the library
     does. The Librarian-in-charge enquired as to whether a timetable for interviews had
     been formulated for during her visit, as for example, members of Library Committee
     and Strategy Committee would need to be involved. Lindsey Warne stated that the
     interviews would be organised by her on the first day of the review. In answer to
     Amanda Saville, James Langman stated that the deadline for the report was currently
     the end of Hilary term.

5.   Funding for Retrospective Cataloguing
     The Librarian-in-charge reported that there are currently 16,000 books not on OLIS.
     People cannot find these books and there are therefore not getting used. Previous
     experience has shown that cataloguing the historic collection can increase their use by
     8-10 times. The Library has put in a bid for funding to undertake retrospective
     cataloguing, particularly to fund the staff costs of the work.

     OLDUT kindly let the Library submit their application to the Pilgrim Trust, which has
     a history of funding this sort of activity, through them as it was necessary for the
     applicant to be a registered charity. The application submitted is for £42,000, half of
     what is needed for the remaining cataloguing work.

     The application was submitted on 18 January, and if it had been rejected then we
     should have already heard. It will take 4-6 months for them to assess the application
     so if the bid has been successful the Library should know by about June 2011.

     If a grant is awarded, the Pilgrim Trust will require photos, progress reports and a
     final report once the work has been completed. Amanda Saville noted that this
     application could be used as the basis for other applications in the future if
     appropriate. The Bursar stated that the Librarian-in-charge had done well to complete
     successfully a complicated application process.

     Christopher Walton stated that it was important that OLDUT was not asked to match
     any funding granted, as this was not possible and because OLDUT had already
     contributed to the library, for example by the Library refurbishment. He also
     explained that it is vital that fundraising for the Union is done in a consistent and
     integrated manner.

6.   Adopt-a-book
     i. The Librarian-in-charge reported that the library staff were interested in establishing
     an adopt-a-book scheme as a possible way of raising money for the cataloguing and
     conservation of some of the Union Library‟s historic books. A selection of books
     would be made and the amount of work they required assessed. They would then be
     advertised, for example on the website, with a description, photograph and price tag
     and donors would be invited to make a contribution towards the work on one or more
     of these books.

     The Rev. David Johnson, the Senior Treasurer and Christopher Walton expressed
     concern about the suitability of such a scheme in the context of libraries and in

     particular in the context of other fundraising efforts in the Union. The Librarian-in-
     charge explained that such schemes already exist, for example at the British Library
     and at various University libraries. The Senior Treasurer commented that it would be
     worth a try seeing as there is a precedent elsewhere.

     Chris Flegg added that it might be of interest to people outside the Union or even
     outside Oxford who simply liked the idea of having their name inside a book at the
     Union Library.

     The Librarian-in-charge added that there are currently limitations to the website which
     mean it cannot take payments and that the donation process would have to be easy to
     encourage people to do it. The donations would also need to be taken through a
     registered charity to be able to receive giftaid on them, something which is not yet
     possible. The Senior Treasurer reported that a “Friends of the Oxford Union” would
     soon be set up, which would make this giftaid possible.

     Members of the Committee were worried about the cost and time implications of
     setting up a scheme. However, Amanda Saville commented that once the scheme had
     been set up it would require little work and was worth it for the money which could be
     brought in. The Bursar agreed, saying that the set-up cost was not huge, after which it
     could just sit on the website.

7.   Booklet on the History of the Union
     Catherine Mackay reported that her Graduate Trainee project would be to write a
     short booklet on the history of the Union to sell alongside the booklet on the Old
     Library murals currently available to buy in Library Reception and on Amazon. She
     showed the Committee the sort of format she was planning and also the explained the
     content she is hoping to include, for example the development of the institution and of
     its buildings over the years. She hopes to include photos of the Union and perhaps
     plans of the buildings and through research in the Stack and in the archives, is hoping
     to find content not previously written about in histories of the Union.

     The Committee offered useful advice on other available materials, including books
     and existing photos of the Union and were very encouraging about the project.

8.   IT Report
     The IT Officer, Jeremy Worth, reported that the implementation of Aleph, the new
     library management system, is on schedule and it is due to go live in July. Alongside
     this the Bodleian is in the process of transferring books to the new Book Storage
     Facility in Swindon. On 14th January 2011 the Bodleian reported that the millionth
     book had been ingested into the warehouse.

     Jeremy Worth also reported on a Google project to scan the sheet music of the

     In a wider University context he reported that the university would soon be switching
     to a VOIP telephone system. He also reported that the mobile Oxford website,
     available at had been a great success and had won awards in its field. The
     Union is not currently on it but this might be worth investigating.

      Jeremy Worth reported on the recent problems with the wireless network within the
      Union. He suspects this instability is due to the hardware in the Union not being able
      to cope with the recent increase in speed of the broadband connection. The Bursar
      suggested setting the routers to reboot once an hour but James Langman pointed out
      that this would be very inconvenient when using the VPN connection. Jeremy Worth
      suggested asking the supplier to downgrade the connection, which would slightly
      decrease speed but make the wireless more stable.

      The Union‟s new website is now complete and is expected to go live very soon.
      Issues to do with collecting payments online have now been sorted out with the Bank.

      There are problems with the computers in the Goodman library but the Union cannot
      currently afford to upgrade them. The Bursar emphasised that it is important that these
      computers remain as they provide internet access for non-University members who
      are not allowed to use the Sunrays in the Library Reception. The Librarian-in-charge
      added that the Goodman library is also open at times when Library Reception is not.

9.    News from The Bodleian Libraries
      Chris Flegg explained that the book moves to Swindon were on schedule and there
      were currently 1,040 boxes arriving each day to be barcoded at Osney. Another shift
      has been added for staff at Swindon to speed up ingestion but the speed depends on
      the type of material being moved. The current failure rate on retrievals is below 1%
      which is good.

      She also explained the transition of library management system from Geac to Aleph,
      which is supported by ExLibris. The entry point for readers will remain via SOLO but
      the staff interface will be changing. Extensive staff training for the new system will
      begin next month. Data has already been successfully migrated to the new system and
      it is scheduled to go live in July. There will be a period where neither system is
      available, whilst Aleph is implemented. This is currently scheduled to be between 8th
      and 18th July. A “Just in Time” team had been established to help locate other copies
      for readers to use of items either in book moves or unable to be retrieved during the
      down time. The Librarian-in-charge explained that this might increase demand for
      certain items at the Union Library.

10.   Matters Raised by Library Committee
      The Rev. David Johnson emphasised the importance of prioritising the purchasing of
      more changeable subjects for example Law and the Sciences and Travel. The
      Committee agreed.

11.   Any Other Business
      i.      The Rev. David Johnson asked for clarification regarding the Senior Librarian.
      The Senior Treasurer reported that the Senior Librarian had offered to resign but had
      been asked to wait until a replacement is found as it is important for the library and
      for the Union to have someone in the post who has an overview of the situation,
      particularly at this important time for the Library. He explained that OLDUT have
      someone in mind for the position and that the Trust is now taking more active steps to
      find a replacement.

      ii.     James Langman asked if the Library Committee was now content with the
      situation regarding the newspapers. The Librarian-in-charge said that the Committee
      was still disappointed that only two newspapers were available for members to read in
      the library.

12.   Date and Time of Next Meeting
      It was decided that the next meeting would be held in 5th week of Trinity Term 2011
      on Wednesday 1st June at 10.30 am in the Morris Room.


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