University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Nov 27, 1951

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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 1951 at 10 a,m.
Present: Mr. Harlow, Miss Jefferd, Miss Smith, Miss Lanning, Miss Mercer,
Mr. Lanning, Miss Fugler.
The matter of a student handbook was renewed, and the librarian asked
Miss Mercer to serve as Chairman of a Committee to work on the problem. The
personnel of the Committee should represent all divisions of the library, but
the difficulty of getting many staff members together at one time maless it
advisable to have a small nucleus. Miss Mercer will pick her own Committee,
remembering that Circulation and Reference are probably most concerned.
Suggestions and assistance will be asked from other members of the library staff.
Mr. Harlow will be a member ex officio. Miss Mercer asked for some idea of the
size of manual wanted and wished to see any samples in the hands of other members
of the staff. She expressed a wish to see the new handbook written in a bright
tone, and it was agreed that it should not be dull, but a warning was uttered
against making it over bright. The point was made that hanbook information is
never available to Summer Session students, many of whom are in need of instruction,
and that it might be useful to have the guide ready for next year's Summer Session.
Funds for printing will have to be found; the possibility of using money set aside
for freshman orientation will be investigated.
Every day demands are made on Mr. Broomhall to make campus deliveries,
and some suggestions about priorities were requested by the Acquisitions Division.
His present routine is roughly: 9-10 a.m«, sorting and delivering mail; 10 a.m. - 2 p,
wrapping, with one hour off for lunch; 2-5 p.m., spent in opening book parcels for
Acquisitions, and making campus deliveries. Now that the library orders and receives
books for other Departments of the University, the problem of prompt delivery of the
books to the Departments has become pressing. The messenger was originally engaged
to make campus deliveries, but he is now so involved in routine duties in the
library that he is not always readily available for delivery work. The Librarian
asked whether certain definite delivery periods could be established, but Miss Smith
pointed out that if a call came from the President's office for material it had to
be taken over immediately. It appeared that routine deliveries of periodicals are
on the whole being made promptly. The big and growing difficulty is the delivery
of books to departments, and on some days the bulk of these is such that they cannot
be taken by a person in one load. The possibility of sending single volumes by
campus mail was mentioned; Mr, Lanning did not believe the library could be sure of
delivering a book in good condition through the campus mail, and to wrap each parcel
carefully would take a great deal of time and supplies. It was decided that the
Departments should be asked whether they would be willing to call for books they
want in a hurry, Miss Jefferd felt that the responsibility for delivery should be
the Library's*
The urgency of wrapping, which now takes up a good deal of time, was considered.
It appeared that interlibrary loans are picked up one day and wrapped and sent out
the next. The work of the Extension Library is also involved: books are sent out
to borrowers as promptly as possible, within a day of receipt of request when it can
be done* It was felt that interlibrary loans, to be used for research, were of
greatest urgency. Miss Mercer suggested that calls for special delivery service, 1%
which interrupt the routine, be kept to genuinely urgent needs; but it appeared
in the discussion that only urgent matters were now given special attention. It
was agreed that a student assistant would be a substantial help in this work.
The possibility of having the University truck pick up books for delivery to
departments on the campus will be investigated. After very full consideration, it
was decided that the present routine will continue for the present, and that special
calls will be made upon Mr. Broomhall only in genuine emergencies.
It was reported that no date has been set for the official ceremony opening
the Sedgewick Room. The room is being put to good use by the students, and only
one book has been lost since the end of Summer Session.
The Division Heads expressed to Mr. Harlow their unanimous approval of the
Annual Report which he completed last week. Mr. Harlow said he had mentioned few
personal names in the text of the Report; it was not possible to mention all, and
with his brief background he was unable to evaluate individual performance justly.
He would like to have notice in this year's monthly reports of Division Heads of
outstanding work by a staff member or of service "beyond the call of duty".
Everyone is expected to do a good job, but it is desirable to cite exceptional
An article on an inventory taken at the Widener library at Harvard was
reviewed (Harvard library Bulletin, vol.2, 1948. p. 130-131)1 Mr. Harlow said he
is not quite convinced that this library should embark upon a full inventory; perhaps
we should settle for a thorough shelf reading and a check of known missing items.
