University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Dec 9, 1952

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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1952, at 10 a.m.
Present: Mr. Harlow, Miss Jefferd, Miss Lanning, Miss Mercer,
Miss O'Rourke, Mr. Lanning, Miss Fugler.
Mr. Harlow inquired about the new signs for the reading
room tables, "COMMON COURTESY, QUIET FOR STUDY," to be distributed during the examination period.  They will be placed on the
desks beginning December 10. About 750 were printed, and since
the janitors clean off the desks every night, it was decided
that it would be necessary to gather them up at closing time
each evening, and put them out again each morning (if any remain)
A meeting of the Senate Library Committee was held on
December 2, and Dr. Tucker was elected Chairman.  By the new
terms of reference, the Librarian is ex-officio Vice-Chairman of
the Committee, and a secretary is selected from the Library
staff; Miss Fugler was elected secretary.  There are four
members ex-officio: the Chancellor, the President, the Librarian,
and Mr. Andrew; three representing the Faculty of Arts & Science;
one from each of the other faculties; and three nominated by the
President, at large.  The chief work at Tuesday's meeting was
the selection of research materials, chiefly periodicals, to be
purchased from the Committee Fund (about $2,000). A representative list, totalling more than twice the amount of money available, was submitted to the Committee, who gave careful
consideration to the selection.
The Librarian noted that the announced transfer of
Miss Alldritt to Cataloguing had caused some understandable
surprise among the staff, probably coupled with a feeling that
the position of First Assistant in the Catalogue Division should
have been declared open in order that others might have been
permitted to apply. Mr. Harlow said that he does not ordinarily
wish to proceed in this manner, but that in the present instance
it was unavoidable.  Last fall, after only two or three months
in the Library,he had been faced with the problem of preparing
budget estimates for 1952/53 and had to make his plans for the
coming year.  Cataloguing seemed to him then, and does still, to
need bolstering, and he requested a promotion for Miss Barton
from Junior to Senior rank and a new position of First Assistant
for the Division.  He needed to give assurance to the Administration that he could fill the First Assistant position and he
stated that he had a person for it, having Miss Alldritt (who
did not know of these plans at,the time) in mind.  He has since
been working toward making this; arrangement and the transfer is
now being made, before the end of the fiscal year, to keep the position in the budget, although it involves leaving the position
in Serials temporarily vacant. Two other positions, the library
assistant posts in the Bio-Medical Branch Library, were likewise
filled without preliminary notice because both vacancies had to
be filled on two days' notice. As it was, the Branch opened
without library assistants, but both positions were taken a day
later. The staff know that Miss Alldritt's position is to be
open in the Serials Division on January 1, 1953, and that a First
Assistant position is vacant in the Loan Division. The Librarian
does not believe that, under the present classification and pay
plan, any staff member now has the cumulated experience required
to fill these vacancies at the First Assistant (L-3) level,
Mr. Harlow went on to note that Miss Alldritt had become
First Assistant in the Serials Division after two years of
professional experience, none of it in this Library; and that
Mr. Rothstein became Head of Acquisitions after one year of
experience here. Both were extraordinary cases which developed
out of extraordinary circumstances, which do not now exist.
One disadvantage (if such it be) of a regular pay plan is a
classification plan, which establishes levels of employment based
upon experience and performance. These, together, provide for a
fair division of labour and responsibility, as well as of salaries,
Such a classification and pay plan did not exist for the professional group until last July; indeed, it is at present tentative,
and it is hoped to increase the present salary scale before having
it finally adopted. The classification and pay plan has been
sought by the Library for several years, and it must itself abide
by the standards it has asked to have established.
In actual fact, the Librarian concluded, there is probably
no such thing even as equality of opportunity (and he cited his
own experience in which, after 17 years, the place he vacated
was filled by a man with only 4 years' experience). In the final
analysis, a person is judged on the basis of performance, which
is a composite of many things, including personal characteristics,
application, experience, and the advantage an individual has taken
of his opportunities for development.
