University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Aug 15, 1951

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 MINUTES OF MEETING OF DIVISION HEADS
HELD IN THE LIBRARIAN'S OFFICE ON
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 1951, at 10 a.m.
Present: Mr. Harlow, Miss Smith, Miss Lanning, Miss Mercer,
Mr. Lanning, Mr. Rothstein, Miss Fugler.
Mr. Harlow commenced by saying that he hoped the
meetings of Division Heads would be held regularly each week.
It appeared that Tuesday was a suitable day, and the meetings
will normally be held on Tuesday. Notice will be sent to all
concerned on the preceding Monday, and, in order that an agenda
may be prepared for each meeting, the Division Heads were
requested to submit matters for consideration to Miss Fugler by
the preceding Friday. While the agenda thus arrived at will not
necessarily be entirely dealt with or form the exclusive subject
matter of the meeting, an effort will be made to follow it.
The Librarian outlined his ideas regarding the Library
and library service. He believes in centralized library service.-
From the minutes of meeting^of the Senate Library Committee it
is evident that the Committee has been vigorously opposing the
division of the Library into numerous separate departmental units.
So far the battle has not been wholly successful; a few independent
situations exist on the campus, but this is not necessarily an
unhealthy state of affairs so long as the individual subject
collections do not multiply or get too far away from the main
organization and collection.  Segregated collections should be
brought closer to the general collection through administrative
relationships and by extending central library services to include
other collections.  He thinks of the central library as a common
pool of collections and services, to be maintained as fluid and
flexible as possible in relation to other parts of the campus.
It is up to the main Library to go as far as it can in recognizing
and meeting the needs of individual departments in the University
without breaking up the collection into separated masses of
material, and Mr. Harlow thinks this can be done. Law, Medicine,
and some other subject collections are not now entirely independent
of the central Library; Medicine appears willing to continue as
part of a biological sciences collection in the main Library.
Miss Doreen Fraser, whose title is Bio-Medical Librarian, will
remain on the staff of the main Library, and the collection of which
she will be custodian will continue in the main Library.  Her title
indicates that Medicine recognizes and accepts the broader subject
field in which purely medical material is included. Mr. Harlow
believes that if the central Library can keep ahead of demands
for dividing it, its unity can be maintained and the outlying
demands be satisfied.
To achieve this, however, the Library will have to think
in terms of service as well as in terms of centralization.
A regular delivery service may have to be developed to extend
central library service to departments.  Such a service would be
an incentive to support a central library organization. It is
recognized that not all members of faculty are convinced of the
desirability of a centralized library, and the Library is called
upon to carry out a demonstration program of library service, particularly for the conversion of newer faculty members who have
not always experienced the advantages of professional library
service. The members of the Library staff should themselves be
convinced of the desirability of extended service. The Library
is a central service for the University in the same way that the
central Administrative services are.  Some faculty members are so
concerned with their own subject fields that they do not see the
University as a whole, but the value and importance of library
service to the institution should be understood and Library
personnel should try to sell the idea both within and without the
main Library.
Mr. Harlow expressed the hope that the University Library
might eventually be admitted to the Association of Research
Libraries. Everyone agreed that this would be a great advantage
for the University.
The matter of internal organization was next considered.
The Librarian pointed out that he was responsible to the President
for meeting, chiefly through the efforts of the Library staff, the
demands of faculty and administration, not only in building up the
Library's collections, but also in service, budgetary matters, etc.
He believes in delegating responsibility and, with it, authority,
to the Division Heads, but recognizes that the final responsibility
is his.  He Is, therefore, vitally concerned with what is going on
in the Library. By the weekly meeting of Division Heads he can be
kept informed of how matters progress, and he hopes also to become
well acquainted with staff and, through their reactions, to keep in
touch with things happening in the organization.  The third method
by which Mr. Harlow wishes to keep track of the operation of the
Library is through reporting.  He believes that the preparation of
monthly reports by the Division Heads will be a very effective way
for them to keep track of what is going on and for him to be well
informed. He pointed out that the Librarian must participate in
any kind of decision which may affect the future, any matter of
policy, and will depend upon the Division Heads to discuss all such
matters with him.  He wishes to see carbon copies of correspondence
dealing with other-than-routine business. The Librarian should be
considered a part of the working of the Library as well as the
administrative head.
In the matter of personnel, Mr. Harlow said he believed
the aim should be to get good people and promote them as opportunity
occurs within the Library. This involves trying to train junior
staff so that they are ready for promotion when the time comes.
He recognized the advantages of engaging outsiders for senior
positions, but he believes that staff morale suffers if the hope of
advancement is withdrawn, and a high staff morale is bf very great
value. He remarked that he was glad to see so many young people on
the staff of the Library. Older members provide continuity and a
sound conservatism.  He believes an attempt should be made to get
people with the right training and background for the jobs they
are to fill, with apparent ability and attractive personality.
In Mr. Harlow's opinion, personality is worth more than 25$ of the
total qualification of a candidate for a position. The ability of
a person to get along well and work happily with others is of great importance. In the case of professional staff at least, the
Librarian would like a candidate to be interviewed by at least
one other senior person besides himself.
