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Director of UCL Library Services

UCL Library Services Annual Report 2011/12


Paul Ayris, Director of UCL Library Services
President of LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries)

2011/12 has seen particularly important advances in implementing the Library Strategy across the range of our 5 Key Performance Areas. In terms of the Student Experience, the extension of library opening hours in the UCL Main and Science Libraries has been widely welcomed by the student body. It is important that the Library is able to support students in the way they want to work, learn and study and at times which suit them. 24-hr opening has now become a defining characteristic of the new modes of provision which the Library can offer UCL's student body.

UCL is a research-driven institution, and the Library has led the way in supporting Open Access developments in the dissemination of research outputs. Use of UCL's repository, UCL Discovery, has grown during the review period. In 2011, there were 584,965 downloads of full-text items from the database; in 2012 this had grown to an impressive 1,038,790 downloads. UCL Library Services also hosts the DART-Europe portal which makes available Open Access research theses from across Europe. In May 2013, the portal gave access to 411,933 open access research theses from 535 Universities in 27 European countries.

The Library's work in reshaping the physical environment in which it operates has grown in pace during 2011/12. The new Research Grid in the Wilkins Building has proved to be immensely popular with graduate students, because it increases the number and type of study spaces available to graduate students. Building on existing provision in the postgraduate cluster in the Learning Lab in the Science Library, the Research Grid has introduced quiet and group study spaces for postgraduate students in a dedicated facility. The provision of group and project study spaces for all students has been increased by the Library's management of the Jeremy Bentham Room in the Wilkins Building. This space can now be used as study space, maintained by the Library, when it has not been booked for other events. All these developments bode well as the Library plans one of the most ambitious estate plans in its history - the creation of learning hubs in some of the larger site libraries and the consolidation of the UCL Main and Science Libraries in the Main Quad.

A new aspect of work in the Library is the Library's activity in Public Engagement. The transformation of the Flaxman Gallery and the Octagon into superb display and exhibition spaces is acting as a magnet to attract users and visitors of all kinds to UCL.

Work for Healthcare Support has been driven in part at a strategic level by the Finch Report, which advocated the extension of licences for research journals in digital form, taken by Higher Education, across the whole of the NHS. The work to implement this vision has been spearheaded by UCL Library Services and JISC Collections. It is also my pleasure and privilege in this Annual Report formally to welcome staff and students in the UCL School of Pharmacy to the services and facilities which the family of libraries in UCL has to offer.

In the succeeding chapters of this Annual Report, my colleagues in UCL Library Services offer some insights to the Library's work as we seek to transform the learning and research experience in UCL. If you have any comments on any of the issues described in this Annual Report, please feel free to contact me at p.ayris@ucl.ac.uk.

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