Library Integration - Report from the Libraries Committe - (1) to No 4533

<br /> Oxford University Gazette: Library Integration (supplement)

Oxford University Gazette

Library Integration: Report from the Libraries Committee

Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4533

Wednesday, 12 January 2000

Contents of the supplement:

To Gazette
No. 4534 (Gazette 13 January 2000)

HREF="../../index.html">To Gazette Home Page

1. Historical background

1.1 The University of Oxford's many libraries contain by far the largest and
most diverse collections of materials for the support of teaching and research
in any institution of higher education in the United Kingdom. Its library
holdings as a whole are world-class. Moreover, because the University's
principal library, the Bodleian, has been a library of legal deposit for almost
400 years (far longer, even, than the British Library), members of the
University and scholars from far and wide have a reasonable expectation of
satisfying a very high proportion of their library materials needs somewhere
within the confines of Oxford. The Libraries Committee's 23 libraries alone
contain about 10 million volumes; and if periodical parts are included, those
libraries add to stock an average of well over 1,000 items per day throughout
the year.

1.2 And yet, despite its pre-eminence as a library materials holding
institution, the University, because of its piecemeal development over the
centuries, its collegiate nature, its largely decentralised structure and
geographical spread, and its resulting complexity, does not routinely consider
its library holdings as an integral whole. It has never matched the excellence
of its collections with a holistic overview of the services which its many
libraries (about 100 in all) deliver to the University in particular and to the
scholarly world in general. This is not to say that the individual libraries
have not been well managed by those responsible for running them. Nor is it
the case that there has been no co-operation between them. Indeed, the
curators and library committees of the many institutions providing a library
service within the University, and the staff of their libraries, have often been
assiduous in the past in liaising with others on various aspects of their
library provision. (The creation in 1988 of OLIS—the Oxford Libraries'
Information System—is a good example of what has already been achieved
by co-operative means across the existing structures.)

1.3 But if many of the libraries in the University have been successful in
co-ordinating certain elements of their work, it has long been recognised that
much more could be done to enhance the quality of the service overall.
Though there are many desirable features in the existing system, some
resulting from the very fact of its distributed nature, such distribution (of
staff effort, of resources, and of services) is ad hoc rather than
deliberately planned. The system is expensive overall, by any standards; it
contains elements of unplanned duplication; it offers few economies of scale;
it lacks strategic direction and does not encourage a sense of corporate
purpose among its staff; its governance structures are complex, and militate
against systematic co-ordination; it is not linked in any unified way to the
planning mechanisms of the University; it is not well placed to make speedy
bids for resources from externally funded initiatives, or to respond as
effectively as it might to opportunities for co-operative working with external
agencies and groups; and above all, it appears to many users—especially
to those whose work requires them to consult more than one of the libraries
in the system—as fragmented and incoherent, with all the inefficiencies,
inconvenience, and confusion entailed.

1.4 On several occasions between 1966 and 1996 the University has given
formal consideration to the benefits that might be expected to flow from the
development of a more unified and more rationally organised library system
involving the many libraries funded by the University. Following the
Shackleton Report (1966) [Report of the Committee of Inquiry on University
] and the Nicholas Report (1987) [Committee of Inquiry into the
Future of Library Services
] a number of changes intended to move the
system towards a greater degree of integration were agreed. But it was not
until the approval of the principal recommendations of the Thomas and Kenny
Reports (1995) [Report of Council's Working Party on Senior Library Posts
(Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4373, 21 September 1995, p. 37; Report of the
Advisory Group on the Management Structures for an Integrated Library
System (Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4380, 13 November 1995, p. 339
] that
changes were introduced which were explicitly designed to lead to the creation
of the kind of radically new organisational structure which could make the
integrated library system envisaged in the earlier reports a practical reality.

1.5 The changes approved by the University during the course of 1996 were
threefold. Firstly, with effect from 1 January 1997, the two bodies directly
responsible for the libraries funded by the block grant from the General
Board (the Libraries Board and the Curators of the Bodleian Library) were
replaced by a single, interim, body—the Libraries Committee—which
reports jointly to Council and the General Board. Secondly, the vacancy in the
post of Bodley's Librarian was filled from January 1997 by a new officer, with
a University-wide remit as Director of University Library Services and
Bodley's Librarian. And, thirdly, the new committee and its newly-appointed
chief officer were given a clear remit 'to bring forward within three years for
consideration by the University proposals for the creation of an integrated
library service that will facilitate the following major objectives:

(a) the distribution of resources within the service to meet users'
needs most effectively;

(b) the improvement of the capacity of the University's libraries to
respond to the needs of their users in the University;

(c) the maintenance and development of, and provision of access to,
Oxford's collections as an international research resource;

(d) the provision of University-wide services such as library
automation and electronic media, preservation, and library staff development;

(e) the fostering of the qualities of responsiveness, and of flexibility
in provision.'

