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UBC Library News Feb 28, 1971

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Volume IV, No. 2 February, 1971 Vancouver, B.C.
This newsletter is published as an information service for UBC faculty, students and other readers outside the Library. It
contains feature articles and news about developments in the library system which we feel will be of interest or concern to the
larger community. The News welcomes all comments, criticisms, and suggestions for future articles.
This month's Library News has been delayed to allow publication of extracts from the Librarian's Annual Report to Senate,
presented on February 25. Because of its length, the report will be covered in two issues of the News. Extracts published this
month deal with physical conditions in campus libraries, the services they offer, and the growth of library collections. In two
weeks' time the March issue will carry highlights from the final sections, covering the Library's financial position and a summary
of its achievements and future requirements.
Copies of the Report are being sent to all deans, department heads, departmental library representatives and Senate members.
A limited number are available from the Librarian's Office (local 3871).
In the nineteen sixties the University of British Columbia Library attained maturity.
To recall the nineteen fifties is to remember a library largely confined to a single unfinished structure, containing fewer than
half a million volumes.
At the beginning of this new decade, the Library is no single entity, but a network of dispersed and specialized units,
containing a million and a quarter volumes and a wide variety of other materials essential to learning and research.
Increase in size, however, is not the only measure of progress. As evidence of its growing importance and utility, the Library
could point to a 320% increase in borrowing, compared with an increase of 79% in student members in the same period ... As
an indication of the University's own concern for its Library, comparative budget figures can be cited: they show an increase of
471%, representing a larger share of the University's operating budget, 7.6% compared with 4.2% ten years ago.
Unfortunately the satisfaction that these developments bring must be tempered by other less attractive realities. Impressive
though the Library's achievements might be, they continue to be outstripped by the requirements of students and faculty
members, and the collection and the staff of the Library have outgrown the physical capacities of many parts of the Library
system. It is a plain fact that great numbers of users in the nineteen seventies will find themselves increasingly inconvenienced by
the Library's inability to meet demands [assuming] the existence of accommodations which are simply not there, and which
may not be there in the future. There are few difficulties which in one way or the other do not relate to a shortage of space: this
is the Library's major problem, one that only large capital expenditures can solve.
Nevertheless, given the determination of students, faculty and library staff,... the next decade should not be one of
successive disappointments and failures, but of further achievement.
In 1960 the Walter Koerner wing of the Main Library was completed; within its walls were taking place changes in the
organization of services which pointed the way to the future. What had been a single reference division was being divided into a
number of new divisions, each adapted to the requirements of a particular group of users. Divisions for the humanities, social
sciences and sciences were created, joining already existing divisions for the fine arts and biomedical sciences. The .. .rare books
and collections were gathered together in a new Special Collections Division, while an Asian Studies Division was formed around
recently acquired oriental collections. For growing numbers of undergraduates, a College Library opened its doors. And the
Curriculum Laboratory, then located in the Main Library, initiated a trend toward decentralization by moving into the old
Faculty Club, adjacent to the new Education Building. ''
1 Specialization and decentralization of library collections and services .. .was the story of the sixties. Within the Main Library,
over a period of a decade, new divisions for maps, government documents, microforms, recordings, collection development,
orientation and systems were set up. Around the campus, branch libraries were organized for mathematics, ecology, social work,
forestry and agriculture. In 1963 the Law Library and the Biomedical Library became part of the developing network, and in
1969 this system was extended to include over thirty departmental reading rooms, operated jointly with the departments
concerned through a Reading Rooms Division.
. These developments were not accidental, but the result of considered policy and careful planning... .[The] Senate Library
Committee worked for two years on the document Policies Governing the Establishment and Growth of Branch Libraries and
Reading Rooms Outside the Main Library Building, approved by Senate in 1965. In keeping with this policy, A Plan for Future
Services was produced in 1966, and in a second revised edition in 1969.
