University Publications - UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes

[UBC Library Staff Meeting Minutes] Dec 4, 1951

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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1951, at 10 a.m*
Present: Mr, Harlow, Miss Jefferd, Miss Smith, Miss Lanning,
Miss Mereer, Mr* Lanning, Miss Fugler.
Mr. Harlow asked if there were any corrections in last
week's Miniates, and Miss Smith said that the paragraph on Inventory
on p.2 should have one minor correction: the word "experienced"
should be inserted at the end of line 9 of that paragraph; the
amendment was accordingly made. Attention was ealled to the Committee
on the Handbook, the members of which were listed at the end of the
Minutes. Miss Mercer remarked that the Committee was already
functioning, studying samples of handbooks of other institutions.
The Librarian noticed that the lights were out in the Library
for a few minutes on Monday night, and he asked about the supply of
flashlights. It appeared that there are only two or three in the
building. Flashlights will be ordered for all divisions, and each
should be kept in a specified place.where all members of the division
can locate it readily.
Library hours for the holiday period were considered, and
it was decided that on December 19, the last day of examinations, the
Library should close at 5 P»a« Mr* Harlow pointed out that the
Library serves faculty as well as students, and that in considering
hours this should be borne in raindo In the Spring Term, the Library
will be open on May 2 from $  a.m* to 5 P»bu , and on May 3 (Saturday)
from &  a.m. to 12 noon. In diseussing holidays, Mr. Harlow reminded
the meeting that extra days taken at Christmas are to be deducted
from the annual vacation allowance.
A number of suggestions have been received via the
suggestion box at the Loan Desk, and Mr. Harlow reported to the
meeting the replies he had written t© Miss Jay, Chairman of the,
Student-Library Committee, on several points. One of the suggestions
was for improved lighting in the main reading room, and Mr. Harlow
has asked the President for this and for improved lighting in a
number of other areas in the Library, as well as for acoustical
treatment of some work areas.  It is not known whether the request
will be acted upon immediately, but Mr. Harlow believes it is a
matter that should be pursued until something is done. Another
suggestion, that rental typewriters be provided for student use,
was investigated previously, and it appears that there Is no service
of this kind available in Vancouver. One request was to "get the
card catalogue in shape", and Mr. Harlow asked whether anyone knew
what this meant. Miss Jefferd said some of the cards were soiled-
and battered, but Miss Lanning was inclined to think that most
eomplaints about the catalogue are probably from students who do
not take the trouble to learn how to use it.  They complain that they cannot' find what they want, and the reason in most eases is that
they do not know how to look for the material. There were also one
or two comments about a lack of smiles and civility at the service
desks. It was the general opinion that students and faculty receive
courteous treatment at the desks, but that time and pressure of numbers
preclude any more friendly attitude. Mr. Harlow just wished to remind
everyone on the staff that in dealing with the public an attitude of
cheerfulness is of importance. Another complaint was about the size
of the fines, and Mr. Harlow has written a reply to this, stating
that the fines are not for revenue purposes but to ensure prompt
return of material so that others may have it, and also advising the
Student-Library Committee that the fines are to be increased. The
charge was made by one student that first and second year people get
into the stacks, while fourth year people are excluded. This again
is a question of having sufficient staff to keep a constant watch at
the stack entrance, particularly at night. Mr* Harlow said that a
mechanical barrier has a strong deterrent effect in sueh circumstances,
and the possibility of controlling access at the Loan Desk in this
way will be investigated.
The combination of the vault has been changed, and the
difficulty of aceess to it was raised. The Librarian, Miss Fugler and
Mrs. Locke have the combination and will open the vault at any time
during working hours. Miss Smith said she sometimes worked on Sunday
and at night, and found it awkward not to be able to get into the
vault. It contains commission reports, and other material which she
occasionally needs. It was agreed, however, that the present
arrangement should continue.
Mr* Harlow said that Mr* Fryer, the new bookbinder, was now
on the staff and will, he hopes, as soon as the staff is fully
recruited and some minimum of new equipment is received, get the
bindery on its feet and increase production from now on. Mr. Harlow
has discussed the bindery problem with the President and hopes to get
about |1200 immediately to make some modest additions to the plant,
chiefly a gluing machine, which should make a great saving in time.
It will also provide for new stamping equipment, and since gold stamping
is one of the most expensive of the bindery operations, any saving here
is important. Mr, Foley also recommended a new method of sewing, and
the Library has purchased a used perforator which will be refitted to
prepare material for sewing. Mr. Harlow plans to have the Report on
the Bindery Survey mimeographed and distributed to the Senate, staff
and others concerned. The President has undertaken to do all he can to
provide additional funds for the further improvement of the bindery.
Mr. Dunsmuir, who has been in the bindery^for a considerable time, is
continuing there, and Mr. Harlow feels that altogether the outlook is
bright. Mrs. Damer is the third present member and another sewer is
still to be secured. Personnel repords.will be kept in the Librarian's
office, and ordering of supplies etc. will be done there as usual;
Mr. Lanning will be responsible for production records. Material for
the bindery will be prepared under Mr. banning's direction. As few
"rush" items as possible will be accepted, and these on a regular
schedule, because they cause serious interruptions in the regular flow
of material through the bindery and increase costs. Certain material,
e.g., abstracts and other reference items, will perhaps be left until
