Working group updates

I thought it was about time I wrote something more about the work of the groups I’ve been part of during this academic year. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m currently in a group looking at using new technologies to communicate with our users/stakeholders, and also I was a member of the group tasked with looking at the use of space in the library building.

This latter group (known here as the Space Group) has now been disbanded, because we’ve now finished the projects we were asked to complete. We were asked to plan and implement a new ‘model’ creative space in the library, as well as extended the quiet study area. The creative space didn’t present us with too many problems, although our original suggestions of where to have this space and what to do with it in terms of decor were mostly rejected by the management team, so we ended up being told where to put the space and the implementation of the new creative space really just consisted of getting furniture moved round. When we first set up the space, it  looked more inviting and conducive to group and creative work, and we saw people using the space for this purpose, which was gratifying. However, since then, the space has been used for lectures, so all the furniture has been moved and not put back how we originally wanted it to be set out, so the “creative” space has really become no different from any of the other areas of the library.

The quiet study area presented us with a few more problems. As with the creative space, our original suggestions of where to situate the extended quiet study area were eventually rejected,  and we were asked to make the whole of one floor a quiet study area. This has presented various problems, not least there being a massive (deliberate) hole between a noisy floor and the quiet floor, so it’s impossible to keep the quiet area quiet, although as more people have got used to the space being a designated quiet zone it has got progressively quieter and, on the whole, easier to manage.

Although the group was asked to disband, we were then asked to evaluate the use of the space and how well we think we completed the tasks we were set. So, for the past few weeks library staff have been counting how many have been using the quiet zone, and the group have asked for and recorded feedback from library staff. Really, we needed to have a better mechanism in place for evaluating how the space is being used and also for getting feedback from students, but time and resources did not allow for this. So, we will present our report to the library managers and see what happens then.

The communication group is continuing, and things, on the whole, are going quite well. The number of followers of our Twitter feed continues to grow, and the university bookshop now has its own Twitter account as well. The library’s Twitter feed has proved really useful for informing people about various problems we’ve unfortunately experienced over the past few months, and for communicating with people who might not otherwise have engaged with library services. The pilot of the Twitter account has been extended until Easter, when we will need to submit our evaluation document to the library managers. We (well, our chairperson, mainly) have been gathering both quantitative and qualitative evidence in preparation for this, and I have foolishly volunteered to draft the report.

Since late last year, I’ve again become a member of the group that looks after documentation (printed guides and leaflets) and the library webpages. I’ve had some training on SharePoint Designer, and recently I’ve been re-getting to grips with making changes to web pages and adding items to the library news box.  We’re planning some changes to the library web site which should (hopefully) make it easier for people to find information, so I’m looking forward to seeing those come to fruition.

In other news, I have 90 boxes of donated books to catalogue – but only once I haven’t got anything else to do…so it could be a while before they get done…


A little note…

…to say that all the theology books are now catalogued, processed, spine-labelled and on the shelves; thanks mainly to all my lovely unofficial assistants who did lots of the processing and spine labelling and some of the cataloguing. 🙂

Too many books?

Book pile I like books, but sometimes I think you probably can have too many of them in one place. Like in our office at the moment, for example. We have books from the theology library stacked on the top of the cupboards waiting to be catalogued. We have books in boxes, just arrived from the suppliers. We have  fresh books on the shelves, waiting to be invoiced and added to stock. We have old, manky books that need to be thrown out, waiting for liaison librarians to assess them. We also have exciting non-book items, such as CDs, packs of learning materials and puppets, waiting to be catalogued and processed, as well as an inordinate number of children’s books containing crocodiles and wolves, for some reason. (There is also a book that includes a wolf finger puppet, which is quite cool.) When we’ve finished with all these books, more will arrive to take their places.

I’m feeling a bit better about it this week, but last week I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of cataloguing there is (and will be) to do. This year, it’s not the ordered books that have been a problem in terms of their number – we’ve been able to keep on top of them so far. It’s more the number of donated books, which really haven’t come at a good time as this is the time of year when most of the ordered books come in! However, we got the most recent batch all processed while the library management system was offline for an upgrade last week, so that was good, as this takes longer than the cataloguing in some cases. So, now I’m ploughing through them and trying not to think too much about how many more there are to arrive!

It’s good to be busy.


Yes, it’s that time of year again, when our office starts to take on the appearance of a warehouse full of boxes and library folk think about using the boxes to build ourselves little forts around our desks. This year, not only do we have all the boxes full of freshly-ordered books coming in, but we also have many crates of theology books from two different places. We have about 2,000 books coming from a store in the cathedral and about 1,500 books coming from another institution. I have no idea where we’re going to put them all…but that won’t be a problem for a while, because they all have to properly processed and catalogued before they can go on the shelves. Some of them have been processed, but for the old library, so they need new library stamps and spine labels. A lot of them need their catalogue records improving and they all need details changing in the item record. The ones from the other institution will need everything doing from scratch. Of course, the ordered items take priority, so the crates of books will be in the office for some time yet. At least I find theology vaguely interesting!