University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Dec 6, 1949

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DECEMBER 6, 1949, at 10 a.m.
Present: Dr. Dunlap, Miss Jefferd, Miss Lanning, Miss Smith,
Mr. Lanning, Mr. Rothstein, Miss Fugler.
Miss Jefferd reported an interview with a representative
for the Veritype machine; and the possibility of using this
machine in the Catalogue Division was considered briefly.  It
would be useful for card work in languages such as Russian.
However, the equipment money for the current fiscal year is all
earmarked, and the machine can not be purchased now.
The chief subject under discussion was the congestion
at the Loan Desk. Miss Lanning explained that many of the students
lined up at the Desk were seeking renewals of books, and the
suggestion was to extend the loan period from one week to one
month and practically do away with renewals.  It was agreed that
of the total book stock, about 5000 volumes circulate frequently
during a year.  If experience proved that any particular title
was in fairly frequent demand, that title would be loaned for a
shorter period of one or two weeks, or extra copies would be
obtained.  Dr. Dunlap thought that about 90$ of the books which
do circulate could be loaned for the one-month period; the
remaining 10% would be in sufficient demand to justify a loan
period of only one or two weeks.  It was hoped, by this method,
to lessen the demands made upon the Loan Desk.
Mr. Rothstein asked if the hold-up at the Desk was due
to the number of demands for renewals. Miss Jefferd suggested
two queues: one for books and one for renewals.  In this way it
would be possible to judge more accurately how much of the
congestion was due to the demand for renewals. Miss Lanning said
that on Monday morning much of the work was in connection with
renewals. Miss Jefferd asked if it would be fair to the students
to allow books out for one month to each borrower when others
might need them.  Dr. Dunlap said he believed that if a student
does read a sizeable book he almost certainly takes more than a
week to do so, with the result that most substantial books are
either renewed or never read through.  If a certain book is in
much demand the loan period can be reduced to a week or the Library
can get more copies. Mr. Lanning remarked that he had been
surprised to note that many of the books which came to him for
binding or repair had circulated very infrequently.  Dr. Dunlap
said he thought the students would like a longer loan period.
Mr. Rothstein said he did not believe students read through a book,
they read just sections of it which applied directly to their
work at the moment.  He did not think it necessary to extend the
loan period. He also pointed out that an unusual demand would
arise chiefly in connection with a special need, and that by the
time the Library could get extra copies of a book the need would
no longer exist. Miss Smith said that a coloured sticker, such as the
Public Library uses for short loan books, could easily be put into
books which were to be loaned for shorter periods than a month.
Changing a book from a one-month to a one-week period would be a sim
simple and speedy process. The possibility of operating a separate
charging desk for loans to faculty and for renewals was considered,
but it was not thought that the Library would get its money's worth
out of such an expenditure of staff. Miss Smith pointed out that
the longer loan period should cut down the time spent on sending
out overdue notices.
It was agreed that only Miss Lanning and Miss Mercer
could decide into which class a particular book falls.  They would
like to try the new system as an experiment for the spring term.
If it proves successful it should become standard practice; if it
does not, it can be discontinued after the spring term.  Faculty
members will continue to enjoy extended loan periods, but only
full-time members of the teaching staff will be in this category.
Assistants and any others appointed for periods of less than one
year will be classified with students.
A book should be restricted to one-week loan only if it
has circulated frequently in the past or if there are two or three
reserves on it.  All others will be loaned for one month.
In discussi«# the purchase of extra copies of books much
in demand, Mr. Rothstein suggested that the titles be selected in
the spring, during inventory.  He did not like to see decisions to
buy additional copies of titles made on the spur of the moment and
under pressure of a short-lived condition. All agreed to this
If demand develops for a book which is out on a month's
loan the book will be called in.  It is recognized that this will
probably cause a little trouble, but not a serious amount.
Mr. Lanning asked whether much time would be lost by the staff at
the loan desk having to decide whether a book should be continued
on one-month loan or changed to one week. Miss Lanning thought
very little time would be needed, the decision would become almost
After further brief discussion of possible alternative
methods it was decided that this proposal should be submitted to
the Library Committee for its approval, and be put into effect in
Miss Smith then asked if, in consideration of the longer
loan period, fines for overdue books should be increased.  She
thought that people would be prepared to accept heavier fines when
they knew they could keep the books for a month, and that increased
fines should go into effect with the new loan period. A fine of
.250 for the first overdue-day and .050 for each day thereafter was
discussed at length.
Library hours during the holiday season have been settled
and a schedule will be posted today.
Miss Smith raised the question of how requisitions for photostat or microfilm are to be dealt with. Dr. Dunlap replied
that if the material was for the collections of the Library it
should go through the Acquisitions Department. Requests from
faculty members for such material for personal use should be looked
after by the individuals concerned, who may put in their orders at
the Film Library. Requests from individuals for photographic reproductions in lieu of interlibrary loans may be handled by the
Reference Department as a courtesy.
Miss Jefferd asked for instructions regarding microfilm.
Dr. Dunlap said it should be catalogued and put under the supervision of the Reference Division.
Miss Smith asked for further instruction regarding bound
periodicals.  Although the rule is that they should not be put on
reserve in the Periodicals Room, the Home Economics Department has
always been accustomed to this use.  They do not make extensive
use of the volumes, and there is negligible wear and tear as a
result. It was agreed that this exception to the general rule might
continue. It was not thought worth while to have photostat copies
of articles made when the use of the bound volumes was so slight,
yet so important to this particular department.
Mr. Lanning reported the offer of a gift of five or six
years' issues of the Saturday Evening Post. While articles in this
magazine are much in demand by students, and while it was agreed
that it would be a useful addition to.the Library, the cost of
binding and the space required for storage of such bulky material
make it unwise to take on this additional burden at present.
Mr. Rothstein said that his attention had been called to
a private library which is being offered for sale, and he wished
to know what policy should be followed In such case.  Dr. Dunlap
expressed the opinion that in many instances such libraries did not
yield enough that was useful to justify the time and trouble it cost
to examine them and the risk of provoking hard feelings and disappointment. When it is known that a special collection exists, it
is well to examine it. The library under consideration at the moment
is believed to have a good collection of fiction, though it is not
a specialist's accumulation. After some discussion it was decided
that Mr. Rothstein should look at the books and that the Library
should make an offer for whatever it wishes to acquire.
The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.


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