Author: Andrew Stevens
The library and information community is a major contributor to the educational, social, cultural and economic life of the UK. Libraries enjoy an overwhelmingly positive public profile. Each year there are over 250 million visits to public libraries alone, and over 96 per cent of us believe that they provide a valuable service to local communities.
To ensure this success continues and develops, Resource: the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries is working on two major library programmes - the implementation of Framework for the Future and the Wider Information and Library Issues Project.
Framework for the Future
In February, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) published Framework for the Future, a ten-year vision for public libraries in England. Resource is now leading on the preparation of a three-year implementation plan to turn that vision into action.
Framework for the Future aims to promote public libraries, give them an improved visibility, and to set out why libraries matter and what they are about.
At the heart of the vision for public libraries are:
Framework describes the current position and where our aspiration for libraries falls short. The action plan for Framework provides a high-level national route map for improvement, with some imaginative proposals for national service developments. It also recognises the reality of services that are delivered and managed locally and the strength this brings in making them responsive to community needs. Crucially, the actions are not about short term projects but about building capacity and helping establish the conditions for long term sustainable improvement.
Underlying Framework are a number of difficult issues for public libraries, which we need to face up to and address. These are the main focus of the implementation plan.
Framework has attracted wide support across government and other agencies, including the Secretary of State Charles Clark at the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). The implementation plan builds on this support. It recognises that while the improvements described in Framework can only be achieved through local authority library services and the staff who work in them, neither library authorities nor DCMS nor Resource can deliver improvements without the additional capacity, added expertise and broader vision that partnership can bring.
Central to the plan is showing how libraries help deliver national priorities, in particular Local Government Association/national government priorities to:
Local authorities are key to the success of this Action Plan to achieve the Framework vision. DCMS and Resource and other Framework partners will work with them to achieve change and DCMS will fund the Action Plan with £3 million over 3 years.
Implementation of Framework for the Future has already begun. By the end of March 2004 the first results of the implementation plan will be achieved. These will include:
The plan will be published formally in September, with a wide circulation to libraries and to local authorities, central government and partner organisations.
Wider Information and Library Issues Project (WILIP)
Resource aims to maximise the contribution made by the library and information domain to the economic, educational, social and cultural life of the UK.
In Autumn 2002, Resource, in partnership with the British Library and CILIP, launched a consultation exercise covering all types of libraries and information providers to find out what issues they are facing and to identify how they might be overcome. This highlights the generic challenges to library and information services if they are to provide the services their users will expect in the future.
A summary of the consultation will be published in September. At the same time a fuller version of the report including analyses of the challenges specific to particular areas will be sent to the 80 or more professional organisations and individuals who participated in the project. Both reports will also be available on the Resource website.
The consultation identified key elements of a vision for library and information services:
A Steering Group, comprising leading figures from the library and information world, has helped interpret this vision in terms of what impact it will have upon society:
What are the challenges?
The next steps
In the next stage of the project, Resource and its partners will focus on developing models for how we can improve users' access to information. We will continue to engage the profession actively in addressing the key challenges and developing practical solutions. Library and information services will be supported through working with the worlds of learning, culture, health, society and industry to create the right policy framework and make the case to government and other key partners for a more joined-up approach to information provision.
This is an exciting phase that has the potential to bring great benefits, but the measure of success achieved will depend very much on the quality of the arguments raised and on finding a receptive environment in which to plant the ideas of what better information provision can do for the Knowledge Society.
The issues being addressed in Framework for the Future and WILIP have a great deal in common, and these programmes together represent a significant watershed for libraries. By building effective partnerships, looking outwards and making connections across all library and information services, we can bring real benefits to users and build for the future.
You can find more information about either of these programmes on the Resource website at http://www.resource.gov.uk or contact Andrew Stevens at Resource.
Senior Policy Adviser (Libraries)
Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries
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The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) (1) extends the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to education. This legislation makes it unlawful to discriminate against students, applicants, and potential students who have disabilities. Such discrimination can involve treating such individuals less favourably, or by failing to make "reasonable adjustment" to services where their disability places them at a disadvantage compared with other users. The Act places a responsibility upon institutions to anticipate the adjustments which might be needed for future disabled students and to make these adjustments in advance, though institutions are only expected to do what is reasonable. Organisations may take into account factors such as cost and resources available, and the practicality and effectiveness of the adjustment when deciding whether to proceed or not. If one is operating in an historic listed building, providing wheelchair access to every area may be impracticable and/or unaffordable. In such cases reasonable adjustments might include making fetching services available, arranging access for a helper, or providing some facilities or materials in an alternative location.
