University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Feb 28, 1950

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FEBRUARY 28, 1950, at 10:30 a.m.
Present: Dr. Dunlap, Miss Jefferd, Miss Lanning, Miss Smith,
Miss Rendell, Mr. Lanning, Mr. Rothstein, Miss Fugler.
Dr. Dunlap reported that he had sent to Dr. MacKenzie
a letter' outlining plans for the Sedgewick Memorial Reading Room.
Dr. MacKenzie has acknowledged the letter and stated that the
information given therein will be submitted to the Board of
Governors at their meeting of February 27,
Dr. Dunlap announced that Mr, Rothstein had spoken to
him about a plan for in-service training for library staff.  Once
before the Staff Association had tried to do something in this way
by having representatives of the several divisions give talks on
the work of their divisions, but this had proved unsuccessful.
A number of staff members feel strongly about the need for some
training and the question has been raised again. Dr. Dunlap felt
that the training might be offered under two headings: general
information for all staff members, and more particular training for
professional librarians who may be expected to remain in the Library
for at least a few years. He asked Mr. Rothstein to explain his
Mr. Rothstein's suggestion was that the Library should
devote three days to the job.  Each Division would exchange with
another for a half day and work in a new field. Mr. Rothstein felt
that not much would be gained by a Division Head simply explaining
what went on in his or her Division; the visitors should do some
work in the new Division in order to have a proper knowledge of
what went on there.
Miss Jefferd said she agreed that the serious professional
librarian should have some general Information about the Library,
but she did not believe that a person doing straight clerical work
needed training outside her own Division. Miss Jefferd pointed out
that the work of the whole Division would be disturbed if such a
plan were carried out. Miss Smith felt that the clerical workers
should have some general information also.  She believes that the
junior members of the staff would be more interested in the Library
and its operation if they were given a wider knowledge of its
Dr. Dunlap asked if Mr. Rothstein proposed to give new
professional members of the staff the same sort of training.
Mr. Rothstein said he would prefer to take the whole Division,
professional and clerical staff together, for exchange at once; but
he would give the professional staff further training.  Miss Smith
would like to see some machinery set up which would operate at any
time during the year when a new person joins the staff. Mr. Lanning
thought that people who were interested would go around and ask
questions on their own initiative. Miss Smith felt that much of
the information gleaned from casual conversation and superficial
acquaintance with the work of another Division led to many errors,
Dr. Dunlap said he believed that training is desirable, but he was
not sure about the best method of carrying it out. He would like 2.
new professionals to have a thorough training, but- he would also
like the clerical members to be included in some plan.
The question of providing instructional manuals was
considered.  Dr. Dunlap recommended that such a manual be provided
by the Circulation Division because of its employment of student
Dr. Dunlap stated that there would probably be five new
professional librarians coming to the staff this summer. He believes
the Library has a definite responsibility to these people.  They
should be given an opportunity to work in different divisions of
the Library for periods of six months or so, in order to enjoy as
broad a training as possible.  If this is done, the new people
will be immensely more useful to whatever division they finally
choose. New members should not be brought into the Library,
stationed in one Division and left there. Dr. Dunlap asked If the
Division Heads were in favour of staff changes of this kind at
intervals of six months, Mr. Rothstein said he was not in favour
of it as a regular procedure. Miss Smith was in favour in theory,
but she felt that putting it into practice would be very difficult.
Mr. Lanning believed that the new professionals would make up
their own minds if they wanted a change to another Division. Miss
Smith was in favour of trying it. If it does not work out it can
be abandoned.  Dr. Dunlap remarked that he believed the Library
owed it to the professional staff to give them as broad a training
as possible; he did not think an inexperienced professional
librarian should be assigned to one Division and left there
Mr, Rothstein suggested working periods of two weeks
in each division for new professional librarians,  If this were
done, they would become acquainted with the working of each
division during the summer period.  After the end of the spring
term, further training in other divisions could be offered.
Discussion of this suggestion brought out the difficulties of
carrying on the necessary services during summer session and
holidays. Dr. Dunlap asked if the problem would be simplified if
the five new staff members spent two weeks in each division as a
It was moved by Miss Smith, seconded by Mr, Rothstein
that the new professional staff members be given a two-week
period of training in each of the Library's Divisions. Mr. Rothstein
further recommended that a librarian be permitted to change to
another division if opportunity offered after one year in the
division to which he came originally. It was agreed that the
training should be in the divisions in the following order:
Circulation, Acquisitions, Catalogue, Periodicals and Reference. The discussion then centred on treatment for library
assistants.  Miss Lanning stated that one of her library
assistants, who is planning to go to Library School, will be sent to
another division for two months of training at the end of the
present term. Miss Lanning feels that he ought to be given a
broader experience here before he leaves than he has so far had.
Dr. Dunlap agreed that library assistants planning to enter the
profession should be given experience in one division other than
that in which they have worked regularly.
In considering the clerical worker, Miss Jefferd
expressed the opinion that this person should stay at her desk
after a very brief tour of introduction through the Library.
She felt that the clerical worker came to do a limited job in a
certain division and that there was no necessity for moving such a
staff member to other sections.  Mr. Rothstein would prefer to give
each clerical member a few hours at least in each division of the
Library.  In order not to disturb the work of a division too much,
he would recommend having a period twice a year when the clerical
workers could be given this opportunity to learn something about
the Library organization as a whole.  This recommendation was
accepted by the meeting.
Miss Smith drew to the attention of the meeting the gift
from the Department of Education at Victoria of five complete sets
of literature on Alcohol Education.  Dr. Dunlap advised cataloguing
as many of the books in the gift as were needed.
Miss Jefferd asked about medical books which were reaching
her division.  Those purchased on the regular Medical account are  ,
to be catalogued; those purchased on the special. Medical account
are for Dean Weaver's office, and cards for these latter volumes are
to be withheld from the Library catalogue for the present.
Miss Lanning asked if there was any information she could
give in reply to questions from some of her staff about a Library
School at the University here.  Dr. Dunlap replied that he had no
information at present.
The distribution of books in the British Council display
was brought up.  After consulting the file Dr. Dunlap asked that
a list of the titles we would like to have be sent to Dr. Talman
so that our preferences would be known.
The meeting adjourned at 12 noon.
N.B.     The period of visits to divisions for new professional
staff members was reduced to one week in each at the
meeting on March 28, 1950.


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