University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Jan 10, 1950

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JANUARY 10, 1950, at 10 a.m.
Present:  Dr. Dunlap, Miss Jefferd, Miss Lanning, Miss Smith,
Miss Rendell, Mr. Lanning, Mr. Rothstein, Miss Fugler.
Dr. Dunlap welcomed Miss Rendell to the meeting and
urged her to speak on any subject under discussion.
Miss Jefferd asked about the Staff Reading File.  This
has been kept in Room B, where all professional staff have access
to it, and it is supposed to contain copies of letters written by
all Divisions on matters which may be of interest to the staff
generally.  Purely routine letters are not filed, but anything off
the beaten track should find its way there for general information.
Miss Jefferd said she seldom had time to read when she went to
Room B, and asked if the file could be circulated.  It was not
thought that this would help the present situation, which is that
few contributions are made to the file and very few members read
what is there.  If the file was delayed somewhere along the line,
as would inevitably happen if it were circulated, its present
limited use would be further curtailed.  Dr. Dunlap said he did not
insist on continuing the practice of maintaining such a file, but
he did believe it was a valuable device for keeping the staff
informed about what is going on, and he would like it to have a
fair trial.  The file is labelled LIBRARY STAFF READING FILE and
will be found on Miss Fugler's desk.
Dr. Dunlap informed the meeting that the committee to
work on the classification of professional staff was as follows:
Mr. McLean, Mr. Hayes, Miss Rendell, Miss Mercer, Mr. Rothstein.
Dr. Dunlap is not a member of the Committee but will sit in on the
sessions.  A meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 11, at
3:30 p.m. in the staff lounge and all professional staff members
are requested to attend.  It is understood that Mr. ^cLean will
address the meeting and explain what is expected in dealing with
the questionnaire.  Each Division Head- will inform professional
staff in his or her Division.
Dr. Dunlap mentioned that two members of the non-professional staff had asked lately whether they could be kept on during the
summer in the event of the Library requiring staff during that
period.  Dr. Dunlap said that if money was available he would wish
to continue on the staff those members who are doing satisfactory
work and who wish to stay.  He would like staff members to speak
first to their respective Division Heads in such matters.
Dean Weaver has asked Dr. Dunlap whether the Library
will provide special reading room facilities for medical students,
and this matter was discussed by the meeting.  It is the
Librarian's opinion that all medical students will be considered
as graduate students, and that they will accordingly have stack
permits. Mr. Lanning asked if it could be considered sound
principle to give medical students a separate reading room.
Miss Smith believed they should be treated as other students are.
She said that this University had always made an effort to prevent the segregation of special groups.  It was pointed out that
special provision had been made for the Education students.
Miss Lanning remarked that the first essential was more stack
space to accommodate medical books.  She would suggest having all
medical books moved to one place.  Dr. Dunlap said that whatever
arrangement the Library made, it would be temporary, because
Dean Weaver contemplates having a reading room in his new building.
The number of students to be provided for at present was thought to
be between 25 and 50. Mr. Rothstein said he could not see the provide special accommodation for so small a number.
Mr. Lanning wondered whether a refusal now to meet
Dean Weaver's request would influence the difficult situation which
will probably arise when the Faculty of Medicine makes plans for
its library, and it was generally believed that cooperation on the
part of the Library now might be good politics. Miss Smith agreed
reluctantly that this was probably so, and that it would be good
tactics to make the medical students happy now. The matter was
voted upon, and it was agreed by 5 to 1 that the Library should provide the medical students with separate space for a reading room.
Mr. Rothstein held to his conviction that there was no need to
make special provision for so small a group.  Dr. Dunlap felt that
since Dean Weaver says there is such a need, the Library is under
obligation to try to meet it if the space can be found.  He also
thinks it would be wise to enlist the support of Dean Weaver for
the time when the question of departmental libraries becomes acute.
Miss Smith asked if the Library should accept Dean Weaver's
statement of the need for a separate reading room for his students.