The Personnel Office has advised the Librarian that in some
instances no replies have been received from members of the staff
in response to requests for information required by that office.
Such requests should have immediate attention, the Librarian,
suggested; and if an individual feels in any instance that the
requests are unjustified, the person concerned should discuss the
matter with the Personnel Director, not ignore the matter entirely.
Dr. Birney's noon hour readings last week in the Sedgewick
Room were a great success. About one hundred persons crowded in
to hear him, and made an appreciative audience. Further events
of this kind are planned, possibly by Mr. Alan Crawley and Ethel
Wilson. REQUESTS FOR 1953/1954
The Division Heads were advised that they should now submit,
in writing, requests for new equipment wanted during the coming
fiscal year.
Suggestions for promotions of staff should also be made in
writing at this time. The Librarian does not know whether
provision can be made for such increases in the new budget, but
if they are planned, justification for them needs to be made now.
Miss Jefferd asked whether arrangements could be made for
promotion to a higher category without providing an equivalent
salary, and the reply was that it was contrary to the principles
of a salary and classification plan, and the Librarian considered
it to be bad practice.
Mrs. M. J. Thompson, the Librarian of the University of New
Brunswick, has a staff member, scheduled to succeed her, for whom
some wider experience is desired. She was advised by Miss Elizabeth Morton, of the Canadian Library Association, that UBC or
Alberta has the most progressive university library in Canada,
and that experience at either of them would be most valuable.
An exchange has therefore been suggested, and Mr. Robert Rogers
will be able to come here from U.N.B. for the period from May to
December next year.  This Library would be expected to send someone to the University of New Brunswick in exchange, and since
we are already short of staff this is not easy to do. The exchange
would presumably be from the Reference Division, since Mr, Rogers
would be attached to Reference here. Mr. Harlow likes the idea of
exchanges but he has delayed acting in this case until he can
discuss the matter with Miss Smith.  The President is interested
in the matter and the University would perhaps pay part at least
of the transportation costs for a U.B.C. librarian to go to U.N.B.
and his salary there would be paid by U.B.C.  The Librarian said
that it would be a very good opportunity for a single member of
the staff to gain experience in another institution. The person
who goes should be able both to give and to get something from
the exchange, and return to U.B.C. with greater usefulness.
One member of the Library Committee asked whether persons
taking books from the shelves in the stackroom should not be
required to leave them for re-shelving by library staff, since
books are often put back in the wrong places. Miss Lanning
agreed that there is some misplacing of books for this reason, and
said that she does ask in a general way that the re-shelving be
left to staff. She suggested putting a table at the foot of the
stack stairs for such material. However, during term Mr. Neale is
busy shelving most of the time as it is. Mr. Harlow wondered
whether student assistants might be used to help with this work,
but Miss Lanning said that the majority would not be too
Two student assistants have stated their intention of
dropping out before the end of term, one of whom has already left.
Students are supposed to have agreed to work throughout the session, and if they do not, they are to be asked to report to the
Personnel Director when they leave; the Division Head should
report their departure to the Librarian's office.  Student
assistants should not smoke while on duty; if they are on duty for
a couple of hours at a time they may be allowed a few minutes off
to smoke, but they should not in any case, of course, smoke while
in the stacks.
It was agreed that Extension plays should be entered in
both the authority file and shelf list,.,in the Cataloguing Division
but that they need not be classified nor have call numbers.
Miss Stewart takes her own inventory and can continue to make her
own cards.
Miss Lanning said that some of the people who are on duty at
the Loan Desk in the evening do not know precisely what are the
regulations relating to extra-mural readers, and asked if something in writing could be given to such borrowers for their
information as well as to inform her staff. Mr, Harlow reviewed
the proposed outline of regulations which Miss Lanning had sent
to him some time ago.  A few copies will be typed and sent to the
Loan Desk.  These rules are tentative, and until they have been
settled, they should not be mimeographed in quantity. Meanwhile,
more can be typed if they are needed.
The meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.


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