University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Mar 4, 1952

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TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1952, at 10 a.m.
Present: Mr. Harlow, Miss Smith, Miss Lanning, Miss Mercer,
Miss Barton, Mr. Lanning, Miss Fugler.
Miss Jefferd was absent because of her mother's illness.
Mr. Harlow mentioned that Miss Martha Shepard, Director
of the National Bibliographic Centre in Ottawa, had arrived in
Vancouver to microfilm the catalogues of the Vancouver Public
Library and the University Library.  She visited the University
Library on Monday, and will be back again to copy the catalogue.
It was noted that no mention was made in last week's
Minutes of fines to be charged at Serials. Miss Smith said that
the 2-hour loan period enforced by Reserve, and which Reference
was to observe according to last week's discussion, was not
satisfactory for her Division. Mr. Harlow pointed out that when a
person borrows from Serials or Reference it must be made perfectly
clear to the borrower what the conditions of the loan are, and
there should be a notice at the Reference and Serials desks
stating the regulations. After some consideration of the
difficulties and the different loan periods which ought to be
enforced at different desks, Mr. Harlow said he would get out
another statement regarding fines. In the meantime, no fines should
be charged at either Reference or Serials; the students should have
proper notice of what the procedure is to be. Mr. Lanning asked if
a draft of the proposed notice could be submitted to the Division
Heads concerned. Mr. Harlow requested that the Division Heads
prepare a memo regarding loan periods which are or should be in
effect at the several service desks, e.g., week loan, day loan,
loans to faculty, etc.  The matter will be further explored at the
next meeting. Miss Lanning remarked that students sometimes turn
in to the Loan Desk material borrowed from Reference.  Care will
have to be taken about this, in order to avoid charging overnight
fines on reference material which has actually been returned during
the day. Miss Smith commented that not all the reference books
coming up to her were marked with the little disks to identify them
as reference items. Miss Mercer said that everything is marked by
Mrs. Manchester according to her instructions from the Catalogue
Mr. Lanning said that the reading of last week's Minutes
infers that if the Staff Association does have to refer back to the
Librarian the responsibility for enforcing the regulation regarding
the daily break period, the Librarian would then cancel the
privilege. Other Division Heads had not read this meaning into the
statements in the Minutes. Mr. Harlow said that as he saw it, it is
up to the individual to regulate his own conduct, that the Staff
Association is not an enforcement agency but an educational one,
and as the only general staff organization in the Library, is
representative of the staff. This puts the situation on a voluntary,
dfifflnp.rstir.   hssis   Trat.h&Y'   than   a   HTRninlinarv   one. u
It has been ascertained that there will not be any
displays in the Reserve Book Room. Miss Smith has put the time
table in final form and advised everyone who will be on duty of
his hours and places.  The Reserve Book Room, Fine Arts and, Sedgewick
Rooms will close at 10 p.m. on Saturday, the Loan Desk will be
manned until 11 p.m. if necessary. Mr. Harlow thanked Miss Smith
for all the trouble she had taken to prepare a time table.
How traffic into the building is to be regulated after
5 p.m. on Friday, March 7, presents a minor problem. Mr. Aird of
the student organization has promised the Librarian a list of
persons,authorized to come in and work on exhibits on Friday evening
and Saturday morning before 11 o'clock. Mr. Harlow asked whether a
responsible person had been assigned to duty at the one door that
will be open on Friday evening and Saturday morning, and Miss Smith
said she had not assigned anyone to that duty because she did not
think anybody would try to come in who had not a job to do in
connection with the displays. It was pointed out that the Loan Desk
would be expected to help get out material for the displays and that
one person could not be expected to man that desk alone.
Miss Lanning asked if she might lock the Reserve Book Room at
5 o'clock on Friday when the Library ceases to give service, and
it was agreed that this should be done. Mrs. Sumpton said she would
not need the services of the two student assistants who ordinarily
work on Friday; she prefers to handle any reserve material loaned
for display purposes herself. Miss Lanning said the two student
assistants could be kept busy at the Loan Desk, where the Friday
afternoon work will pile up because of the early weekend closing.
Mr. Harlow agreed that they should be employed for some purpose since
they wish to work. Mr. Lanning offered to come on Friday evening
to keep watch at the delivery door; he has work he would like to do
in the bindery and he could get on with it and also check on
comings and goings by the door. Mr. Harlow prefers not to have the
delivery door open after 5 P»m. on Friday. It is anticipated that
many demands will be made on the library staff by persons working
on displays and that everyone will be kept busy.
Occasionally there is an urgent request for material which
is in the bindery, sometimes in process. Mr. Lanning says the
requests are not frequent enough to constitute a serious problem,
but that all requests of this kind should be made to him.