The proposals contained in this report come before the University as a direct
outcome of that joint remit.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement

2. Consultative procedures adopted in formulating
the proposals

2.1 One of the main roles envisaged for the new Libraries Committee and its
specialist subcommittees was to be a source of advice, guidance and support
for the Director in developing proposals for greater integration. It will
therefore be appreciated that throughout the three-year interim period there
has, in addition to consultation with various University bodies, and with user
and staff groups, been a constant debate within the Libraries Committee and
its subcommittees about the possible shape of the future arrangements.
Besides the main committee, which is itself effectively constituted to act as a
widely representative user group, a significant part has been played by the
Advisory Subcommittee of Librarians as a source of professional advice and
expertise drawn from all parts of the collegiate University's libraries.

2.2 An outline of the consultative procedure and timetable being adopted was
published in Gazette No. 4483,
30 July 1998, p. 1510. It was there pointed out that since January 1997 the
Libraries Committee and the Director of University Library Services had
already been working towards a greater degree of integration in services even
within the frame of the three-year interim period. An account of measures
recently put in place is given in section 4 below. It was also noted that
planning for greater integration of the University's libraries had begun
independently of, but would now be informed by, relevant aspects of the
Report of the Commission of Inquiry, on the library-related aspects of which
the Libraries Committee commented, as it did on the two subsequent reports
of the Joint Working Party on Governance. In the case of all three reports,
the Libraries Committee was reassured that its own planning direction
appeared to be in alignment with what was being envisaged for the
governance of the University as a whole.

2.3 During the 1998 Long Vacation the iterative planning process involved
meetings with Libraries Committee librarians as a group, as well as a series
of meetings between the Director and individual Libraries Committee librarians
together with the chairmen of their respective management committees.
Meetings of librarians across the University with subject responsibilities were
also convened in four broad disciplinary groupings (Humanities, Social
Sciences, Science, Medicine) to discuss subject-based approaches to integration
and service development.

2.4 On the basis of those consultations, the Director issued a planning
document in the autumn of 1998, Framework for the Millennium. This document,
which was circulated to appropriate bodies and posted for general comment on
the Libraries Committee's website, was designed, firstly, to allow the Libraries
Committee to take stock of the position half way through its three-year
interim existence; secondly, to inform the University bodies to which the
Libraries Committee reports about the steps which had been taken towards
integration since June 1997; and, thirdly, to serve as the basis for ongoing
discussion about the structure, operation and service benefits of the
integrated library system of the future. This framework document gave a clear
indication of the strategic direction being taken.

2.5 In Michaelmas Term 1998 relevant faculty boards and other bodies were
invited to respond to a set of proposals for an integrated governance and
staffing structure, as envisaged in the Framework for the Millennium. During
Hilary and Trinity Terms 1999, the proposals were redrafted in the light of
detailed comments from faculties etc, and as the result of a further series of
meetings of the Director and his Deputy with faculty representatives. At the
same time, the Director and Deputy Director undertook a comprehensive round
of meetings with library staff, including all staff in libraries which would be
affected by the proposals for an integrated staff structure, to whom the
proposals were also explained in an individually addressed summary document
from the Director. A website 'Ask the Director' facility also provided staff with
a further open forum for raising issues with the Director.

2.6 Although the college and departmental libraries lie outside the formal
remit of the Libraries Committee (and are not therefore explicitly included
within the proposals for managerial integration), the Director and the Libraries
Committee have been at pains to consult representatives of those libraries, in
order to ensure the closest possible co-ordination and co-operation between
the integrated libraries sector and those libraries outside it, as a means of
benefiting library users across the collegiate University generally. The college
libraries sector is represented on the Libraries Committee itself by the
Chairman of the Committee of College Librarians (elected by the Conference of
Colleges), the Director attends the meetings of the committee, and a number
of college librarians are in membership of existing subcommittees of the
Libraries Committee and participate fully in the subject groupings referred to
in para. 2.3 above. By these and other means, valuable input has been made
by the college libraries sector to the integration planning process. In similar
ways, close consultation has been maintained with the departmental libraries
sector, with the departmental library representatives in membership of the
Advisory Subcommittee of Librarians commenting routinely on the emerging
plans for integration, and through the involvement of departmental librarians
in the Science and Medicine subject groupings. During the 1999 Trinity Term,
too, the existing Science Libraries Committee—which has sought for some
years to co-ordinate library provision for the Sciences across the
University—approved in principle arrangements whereby the many science
departmental libraries and their parent bodies would be better able to
contribute their advice to the Libraries Committee. During the 1999 Long
Vacation, the Heads of Science Departments were formally consulted on these
proposals, and general approval was forthcoming.