the summer, when their absence would be less serious to the Reference Division, Finally, there will be the problem of larger and more
practicable quarters for the bindery. At the moment it is difficult
to find a suitable place, and Mr. Harlow will welcome any suggestions.
A meeting of the Committee on University Archive (of which
the Librarian is secretary) was held last week, and the Library has
become semi-officially the University Archive. Space will be provided
first for certain materials now now being adequately cared for, and a
more thorough program will be developed later. Mr, Harlow considers
using Room 750 for the present purpose, a space now used to some
extent by the Reference Division. It was pointed out that 750 is also
a means of transit at the present time, though a dangerous one because
of the low doorway. Mr. Harlow asked for suggestions, and Miss Jefferd
mentioned the space under the roof of the building. This will be
inspected and its possibilities considered* The problem of processing
the material and providing for its use will have to go slowly for the
present, but the Librarian hopes some time to have one or more persons
on the Library staff who will be in charge of "special collections",
including the University Archive,
A representative of a local religious group has asked the
Librarian to paste into eertain books a list giving the titles of worifs
authorized by the eentral organization. Mr. Harlow said that the
University's research collections shouM represent the views of all
breeds and creeds as far as possible but that it is not the University
Library's function to label individual books as approved or disapproved
by any particular group. It was remarked that some people looking
for material in this field would like to know what is authorized.
Mr. Harlow said he had also received a suggestion from a student that
a list of sponsored books by another religious group should be acquired
by the Library. If the request from the first group is acceded to, the
same kind of requests would have to be entertained from other groups.
It is a kind of implied censorship, to which the Library should not
subscribe. The list of authorized books mentioned will be made
available for reference purposes upon request, but will not be inserted
in the books themselves.
On Thursday of this week the Library Committee will discuss
S centralized library service program for the campus, and on December
12 the matter will come before Senate. Mr. Harlow believes that the
decisions made in this matter will be of far-reaching and vital
significance to the University.
Miss Lanning has submitted an outline of inventory procedure,
based upon the Library remaining open and inventory continuing, after
one week of intensive work, throughout the early summer. The plan
calls for about six teams of workers in the stackroom, and the division
Heads were asked what personnel might be available to reinforce the
Circulation staff. Miss Jefferd said she would like to have her whole
staff on the job for two days, and that they were interested in doing
the work. Mr. Lanning asked if the shelves were in such condition
that the preliminary reading outlined in Miss Lanning's plan might not
be necessary. It was believed that the preliminary tidying up, pulling out books from the back of the shelves, etc. was important. Reference
will supply teams for shelf reading and the beginning of inventory,
but the Librarian does not think that the use of professional staff
for long periods on this work can be justified. Miss Smith said that
she would put on several of her staff, probably for half-day periods
at a time. Miss Mercer offered two members from Acquisitions in
addition to herself. The problems of inventory will be considered
further at future meetings.
The elimination of book blocks from the main staeks presents
the problem of indicating to the shelver where a book should go if it
is not to be shelved in its normal place. One suggestion was that all
books regularly shelved in Reference, etc. be marked with a symbol
indicating their location; and the possible use of a sticker (R for
Reference/ on the spine of the book was considered. After some discussion
about this practice, it was decided that books for Reference will have
the letter "R" above the call number, as is now done with "X" to indicate
Extension Library books. All new books coming in for Reference will
be so treated, but no attempt will be made at present to change cards
already in the catalogue. Mr. Lanning mentioned the possibility that
material might be changed from one location to another in the course
of time, and that when that happened, the "R" would need to be taken
off the books. It appeared that books in the "Z" classification need
not havesn "R" added to them since all are in Reference. Material
which in the course of time is retired from the Ridington Room shelves
into special Reference stacks will present no problem, but provision
would have to be made for material which might be retired to the main
staeks. There is also the possibility that large divisional reading
rooms, such as for the Biological Sciences, will develop. If the books
are marked permanently for general Reference, there will be a problem
in dealing with them. Mr. Lanning said he would like to make a brief
survey of the present situation and consider probable future developments
before we embark upon a new plan for marking books. He will reprt at
the next meeting. Miss Smith pointed out that people who do not find
a block referring to the location of a book will go to the Loan Desk
to ask, and increase traffic there. Miss Mercer suggested a sign on
each stack level advising people where to go for information. This
brought the further suggestion from Mr. Harlow that it would be advisable
to ha¥e a desk where faculty could go for information, behind the
regular Loan Desk. Miss Mercer said that the old method of having a
charge desk at the head of the stack stairs could be reinstated and become
also an information desk. The problem would be that during rush periods
one person could not keep track of people coming up from the stacks
and those making inquiries at the 4ame time. To do a proper job of
this kind the Circulation Division would require more space and staff.
Mr. Harlow thinks that it is not good control to require people who
come from the stackroom with material to go outside the desk to have
it charged. This may be a matter of use of Loan Desk space and staff.
The meeting adjourned at 12:^0 noon.


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