The realization of the Plan is a continuing objective for the Library. The addition to the Woodward Biomedical Library,
formally opened on June 10, 1970, marked the completion of the University's only major branch library; with seating for 800
users and shelving for 180,000 volumes, it serves as a model for future large branches for the sciences and education. During the
past year, work on plans for the new Sedgewick Undergraduate Library proceeded quickly . .. .Construction was scheduled to
begin in the fall of 1970 and to finish in the spring of 1972.
Nevertheless the rate at which physical facilities have been expanded has not been swift enough. This should come as no
surprise to Senate. In the Librarian's Annual Report, the warning has been sounded often enough: in 1963/64, one reads,
"Further decentralization .. .must proceed apace or the Main Library will become an obstacle to the use of books"; in 1964/65,
" .. .the increased rate of acquisitions will cause the book collections to overflow existing stack areas...."; in 1965/66, "a
critical shortage of space exists now, and . . .the situation will be unmanageable inside of two years"; and just last year,
" .. .thousands of books will have to go into storage."
For the next year and a half, until the new Sedgewick Library is completed, students will be subject to seating shortages more
acute than those experienced by their predecessors. But for them, at least, relief is in sight. The outlook for the Library's
collection is less hopeful. Having assembled in the Main Library during the nineteen sixties a research collection worthy of the
name, the University must now watch a first installment of 50,000 volumes go into storage in 1970; further installments will
follow regularly, in response to acquisition rates. Obviously, a deterioration of standards of service must accompany every
withdrawal from the collections for storage The steps which the University must take in the nineteen seventies if it is to
retrieve itself from this serious situation are described in the final section of this report.
1. Branches, Divisions, Subject Collections
Knowledge itself is continually expanding, and with it the interests of the University. Like any organism, the University
responds by becoming more detailed and complex in its parts as it grows larger. As part of the University, the Library responds
by subdividing into specialized units, in the fashion described in the previous section of this Report....
. The Annual Report for 1959/60 listed five divisions in the public service, only one of which .. .was a branch outside of the
Main Library building. In 1969/70 there were thirteen reference divisions and subject collections in the Main Library, and nine
branch libraries. Whereas a decade ago there were forty employees serving users directly, there were a hundred and ninety-seven
last year. There are now about two hundred students per public service employee, compared with two hundred and fifty in
Loan statistics reflect the shift away from dependence on the Main Library. For the third successive year, loans from branch
libraries exceeded loans from the Main Stack collection, this year by 271,596 items, compared with differences of 229,529 items
and 181,399 items in previous years... .However, these and other statistics can only serve as partial evidence of an
improvement in service, for many aspects of library use cannot be quantified.
As an example, much of the effect of the creation of the Information and Orientation Division in 1968 cannot be measured
statistically. The purpose of this division is to make the Library more accessible to the student. As part of their work last year,
the Division's staff answered thousands of questions at the information desk in the Main Concourse, published with the financial
assistance of the Alumni Association a library handbook for students, set up . . .a plexiglass model of the complicated Main
Library building, printed, posted and distributed scores of signs, directories and guide sheets, and regularly issued a publication
for faculty members, U.B.C. Library News. In the weeks following registration in September 1969, more than two thousand
students, over half of the freshman class, took a short course in the use of the library, comprised of a slide-tape lecture and
walking tour. Certainly the effect of this activity must be to optimize use of the Library's resources, but to what exact degree is
unknown. »   *!•: v .     .,    .,
A similar account could be given on behalf of the other twenty branches, reference divisions and subject collections. Among
many improvements introduced in the last year alone, here are a few:
- The Curriculum Laboratory .. .although acutely short of space, transferred from the Main Library a hundred and seventy
journal titles, thus making them more accessible to users; began to develop a collection of film strips for instructional
purposes; and increased hours of opening in response to growing demand.
- The Sedgewick Library, using funds provided by the Alumni Association, set up a collection of about fifteen hundred
paperbacks, from which 11,322 items were borrowed in the first year.
.  - The Crane Library in Brock Hall organized a textbook recording programme for blind students, of whom there are now
thirty-one, and also began to participate in another programme for the supply of light reading-through-listening.
- The appointment of two qualified archivists in the Special Collections Division permitted programmes to be expanded in
two areas: historical and literary manuscripts and U.B.C. records, manuscripts and publications ....