2.7 Liaison was maintained with the Personnel Section of the University
Offices to ensure that the relevant staff unions were kept informed at joint
secretarial level.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement

3. Key principles governing the proposals now

3.1 The proposals for structural change in both the governance and the
managerial organisation of the Libraries Committee's libraries emerging from
this three-year planning and consultation process are set out below in section
6 of this report. Throughout the process, the following statement from the
Thomas Report of 1995 has been kept as a guiding principle: '..any changes
that might be proposed must have as their prime justification the improvement
of the overall service provided to users of Oxford's libraries. Altering existing
arrangements solely for the sake of administrative tidiness cannot be justified
if it results in a less satisfactory service.'

3.2 The proposals now put before the University for the formal integration
of the Libraries Committee libraries have been designed with the following key
principles tested against that important touchstone.

(i) Improved responsiveness to library users' needs generally is a
primary element in the proposals

The range of subject advisory committees proposed will be chaired by senior
academics and populated by academics and other users and by subject-based
library staff. The Subcommittee on Service Provision will also provide a users'
forum. The various function-based subcommittees will operate in the context
of the University-wide provision of services to readers. As a direct result,
user input and user-related considerations will have a much more pronounced
emphasis than hitherto.

(ii) A predominantly subject-based approach to the governance of the
integrated libraries sector will enable the Libraries Committee to deploy its
resources more effectively to meet the library needs of the University in all
its parts

In line with 'the Thomas principle', the placing of the subject-based needs of
library users at the heart of the proposals for integration will serve to
enhance the ability of the libraries to respond more effectively to academic
interests and needs, with expertise and resources across the sector optimally
focused on a discipline-oriented basis. Both the Thomas and the Kenny Reports
envisaged a subject-based approach as the probable direction in which a
satisfactory solution might be found. Thomas suggested: '
approach...which should be seriously considered is the organization of
provision in an integrated system as a combination of functional and
subject-based divisions' (Thomas, 6.7). This was endorsed by Kenny: '...the
operation of the subject committees and user groups will be crucial to the
success of the integrated system. They will advise those who are responsible
for managing the system on what provision and disposition of material is
required by the needs of teaching and research in their respective areas'
(Kenny, 2.1).

(iii) The library system as a whole will have a greater sense of

Whilst it would be unrealistic (and in some senses undesirable) to expect all
the different libraries within the Libraries Committee's remit to have the same
'look and feel' and to operate identically, the creation of an integrated
governance and management structure—within which all the common
library-related issues can be considered with users' interests
uppermost—will lead over time to tangible improvements in library
services. For the first time, the successor to the Libraries Committee will be
in a position to take a strategic approach to the governance of all the
libraries which it funds, with policies, service planning and resource allocation
being handled in a much more coherent fashion in the light of user needs,
rather than on a historic basis and in a piecemeal way. Admissions procedures,
reprographic services, opening hours, IT-related facilities and support, the
appropriate location of stock, and accommodation—these are just a few of
the issues which, if treated in an integrated way, would be likely to impact
beneficially on the services provided for library users generally. The greater
coherence achieved through integration will also put the libraries (and the
University) in a better position to respond more effectively to an increasing
number of externally-funded initiatives, and will result in clearer priorities for
the generation of external income to support the enhancement of services.

(iv) The maintenance and development of the collections will be enhanced

The University's library collections overall are already widely recognised as
being of world class, as befits an institution of such standing and reputation
as Oxford. It will be possible, however, under the integrated arrangements
envisaged, to ensure that the ongoing development, housing and care of all
the collections are addressed in a more appropriately consistent way than
hitherto. The newly-established Preservation Planning and Advisory Service
(see section 4 below), together with the Libraries Committee's Subcommittee on
Preservation, has already made some progress with the promulgation of
appropriate standards for collection care; but an integrated libraries sector
will facilitate the more systematic consideration of other important collection
management issues (identification of long-term retention materials, standards
of storage conditions, disaster planning, book-handling procedures, and
exhibition requirements). Together with the development of collections in line
with current (and likely future) needs—which would be facilitated by the
elaboration of explicit acquisitions policies—such measures would not only
contribute to enhanced provision for local user needs, but would also maintain
the international standing of many of the collections, with obvious benefits to
the University as a centre for research and teaching across the whole range
of subject areas.

(v) A professionally-managed library staffing structure, together with
enhanced provision for the training and development of staff at all levels, will
contribute to improving both job satisfaction and performance

The newly-appointed Associate Director for Staff Development and Training
(see section 4 below), together with the Libraries Committee's Subcommittee on
Staff Development, has already begun to expand the range of activities
designed to improve staff training; but an integrated staff structure will
enable much more to be achieved. The integrated structure, too, will enable
more routine co-operation between library staff, especially on a subject basis,
with consequent enhancement to service standards and overall effectiveness.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement

4. Measures already in place

Within the limits of the interim remit of the Libraries Committee and the
present responsibilities of the Director of University Library Services, a
number of integrative measures designed to yield service benefits to users
have already been put in place. Briefly summarised, the integrative measures
are as follows.