Clearly there are implications here for libraries. Besides such obvious matters as the ease of physical access to our buildings and the facilities within them, further issues may need to be addressed: the formats in which we produce our signs and guides, whether our loan policies may discriminate against some users, provision of equipment for use by those with disabilities, special assistance in fetching materials or photocopying, training for library staff in communicating appropriately, and how we publicise the availability of special services to those who need them. Policies need to be in place to provide services for students with specific disabilities, even if we do not have library users with those disabilities today; such policies also need to be adequately publicised to those who might in future apply.
Such adjustments to services as major structural changes to buildings, and installation of specialist equipment may involve capital expenditure, require liaison with the wider organisation within which the library operates, and take time to achieve. Changes to policy or practice may incur significant 'hidden' costs, requiring staff time both in initial setup and to maintain an ongoing service. Some practical measures may be implemented easily and at a relatively low cost for the benefit provided. Given the legal requirement to ensure that those with disabilities do not receive an inferior service as a result of their disability, librarians cannot choose to ignore the issue. The sorts of action which may need to be considered include:
Not every measure may be achievable in every library. However, it is clear from the Disability Resource Centre's access guide to libraries within the University, that many have already taken some steps to ensure that students with disabilities are able to make effective use of library facilities. Staff within Cambridge are fortunate in having expert advice available within the University to assist in assessing just what may reasonably be achieved. The University's Disability Resource Centre http://www.cam.ac.uk/cambuniv/disability/ can offer advice and practical information on a range of disability issues, including providing contact details for companies which produce equipment such as magnifiers, induction loops, etc.
The means are also available to ensure that all library staff are well informed on the provisions of SENDA and related disability issues. The University Personnel Division's staff development programme includes a range of courses for staff wishing to improve their service to those with disabilities(4). Their popular "Libraries: making them accessible to disabled people" is run twice a year and aimed specifically at library staff. Colleagues who have attended this course have come back full of practical ideas and enthusiasm for putting them into practice. Other courses, such as those giving information on the Disability Discrimination Act, offering a good face to face service to disabled students, or those focusing upon the needs of students with particular disabilities, while aimed at the wider university context, may also be of interest and benefit to library staff. Such courses are free to those working within the University and Colleges.
Further sources of information include the Disability Rights Commission http://www.drc-gb.org, CLAUD, which is a higher education libraries network in the South and South West of England to improve library access for disabled students http://www.bristol.ac.uk/Depts/AccessUnitPRD/CLAUD and SKILL, the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities http://www.skill.org.uk.
The elimination of discrimination is a government priority with which many librarians would identify. Librarians work within an ethos of making information available to all. Many of us have been providing services within the spirit of SENDA for some time, though arrangements for individual library users with disabilities may well have been put in place in response to particular needs rather in anticipation of them. The legal requirement to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that discrimination against those with disabilities does not occur forces us to consider all our services in a structured way, to formulate clear policies, and to publicise the level of service that we can offer in particular circumstances. Library staff then clearly understand what assistance is expected of them, and users have a reasonable expectation of the services available to them. This professional approach can only improve the inclusivity of our library services.
St John's College
(1) The full text of the Act may be found at http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2001/20010010.htm
(2) The University's Disability Resource Centre produces a useful leaflet "Making written information accessible", which includes advice on font, font size, paper, and layout, together with further sources of information
(3) See http://web-support.csx.cam.ac.uk/websupport/access.html, http://www.cam.ac.uk/cambuniv/webstyle/ and http://www.rnib.org.uk/digital/hints.htm . Further information on making websites and other electronic material accessible can be found at http://www.techdis.ac.uk. This site includes a free assessment of five web pages on submission of the homepage URL.
(4) See http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/personnel/staffdev/list.html for a full list of staff development courses available.
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Liz Guest, until recently an assistant at the Haddon Library, talks about her enthusiasm for catering.
"I've been interested in catering since my mid-teens. I suppose it was a bit of a throw-back to the 1940s - I envisaged myself becoming THE DOMESTIC, cooking for the man of the house - but I've got a lot of imagination and catering seemed to be the best way I could put that to good use. I'm hopeless at maths, and a hands-on, practical trade like catering was suggesting itself from the first day I looked into the careers room.