- Subject specialist librarians in the Social Sciences Division delivered 52 bibliographic lectures to approximately 900
students, for the most part at the graduate and upper year level. Comprehensive bibliographies were compiled to assist
students in identifying key material in each subject area.
- A union list of all newspapers held in the libraries of U.B.C, University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and the
Centre for Research Libraries in Chicago .. .was prepared by staff in the Social Sciences and Information and Orientation
- Expansion of the Mathematics Library into an adjoining study room improved accommodation for readers and allowed
additional space for collections ....
In the foregoing account of the development of the public service divisions, a shift from a passive to an active mode can be
detected. The Library is less and less a static, dormant, self-contained organization, and more and more a vital participant in
instruction and research....
2. Reading Rooms
In its first year of work, the Reading Rooms Division .. .concentrated on determining the needs of the various reading rooms,
improving those which most conspicuously needed assistance, arranging for the transfer of periodical subscription records to the
Library, processing book orders, and preparing collections for cataloguing.
A preliminary survey revealed that the reading rooms contained some 40,000 volumes, about 26,000 of which had not been
catalogued. A crash programme reduced that backlog to about 5,000 volumes; most reading room collections are now listed in
the main catalogue, and have their individual catalogues. It is hoped that all volumes will be catalogued by the end of 1970.
The Library also assumed financial and clerical responsibility for about 900 journal subscriptions, previously paid for by
departments and individuals....
The objective of a campus-wide system of reading rooms was set in 1964 by the President's Committee on Academic Goals; in
its report, Guideposts to Innovation, it stated that "Departmental reading rooms contribute to the intellectual life of the
department and improve the conditions for student discussion and study." That desired situation is now being achieved.
3. Services
Hours of Opening
Ten years ago, during the winter and spring term, libraries were open for seventy-nine hours per week. In 1969/70 this had
been increased to a hundred hours a week for major branches; all branches combined offered service for a total of nine hundred
and forty-seven hours, in a single week.
Moreover, longer hours were maintained throughout the year. For the first time libraries were open at night in May and June,
for the greater convenience of graduate students and increasing numbers of extra-sessional students....
Copying Service
It is now difficult to conceive of the Library without the modern copying machine. Yet a decade ago, the best the Library
had to offer was a single unit which produced an imperfect and impermanent copy at a cost of thirty-five cents. Little wonder
that only two hundred and five such copies were produced in 1960/61.
In 1969/70, nineteen machines, mostly coin-operated, produced 1,588,805 copies,.. .an increase of 20.5% over the previous
year.... The users of the copy machines were asked what they would do if no machines were available. The results were revealing:
80.5% said they would hand copy the material, 12.2% said they would drop the matter, 4.3% said they would attempt to
purchase the material, 2% said they would steal the item and 1% said they would tear out the pages they needed. Clearly, copy
machines are saving the students much time, and the Library a measure of loss and inconvenience.
Interlibrary Loans
.... .It has been pointed out that in a decade, loans have increased by about 321%. Interlibrary loans have increased by 866%.
In the past year, interlibrary loans increased by 25% over the previous year....
. Further analysis points to the increased importance of the Library as part of the interlibrary network. Whereas in 1960/61,
U.B.C. Library filled about three requests for every one it made, it now fills five. Of the over 20,000 requests filled in 1969/70,
over 12,000 were received from four provincial institutions: Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the B.C.
Institute of Technology, and the B.C. Medical Library Service.
1. Funds
In 1969/70, the Library was spending almost a million dollars more on books and magazines than it was in 1959/60; over ten
years, the budget for the purchase of library materials has increased by 390.3%.. . .But this was not the whole story of the
nineteen sixties... .Between 1964/65 and 1965/66, expenditures shot up from $516,153 to $1,613,087. This was the result of
the unprecedented .. .gift of H.R. MacMillan, who donated three million dollars to the Library for the purpose of developing as
quickly as possible a collection to support graduate instruction and research.
.. .The Library grew to maturity almost overnight. In a decade .. .the size of the collection, measured in physical volumes
alone, increased by nearly 150%.