(i) A network of function-based subcommittees, set up by the Libraries
Committee, to address and pursue key integration issues (Preservation,
Automation, Staff Development, Service Provision)

These four broadly representative bodies, the first three of them in the
University-wide areas of responsibility already explicitly assigned to the
Director, have begun to produce system-wide benefits, pointing the way
forward to the more integrated arrangements now proposed. With two senior
members of staff appointed to co-ordinate the provision for Preservation and
for Staff Development (funded from within the Libraries Committee's existing
budget), both the care of the collections and the training of staff are already
being more systematically addressed. The Subcommittee on Service Provision
functions as a user group and acts in an advisory capacity supporting the
work of the senior member of staff who has been seconded to the post of
Associate Director (Service Assessment, Planning, and Provision). This
subcommittee has already begun to show its value as a forum for the input
of user requirements into the delivery of library services.

(ii) Closer working arrangements between the two principal systems
development and support units (the Libraries Automation Service and the
Bodleian Systems Section)

In the integrated structure, these two units will be managerially merged, with
enhanced service benefits. In the meantime, the closer working arrangements
which have been introduced, overseen by the Deputy Director of University
Library Services, together with the monitoring function of the Subcommittee
on Library Automation, are already illustrating the benefits to be had from a
shared development approach, from an integrated IT strategy for the libraries
sector as a whole, and from integrated support for joint IT applications. An
Automated Stack Request Working Party has recently completed the design
specification for a system which will bring major service benefits in the
Bodleian and elsewhere; and a Digital Library Resources Group has
successfully overseen a Mellon-funded scoping study of Oxford's digital
collections, amounting to a forward-looking strategic plan which the integrated
sector will actively seek to implement as a means of significantly developing
the electronic library materials available across the University network and

(iii) The strategic reallocation of budgetary resources

In advance of the formal integration of its libraries, the Libraries Committee
has done what it can to achieve the more effective use of the resources at its
disposal. It has approved the reorganisation of its central commitments budget
so as to achieve greater transparency and accountability; greater
responsibility for financial management has been explicitly devolved to
nominated budget holders; it has drawn together the libraries-wide
expenditure on electronic datasets and has established a University Datasets
Committee, with charge of its own budget, to achieve more effective
decision-making and support in respect of University-wide electronic
information provision; funds have been set aside for an experimental
inter-library book delivery van service; and modest operational budgets have
been approved for the Preservation Planning and Advisory Service, for Staff
Development, User Education and Liaison, and for Service Assessment, Planning
and Provision. The proposals for integration offer further potential for
strategically important service developments through budgetary reorganisation
of this kind.

(iv) Organisational changes within the Bodleian Library

A number of changes have been introduced in the Bodleian, with an eye to
preparing its staff for integration into the new structural arrangements
proposed. Some internal reorganisation of departments has already taken place,
as a means of giving greater prominence to key service-related issues: the
former Department of Printed Books has been broken up into its principal
constituent parts (Reader Services, Technical Services and Collection
Development), and a new Department of Western Manuscripts and Special
Collections has also been established. The small Officers Group has been
enlarged (together with the Head of Preservation and Conservation) to include
the heads of the new departments in a Bodleian Senior Management Group, and
in 1998--9 this new group of senior staff drew up the Bodleian's first annual
Operational Plan. Apart from benefiting the Bodleian itself, this planning
process points the way forward, in terms of methodology, towards an annual
planning cycle for the integrated sector. (Forward planning for the integrated
structure will be taken on by the proposed University Library Services
Strategy Group—see section 6(ii)(b).) In addition, subject
consultants are being identified within the Bodleian as a means of enabling the
Library to participate fully in the new governance and management structure
envisaged for the integrated libraries sector.

Further details of these and other measures will be found in the section of
the Framework for the Millennium entitled 'Towards integration: the story so
far' ( The actual and
potential benefits of these interim steps will be maximised in the context of
the formal integration arrangements now proposed.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement

5. A vision for the future

The Libraries Committee is convinced that significant improvements in the
nature, quality and performance of library services in the University can be
achieved by moving purposefully, along the lines it now proposes, towards the
more integrated approach which the University approved in principle in 1996.
With the changes proposed, the Committee envisages a situation in which a
University Library Service is created with the following characteristics and

—A single, simplified governance structure, with strong links to the
different user communities and direct reporting lines to the central

—A senior governing body, representing the University Library Service
at the highest levels of the institution, and statutorily responsible for
maintaining the international status of the library collections.

—A unified professional management structure for all the staff employed
in the libraries directly funded by the University Council through the
Curators of the University Libraries.

—A senior library staff management team (the University Library Services
Strategy Group) responsible for co-ordinating operational, financial and
forward planning across the integrated sector.

—A coherent statement of purpose, with short, medium and long-term
strategic and operational objectives clearly delineated.

—The ability to deliver a range of library services appropriate to a
world-class institution, embodied in plans approved by the University, closely
tied to its planning and resource allocation procedures, and reflecting the
aspirations of its current academic constituencies, the wide-ranging needs of
the external users of its libraries, and the long-term responsibilities
associated with the legal deposit system.

