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UBC Publications

UBC Library News Feb 28, 1977

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Volume 10, No. 1 February, 1977 Vancouver, B.C.
The University Librarian's annual report for 1975/76 has been presented to the University Senate. Once again,
it's a suspenseful tale of survival out on a limb. The Library managed to survive, the report states, with a "wrenching
mid-year reallocation of resources", but costs have continued to rise, space for expansion is disappearing, and "indications
[are] that society and government have concluded that the amounts invested in post-secondary education should be
levelled off if not decreased."
In a chapter on "Collections", the report describes the "severe economy measures" (curtailed book ordering,
cancelled periodical subscriptions, unfilled staff positions) which enabled the Library to avoid acute financial embarrassment.
This chapter also notes the acquisition, by donation, of several special collections.
A chapter on "Space" bemoans delays in starting construction of the new Library technical processing building
and in finishing the Asian Studies Centre, both of which projects will free much-needed Main Library shelfroom.
Crowding in various branches is detailed and storage procedures and plans are outlined.
The chapter on "Services" analyzes some circulation and reference desk statistics, discusses interlibrary loan fees
for institutions which borrow from U.B.C. (such fees were introduced during the period covered by this report),
and briefly reviews a study of Library use by non-U.B.C. students and researchers.
One last chapter, "The Future: Some Possibilities", summarizes thus:
" ... the danger exists that as the University's ability to maintain the existing library system, let alone expand it, is curtailed,
retrenchment could seriously affect the Library's ability to serve U.B.C.'s students and faculty. As part of such retrenchment, the Library could become isolated within the community of libraries in the province and in Canada, as it attempted
to deal with its first priorities at the expense of extra-mural service and interlibrary cooperation. What is called for
in this situation is the increased participation of provincial and federal governments in the creation of library networks which,
through the use of computer-based records and improved communications systems, through support for the interlibrary
sharing process, and through support for resource collections, would make the most effective use of the totality of libraries.
U.B.C. Library would be a central component in any combination of provincial and national networks, and is ready to
participate, whether in planning or implementation. In the meantime, with the resources at its disposal, the Library
will continue, as it has for over sixty years, to serve the University's students and faculty as well as it possibly can."
Libraries generally welcome new areas of expansion which challenge their ability to serve additional sectors
of the community. At the same time there is concern about ensuring the continuation of existing services
at an acceptable level. For the U.B.C. Library, both reactions - welcome and concern - are prompted by news
of an increase in the size of the medical class, the addition of an extended-care hospital unit, and the construction
of a new University hospital.
The growing numbers of medical students will especially tax existing reserve book facilities in the Woodward Library.
Adjustments, done recently in response to increased enrollment in the School of Nursing, now provide limited seating
within the reserve area. For at least some short time, the exponential increase in reserve loans is under control.
But further significant additions to Woodward's user population will certainly make for difficulties. Requests for relocation
of the reserve area to the basement floor of the library have been held up by budget restrictions.
The Biomedical Branch Library at Vancouver General Hospital has been attempting to obtain additional space
for current users and materials for over ten years; expansion of the medical class size will transform their sense of frustration
into a crisis. If a new academic building is developed at VGH, library facilities within it are essential, not only to provide
such services as on-line information retrieval, but also to deliver conventional library services according to
recommended standards.
Anticipation of service to the extended-care facility here on campus has served to alert Woodward Library staff
to the need for a body of literature specific to faculty and hospital staff requirements. Restricted funds in recent years
have led to a reduction in Woodward's acquisition programme for materials in general areas of clinical medicine;
the programme will now have to be re-established.
In planning for the needs of a new hospital, the Woodward Library has been developing detailed budget requests
to ensure adequate collections, services, and extension of hours during week-ends and holidays. If the funds are available,
it should be possible to successfully integrate the new clinical needs with existing services. ASSESSMENT OF LOAN REGULATIONS
January 1976 marked the introduction of new lending policies at U.B.C. libraries. The object of the new regulations
was to increase the accessibility for faculty and students to items in high demand, to enable users to retain items
in low demand, and to impose penalties equally on all borrowers, but only when inconvenience was caused
to another borrower.
The regulations were put into effect for a trial period of one year (later extended until the end of Spring Term, 1977),
and their results will now be analyzed and studied by the Senate Library Committee. To that end, a committee
of Library staff has been assigned the tasks of reviewing the performance of the policy, determining its acceptability to users,
and recommending the policy's continuance or modification. All pertinent correspondence received by the Senate Library
Committee and by the Library will be reviewed, and questionnaires have been distributed. Faculty members who wish
to comment further should write to the Chairman of the Senate Library Committee, Dr. Malcolm McGregor,
Department of Classics, with a copy to the attention of the University Librarian, Mr. Basil Stuart-Stubbs.