However, following the depletion of the MacMillan funds, some painful adjustments took place. The resources essential to the
continuing development of a retrospective research collection were not available with the result that many purchasing
opportunities had to be passed over... .The present budget is just sufficient.. .to keep abreast of the current literature in all
fields of interest to the University, and to acquire duplicate and replacement copies of heavily used or missing titles. By
comparison, other comparable Canadian institutions were progressing more rapidly ....
A higher rate of spending is necessary if the collection is to continue to meet the requirements of a constantly expanding
programme of graduate studies and of more intensive undergraduate training. Yet, ironically, an increased rate of acquisition will
only accentuate the difficulties arising out of a shortage of stack space. An impasse has been reached, from which the only
escape is increased funds for both operating and building purposes.
2. Collections
.. .Early in 1969, without fanfare, the millionth volume was catalogued. By the end of August 1970, the million and a
quarter mark had been passed. Only a decade ago, the Library had contained fewer than half a million volumes. This, of course,
is only part of the story, for physical volumes are but a single measure of the Library's strength. Account must be taken of the
over one million microforms, the superb collections of government documents, maps and records.
... [The] task of selecting appropriate materials must be shared by librarians and faculty members. During the nineteen
sixties there was a change in the proportion of this responsibility handled by the two groups... .At the beginning of the decade,
faculty members undertook to select current books for purchase. However, the results of this approach became progressively less
satisfactory as the number of available titles increased, and as other duties claimed more of the time of faculty members. Since
collection development demands continuity, the concept of the blanket approval order was introduced, whereby dealers were
placed under contract to deliver new books in specified subject areas, from which selections could be made. This method of
acquiring new books also made possible a number of time and money saving practices in the Library's Processing Divisions.
In 1964, the increasing responsibility for the selection of materials made necessary the formal creation of a Bibliography
Division, staffed by senior librarians, whose whole assignment is to develop the collection. By 1970, five bibliographers were at
work on various areas of the collection, policing the blanket approval orders, producing desiderata lists, building back files and
entering new subscriptions....
Another form of assistance in collection development was given by a new partner in librarianship: the computer. For half of
the past decade, precise records of use have been collected in machine-readable form, and conveniently organized and stored on
magnetic tape. Analysis of these five million records of loans has yielded information on rates of use which can be employed in
developing collections, principally through the purchase of additional copies to meet high levels of demand. One of the most
difficult problems faced by librarians in this era of mass education is that of relating supply and demand. At U.B.C... .the
computer is now assisting in the solution to that problem. The objective of the Library in the nineteen sixties has been to develop a collection which is current, in the sense that it keeps
abreast of an eveij-developing universe of knowledge; which is comprehensive, representing all topics of interest to
the.. .students and faculty; and which is accessible, in that desired individual items are available when required by individual
users. The attainment of that objective .. .may be a continuing challenge. Nevertheless, it can be confidentiy stated that the
collection of 1970 meets the needs of users more closely than did the collection of 1960....
3. Processing
The swift development of the Library's collection and its dispersal throughout branches and divisions, changes in selection
methods, and the emergence of the computer .. .have combined to revolutionize the Processing Divisions... .New working
patterns have emerged through the application of techniques of systems analysis, and work performance is measured by
computer-based monthly cost-benefit studies. Such adjustments have been necessary, because the Library must now receive,
record and store over a thousand new and different items every working day. At any time, as many as 22,000 items may be in
various stages of the acquisitions-cataloguing-physical preparation process ....
... [The] ten-year record of the Processing pivisions borders on the miraculous. As many volumes have been added to the
collection in the last five years alone as were added in the first fifty. During the middle of the decade, a stored backlog of over
fifty thousand volumes developed; it has now been reduced to about ten thousand volumes, and will have been eliminated by
this time next year. All new branches and some divisions have full catalogues of their own; two, the Mathematics Library and the
Recordings Collection, have computer-produced catalogues, pilot projects for future more comprehensive systems of handling
catalogue information. In the Main Library, the union catalogue has exploded to occupy all of the main concourse ... Joining
the catalogue are printouts for periodical holdings, materials on order and volumes on loan. The Processing Divisions have
succeeded in bringing together in this one area nearly complete information about the total holdings of the Library.