—A systematic approach, to the extent required and feasible, to the whole
range of reader services (including opening hours, admissions procedures,
lending and reference policies, reprographic facilities, and remote document

—A more explicit and routine input to the strategic goals and objectives
of the University, for example, in the formulation of an institutional
information strategy, and by directly contributing to the University's
strategies for learning and teaching and for research.

—A comprehensive set of service standards.

—The ability to respond flexibly and effectively to users' needs (both
internal and external) as they develop and change.

—Clearly stated collection development policies, in which each library in
the system plays its designated part in the acquisition of materials and in the
provision of access to resources.

—An integrated stock management policy, linked to a system-wide
approach to the issues of conservation, preservation, retention, location and
storage of library materials.

—A comprehensive staff training and development programme.

—A team-based approach to the subject-specific provision of services.

—An integrated accommodation strategy, tied to local needs, University
plans, and long-term archival responsibilities.

—An overarching library IT strategy.

—A comprehensive on-line union catalogue of holdings.

—An integrated approach to the acquisition, support and, where
appropriate, the long-term preservation of digital information resources
(including networked dataset provision).

—A planned approach to the digitisation of library collections.

—The ability to respond effectively and rapidly to external initiatives and
funding opportunities, combined with a libraries-wide fund-raising strategy.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement

6. Proposals for governance and managerial

The proposals for the integration of the Libraries Committee libraries can be
summarised under two headings: committee structures and staff management

(i) Committee structures

The Libraries Committee proposes that its successor body, directly responsible
to the new University Council, should be known as the Curators of the
University Libraries, that its Chairman should be the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for
Academic Services, ex officio, and that
its statutory responsibilities should be as set out in the draft statute
following Section 9 of this communication. In drafting and proposing this new
statute, the Libraries Committee has taken careful account not only of the
existing statutes relating to the two bodies which were suspended and which
it replaced in 1997 (the Curators of the Bodleian Library and the Libraries
Board), but also of its practical experience of governing the libraries within
its remit during the three years of its interim existence. The Libraries
Committee is satisfied that the statute, as drafted, together with related
standing orders, as outlined in Annexe A, would enable it to operate for the
benefit of the library system and its users in the ways envisaged, and
therefore recommends these proposals to Council and the General Board. In
particular, the Libraries Committee has been careful to give prominence to the
importance of its overall responsibility, under Council, for historic library
collections of enormous value for research and teaching, and it has sought to
reflect this both in the statute itself and in the name of its successor body.

(In considering the name of the successor body, the Libraries Committee was
conscious of historical sensitivities but is persuaded of the importance of a
title that reflects the measure of trusteeship invested in a body charged with
maintaining the second most important and extensive library collections in the
United Kingdom. Having considered a range of more or less plausible
alternatives, the Libraries Committee believes 'curators' to be the term that
most adequately conveys the duty to care for a part of the University's
physical heritage that those responsible for its libraries share with the bodies
that superintend, say, the Sheldonian Theatre or the University Parks. The
Libraries Committee also believes that the use of the term 'curators' will carry
weight with those invited to sit on the body as external members.)

The range of subcommittees proposed for the new Curators of the University
Libraries is illustrated diagrammatically at Annexe B. The subcommittees mostly
fall into one or other of two types: functional and subject-based. The five
functional subcommittees (at the bottom of the diagram) are taken over from
the present interim structure, as a means of continuing the important work
already being undertaken in key areas of library activity. The remit and
membership of these subcommittees would remain largely unchanged.

The thirteen subject-related subcommittees form the major new element in the
integration process. Based in most cases on existing library committees within
either the faculties or the Bodleian group, and representing, where possible,
a considerable rationalisation of the existing complex of largely unco-ordinated
committees, they offer the prospect of an integrated subject-based approach
to library provision across the University. Most of them will be joint
committees of the Curators of the University Libraries and of academic
constituencies. All of them, too, will have a dual function, essential to the
integrated approach proposed: governance, with each of the subcommittees
having local oversight of the administration of a particular library or
libraries; and subject advice, by which the Curators of the University
Libraries will receive direct input on library provision for a particular
subject, or range of subjects, across all the libraries within their remit.

Continued provision is made for a Bodleian Subcommittee, because although the
Bodleian staff will be integrally involved in the work of the functional and
subject-based committees, the scale of the library taken together with its
dependencies can generate issues and items of business which are
institution-specific. In particular it is felt that initial consideration of the
Bodleian's finances by a subcommittee is advantageous.

Attention is drawn in particular to four matters relating to these proposed

(a) the subject-based model proposed has been agreed in principle,
as an outcome from the thorough consultation process, with the relevant
bodies (faculty boards and library committees), and the remits and membership
of the new subject subcommittees have been agreed in detail with those
currently responsible for the local governance of the various Libraries
Committee libraries involved. All conform broadly to the model described in
Annexe B, which sets out the basic principles informing the composition and
remits of the subject-based subcommittees. The individual sets of standing
orders exhibit marginal variations taking account of local circumstances.

