Although it's a little late to be offering New Year good wishes I do so sincerely hoping that you are still feeling the benefits of the Christmas break despite the pressures we are all under at this time of year.
Over the past month, David, Mike, Melanie and I have been working up the notes from the Board's away day into a draft of the RLUK strategic plan for discussion at the February Board meeting. I am confident of robust discussion which will shape and improve the document further. The Board's December discussions were informed by feedback from RLUK Directors on the current plan and in particular comments on current key concerns. I am very grateful to all Directors for taking the time to do this.
At the March Members' Meeting in York there will be an opportunity to discuss the proposals at a workshop on the afternoon of Thursday 20 March prior to the main meeting on Friday. Your views and ideas will add significant value to the new strategy and will ensure that it is relevant to all the libraries in the RLUK community, so please make sure both the workshop and the main meeting are in your diary.
Work continues on the new website. Melanie is leading on this project, working closely with the web designers Rippleffect. We want to transform communications within the RLUK community making it easier to manage projects and share news and ideas. The design process is taking longer than anticipated and we apologise for that. The website will be released in three phases over this year, and we look forward to launching the first phase at the end of February.
You will all be aware that David, Mike and Melanie have constructed their own RLUK monthly odyssey, visiting each of the 34 member libraries. The visits provide an opportunity for RLUK staff to interact with a wide spectrum of library staff and to understand the challenges around service delivery from those directly involved with students and researchers. The first visit for the New Year was to UCL. David, Mike and Melanie would like to thank Paul Ayris and his senior team for an excellent day of discussions covering the library's current and future strategic priorities including the new Cruciform Hub building, which will house the life and medical sciences collection, and plans to develop the UCL Press to better support UCL's research agenda.
I gate-crashed the next day's visit to the Wellcome Library and enjoyed the opportunity to hear about ambitious plans for digitisation of medical printed texts as well as seeing progress with the major building work the library is undergoing. We also discussed the open access agenda, subscription prices, the library's open source 'digital asset player' and much more besides! Thanks to Simon Chaplin and his staff at the Wellcome Library and to all the other Libraries that have already hosted a visit. If you have any suggestions as to how we might squeeze even more value out of them please do pass comments back to Melanie.
Finally, a reminder to book early for the March meeting. It would be good to have a full house in York.