At the beginning of a new decade, some problems remain to be solved. A lag in time between the shelving of newly processed
books and the filing of catalogue cards has developed,... [and] ways must be found to shorten the time it takes to bind and
rebind materials... .Other problems like these two, of a practical and procedural nature, are amenable to solution, through the
addition of staff and the further refinement of routine.
Regrettably, even if funds were available for additional staff, space is not. The Processing Divisions are located on the
uppermost stack level of the Main Library. There, under a seven-foot ceiling, more than a hundred people work in confined and
uncomfortable conditions. It would be much better for the individuals concerned, for the work processes, and for the expanding
collection itself, if the Processing Divisions could be moved into other space, better adapted to their work. According to
established standards, the minimum requirement for the present level of staffing would be 22,000 square feet. They are now
occupying less than 14,000 square feet.
4. Use
Methods for measuring library use are not yet very sophisticated. Most libraries are satisfied to count those volumes which are
borrowed; but they do not count the items which have been consulted rather than borrowed, or the maps or microforms which
have been viewed. But even if loan statistics are only a partial indication of activity in libraries, U.B.C. Library's record is
impressive enough.
In ten years, loans increased by 320.9%... .This was no mere reflection of an increase in student numbers: enrollment has
grown by 78.1%. The explanation for the discrepancy lies in the fact that students now use the Library more intensively,
borrowing an average of 89.7 items per year, compared with 38.2' items a decade ago.
... [The] rate of increase of loans is greater than the increase in the size of the collection, indicating heavier use. In 1966, the
rate of increase of loans took an upward turn, and seems to be proceeding steadily at an annual increase of about 15%, which
would point toward the attainment of two million loans a year within the next two years, a figure exceeded by few academic
libraries in North America. A number of factors must account for this: the increase in information itself; the heavier
requirements placed upon students by faculty members; an increasing trend toward self-education; the development of branch
libraries; orientation programmes; and certainly the ease of borrowing made possible by automated systems.
(To be concluded in the March Library News)
This month the Special Collections Division is featuring works by and relating to Emily Carr, British Columbia artist and
author. The display coincides with the issue of a postage stamp commemorating the hundredth anniversary of her birth.
Visitors will be able to see prints, books by and about Miss Carr, a selection of her letters to Nan Lawson Cheney, and
samples of her pottery. The pots were generously loaned to the Division by a faculty member, and have never before been on
In an attempt to meet the demand for material on the women's liberation movement, the Social Sciences Division has set up a
special double file. One section is reserved for publications by women's liberation groups in both Canada and the U.S.; the other
contains material from other sources. Besides monographs and pamphlets, the files include newspaper articles, broadcast
transcriptions, bibliographies listing useful books and articles, and a directory of women's liberation groups.
Because much of this material would be hard to replace, the files are being kept in the office, rather than, on the open shelves.
However, any reader can use them by asking at the Social Sciences reference desk.
Since the start of the year both the Sun and the Ubyssey have published stories about the possibility of a new Asian Studies
library at UBC. The present situation is this: the Sanyo Corporation has offered UBC its Expo 70 building, which is patterned
after a traditional Japanese temple. It is a square building, 140 feet on each side at the roof line and about 70 feet high. To
dismantle, move and reconstruct it on this campus will be expensive, and the University has no capital funds to allocate for this
purpose. At the present time attempts are being made to raise the necessary money from government, business and private
sources both in Japan and in Canada. If it cannot be raised, the project will probably have to be abandoned.
.In the meantime site studies are being conducted, the potential users of the building are defining their requirements, and an
architect is working on interior layouts. The building is large enough to contain not only a greatly expanded Asian Studies
library, but also offices for the Department of Asian Studies, for other interested departments, institutes and faculty members,
and for teaching and exhibition facilities.
The 1971 graduating class has already donated $1,350 to the project. Any further developments will be reported in this
Editor: Mrs. E. de Bruijn , Information & Orientation Division
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