(b) For the sake of clarity and consistency, it is intended that all
the proposed subject-based subcommittees be named 'Committee for Library
Provision in [name of subject(s)]'.

(c) In the case of Social Studies, a subject-based library committee
along the lines envisaged under these proposals has already been established
as a joint committee of the Libraries Committee and of the Social Studies
Faculty Board. Discussions on integration with the faculty board were already
so far advanced when the post of Social Studies Faculty Librarian fell vacant
in 1998, that it was agreed to move as quickly as possible to the proposed
integrated model for governance and staff management arrangements. The new
committee has been meeting since Hilary Term 1999, and the arrangements have
been found to work well. If the overall proposals are approved, all that will
be required in the case of the Social Studies Libraries Committee is a change
of name.

(d) In order to promote co-ordination and co-operation between the
integrated libraries sector and the college and departmental libraries, it is
proposed that these constituencies should continue to be represented on the
functional subcommittees in the new structure, and that their input to the
subject-related aspects of the other subcommittees should be enabled by their
representation on such collection development committees as the new subject
subcommittees may wish to establish. It is envisaged, for example, that the
so-called CLIPs (Committees for Library and Information Provision), which
already exist in a number of subject areas, will be annexed to the appropriate
subject subcommittees, and it is deemed appropriate that college and
departmental library interests should be included in the work of these groups,
mostly, but not solely, in the area of library materials selection. In the case
of the Committee for Library Provision in the Sciences (the remodelled Science
Libraries Committee), it is proposed, in view of the fact that so much library
provision in this broad area is made by a multiplicity of scientific
departmental libraries, that both the Heads of Science Departments and their
librarians should be represented on the new committee itself.

(ii) Staff management arrangements

The bulk of the library staff in the Libraries Committee libraries (i.e. those
staff working within the Bodleian group) are already managerially responsible
to the Director of University Library Services in his capacity as Bodley's
Librarian. As part of the proposals for integration, the Libraries Committee
recommends that the Director should be designated as head of department for
all the Librarians of the libraries within its remit, and that all the staff of
those libraries should be responsible through them to him. By this means, an
integrated staff structure will be created, as an essential pre-requisite for the
further development of the benefits alluded to in section 3(v) above and for
the closer working arrangements outlined below to underpin the integrated
committee structure. The existing library authorities, the library staff
themselves and their representatives, and the University Personnel Office,
have raised no objections to this proposal.

This proposal, to create an integrated staff structure in which all the
Libraries Committee library staff are ultimately responsible to the Director, is
made in the context of an organisational approach developed by the Director,
which has been discussed and disseminated within the libraries sector and
approved in principle by the Libraries Committee. A diagrammatic
representation of the approach envisaged for the co- ordinated management
of the library staff is attached at Annexe C, for information. The following
points are made by way of explanation of the approach to be taken.

(a) Both the functional groups (on the left of the diagram) and
the subject groups (on the right) will consist of teams of library staff
operating across the various libraries and library departments in the
integrated system. Their work will both feed into, and be guided by, the
appropriate parts of the formal governance structure outlined in section (i)

(b) Each of the groups, or teams, will be co-ordinated by existing
senior staff who together will form, with the Director, the basis for a new
University Library Services Strategy Group. This latter group will become the
mechanism by which the Director will co-ordinate the management of the
integrated library system as a whole. The group will necessarily consider
only strategic, policy and key operational issues, and its business will feed
into and from the Curators of the University Libraries and their
subcommittees as appropriate. It is envisaged that the papers of this group
will be widely disseminated amongst the ULS staff, and that they will be
routinely shared with the Chairman of the Committee of College Librarians.

(c) The day-to-day management of individual libraries and the
'local' delivery of services will remain the responsibility of the librarians
whose libraries are represented in the centre of the diagram, and it is
intended that the Director will continue to meet with those librarians as a
group, as well as with the Bodleian Senior Management Group, which he will
continue to convene as Bodley's Librarian.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement

7. Resource implications

7.1 Notwithstanding the wide-ranging nature of the proposals for
integration, and the continuing urgent need for the University to invest more
in its libraries (consistently recognised as a priority by the General Board in
recent years), it is not envisaged that the restructuring of the library-related
committees, or the revised staff management arrangements proposed, will
involve the University in any major additional recurrent expenditure.

7.2 However, whilst the more carefully targeted use of existing resources,
combined with the pursuit of external funding opportunities and a more
concerted approach to fund-raising and income generation generally, should
enable to the Curators of the University Libraries to make more effective
provision for users' needs, there will be some marginal restructuring costs
(both recurrent and non-recurrent) which the Libraries Committee may not be
able to finance from existing resources.

