University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Oct 2, 1951

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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1951, at 10 a.m.
Present: Mr. Harlow, Miss Jefferd, Miss,Smith, Miss Lanning, Miss Mercer,
. -Mr. Lanning, Mr. Fraser, Miss Fugler.
Mr, Harlow reported that he has reached an agreement with the Accountant
and Mr. MacPhee that the Library will no longer need to collect fine money but will
continue to send out bills. The collection of extra-mural fees will continue, the
money to be deposited to the credit of the University Administration. The Rental
Collection will continue as at present, the Library collecting and spending the
rental money, Interlibrary loan charges between the Library and University
departments will henceforth be absorbed by the Library. The fines bills are to be
made in duplicate, the original sent to the borrower, the carbon copy to the
Accountant. Postage and interlibrary loan charges will be budgeted in advance and
paid from Library Supplies and Expense account. Because the Accountant's office
cannot afford to collect fines of a few cents, and because the sGale of fines
established in 1915 is no longer sufficiently effective in controlling overdues,
the President's Finance Committee is recommending to the Board of Governors that
fines for books overdue at the Loan Desk be increased to .25^ a day and the hourly
fine for Reserve books to .25^. The advance is not an increase in the cost of
education, but is a disciplinary measure for an infraction of University rules.
Microfilm and photostats which are ordered for a department and sent to the
department for its permanent use, will be charged to the department in the same way
as other acquisitions. Photographs in lieu of interlibrary loans (costing about
$2 or less) will be paid by the Library as an interlibrary loan charge.
The Librarian said he had invited Mr. Fraser to attend today's meeting
because he is the newest professional staff member and is the Library's representative
on the newly established Student-Library Committee. Several weeks ago the Librarian
talked with Mr. Vaughan Lyon, President of the AMS, and suggested the formation of
the Committee as a means of improving student-Library relations and of dealing with
common problems. The AMS executive appointed Miss Anita Jay as Student Council
representative, and she called upon the Librarian recently, met Mr. Fraser and
discussed the purposes for which the Committee was established. Miss Jay will be
Chairman and xcLll try to get committee members who are interested and will be willing
to spend the time necessary to do a good job* She will report to Mr, Fraser the
results of a Student Council: meeting at which the Student-Library Committee was
discussed. So far the development has been exploratory. The Library, as a gesture,
will give stack access to members of the Student Council.
In reply to a number of student inquiries concerning the current regulation
admitting only students with Bachelor's degrees to the stacks, Mr, Harlow has explained
the necessity of not crowding this research area and pointed out the predicament he
would be in if he grants access to all those who made special pleas. He is anxious
that the Library be used to capacity and has asked the students to consider the
problem and make suggestions for its solution. Some good suggestions have been made,
and as a result the Librarian is trying to estimate the number of final-year students
in honour courses; if it is a small enough group some arrangement for their
accommodation may be possible. *)] Miss Lanning said she was worried about extra-mural
readers who are supposed to see the Librarian about stack access: they cannot always do so and feel annoyed at the delay. Mr. Harlow said that he would like to see
these applicants but that they are a small group and night use is not as critical
as day-time use. He would Still like to see those who come to the Library in the
day-time and request stack access. Miss Lanning asked if she might be permitted
to grant stack access to five or six persons a day, instead of the two or three
mentioned in the regulations. One student, as an example, is completing an essay
which he started during the summer and which necessitates the use of many government
documents kept on the lowest floor. He will complete his work in about a week.
It would entail great labor for the Loan Desk staff to have to bring all this
material upstairs. Miss Lanning said she also felt sorry for two or three students
doing reading courses for Dr. Brink who were required to use many periodicals.
Mr. Harlow said that if we have any rules, somewhere along the line the Library has
to be reasonably firm^about enforcing them. , Miss Lanning said she checked the
stackroom first thing each morning to be sure no one had got in ahead of the staff.
She mentioned the difficulty of keeping track of stack access at night, when the
small staff at the Loan Desk are all engaged; it is possible for students to sneak
into the stackroom under these circumstances.
Mr. Harlow restated that he would like to admit to the stacks as many
people as possible who actually need to work there, but In its own defence the
Library has to regulate access by groups, not by individuals. If persons, who do
not fit into the categories are admitted, our defences will be down. If the stacks
are controlled properly it should always be possible to allow one or two persons
in for specific reasons on specific occasions; there should always be seats under
these conditions. Extra-mural readers do not all need stack access.
Mr. Lanning pointed out that the situation In the periodical stacks was
somewhat different. He recommended that only faculty and full-time personnel (research)
be admitted to this area. Mr. Harlow believed that in general faculty should be
able to go into the periodical stacks, but not students; the periodical stackroom is
a preserve as well as a stack* Mr. Lanning asked if a separate statement of the
regulation as it applies to periodicals could be supplied and the Librarian agreed to
do so,
Mr. Lanning said that Miss Cock registered for a course in German
(pre-requisite to Library School entrance), thinking it would be three hours a week,
and has found it is four hours. She has been making up the time, but finds that to
make up four hours is very hard going indeed. In the Reference Division, it was
pointed out, anyone taking a course has always had to make up all the time.
Miss Barton in Cataloguing, who took Russian last year at the request of the Library,
to increase her usefulness to the Library, was not required to make up the time.