This month, the Sedgewick Library is holding its fourth Term Paper Clinic. The clinics, conducted by
Sedgewick librarians with the help of senior students from the School of Librarianship, offer extended reference service
to students who are writing papers.
The clinics work this way: each student first meets with a librarian and discusses the goals of a given paper,
then an appointment is made for a further meeting; in between, the librarian examines library sources for the topic
and prepares a research outline; at the follow-up interview, the student is directed to the most helpful sources,
in Sedgewick or elsewhere in the Library system. The major focus is on teaching logical techniques for locating information.
The use of card catalogues and reference materials is explained and, as the explanations are tied to students' real and
immediate needs for information, the instruction seems successful. With specific assignments in hand, students are open
and willing to learn about research strategy.
The Term Paper Clinics also serve as a practicum exercise for library school students, and they provide opportunities
for Sedgewick librarians to keep in touch with current student needs and to discover how well the Sedgewick collection
meets those needs.
Posters advertise the Term Paper Clinics around campus and a large banner is hung on the Sedgewick Library
reference desk.
Approximately 260 students participated in last October's clinic. 30°/o of these students returned an evaluation form
which asked them to indicate whether the clinic was helpful, and to add any comments or suggestions. The following
are examples of the comments and perhaps they best illustrate the worth of the clinics:
"The personal aspect is the most pleasing. The librarians were all very helpful - and so tolerant of one's ignorance of...
the helpful bibliographies, indexes, etc., etc.   I don't really see how you could improve it much."
"Off hand I can't think of anything that could improve it. I was pleased with my guide and would strongly recommend
the furtherance of the clinic."
"Have this service around all the time, so that those who need it can use it."
"I think everything is A-OK as far as I am concerned. Very helpful; you put yourself out for the person;
you find other areas where we can go look for information which is most helpful.    Thanks ! ! !"
As part of its continuing effort to support the book arts, the Library this year is issuing a series of illustrated broadsides -
posters displaying the work of campus writers and artists.
Five broadsides have been planned, each to be produced in an edition of about fifty copies, for posting around campus.
The first two posters, which featured the work of Creative Writing faculty members Robert Bringhurst and Michael Bullock,
student Margaret Murdoch, and Bianca Barnes, Library graphic artist, were distributed in January and February.
Most copies disappeared within ten days of posting ... this is taken to indicate at least some success for the project.
The broadsides are hand-printed by Library staff, using a late 19th Century Albion flat-bed press. The typeface is 'Bell',
a so-called "transitional" typeface, which was originally designed in the 18th Century.
Last year it became apparent that the rising costs of serials subscriptions posed a serious threat to the maintenance
of a balanced Library collection. As serials (i.e. journals and other continuing publications) took an ever larger percentage
of the book budget, the Library's monographic holdings suffered. It was necessary to trim the serials subscriptions lists.
Details of the serials cancellation project are now available.
Through the spring of 1976, the various subscription-originating divisions of the Library, along with faculty members,
examined subscription lists and determined which titles were relatively dispensable.    Before last year's budget was announced, it was estimated that about $150,000 worth of serials would have to be dropped in order to preserve a reasonable ratio
of serials and monographic expenditures. When the budget was announced - and with a subsequent addition
to the Library's book budget, provided by the University administration - the number of cancellations which had been planned
was lowered.
In June, then, lists of subscriptions to be cancelled were compiled; in July cancellation letters were sent out.
The Main Library cancelled 1171 titles, of which 953, or 81%, were "unique" (i.e. the only subscriptions in the
U.B.C. library system). The Woodward Library, together with the Biomedical Branch, the Animal Resource Ecology Library,
and one of the associated reading rooms, cancelled 191 titles, 57% of which were unique. The Law Library received a grant
of $10,000 from the B.C. Bar Association for the maintenance of their subscriptions, so no cancellations were made there.
The total savings, $61,828, were approximately 6.5% of the full allocation of $917,500 for 1976/77 for serials.
All of the titles cancelled were among those which, in the original serials review, had been designated as "most dispensable".
Proposals are now being considered which, if accepted by the University, will define and limit library services
currently available free of charge to the outside community. Also under consideration is the introduction of charges
to recover costs wherever special service is requested by library users who are not associated with U.B.C.
The proposals arise from a two-year study of "outside use" of campus libraries. Early in 1975, a committee of library
staff members began the task of"collecting and analyzing data on the extent of outside use and the costs associated with
providing open access to library collections and services. The principal objective was to identify and recommend policies
which would permit community use of the Library to continue without impairing the level of library service available
to U.B.C. faculty and students. During a period of rising costs, increasing service demands, and limited funding,
a re-examination of service priorities seemed essential.
As the major research library in an area where library resources are unevenly distributed and always in great demand,
the U.B.C. Library has been subject in recent years to increasingly heavy "outside" use. Students from other institutions,
professionals in various disciplines, staff of government agencies, business firms, and even other libraries have come to rely
on campus libraries for access to specialized materials and services.