"I studied catering at Cambridge Regional College on Newmarket Road. The people who most inspired me are my Mum - actually not the greatest of cooks - and then, once I was at CRC, a fellow student called Jamie Powell and my tutor Alan Darby.
"My own favourite foods are escargots (snails in garlic), chocolate, and crispy seaweed. My least favourite is oysters. The worst dishes to prepare are fish - I do not like gutting them! And I'm not keen on the preparation of jugged hare. I remember cutting one open and finding live maggots inside. You sometimes find that the posher the hotel, the more the kitchen's a downright health hazard.
"The best kitchen I've ever cooked in was at Caius. I was there for a work-experience placement. I was the only female in the kitchen but I think it was a brilliant place to learn. Of course, if you're on work-experience anywhere, they're going to tease you by asking you to fetch things that don't exist - banana strainers, sky hooks, red herrings. I think librarians are the only people who don't do that. But one real thing I had to fetch, when they had a college feast, was a whole suckling pig. I got it from the fridge and it looked so sweet just like any little piglet, with a wobbly nose. I took a quarter of an hour or so before I could let Julian, the meat chef, set to work cooking it."
I asked Liz if she had any one-line suggestions that would make anyone's catering better.
"Practice, practice, practice. And be prepared to work all hours. And you need an outgoing personality and good inter-personal skills. And it's also not a job, or a hobby, for the faint-hearted. All that gutting, and washing out brains, and blood - and I've got scars on my wrist from oven burns.
"I'd better put in a plug for Cambridge Regional College. They let their catering students loose in the Riverside Restaurant (01223 532300). Tuesdays they have a gourmets' night, Thursdays they have a theme night. And I'd better also say that my own services are not available for hire these days. I'll do catering within the family but that's it."
Interview by Aidan Baker
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How elitist is Cambridge?
Discussion of that one can go round in circles. What we mean by elitist, and whether elitism is really a bad thing in a place that aims at excellence, are questions that can't be brushed aside. More readily established, though, is this: that some bright youngsters, who'd be good for Cambridge and who'd benefit from studying here, are missing out because their backgrounds don't automatically lead them to think of higher education.
Teenagers from ethnic minority communities arrive in Cambridge every August, for a free summer school within the University. These summer schools are organized by GEEMA, the Group to Encourage Ethnic Minority Applications. Originally an independent body, set up in 1989 by the Black and Asian Caucus at Cambridge, GEEMA has now been fully absorbed into the University's admissions structure. The summer schools are not all it runs.
Fran Kerridge, Schools & Colleges Liaison Officer at the Cambridge Admissions Offices, co-ordinates these activities. I asked her, how did they run?
"We have day visits, in and out of University term, where the school pupils can get to hear from undergraduates and admissions tutors. We set them going on projects such as treasure trails, researching prospectuses, interviewing Cambridge students, making videos. The aim of all this is to make Cambridge less scary. And we have the five-day summer schools for the Year 11 pupils. They get to see for themselves what happens in Archaeology, History, English, Science. And admissions tutors show them how to make applications. We have a database of about 400 state schools with which we've made contact, and we're always seeking to enlarge and extend that."
The 2002 summer school drew 40 visitors to Cambridge, and half of them went on to apply for admission in 2003. That's not a bad measure of success. Interested departments can contact Fran on 01223 330873, or email email@example.com.
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Our day was divided between two contrasting collections. First, the Bank of England Museum in Threadneedle Street and, as our group gathered, we were able to visit a craft market, set up in the old Bank stock office, suggesting a microcosm of the world of international exchange and dealing in which the Bank operates.
After a short introductory talk, we were free to look around the various exhibits. The route round the collection gave a fascinating history of the bank as an institution, the building in which it is housed, and the history of currency in Britain. Those interested in printing could see a display relating to the printing of bank notes, including an example printed during the Second World War in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, virtually impossible to distinguish from the genuine article. As Kenneth Grahame was a senior figure at the Bank in the early 1900s, we could see a first edition of "The Wind in the Willows", and a gorgeous Roman mosaic was on display, discovered deep in the foundations. Most alluring was a display of (fake) gold bars, and a (genuine) gold bar worth £83,069, secured inside a perspex case with a small opening through which we were invited to try to lift it. We soon realised that those images of bank robbers cheerfully hurling ingots into the back of vans is erroneous, and goodness knows how Alec Guinness was supposed to carry those gold Eiffel Towers around so artlessly. I certainly couldn't lift the gold bar, although Heather Lane achieved the feat with considerable aplomb! Passing on through the exhibitions, we reached a room of interactive displays, giving us the chance to demonstrate our skills as global traders, and here Lyn Bailey came into her element, quickly making a fast profit of $700 through shrewd purchases from New Zealand!