Miss Smith and Miss Jefferd favoured a full inventory: the Circulation Division
can check on books currently asked for, but material which is consulted mainly in
the stackroom would not be subject to a check of this nature. Miss Jefferd would
like one more complete inventory which would satisfy Circulation, and have a perpetual
. inventory thereafter. Miss Smith did not believe there was available enough trained
"*•'"% staff to make a good inventory. Miss Mercer suggested that perhaps the trained and
reliable people could do as much work as time allowed for one week, and that the
process continue at a reduced pace throughout the summer. Miss Lanning said that if
her Division could keep more than a bare skeleton staff throughout the period following
examinations, the staff could be trained to do a continuing inventory. Most of it
could be done during May and June, and for the rest of the summer it could proceed
on a part-time schedule. Two professional librarians, one from Catalogue, could do
the checking of the shelf list. The question was asked, whether the present
Circulation staff, if kept on, could do the job, and Miss Lanning replied that they
could probably do a fair amount of it, but that she may lose some members at the end
of the Spring Term. Her inventory plan requires a continuing staff who can be
taught the work and left to carry it out. She mentioned the possibility of getting
good high school people as soon as school is over.
Mr. Lanning recommended doing as thorough a job next spring as possible, then
turning over inventory to the Circulation Division for the future.
Some of the inventory steps were analyzed. It was agreed that faculty loans
should be called in, and that a list of books not returned but still charged to each
one be sent to faeulty members. The shelves should be tidied and put in order and
the Circulation records checked against the shelves. The Circulation Division is chiefly concerned with the location of books and whether they are on the shelves
in their proper places or are missing* The Catalogue Division is concerned with
checking snags in the shelf list. After the cards are checked against the shelves
and the main shelf list drawers come from the stacks with cards standing up
indicating snags, the checker has the Circulation file, short shelf lists and
Reserve Book Room file, and tries to locate the missing book elsewhere than in the
stackroom. In this process it is necessary to know, for example, whether a book
is in the Chemistry Department Reading Room, or whether it should be there but is
reported missing*
Mr. Harlow did not believe that the library should necessarily take an
inventory of departmental collections at the time of the regular inventory. If
we cannot do the whole job properly, this could be left as a separate operation
to be dealt with later. Mr, Harlow asked Miss Lanning if she would present a
preliminary proposal at a future meeting of Division Heads, for taking an inventory
under the following conditions: that most of the staff spend a few days reading
the shelves in order to put the collection in order, that the library not be
closed and that Circulation be assumed to have its present staff strength throughout
the summer. Mr, Harlow said that for the main inventory we could take for granted
that materials charged to other departments on the campus are actually there.
He also suggested that receiving and checking books charged to Faculty be treated
as a separate operation, but beegiven first priority in order to have the job
completed before faculty leave the campus in the spring. It was thought that
shelf-reading would be finished in less than a week, and that it should be treated
as a special assignment to which everyone should apply his energies for a few days,
Mr, Harlow advised keeping in mind the long-range aspect of the problem and trying
to work out now a system which could be applied at some regular interval in the
Miss Jefferd reported that medical books being sent to Dean Weaver for review
by faculty members are coming to the library for accessioning and cataloguing first,
with the understanding that these processes be completed and the books returned
within three or four days. It is Dean Weaver's wish to have them marked before
they go to faculty, but since they are review copies, speed is necessary.
Miss Lanning asked about loans of reserve books over the Christmas holidays.
It was decided that only items of which there are multiple copies should be loaned
in this way. Certain students, who are out of town for the holiday season and are
required to turn in essays in the new year, are at a disadvantage if they can not
take some of the material away with them. Essays which are due immediately after
Christmas sometimes create a serious problem for the library, which faculty may
not appreciate. The Librarian said he would be willing to approach faculty members
on the essay problem if he had accurate information regarding it.
An appeal has been received for increased financial support of the British
National Bibliography. Mr. Harlow pointed out that many appeals of a similar
nature come in, and that the library must be careful and conservative in dealing
with them. Miss Mercer said that the British National Bibliography provided the
only good, up-to-date information available on British books and is.immensely
useful to her Division. After careful consideration of the use and value of the
publication it was agreed that a second eopy of the weekly book list, with monthly
index, should be ordered for routine purposes of book selection.
The meeting adjourned at 12:30 noon.
Committee on Student Handbook appointed:
Miss Mercer
Miss O'Rourke


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