Chris Banks Appointed Director at Imperial College London
After over five and a half rollercoaster years the time has come for me to move on from the University of Aberdeen to take up the post as Director of Library Services at Imperial College. I arrived in Aberdeen having spent over 20 years at the British Library, most of which immersed in the BL's Music Collections. That I ended up in Aberdeen was nothing short of a happy accident: I was first tempted there in January 2007 to talk about My Ladye Nevells Booke, a 16th century music manuscript acquired with HLF funding. Nine months later I was in post and with a massive project to oversee - The Sir Duncan Rice Library. In the meantime I had to "learn" all about HE libraries and Scotland could not have been a more welcoming and conducive place in which to do that. SCURL is truly collaborative and I know that SHEDL is seen with envy elsewhere in the UK. RLUK, too, has been hugely important in shaping my career and our profession. I feel enormously privileged in having had the opportunity to work with the BL and at Aberdeen and look forward to the next challenge at an institution which, whilst arguably (by some) is least in need of a "library" is one that still recognises the importance of "library" as essential in the student and researcher journey.
Collaborating to reduce costs and improve quality
Members of the “collaboration group” have been very productive over the past few months and a number of activities and collaborative developments are currently in progress.
With a focus on the principle of reducing costs and improving quality, an exchange of experience day will be held at the University of Liverpool on 12 September on the theme of “Doing better with less”. The event will help participating libraries to add to and evolve their portfolio of services and improve the quality of the provision within limited budgets while continuing to exceed student expectations.
Work is also in progress to investigate the feasibility of developing a management information dashboard approach to KPIs for Customer Service Excellence and other accreditations, building on a number of datasets and survey results which are already available but not easily accessible in a consolidated format.
A project proposal is currently being developed to engage an external consultant to carry out activity costings and workflow analysis on procurement and provision of materials “from reading list to (virtual) shelf”. It is intended that this project will assist member libraries in benchmarking and process review. If anyone is interested in finding it more about any of these activities, or is interested in contributing to the work of the group, please contact Wayne Connolly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Redefining the Research Library Model
Redefining the Research Library Model is now entering the third phase of activity, which explores the leadership role of the Library in supporting institutional research and the way in which this strategic role translates into service delivery. Following the event in May focused on the community response to the Ithaka S+R survey on the perceptions of researchers, this strand is being taken forward by the community event held on 1 July in Leeds to share ideas about our response to the challenges in the research environment and a survey which will collect information about activities going on in RLUK libraries to support research. This will give a picture of our perceptions and of our current range to practice to share good practice and inform thinking within member libraries.
In the final phase we will take forward the conclusions from the three strands to broaden our understanding of the implications for research libraries. This will help to highlight ways in which RLUK can support our members and will support the Board in setting priorities for the incoming strategic plan.
Our blog which holds all the papers issues so far is on the RLUK website at http://rlukrrlm.wordpress.com/.
Ethical and effective publishing
Individual members of the group have been active on RLUK's behalf over the last year, participating in the Finch group, taking an active part in the debate which it triggered off and helping members to respond to the policy changes which followed it. However, the group had not met formally since the ASPI campaign came to an end. A meeting took place in Manchester on June 3rd, with Phil Sykes chairing and the original membership of David Prosser, Anne Jarvis and Jan Wilkinson supplemented by new members, Susan Ashworth, Jill Taylor-Roe, and Simon Bains. John Robinson and Caroline Brazier have also recently become members.
The principal topic of debate at Manchester meeting was double dipping and how RLUK can prevent it from happening. The group is working on a stance for combatting double dipping for which it hopes to get membership approval over the summer. We also discussed future work on a variety of topics including: infrastructure for supporting Open Access; responses to the RCUK policy review and the forthcoming HEFCE consultation; gathering information about APCs, subscription prices and aggregate institutional expenditure with publishers; and the hardy perennial of securing sensible prices on big deals coming up for renewal.