University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Feb 2, 1951

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FEBRUARY 2, 1951, at 10 a.m.
Present: Miss Smith, Miss Jefferd, Miss Lanning, Miss Mercer,
Miss Rendell, Mr. Rothstein, Mr. Lanning, Miss Fugler.
Miss Smith reported to the meeting that she had attended
a meeting with Mr. Bagshaw, Mr. McPhee and Dr. Cowan on Thursday
to discuss the Library estimates.  The budget was not being
settled, but the Library was given an opportunity to present its
case. Mr. McPhee had said he believed the Library's plan to close
in the evenings would not be welcomed by the President, who wanted
to provide the students with study accommodation at night.  The
suggestion was made that the Library remain open, without staff in
attendance, as a reading room. Dr. Cowan pointed out the
discipline problem that would arise if the Library were left entirely
to the students. Miss Smith said she would not open the Ridington
Room unless staff were in charge. Miss Mercer said the Reserve
Room could not be opened because there is no way of closing off the
Reserve stacks. The question then was, whether it is possible to
open the main reading room only.
Mr. Lanning pointed out that the member of the Circulation
Division who stayed after closing the desk to clean up would be
bothered by innumerable demands from students using the reading room.
It was agreed that this would be a difficulty, but might be overcome
by closing off the work area. Miss Mercer pointed out that there
would have to be someone in the Library for discipline purposes.
The janitor could not deal with students and get his work done at
the same time. Mr. Rothstein expressed the opinion that sooner or
later the students would discover a means of getting into the stacks.
Miss Smith thought it possible to lock the whole stack area and
thus prevent access to it. Mr. Rothstein suggested that if only a
reading room were needed, the Gymnasium would be a suitable place.
Part of the problem, however, is the fact that the President does
not wish to close the Library. It is properly provided with tables
and chairs and light and therefore best suited to use as a study
hall. Miss Smith reminded the meeting that the main question was
to decide whether or not the students can be kept out of the stacks.
Miss Rendell asked how long would be spent in locking all
the doors each evening, and it was agreed that it would take a long
time. Miss Rendell also pointed out that one staff member could not
deal with the discipline problem. Miss Jefferd remarked that the
locking could not be done until after 5 p.m., which meant that one
person would have to remain after that time to do the job.
Miss^ Rendell's opinion was that it would be possible to lock up the
stackroom and use the main concourse as a study hall if all the
necessary precautions were taken. Mr. Rothstein agreed that it could
be done, but he did not think it was a good expenditure of money.
The cost of putting in doors where there are none at present and
the time spent in locking a multitude of entrances seemed unreasonable,
All the students will get is a place in which to sit and a light to
read by. On top of that there is still the problem of maintaining
quiet. Mr. Rothstein did not believe the President would accept
a mere reading room such as was being considered. Miss Mercer remarked that she did not believe the
President would like the Library to discontinue its employment of
student assistants. Miss Jefferd believed the staff would rebel at
having to remain after 5 p.m. to lock up; this is the janitor's job.
It was agreed that staff would have to take turns doing this job
and that the time spent on it should come out of the regular working
The conclusion reached was that it would be possible to
close off the stack area, but the majority of the meeting agreed that
it was not a good thing to do.
There was general agreement that the discipline situation
would be serious. Miss Mercer stated that she would not undertake
to keep order if she were the only responsible person in the Library.
Miss Rendell remarked that it was not possible to keep order now in
the evenings, and she did not believe the situation would be any worse
under the suggested arrangement.  Student assistants on duty in the
evenings do not deal with the problem. Miss Smith asked if a student
could cope with it, and the majority opinion was that he could not.
Miss Jefferd said she would not take insolence from the students.
She agreed with Miss Mercer in refusing to undertake the job of trying
to run the Library single-handed. The majority were in favour of a
Commissionnaire being assigned to duty. Mr. Rothstein said he
thought the reading room plan could be managed by careful closing of
all access to the stackroom and having two commissionnaires on duty.
Even so, the Library would become a hangout for many students, and
serious students would not attempt to study in the building, so that
the expenditure of money required to make the plan possible would be
unjustified. Mr. Rothstein did not think anything would be gained by
having a senior staff member on duty, because one person could not
enforce discipline and it would be a sorry waste of time and money
to have a trained librarian doing guard duty. Miss Rendell said she
did not favour assigning a commissionnaire to the job; she felt that
whatever disciplinary action was taken, it ought to be in the form
of moral suasion. Miss Rendell did not believe that the cooperation
of the students could be won by having commissionnaires on duty.
Miss Jefferd expressed the opinion that the last two Librarians
themselves had given discipline little attention.  She felt that the
problem had not been appreciated.
Miss Smith asked how many people, including members of
Faculty, used the Library in the evening. Miss Mercer replied that
there were a good many instructors, graduate students, and student
assistants, but very few persons or faculty rank.  The main reading
room is well filled, and the Reserve Room is about one-third occupied.
Miss Mercer estimated that about 500 persons used the Library at
night. Much of the work at the Loan Desk deals with day-use materials
which are in great demand during the day and more available in the
evening. Miss Smith asked for an estimate of the number of instructors
and graduate students using the Library in the evening during the
coming week.
Mr. Lanning pointed out that merely having one reading
room open, without any Library service, would not help graduate
students much. Mr. Rothstein said that most of those who come to the
Library at night do so in order to make use of material xvhich they
have not time or opportunity to use during the day.  It is true that
not all of the students in the Library at night are doing serious work; those who are not, create a great disturbance.
Miss Smith advised the meeting that the Board of
Governors had appropriated $5000 for the purchase of books for the
Sedgewick Room,  The President has appointed a Committee to select
the books: Dr. Cowan, Dr. Birney, Dr. Hawthorn and Miss Smith.
It has been ascertained that the money will be available in 1951/52.
The Rental Collection has on hand §427.01, which must be
spent before 31 March. Miss Mercer undertook to buy books to this
amount, but she mentioned that if all the money is spent now it will
be difficult to carry on during the early part of the new fiscal
year. However, the collection will start with a good stock, and this
will minimize the problem.
Miss Smith advised Mr. Rothstein that there was no report
yet regarding Ph.D. funds. Mr. Rothstein had compiled a statement of
the history and status of this fund, which was submitted to the
President, but no reply has been received yet.
In discussing budget problems with Mr. Bagshaw and
Mr. McPhee, the question of Mr. Brooks' return to the bindery came
up.  It was ascertained that he is 68 years of age, past the
University retirement age. It was recommended that Miss Smith write
to the President asking that Mr. Brooks be retired.
Miss Smith said she had been requested to provide figures
showing the cost of operating the Library on its present basis from
1 April to 15 May.  She requested each Division Head to advise her
regarding his or her own staff, dealing with salaries for the
periods 1 April to 1 May, 1951, 1 April to 15 May, 1951, and for the
whole fiscal year.
Mr. Lanning reported, for the information of the meeting,
that about 100 volumes of clinical psychology material had been bound
by the King's Printer and returned to the Library and that a second
lot of 220 volumes had gone to Victoria for binding. This work is
being paid for out of the Dominion Government grant for Clinical
Psychology. Mr. Rothstein asked if there was any possibility that
the King's Printer would do binding for the University. Miss Mercer
did not think that our work would have priority, and the result would
be that the material would be away from the Library for an indefinite
Mr. Rothstein informed the meeting that the School of
Commerce was planning to make a survey of the Library's holdings in
its field.
The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.


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