A break for lunch followed, and an opportunity to see some of the City sights. I managed to catch the somewhat anatomical Lloyds building, and another that seemed to resemble an ice lolly made out of glass, and went in search of Leadenhall Market, which I remembered from working in the area in the 1970s as a busy and varied market. Sadly this has become a much gentrified collection of shops and cafes, although it gave a chance for refuelling.
For our afternoon visit, we moved on to the The Women's Library, only a short walk away at Aldgate. This was opened recently in a building converted from public bathhouses, and is run under the auspices of the London Metropolitan University, funded by them and by charitable trusts. Previously known as the Fawcett Library, it houses a significant collection of books, periodicals, archives and ephemera for research into the life and history of women. Items on display for our visit included a number of leaflets, pamphlets, biographical material and a file of assorted material relating to the Greenham Common protest. There is clearly a wealth of material here which our short visit could only touch upon, but it was well worth knowing of the collection and what it offers the researcher.
Welcome refreshments followed, and there was just time to visit on the way out a fascinating display of fashion items, cosmetics and teenage literature from different periods.
The Cambridge Library Group is an organisation of librarians, lecturers, booksellers and others, all of whom share a common interest in the dissemination of information. The Group holds up to ten meetings during the academic year, usually on weekday evenings. The meetings might be lectures in libraries not open to the general public or take the form of an outing or visit.
Membership costs only £5 per year. If you are interested in joining, please contact either Mrs Sarah Stamford, Librarian, Selwyn College (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mrs Anne Hughes, Librarian, Clare College (email@example.com)
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"Change" can occur in a number of different ways. Most organisations have to deal with change when an existing (and stable) state of affairs is no longer valid. From the outset, the Judge Institute Library has had to continually adapt to new situations and expectations. The process of creating a library is, by its very nature, one of constant change. Even since the basic framework was completed new challenges have continued to arrive, ensuring that complete stability has never been attained. The widely-researched problems of resistance to change apply far less in a situation where there is no status quo, and our staff have been remarkably adaptive. Our problems have arisen more from an over-familiarity with change: with no "constant" against which to measure, we have, from time to time, reached maximum capacity without realising that it was imminent. This account seeks to outline some of the challenges that we have faced, and how we are attempting to manage them.
When the Library first opened in 1996, its print collection was small, its electronic resources were cutting-edge and its users were few in number, though pretty high maintenance. Seven years later, the print collection has expanded tenfold, the electronic resources are wider ranging (but now only part of an ever-increasing array), and user numbers have trebled - and are still high maintenance! We have found that the greatest impact on our workload has been, not so much the increase in numbers of students on existing courses, but the proliferation of different courses, with different timetables, needs and competences. In addition, the electronic resources which were, seven years ago, greeted with amazement and delight, are now considered essential rather than extraordinary: awareness and expectation have forged well ahead of our budget.
In 1996, there were only four courses taught in the Institute: final-year Tripos, MPhil in Management Studies, MBA and Ph.D. The needs and experience of the students varied, but they were all full-time and based (mainly) in Cambridge. Over the past seven years, this has increased to ten courses, including three part-time distance-learning programmes, and involvement in a number of one-off projects, like summer schools and scholarly exchanges. As many library users' IT skills have grown ever more sophisticated, so expectations of information delivered straight to their desktop has increased. We have to balance our attempts to keep at the leading edge of IT developments, with adapting our services to cohorts of students that have been out of the education system for decades (and may never have used a computer in their life).
We subscribe to a number of databases for our bibliographical, news, market research and financial information. One big change has been the move from CD-ROM to on-line provision. In addition, updates and new interfaces appear regularly, so documentation must be rewritten and users kept informed. With many companies vying to provide this information (they are selling to businesses as well as to academic institutions), content can change dramatically as they battle for exclusive rights to use particular data or journal titles. We regularly have to re-evaluate our existing services to make sure that they are still the most appropriate to our needs, and we are inundated with offers of trials and special rates by competing service providers.
