Panlibus Blog

The Glasgow School of Art talks with Talis

In this podcast, Sarah Bartlett talks with librarians from The Glasgow School of Art, recipients of the 2010 Times Higher Education Outstanding Library Team award. Catherine Nicholson, Head of Learning Resources, together with Duncan Chappell and David Buri, Academic Liaison Librarians, discuss the reasons behind the library’s success. We discuss the strengths of small teams and organisations in terms of agility and innovation.  Given that the library is serving a very narrow range of subjects (it supports three schools – Fine Art, Design and Architecture), it’s interesting to characterise the institution’s students. We hear about the strong visual orientation of students at The Glasgow School of Art, presenting the library with interesting challenges, and the development of InfosmART, a home-grown application which takes students through a series of online interactive modules to develop information literacy skills, a crucial source of support to a student body of which 11% are declared dyslexics. Small agile organisations are increasingly associated with technological innovation and the library is making use of diverse platforms such as flickr and blogger.com to remodel its service delivery, and we also talk about enterprise-level systems and the library’s plans to integrate with the VLE and the student registry system. At a time of looming spending cuts, it’s heartening to hear that resource constraints have directly led the library into a number of interesting service enhancements such as virtual enquiry desks. At The Glasgow School of Art, the library team believes overwhelmingly in the importance of personalised services, and values the opportunity that today’s technologies offer in terms of no-cost experimentation, coupled with the immediate informal feedback mechanisms of an institution with only 1,900 students.

Queen Margaret University library talks with Talis

In this podcast, Sarah Bartlett talks with Jo Rowley, Head of Library Services, and Laurie Roberts, Liaison Librarian, at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. With only 4000 FTE students, the library at Queen Margaret University is working at a different scale from many other universities we hear about, and we discuss the impact its small size has on its ability to adopt agile ways of working. Laurie talks about her successes with Web 2.0 technologies such as RSS, blogs and iTunesU in this flexible and innovative culture. Queen Margaret University’s converged services adds to the potential for open-ended experimentation by making technological expertise readily available to the library. Laurie also makes the useful point that the inexpensive nature of Web 2.0 technologies make experimentation easier to justify. We also discuss library presence on the university’s corporate systems, such as the virtual learning environment. The institution gained university status in 2007, and in the same year, a Learning Resource Centre was opened as part of the university’s new campus. Jo gives us a detailed tour through the Learning Resource Centre, and we talk about how students respond to the facilities offered. We also discuss the contribution that the library makes to the Queen Margaret University Strategic Plan 2007-12,  and the challenges that the library will unquestionably face in terms of funding, along with the rest of the sector.

University of the West of Scotland talks with Talis

UWS LibraryIn this podcast, Sarah Bartlett talks with Gordon Hunt, University Librarian at the University of the West of Scotland.

As Gordon explains in the podcast, the University of the West of Scotland is a very young institution, having come into existence in 2007, as a result of an institutional merger.

We talk about the challenges of running a multi-site library against a backdrop of significant organisational change, ensuring that an equivalence of experience is obtained for all students regardless of location. We take a broad view of how the library works with the rest of the university and helps to meet corporate objectives. In so doing, we discuss a wide range of topics such as the changing role of the library in teaching and learning, the budgetary challenges of the present and future, internal partnerships, external community engagement, and the student experience.

We also consider the distinctiveness of Scottish Higher Education, and how the Scottish context also impacts the library’s operations.

Staffordshire University library talks with Talis

Staffordshire University logoIn this podcast I talk with David Parkes, Associate Director for Learning Technology and Information Services at Staffordshire University. On the day that the library at Staffordshire University launched its 24 hour service, meaning that the library will now be open continuously until next July, David and I discuss how his team has adopted more agile working practices in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century information landscape and all that entails in terms of technological change, student expectation, budgetary pressures and shifts in the publishing supply chain.

University for the Creative Arts talks with Talis about its Outstanding Library Team shortlisting

In this podcast, I talk with members of the library team of University for the Creative Arts, which has been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Supplement Outstanding Library Team Award, 2009. The library team has worked tirelessly to meet the challenges and maximise the benefits of the 2005 merger of Kent Institute of Art & Design and Surrey Institute of Art & Design University College, from which staff have emerged feeling confident about their roles for the future. The discussion explores the immense progress that has been made in developing a unified library service from a number of angles. More broadly, the podcast offers a rich picture of an effective library team, within a highly coherent institution, that has solid relationships and feedback mechanisms in place to ensure that the library maintains its relevance to all its stakeholders.

University of Sheffield library talks with Talis about its Outstanding Library Team shortlisting

In this podcast, I talk with Martin Lewis, Director of Library Services and University Librarian at the University of Sheffield. We talk about the shortlisting of his team for the Times Higher Education Supplement Outstanding Library Team Award, 2009. Martin describes features of Information Commons (see photo) that have proven particularly popular in the university since its opening two years ago, and we go on to look at developments and plans in place to build on this success. We also discuss the importance of responding actively to feedback from students and working closely with academics. This ensures that the library service meets the evolving needs of University of Sheffield’s two core businesses – learning and teaching on the one hand, and research on the other – and staff within this outstanding library team develop and grow in this dynamic environment.

Bournemouth University library talks with Talis about its Outstanding Library Team shortlisting

In this podcast, I talk with members of the library team of Bournemouth University, which has been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Supplement Outstanding Library Team Award, 2009. We look behind some of the innovations of this library service, such as the Techno Booths (see photo) which have proven so popular across the university. We discuss how Bournemouth University library‘s impressive operational efficiencies have been achieved. And we also explore the thinking behind Bournemouth University library’s success. It’s striking, for example, how the library staff are constantly reaching outward, developing strong relationships and partnerships beyond the library walls, and indeed, beyond the university itself in some cases. Underpinning all this of course is the importance of team work. This is, after all, the award for an outstanding library team. It’s appropriate therefore, that I be joined by not one but three members of the library team, namely:
David Ball – University Librarian
Chris Spencer – Library Procurement Librarian
Jill Beard – Deputy University Librarian