Mr, Harlow said that at least the professional staff, anticipating a career in library
work, should be encouraged to continue their studies, and he would be glad to grant
time off for such purpose if it were possible to do so* It is apparently not now
feasible to arrange schedules in Reference so that staff members can be away, and it
seems equally impossible for a pember of Circulation to take time off for lectures,
even if the time is made up. Cataloguing is very short-handed. Under the existing
circumstances, Mr. Harlow recommended asking Miss Cock to make up three hours of the
the time each week, granting her the fourth hour on an emergency basis. He agreed
that if the Library cannot adjust the schedule to provide time off for courses, then
permission to take them cannot be granted; in any event he,would not like anyone to
try to take a course during the first year in the Library because the work is new
and difficult, and the privilege of taking a course ought to be in some degree a
reward for good service. He is reluctant to withhold from anyone all opportunity
to continue studies. 2-f
A request has been made for a place in the Library where a blind student
may work with his reader. Since the use of the library does not necessarily involve
the use of library materials, the Librarian thought that the University Administration
should have some responsibility, but he asked for suggestions regarding possible
accommodation for such students. Miss Smith said that the KlaHowYah Room she hoped
to convert into a space where students could use typewriters; she has received a
number of requests for a service of this kind. She has in mind the installation of
-pay-as-you-use machines, and the possibility of getting such equipment in Vancouver
will be investigated. It was decided that blind students who request space in the
Library should be given the use of a seminar room temporarily, on condition that if
the room is required for seminar purposes the students will be asked to find another
Mr. Harlow asked whose responsibility it is to see to clearing students
from the building at closing time and whether any difficulties are encountered.
The Circulation Division sounds a buzzer, to warn occupants of the stackroom that
closing time is near, and also sends someone down to look through the stack, which
takes about 15 minutes. Lights are partially turned out as a warning in Reserve
and Reference and in the main reading room. Miss Mercer pointed out that in the
main reading room the lights are not on a central switch and that there are a good
many switches to turn out. The night watchman is responsible for seeing that the
building is locked up at 10 p.m. Miss Smith and Miss Lanning stated that many persons
loitered, but that they did eventually leave. The Librarian would like each Division
Head to see that the area under his or her control is cleared and the lights turned
out; If there are areas which do not come under the control of any Division, he
"wishes to know them. Mr. Lanning suggested that any particular difficulty in dealing
-with this matter be reported also,
Mr. Harlow advised the Division Heads that he has been informed by the
Personnel Office that when they interview applicants for positions in the Library they
are not to quote salaries; this is the duty of the Personnel Office. He agreed, after
some discussion, that the starting salary for professional staff could be stated.
Some of the requested reports on the government document situation have been
received, but not all. The Librarian asked where a borrower goes now to get unbound
and uncatalogued government publications. Material from the Dominion Bureau of
Statistics is at the Reference desk; all other files of government material are in
Serials. If the enquirer is sent to Serials, then Serials is called upon to do
reference work, and Mr. Harlow said he thought that reference work with government
publications should be done in the Reference Division, Serials giving a checking-in
service. Im the future Miss Lanning will send persons inquiring about government
publications to the Reference Division. Miss Smith said that most of her staff were
new and unfamiliar with government publications and that her Division was really not
now fully qualified to give good reference service in this field. Mr. Harlow commented
that the Library is working towards having this service given by Reference, and that
it seemed best even now to have inquiries referred there. T
Referring to the decision of last week to pick out unique items among the
NW books and incorporate them into the Howay-Reid collection, it was pointed out
that if the donors (the Class of '31) had intended to make the books generally
available, we were restricting the use of a large number of them by making the
proposed transfer. The gift was of rare material, carefully chosen by Dr. Reid for
the Class of '31, and it appears that the intention was that the books should be
given special care. Miss Smith said she believed that the nature of the material and
the implied responsibility to giVe It special care would justify the Library restricting
its use. Mr. Harlow said that the process of checking to identify the unique.items
-'"had best be completed and the question reviewed later.
Mr, Harlow spoke of the importance of building up the Library's collections,
saying that while library service is essential to the Library's function and means
much to the persons profiting from it, in a University Library we shall in the long
run probably be judged by the size and significance of the book collections acquired.
Collection building is the great all-year problem of library growth, and all the
staff, certainly all of the Division Heads, should be vitally concerned with it.
He suggested, for his own information as well as the staff's, that a half-hour of each
Division Heads' meeting be spent discussing the acquisitions program. He recommended
first going over the' collecting fields with which the Library is at present most
concerned; this could be done by noting what financial attention the Library gives
to various subject fields. We should then explore the sections which are weak and
need building up. If through a faculty member's interest resources in a specific
field are developed, and the individual then departs, the Library should decide
whether the development should continue, and if so, should take the responsibility
for seeing that it does. Division Heads reported that there Were many cases where
faculty meiftbers had made good beginnings, left the University, and their interests
had thereafter been neglected. Mr. Harlow said that the University Library, must view
the whole collection, keep the faculty informed about material which should be bought
with the department allocation, and if there are no funds allocated or available for
certain essential material, the Library should do its best to buy-it with other Library
funds. Suggestions for faculty purchases should be sent to the Acquisitions Division,
where requisitions will be typed and sent to the.faculty member most concerned.
Selecting books for possible purchase in subject fields with which an individual has
more knowledge is aquiet fire-side sport, the Librarian said, and an attempt should
be made to interestTin book selection. Many new and used-book catalogs are received
by the Library daily and can be borrowed in Acquisitions or in the Librarian's office.
Miss Mercer asked for suggestions for the "consideration" file for last-
minute spending. Miss Smith said she is building up a file of reference items needed,
which we may be able to acquire when they become available. It is hoped, that staff
members will be interested in scanning the catalogues and recommending purchases.
It is the Librarian's opinion that the Library should take responsibility
for maintaining the balance of the collection, and if the Library gets;the anticipated
grant of Dominion funds, it will have a greater responsibility for book buying th«an
ever before.
The meeting adjourned at 12:10 noon.


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