Our early reaction to these changes bore a remarkable resemblance to the "boiling frog syndrome": if you put a frog in cold water and gradually heat it, the frog will eventually let itself be boiled to death (1). Unlike the frog, we were aware of the changes happening around us, but as they were quite gradual - a few more students here, a couple of new services there - we adapted to them. However, we still almost "boiled to death", trying to provide the same level of service to growing numbers of users, and for an increasing range of resources. Luckily, just before boiling point, we realised what was happening, and asked for more support. Since then, changes in student numbers have, on the whole, been less stealthy: an increase in MBA numbers of 50% and the addition of three new programmes last year, meant than an entire rethink of our budgets and staffing was required. By the start of next year we should have 60% more staff than we did in 1996, though with a 200% increase in users we are faced with the age-old problem of finding ways of streamlining processes, without compromising quality.
Despite the challenges involved in providing electronic resources, we stand by our original strategy of providing as much information as possible in this way. It has certainly helped us to cope physically with the increasing numbers, and since it is not necessary to be in the Library, or even in the UK, to access these resources, our students are not limited to the study space that we have to offer. It has also meant that our distance learners can have exactly the same access to them as our full-time students (though we find that a number of our part-timers prefer the more traditional printed forms and take some persuading that electronic information is the best solution for them). What we have also found is that, with the majority of our students on one-year courses, the demand for assistance with research is enormous. We always provided an introduction to the library for users, but have increased our documentation for all services and implemented small group training for library skills, in an attempt to free up time from answering a constant stream of basic queries. It is difficult to measure how many queries we are not getting as a result of this training: we continue to receive a fair number, but I imagine that there would be significantly more queries without it.
Looking to the future, our student numbers are set to rise again, with 50% more MBA students in 2004. Electronic resources will continue to mutate: we are starting to wonder where our "no mobile phones" rule will be when people can use WAP-enabled phones to access our online resources. Back in the present day, we have started an alumni fund-raising appeal to build a mezzanine in the library; we have good intentions to improve and extend our training programmes; and we hope to survive the continuing onslaught of ever persistent database salespeople. Paradoxically, the only constant in our lives is change.
(1) Handy, C. (1989) The Age of Unreason . London: Business Books
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Cheryl Cook has retired from Chemistry. She was there thirty years, and enjoyed it hugely (apart from the move in December 2000, and the other move six months later when the new floor had to be replaced). She expects to enjoy her retirement also. She will devote much of it to the Huntingdon troupe Shakespeare at the George, in which her role is strictly administrative and not on stage.
Cheryl's successor at Chemistry is Rebekah Oldroyd, who reckoned that her chief hobby, at the time we spoke to her, was moving house.
Andrew Bennett, after twelve years at the Pendlebury Music Library, has made a change of direction - left libraries for work at the Secretariat. His new job includes administering the University's Hardship Fund, and he reckons admin. isn't such a shock for librarians.
Others who've left libraries for a kindred profession are Rachel Harrison, formerly at Classics and now Senior Editor at CUP, and Liz Guest from the Haddon. And despite her enthusiasm for catering, detailed elsewhere in these pages, Liz's move is not into anyone's kitchen but to the University Dental Service. Liz is being followed into the Haddon by Sarah Dentan, whose most recent jobs have been with teen services at public libraries in California.
At Social & Political Sciences, Jenny Skinner is relishing a change from part-time to full-time.
You may have seen Maddy Brown's rather startling email of 22 August, announcing the collapse of a ceiling at Architecture & History of Art. Melissa Ramsay and Gail Barber suffered minor injuries in this incident, and the library team was dispersed to other parts of the University while repairs were in progress. No one knows what caused the collapse, but we are happy to report that the repairs are now done and dusted, and the library will be open again by the time you are reading this.
Modern and Medieval Languages has seen a game of musical chairs following the departure of Ursula Sohie. She retired in September after 35 years. Kathleen Manson inherits the Germanic languages and the Beit Library; Hélène Fernandes has taken over the library accounts and the Romance languages.
Mira Beaglehole left Caius on the 8th August after notching up more than five years service. She came originally as a part time cataloguer, back in June 1998, and in September 2000, following the award of an MA in Librarianship from UCL, she was appointed Assistant Librarian Bibliographic Services. Mira is off to start a new life in America, where her husband has recently secured a teaching post. She will be greatly missed. Her place at Caius will be taken by Sonia Londero, who moves over from Social and Political Sciences.