7.3 Provision will need to be made, for example, for payments for extra
responsibility for up to half a dozen of the senior staff co- ordinating the
work of the functional and subject teams in the new staffing structure. In
addition, given the emphasis, inherent in the subject approach to library
provision, on increased levels of liaison work (between library staff and users
and between library staff), it is likely that two or three additional subject
librarians will need to be added to the library staff complement, together with
a marginal increase in clerical support, in order to free time for senior staff
to undertake more subject-specific work.

7.4 The Libraries Committee will give careful consideration to any cases for
such costs, however, and every effort will be made, as hitherto, to contain
them where possible within the resources available. It is estimated that the
total cost of the additional staff resources mentioned in para. 7.3 would be of
the order of £70K-£100K recurrent, towards some of which the
Libraries Committee (Curators) would expect to be able to contribute through
budgetary reorganisation. The Libraries Committee is comfortable with the
suggestion from the General Board's Planning and Development Committee that
new resources for integration should be linked to the achievement of related
performance targets.

7.5 Less predictable, without actual experience of managing the new
arrangements, will be the overall impact on the need for administrative
support for the integrated library sector. To take an example, the opportunity
will present itself to provide certain routine secretariat and accounting
functions from a single base for the integrated sector as a whole. This will
involve a redistribution of administrative load, which, while releasing
professional library staff in the smaller units to devote more time to reader
services and subject specialisms (and therefore representing a gain in staff
resources in one part of the system), will put greater pressure on another
part of the system. It is not yet clear, though, to what extent, if any, the
creation of the new academic support services structure as part of the
governance changes, might enhance administrative support for the new
University Library Service. It is suggested that a further report on this
aspect of resource implications should be made in the light of experience,
possibly in advance of the formal evaluation proposed below, on the
understanding that it might entail making a case for some further recurrent

7.6 There may also be a marginal increase in the amount of academic staff
time required to make the subcommittee system operate as planned; but a good
deal of such time is already expended in the libraries sector as it is presently
constituted, and both the Libraries Committee and the academic bodies
consulted attach a great deal of importance to direct input from the academic
community at large.

7.7 In the light of the improved delivery of library services which it
confidently expects as a result of the integration now proposed, the Libraries
Committee feels able to recommend the revised arrangements for the
governance and management of its libraries.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement

8. Evaluation and review

The Libraries Committee wishes to see the proposals for revised governance
and staff structures brought into effect as soon as possible in Hilary Term
2000. Whilst the operation of the new arrangements will be subject to
continuous evaluation (and minor amendment) in the light of experience, it is
intended that a thoroughgoing review of the arrangements, with a formal
report to the University about the practical consequences and possible future
developments, will be conducted within three years of their introduction.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement

9. Timetable

9.1 The Libraries Committee wishes to see the proposals for revised
governance and staff structures brought in effect as soon as possible. The
proposed composition of the Curators of the University Libraries depends
significantly on appointments or offices held under the new governance
structures, so the Curators will not be operative before 1 October 2000.
However, the Libraries Committee's hope is that Congregation's approval can
be sought for the new statute as soon as possible in Hilary Term so that the
managerial integration and the formation of the infrastructure of subject and
functional committees that will report to the Curators can begin without delay.
This process can be carried forward under the auspices of the present
Libraries Committee. The legislation establishing the Libraries Committee does
not mention an end date for what it was, nonetheless, accepted would be an
interim body, so it will not be necessary to promulgate a further decree to
extend the committee beyond 31 December 1999.

9.2 The Statutes contain a large body of legislation relating to libraries: the
Libraries Committee decree, the suspended statutes concerning the Libraries
Board and the Bodleian Curators, and the extensive decrees and regulations
concerning the Ashmolean, Bodleian and Taylorian Libraries. The Libraries
Committee has begun to consider in detail whether the content of the
individual clauses of existing library legislation

—will be superseded by the new arrangements when approved;

—is covered by the new draft statute;

—is now covered by some other legislation (e.g. in respect of the terms
and conditions of employment of University staff);

—might be considered for incorporation, either in its present or in some
amended form, in standing orders or regulations (irrespective of whether such
standing orders or regulations do or do not need to appear in the published
volume of Statutes, Decrees, and Regulations);

—is arguably redundant.

It is suggested that, if the General Board, Council, and Congregation approve
the draft of the new statute below, work on drafting any related decrees,
regulations or standing orders can proceed during Hilary and Trinity Terms.