Mr. Harlow announced that arrangements have been made to
send Mr. Fryer to the UCLA bindery for a week of observation and
work there. Mr. Foley has very kindly undertaken to look after all
arrangements in Los Angeles and to see that Mr. Fryer has every
opportunity to learn as much as possible of the methods used in the
UCLA bindery.
A price has been obtained on a new oversewing machine,
which would be preferable to a rebuilt one, for which negotiations
have been under way for some time. Delivery of the new machine W-1
would be made in about half the time of that required for getting
a rebuilt one. A machinist would come to the Library with the new
machine to. install it and provide instruction in use.
The Class of '52 has indicated that it may be interested
in making a gift of a value of #500 to |800 to the Library and has
asked for suggestions. Mr. Harlow has suggested to Dr. Tucker,
who has been consulted by the students, that they talk it over with
the Librarian. Mr. Harlow feels that books are probably the most
satisfactory gift, from the point of view of both the donor and
receiver; they have permanent value, are useful, and acknowledge
the donor by means of the gift bookplate. Any of the special
collections in the University Library could well receive additional
There has been comment to staff members about the statement
recently prepared by the Committee of Deans on the organization and
administration of library facilities on the campus.  The Senate
has also recently appointed a committee to study the terms of reference
of the Library Committee and to make a report to it. Both reports
will be submitted to Senate at its May meeting, and until that time
the matter is still under official consideration. Mr. Harlow briefly
described the proposals, for the information of the meeting.
Mr. Harlow reported that he had been recently talking to
the Director of Personnel about staff employment matters.  One dealt
with the turnover of staff, some aspects of which had been discussed
in the Annual Report of the Library Committee. Mr. Harlow
expressed his opinion that it is better for an organization to have
a few reasonably competent persons who will stay for some years than
to have all brilliant people who will come and go within short
periods.  The required turnover of library staff resulting from
sessional appointments has been eliminated, but there are nevertheless
many members of staff who are taken on with the knowledge that they
will not remain for more than a year or so, people who wish to go on
to other work or to continue their studies. Mr. Lanning mentioned
the problem created by taking on a library assistant to work until
the end of August; the last opportunity to get a replacement is from
the current graduating crop in May, and most of these people cannot
wait until September for work. In order to assist people who want
to attend Library School it has been the practice to keep on many
library assistants until the end of the summer and then try, at a
poor time, to get replacements. The Librarian said the Library would
likely continue to employ some library assistants who plan to go to
Library School, but he would like to enlarge the scope of the
library assistant category to provide in it for some who might
stay on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. His primary responsibility is to operate the Library efficiently; if, in doing so,
he can also assist people who plan to enter librarianship, he will do
that, too. Miss Smith said she agreed with Dr. Dunlap's view that
people who had library assistant qualifications would not long be satisfied with the sort of position available to them and would leave
after a year or two in any event. Mr. Harlow felt, from his own
experience, that by extending the present category and providing
more scope within it, non-professional people who would be valuable
members of the permanent staff could be attracted to the work, and
the result would be^a more stable personnel. He would also have
the higher steps aswr the salary of library assistants overlap the
lower steps of the junior professional scale, recognizing the value
and relationship of the two categories as they operate in the Library,
A compromise between the two philosophies,will probably result.
Another problem here in holding personnel is that increases
in salary are often very small and slow comparedwith those, for
example, in the United States. Miss Mercer added that there were
also more and greater opportunities there. Because of the mueh
larger number of libraries and the consequent greater demand for
personnel, competition has been a factor in advancing salary seales.
These aspects of securing and holding properly qualified
staff were dealt with in the Annual Report and are matters whieh
can be discussed with the University Administration and put before
the public.  The matter of staff morale is more of an internal
The Librarian said that he has not beeome well enough
acquainted with many of the staff, but that his impression is that
it is made up of persons who are competent, many being ambitious, all
appearing to have the interests of the Library at heart, and nearly
all having pleasant personalities. Altogether the Library has
in its employ a very satisfactory group of human beings. On the
whole, morale seems high, but he believes that morale and the
development of an esprit de corps depend to a large extent upon the
attitudes and actions of the Librarian and Division Heads. Some
dissatisfactions this time of year may possibly be the signs of
spring fever!
There is one normal employment condition not yet well
established here, at least for professional people: a classification
and pay plan, from which a feeling of security may be derived.
Such a scale of position classification and normal salary increases
for a professional group is in preliminary stages (one having been
set up three years ago for the clerical and secretarial categories).
After further discussion of factors entering into the
development of staff morale, the meeting adjourned at 12:05 noon.


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