Clare College's new Deputy Librarian is a face familiar to many of us from the Voyager training sessions. Julie Beaumont moves from the UL to take up the post at Clare on 1 September.
Karen Begg, formerly Under Librarian at Hughes Hall, has been appointed as the new Librarian of Queens' College.
Nicki Lake joined Newnham College Library in November 2002 as Project Librarian (Technical Services). Nicki has previously held professional posts at Anglia Polytechnic University Library and Reading University Library. She will be at Newnham for two years, guiding the Library through a software change, as well as helping them move and settle into their newly expanded library building.
Several Colleges welcomed new graduate trainees in August or September. New Hall's new trainee is Roxanne Macleod, a graduate of the University of Aberdeen in Cultural History with Women's Studies. St John's have appointed Sarah Wilcock, who has just completed an MA in Art History from the University of York, having previously studied Archaeology at Sheffield. Newnham's Graduate Trainee for 2003-2004 is Angela Fitzpatrick. A recent graduate of Newnham (studying English), Angela was also JCR President 2002-2003. Lucy McCaskie , Graduate Trainee for 2002-2003 is going on to study for her MA in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield. Trinity's new trainee is Katja Airaksinen . Katja, who comes originally from Finland, has just completed an MA in English Language at Edinburgh University, with a dissertation on Lewis Carroll's nonsense. Louisa Evans joins the team at Christ's. Louisa is an Oxford graduate (Modern Languages) and comes to Christ's from Monmouthshire with some public library experience. Our sextet of Cambridge trainees is completed by Anna Barnes at Emmanuel.
After more than thirty years at the University Library Vernon King retired as Head of Accessions, leaving the post as yet unfilled. Vernon worked in both Periodicals and Inter-Library Loans before joining Accessions and his presence will be missed by many of his colleagues. Since his departure Accessions and Cataloguing have amalgamated to form the Collection Development and Description division, a restructure designed to satisfy changes in workflow. Derek Hardinge has been appointed to the long vacant Head of Technical Maintenance position and Debbie Davies is a valued addition to the cleaning team.
The decision made by the BL in 2001 to drop the "back-up" arrangement between the UL's Inter-Library Loan (ILL) department and their own Document Supply Centre, has resulted in ILL seeing a dramatic reduction in incoming requests. After reserve finances used to subsidise staff salaries were exhausted the library was thus regrettably unable to renew the contracts of four assistant staff. Colleagues were sorry to lose Claire Eisold , Sheila Oakes and Wendy Goodyear and wish them, together with Allison Zammer whose contract will end in the new year, every success in finding further employment. Richard Young, deployed in ILL for some two years, returned to his substantive post in cataloguing collapsing a chain which resulted in the departure of Michael Ryves. Mike took the opportunity to go on a working holiday in South Africa rather than returning to his substantive post as a fetcher. Jayne Hoare, formerly American Studies Specialist, has been temporarily promoted to CULIB editor Sheila Cameron's position during her leave of absence whilst Athina Valdramidou of European Collections and Cataloguing has returned to Greece. David Horne, who began his time at the UL on a temporary basis with Greensleeves has returned there on a more permanent basis after a short spell in Periodicals.
The start of the National Preservation Office's Assessment Survey created a new temporary position filled by Andrew Alexander , promoted from the Map Department, allowing successful applicant Yanning Mao to fill his shoes and progress further up the ladder if only on a temporary basis.
Michaelmas term always sees a high turnover in bookfetching staff. Recent departures include Gemma Chapman, who has gone on to sell insurance, Hannah Shields, Aldar Zhimbiev, who has started a degree in architecture, and Lucy Mann. Jacques Rogers, Matthew Reynolds and John Sendall are welcomed onto the fetching staff. Meanwhile the temporary Manuscripts post, resulting from Saturday opening, was vacated by Brian Clarke and filled by Kizitus Mpoche. Oresimus Ngundu joined the Entrance Hall team whilst Julie Beaumont left her position in Reader Services to take up the role of Deputy Librarian at Clare College. Library Offices saw a similarly high turnover with the departure of Helen Yao, Danielle Feger, and Lauren Kennedy though staff there were happy to see the return of Ning Liu and Dr Stephen Roberts.
AnneMarie Robinson, contributor to the last issue, is about to embark on maternity leave. Staff wish her all the best - and CULIB's editors look forward to announcing her new arrival in the Lent issue.