Dr. Dunlap said there was already one special reading room in the
Library for the Education students; and he felt that a
professional school has a much stronger claim to such privilege
than a department has.  Mr. Lanning said that Law material is
pretty well divorced from other library material, but this is not
the case with medicine, whose needs would cut right across the
Library and into the requirements of many other departments on the
Dr. Dunlap reported developments regarding the British
Book exhibit.  It was decided, after some discussion, to put the
exhibit in the Faculty Reading Room.  Two large tables will be
moved from the Reference Room to the Faculty Reading Room to
accommodate the exhibit.  The question of publicity came up.  Until
the books are actually in Vancouver Dr. Dunlap thinks it would be
unwise to stir up too much interest, but it was generally agreed
that it should be advertised widely and as much interest aroused
as possible.  The exhibit is an effort on the part of British
publishers to get more business in Canada, and it is felt that if
we undertake to show the books we also undertake to further the
purpose for which they are sent.  Dr. Dunlap said he would discuss
publicity with Mr. Andrew.
The meeting then heard from Mr. Lanning an account of a
project to microfilm periodicals.  A list of titles has been
furnished by Mr. Eugene Power of Microfilm Abstracts in Ann Arbor,
Michigan, and the argument in favour of microfilm issues of journals is that they save the cost of binding, and space for
storage.  The practice anticipated is that the Library would
continue to buy the journals on paper, use them for the first two
or three years during which they are given the hardest usage, and
then discard them.  Thereafter the microfilm version would be
available.  It has been estimated that a saving of space up to
95$ results from storing microfilm rather than the paper issues
of journals.  It was thought that the assumption that the use of
periodicals declines very materially after the first two years
was not justified.  Miss Lanning believed that if periodicals  :
were readily available they would be used much more than they
are now.  Miss Smith said she did not think people like using
microfilm, and this was the general opinion.  Mr. Lanning estimated that the costs of microfilm would probably be 10$ to 20$
lower than the cost of binding, but there would be a need for more
microfilm readers.
One of the most serious questions was as to the stability
of the project.  No library could risk breaking a file of a
journal, which would be the result if, after a few years of trial,
the microfilm project collapsed.  Mr. Lanning said there was
extensive reprinting of journals now under way.  A plan of
Edwards Bros, to do a great deal of this work has not been very
successful, but some German firms are now undertaking reprinting
on a large scale.  Miss Rendell remarked that it is the fate of
libraries always to be pushed out of house and home by the accumulation of masses of material and that perhaps microfilm was partly
the answer to this problem.  There are now two cooperative storage
libraries in the United States, and it is possible that this method
of coping with the storage problem may be further developed.
Examination of the space question revealed that it was most
unlikely that a 95$ saving would result from the use of microfilm.
There are still the back files of bound volumes, unbound periodicals
for two or three years, and microfilm for current issues to be
housed.  Dr. Dunlap is sure that Faculty would not like using
microfilm extensively, but he believes that librarians have a
responsibility to do something about being crowded out of house and
home.  He does not believe that many microfilm readers would be
required.  He thinks microfilm is of particular value in the case
of exceedingly rare material which cannot be borrowed, and for
very bulky material such as newspapers.  He is not convinced that
the situation is so extreme where periodicals are concerned.
Miss Smith and Mr. Rothstein suggested trying out
microfilm periodicals on a limited basis as an experiment, chiefly
with bulky material which strains our binding resources.
Mr. Rothstein recommended subscriptions to periodicals we now do
not get, to avoid the risk of breaking established files.
Miss Rendell suggested trying something like Hygeia, which is kept
in the Nursing Department Reading Room, but for which there are
frequent requests in the Library.  Miss Jefferd suggested one of
law "journals which is kept in the Law Library, but which would be
useful in the main Library.  Dr. Dunlap would prefer to get
something like Publishers^ Weekly, which comes out often and is
bulky.  It was finally decided that Miss Smith and Mr. Lanning
should act as a selection committee to choose the journals for
which microfilm subscriptions will be taken out. 4
Mr. Rothstein said that some members of the Library
staff wished that extra copies of some journals could be provided
for the use of the staff.  Such items as the Times Literary
Supplement and Saturday Review of Literature are never seen by
the staff, and many of them would be glad of an opportunity to
read good book reviews.  It was hoped that each person could have
the material to take home for a, day or two because there is no
time during the working day for' such reading.  After a brief
discussion it appeared that one or two extra copies of such journals
would not help very much.  Anything that is issued weekly cannot
be circulated fast enough to reach everybody interested.  The
conclusion was that the best practice, which is now carried out
by some small groups in the Library, is for two or three interested
persons to subscribe together to one or two items and circulate
them within the group.
Miss Jefferd drew to the meeting's attention the fact
that the Library of Congress is now publishing a subject index to
the Cumulative Catalog.  All agreed that this should be a very
valuable tool and that the Library should subscribe.
The meeting adjourned at 12 noon.


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