Regarding library service on the campus, it is usual for
the Library and administrative circles to have different views about
service to different campus groups. Mr. Harlow pointed out that
the Library exists for students and faculty, and that a University
Library should give its best efforts to research people both in
collecting and in reference and other service. But he pointed out
also that over 94$ of the student body last year was undergraduate
and that the Library's heaviest responsibility is to this group of
undergraduates who are the research people of the future.
Miss Smith added that since the University is the only degree-granting
institution in British Columbia, the responsibility is a serious one.
Mr. Harlow said that work with the students should include not only
dealing with their specific problems, but instruction in the use of
the Library. Formal instruction given to classes should be
supplemented by daily instruction to students in the use of library
material. There should also be a continuous encouragement of
students to use the Library for general reading as well as for study
and class-room purposes.  If people do not get a feeling for books
while at the University, many of them will never acquire it.  The
library staff should do what it can to develop habits of reading and
book collecting among the students. Miss Smith at this point
suggested that a prize be offered for the student with the best
book collection, a practice followed at University of Washington,
UCLA, and other institutions.
Another point considered was the development of a
tradition of good relations between the Library and the student •
body. It was stated that student-library relations have
deteriorated recently, not seriously, but nevertheless noticeably.
It was suggested that good relations with students are affected
materially by service at the Loan Desk. Mr. Harlow described the
working of a student-library committee with the library staff as
it has developed at UCLA.  On the whole, it has proved very
useful, and provides direct communication between the library and
student government. Miss Mercer and Miss Smith said that there
was difficulty here in persuading the student newspaper to publish
notices and items of information sent to it by the Library, and
the opinion was that a student committee might be a very
worth-while arrangement. The problem of maintaining discipline
was considered, and the Librarian said he was not in favor of
policing the Library. The Division Heads all agreed that it was a
distasteful and not at all satisfactory way to deal with the
problem, but they pointed out that efforts to win student
cooperation and reliance on student self-government "had proved
unavailing. The discipline problem has not been solved on this
campus. The reading rooms, and more especially the halls, of the
Library are meeting places for conversation, and all efforts on
the part of the Library staff to enforce quiet have failed.
Students tolerate each other's misbehavior, even in the matter of
saving seats in crowded reading rooms, and faculty will not assert
their right to the carrels reserved for them in the stackroom.
Mr. Harlow said he believes the Library should be a student centre
of a kind; but that the staff should always have control over what 4
goes on. The general problem of self-discipline should be tackled
by student government.
A notice was circulated to Division Heads, requesting
that material for the Librarian's annual report be in the Librarian's
office by September 15, and outlining the kind of information
required. Mr. Harlow wishes the report to be not only a statement
of what has happened, with supporting statistics, but a discussion
of what has happened, a statement of the problems involved, and a
plea for anything that should be changed, as well as a sales talk
for future plans.  All requests need to be justified, because the
Librarian in turn is required to justify his appeals to the
Administration for more money or means to carry the plans into
effect.  The monthly report which the Division Heads are asked to
submit hereafter to the Librarian will provide a record upon which
the annual report can be made up.  In the meantime, too, it gives
the Librarian a picture of what is happening all along and provides
the Division Head with an opportunity to present a problem or outline
a plan for a new development or treatment of an old difficulty.
Beginning with the month of September, each Division Head is
requested to hand in a report during the first week of the following
month.  The monthly report should follow, in general, the outline
suggested for the annual report.  The Librarian emphasized the value
of getting things in writing.  It is a means of reference to
matters that have been discussed earlier, proposals that were acted
upon or by-passed, and a way of getting requests for changes, etc.,
presented in a form that is not likely to be overlooked.
Mr. Harlow announced that the Library will be getting some
money as a result of the Massey Commission's work, enough to
recoup its losses in the budget cut of last winter and perhaps to
provide a little extra.
Miss Doreen Fraser is to be appointed Bio-Medical
Librarian as of 1 August.
The Sedgewick Room plaque has arrived and plans can go
forward for the formal opening of the Room. Miss Smith said she
expected the event would form part of the ceremonies of fall
congregation.
Mr. Harlow brought up the question of closing windows and
turning out lights. Miss Smith pointed out how much time was spent
by staff after the building closed, turning out lights; she did not
think this burden should fall upon staff, it should be the duty of
the janitor.  During the summer, the Library has only one janitor
and he leaves at 5 p.m. The fixing of responsibility for these
tasks has never been settled between the Library and the Department
of Buildings and Grounds.  In the meantime, the Library staff
should take all possible precautions to see that windows are closed
for the night.
Miss Smith expressed the pleasure of the staff in having
Mr, Harlow in the Library. Mr. Harlow replied that he was happy
to be here, and looked forward to enjoying his work at UBC.
Mr. Rothstein said he would be leaving at the end of next week, and that if anything was wanted from him in the meantime, he would do his best to provide the information. Mr. Harlow
said he would like to see the manual of instructions Mr. Rothstein
has prepared for his Division. The Sedgewick Books have not yet
.been accessioned, but Mr. Rothstein said he would undertake this
whenever it is convenient for Miss Smith to deal with it.
The meeting, adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

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