Draft Statute: Establishment of Curators of the University Libraries

WHEREAS it is expedient to establish a body known as the Curators of the

1 In Tit. VIII (Statutes, 1997, p. 58) delete Sect.
III and substitute:

`Section III. Of the Curators of the University Libraries

1. There shall be a body called the Curators of the University Libraries
consisting of:

(1) the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Services), who shall be chairman;

(2) one of the Proctors or the Assessor as may be agreed between them;

(3)--(6) four persons elected by Council, of whom one shall be a member both
of Council and of its Planning and Resource Allocation Committee, and of whom
two shall be persons not being resident holders of teaching, research, or
administrative posts in the University or in any college or other society

[Office note: there would be an understanding (a) that one of the external
members should be someone with experience of managing a major research
library, and (b) that Council should also appoint a person with experience in
the application of IT to libraries

(7)--(11) one member from each of the five Divisional Boards, elected by their
respective boards;

(12)--(15) four persons elected by Congregation from amongst its members;

(16) a person elected by the Conference of Colleges;

(17) a Junior Member elected by the OUSU Executive;

(18) a Junior Member elected by the Graduate Committee of OUSU.

The curators shall have power to co-opt not more than two additional members
for such periods as the curators may determine from time to time.

The curators under (3)--(16) shall hold office for four years and shall be
re-eligible, and the curators under (17) and (18) shall hold office for one year
and shall be re-eligible; provided always that the tenure of office of elected
curators shall be subject to their retaining the qualifications in virtue of
which they were elected; and provided also that a curator elected to fill a
vacancy caused otherwise than by lapse of time shall hold office for the
unexpired residue only of the period of office of the curator whom he or she

The Director of University Library Services and Bodley's Librarian shall be
secretary to the Curators.

No Junior Member shall be present for the discussion of, or receive the
papers or minutes relating to, reserved business as defined in Ch. II, Sect.
III, cl. 7.

2. The curators shall be responsible to Council for:

(a) ensuring that provision is made for the University's library
and information requirements for teaching and research;

(b) making financial provision, from funds made available to them
by Council or from other sources, for such libraries as Council shall from time
to time determine;

[Note: the libraries which Council has already agreed should be funded
through the Curators of the University Libraries are the Bodleian Library and
its dependent libraries, the Sackler Library, the Taylor Institution Library,
the Cairns Library, the Institute of Health Sciences Library, the English,
History, Modern Languages, Music, and Theology Faculty Libraries, and the
Social Studies Libraries

(c) ensuring that the University's major research libraries,
including the Bodleian, Sackler, and Taylorian Libraries, are maintained as a
national and international scholarly resource;

(d) advising as necessary on the University's trusteeship of the
collections held in its libraries, including, where appropriate, advising on the
need for specialist legal or financial advice;

(e) advising on any proposals involving the use of resources in
the University for library and information provision for teaching and

(f) such other responsibilities as may be determined by Council
from time to time.

3. The curators shall have authority under Council to make such
arrangements as are necessary to fulfil their responsibilities and shall have
such other powers as may be laid down by statute, decree, or regulation.

4. The Director of University Library Services and Bodley's Librarian
shall be appointed by an electoral board which shall be chaired by the
Vice-Chancellor or his or her nominee, and the other members of which shall
be appointed by the curators. The electors in making their choice shall have
regard to the direction given by Sir Thomas Bodley, that Bodley's Librarian
should be 'one that is noted and known for a diligent student, and in all his
conversation to be trusty, active, and discreet: a graduate also, and a

5. The Director of University Library Services and Bodley's Librarian
shall act for the curators and shall be responsible to them in the exercise of
their powers.

6. The curators shall approve arrangements for the delegation of
appointments within the University Library Services, provided that the
appointment of senior library staff at grade 6 shall be subject to the approval
of the curators on the recommendation of the Director of University Library
Services and Bodley's Librarian.'

2 Ibid., delete Sect. IV (p. 60) and renumber existing
Sectt. V--VI (pp. 62--3) as Sectt. IV--V.

3 This statute shall have immediate effect, provided that
until such time as the membership of the curators is constituted their powers
shall be vested in the Libraries Committee; and provided also that the initial
periods of appointment of the first elected curators shall be so varied as to
procure a regular rotation of subsequent appointments.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement


Standing orders of subject-based committees

The following general principles as to the composition and remit of the new
subject-based committees have been observed in the standing orders drafted
in consultation with representatives of the relevant faculty boards or other
parent bodies. Individual sets of standing orders may display marginal
variations as appropriate to take account of local circumstances.


—Academic chairman appointed by the Curators of the University Libraries
after consultation with or nomination by the relevant faculty board or parent

—Strong faculty/divisional representation.

—Undergraduate and postgraduate student representation.

—Staff from relevant libraries, including, ex
, Director of University Library Services or

—Member appointed by the Curators of the University Libraries.

—Provision for co-optation.


—Local supervision of the functioning of particular libraries.

—Provision of strategic advice to the Curators of the University Libraries
on library and information provision for a particular subject or range of
subjects across all libraries within its subject remit.

—Reporting jointly to the Curators of the University Libraries and the
relevant faculty board or other parent body.

—Power to establish such subcommittees as it may from time to time
determine are needed to conduct its business effectively.

Note: Annexes B and C are not reproduced here.

Return to List of Contents of the supplement