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Roy Welbourn, the former Deputy Librarian at the UL, died suddenly on 2 October. This was a great shock to everyone.
Roy's CV is briefly stated: Assistant Librarian, Liverpool University Library 1968-1973; Assistant Librarian, Open University Library 1973-6; Assistant Librarian, then Sub-Librarian, British Library of Political and Economic Science, London School of Economics 1976-81; Head of Cataloguing, Cambridge University Library, 1981-9; Deputy Librarian, Cambridge University Library, 1989-2000. But that doesn't begin to touch Roy as his professional colleagues remember him. Peter Fox has kindly allowed us to reprint extracts from a fuller portrait the address he gave at Roy's funeral.
To all of us in the University Library, Roy was characterised by three things: his energy, his interest in everything and his compassion.
I still can't believe that someone who was so full of life is no longer with us. He was one of those people who had more energy than was good for him. He would head up the four flights of stairs to our office two at a time, leaving the rest of us panting in his wake. When he wanted to come and speak to me about something, it was usually heralded by this apparition that suddenly materialised hanging from the door frame of my office and then leapt into the seat in front of my desk. The office of the Librarian's Secretary was not infrequently turned into a football pitch, and you would come out to find Roy trying to kick balls of paper into the wastepaper bin and then uttering a joyful shout when one went in!
He was interested in everything - he always brought in a sandwich lunch which he ate at his desk - but it was his reading matter that was so extraordinary. Not for Roy the newspaper or even the Guardian crossword (he was very firmly NOT a Times reader). No, he would be found working his way through the Encyclopedia Britannica volume by volume, or the works of the Greek philosophers or a modern French novel - in French of course.
He loved nothing more than a good debate - I shall never forget some of the conversations at coffee time where you would start off discussing some mundane aspect of library organisation and - thanks to Roy's ever enquiring mind - end up speculating on the meaning of the universe.
Roy was the Deputy Librarian, and one of his principal roles was to be responsible for the people who worked in the University Library - no small task with a staff of around 350. And it was as a people person that Roy excelled. He was an excellent listener; he would always recognise the best in people; he could defuse potentially difficult situations; he was always approachable. But he was far from a pushover, and if he felt that someone was swinging the lead or being less than honest with him, he could be very firm and make his displeasure abundantly obvious.
For me personally he was a tremendous source of support: both when I came first to the Library, when he made sure that I didn't fall into some of the traps that the University sets for the unwary, and at frequent intervals over the following years when he warned me of potential problems on the horizon, when he acted as a metaphorical punchball on days of extreme frustration or when he gently dissuaded me from some of the more hare-brained schemes dreamed up in the early hours of the morning.
The role of deputy in anything is frequently an unsung one. And this was also true for Roy. He was very self-effacing; he didn't seek the limelight. He hated having to appear at formal occasions. One of the things he said to me on the day of his retirement was: 'I'm never going to have to wear a tie again'. And I don't think he did.
But he has left one very tangible memorial in the form of the Cambridge Union Catalogue, whose existence means that you can find the location of books in most of the hundred-plus libraries associated with the University. The Union Catalogue was Roy's baby and he ensured that it grew to maturity and that it will outlive us all.
Roy retired at the point when he realised that he wanted to have more time to be with Marian and to do the things that the pressures of the job didn't allow. This retirement was tragically short. Our sympathies are with Marian, and our regrets are for all the things they didn't manage to do. But we must also remember the things they DID do together and all the things that Roy did for his colleagues and friends during the course of a very full life. It was a privilege to know him and to work with him as a colleague and a friend. He was much loved and we'll all miss him a great deal.
We were saddened to hear of the death in June of Martin Williams, Librarian of Queens' College. He died peacefully at home following a period of illness. A full obituary will follow in the next issue.
Fereshteh Hancock, who worked in the Photography Office of the UL in the 1970s, and more recently on a retrospective conversion project for Arabic material, died from cancer in June. Fereshteh will be remembered not only for her considerable linguistic and cataloguing skills, but for her forthright views, warm friendship and infectious sense of humour.
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CULIB is edited by Aidan Baker (Haddon Library; 01223 333506) and Kathryn Mckee (St John's College; 01223 338663), and is produced and distributed by Fiona Grant (University Library; 01223 333093).
Contributions to the Lent 2004 issue should be with Kathryn McKee by 31 December.