The committee found, for example, that more than 1,500 free library cards were issued to outside users in 1975
under special provisions in the loan regulations. Pressure to extend loan privileges still further has been difficult to resist.
Traffic studies (see
illustration) indicated
that on a typical
weekend more than
15% of those using
U.B.C. libraries are
"outsiders". A week-
long study of U.B.C.'s
reference services
showed that 16.7% of
all reference questions originated with
outside users and that
at certain times, such as Saturday afternoons, more than one-third of the reference questions came from non-U.B.C. patrons.
The same study revealed that the typical outside user required more assistance than U.B.C. students or faculty;
in fact, more than 25% of the total reference time was expended in providing assistance to visitors. Taking the evidence
of outside use together with current library costs, about $500,000 in annual library expenditures could be attributed
to use of the Library by patrons not associated with the University.
Since the Library is experiencing difficulty in providing adequate support to U.B.C. programmes, the committee sought
in its recommendations to establish clearer limits on services available to the outside community. Basic levels of service
were defined which would permit outside users to have continued access to collections (for on-site use) and to essential
reference services. It was suggested that, in view of the value of the U.B.C. Library in supporting research and teaching
elsewhere in the province, the University might be justified in seeking additional funding to allow open access to the Library
to continue in future.
Where services beyond the basic level were requested by patrons not associated with the University, fees were recommended to recover service costs. If accepted, the proposals will mean fewer "free" library cards, higher charges for personal
and institutional borrowing, special charges for extended reference service, and continuance of cost recovery programmes
in areas such as interlibrary loan and processing of materials for other libraries.
While the report has been endorsed in principle by the Senate Library Committee, it has not yet been implemented.
Clearly, a policy which limits services to the community and imposes charges for many services which have been provided free
or for a nominal fee in the past will be controversial. It is equally apparent that funding for more generous policies
will be difficult to obtain without corresponding reductions in services to U.B.C. students and faculty.
1 '
A new project is underway in the Main Library, involving various Library divisions, financed by five annual grants
from the Mark Collins Fund. Called bibliographical rehabilitation - or, alternately, rehabilitative bibliography - the project
aims to replace, in a systematic and thorough way, volumes which have gone missing from the Main Stacks.
Currently, due to budget restrictions and limited staff time, orders for missing books are rarely followed up...
if an item proves difficult to obtain, the order is often simply cancelled.
The Library's Collections and Acquisitions Divisions are now developing a methodology for the project.
Trial procedures will be applied first in the area of Canadiana In the meantime, faculty members who know of particular
missing items which really ought to be doggedly pursued, contact Rita Butterfield, Head, Circulation Division,
in the Main Library.
The following items are needed to complete the library's holdings:
A.A.U.P. Bulletin (American Association of University Professors).   Vol. 61, no. 2 (1975); vol. 62, no. 2 (1976)
B.C. Industry Reports.   Vol. 1, no. 4 (1973)
Canada; An Historical Magazine.   Vol. 2, no. 2 (1974/1975)
Financial World.   Vol. 144, nos. 17, 24 (October 29, December 29, 1975)
Focus on Guidance.   Vol. 8, no. 9 (April, 1976)
Heritage Canada.   Vol. 1, no. 5 (Spring, 1975)
Nation (U.S.).   Vol. 222, no. 4 (1976)
National Wildlife (U.S.).   Vol. 14, no. 1 (January, 1976)
Nature.   Vol. 262, no. 5563 (July 1, 1976)
Newsweek.   Vol. 87, nos. 9-26 (January, June, 1976); vol. 88, nos. 1-14, 16-26 (July, December, 1976)
School Library Journal.   Vol. 22, no. 6 (February, 1976)
Scientific American.   Vol. 235, nos. 2, 5 (August, November, 1976)
Times, London. Higher Education Supplement,   no. 235 (April 23, 1976)
Times, London. Literary Supplement,   nos. 3854-3855, 3860-3861 (January 23, 30, March 5, 12, 1976)
The University of British Columbia. Commerce Undergraduate. Business Review.    (1969)
Virginia Journal of Education.    Vol. 69, nos. 1-3, 5, 7-9 (1975-1976)
If you can supply any of these, contact Graham Elliston, local 2304.
In January, the Data Library, U.B.C.'s collection of machine-readable quantitative data files, moved from Room 447A
to Room 206 of the recently re-named Computing Sciences Building (formerly Civil Engineering). The move was part
of a general reorganizing of space in that building. In its new room, the Data Library is closer to the computer terminals
and to keypunch facilities, there are windows, for once, and, all told, there is about twice as much space as there was
in the old location.
Editor:    M.Kasper Information & Orientation Division


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