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Library Services Strategy 2013–2016

‘Informing learning, inspiring creativity’


2 Introduction 6 Planning context 8 Vision and values 11 Strategic priorities 19 Critical success factors 22 Strategic enablers


This is the fourth Library Services Strategy since its creation as a university-wide department in 1999. The Strategy seeks to build on our achievements to date, addresses areas for improvement and provides an ambitious roadmap for our development during the next three years. It responds to the ever-changing environment within which we operate and anticipates some of the challenges and opportunities on the horizon. The Library’s vision, values and strategic objectives for this new planning period have been informed by the University’s Medium Term Strategy for 2010–2015, specifically the Learning & Teaching Strategy, the Research Strategy, and the Student Experience Strategy. The Strategy also takes into account the academic portfolio of the University, ranging from FE through to research, and the academic plans of the Colleges. It reflects our ongoing commitment to play a central role within the academic life of the institution and to place the student experience at the heart of all that we do. It recognises the distinctive characteristics of UAL as a specialist creative arts institution with a practice-led tradition and responds pro-actively to the diversity of our student community as well as to the internationalisation agenda. It also acknowledges the need to be operationally efficient and ethically responsible in the context of 2

growing financial, environmental and social pressures. In essence, the Strategy balances our aspirations to improve the delivery of our core functions with some bold propositions for enhancement and change that we believe are both appropriate and timely. As Director of Libraries and Academic Support Services I would like to express my appreciation to all the people (University colleagues, students and Library Services staff) who have contributed directly or indirectly to the drafting of this Strategy. Its success will be dependent on enabling and empowering Library Services staff to achieve the new aims and objectives articulated in the Strategy. It will also involve working in close partnership with colleagues across the University and embedding greater student participation into many of our processes. As such it will be a collective endeavour that I hope will be engaging, creative and energising for all concerned. It is my belief that this new Library Services Strategy will lead to many tangible improvements in Library Services. It will directly benefit our staff and students, and contribute to the delivery of the University’s strategic priorities for the next three years. Pat Christie Director of Libraries and Academic Support Services




Planning context

The Library Services Strategy is informed by current developments within the University. For example, it takes account of recent student recruitment initiatives, changes to the academic portfolio and the current focus on the student experience, internationalisation and postgraduate study, and ongoing preparations for REF2014. The ambitions to reduce and improve our estate will directly impact on Library Services, as will the plans to upgrade the University’s IT infrastructure and introduce more online systems to support our operational and academic activities. The need to contain costs whilst delivering high quality services in an increasingly competitive market has underpinned much of our thinking. The changing contexts of HE, FE and school education have been considered. In particular, the agenda articulated in the ‘Students at the heart of the system’ white paper (BIS, 2011) is changing the higher education landscape. Higher course fees mean that students are potentially more consumerist in their attitude to university education, and the role of the NSS, graduate destination data and other KISS statistics in informing student choice is likely to increase. The rise in private HE providers and the growth in MOOCs are challenging traditional delivery modes for study, with a resultant focus on flexible and personalised learning. The role of UK HE in global education has been adversely affected by government immigration policy but remains 6

of crucial importance to our cultural and economic identity. Finally, the financial and academic impact of REF2014 will be experienced during the period of this new Strategy, and may provide UAL with specific challenges due to the emphasis being given to STEM subjects rather than the arts. The Strategy also takes account of rapid changes within the information world, responding to the impact of the ‘data deluge’ on libraries, and on student information seeking behaviour. The growth in online publishing and the increase in digitised collections has led to more emphasis on the e-library, although print undoubtedly remains the dominant format in arts and humanities. Scholarly communications are being influenced by the gathering momentum behind the open access agenda for research as advocated by reports such as the Finch Report on ‘Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications’ (BIS, 2012), and the recent growth in open educational resources. The prominence of mobile devices is creating an expectation for anytime and anywhere access to information whilst social media is changing the way people interact with information as well as leading to a massive growth in user-generated content. The key challenge for libraries is to embrace new technology whilst promoting the integrity of information resources, supporting students and staff alike to be discerning researchers. Online solutions are also increasingly crucial to our internal processes as we move to a digital-by-default culture, whilst developments such as cloud computing and shared services have the potential to revolutionise the operations that underpin our services. In summary, the Strategy acknowledges and responds to many internal and external drivers for change whilst remaining true to the key principles and core values that underpin all that we do.


Vision and values

Our over-arching To provide high quality and digitally enriched library and archival collections and learning environments that reflect aspiration is the specialist nature of the University and contribute to the advancement of scholarship, practice and enterprise within the creative arts nationally and internationally. We are committed to


• Being user-centred in all that we do • Providing a consistent university service whilst also reflecting the academic specialisms of each college • Being inclusive and accessible • Forging effective and creative partnerships internally and externally • Leading in our areas of professional expertise • Being environmentally responsible



Strategic priorities

Our aims are

Services To place users at the centre of all our services and engage them in service developments Collections To develop, sustain and improve access to content that informs and inspires our users and that aligns with the University’s academic profile Academic support To support and develop students to become confident independent learners and fulfil their academic potential Research support To support and enhance a University research culture in the creative arts that is sustainable and world-class Staff To refine roles and develop staff to achieve our goals Resources and processes To align resources to strategic priorities to maximise efficiency and effectiveness The following pages list the top level objectives and success measures for our six strategic priorities.


Services Place users at the centre of all our services and engage them in service developments

Library Services has always placed the needs of users at the centre of what we do. This user-centred approach is underpinned by effective academic liaison and the proactive gathering of student feedback. The challenge for the next planning period will be to keep pace with student expectations in a climate where students are becoming more consumer-orientated as a result of the new fees regime. We therefore propose to encourage increased student engagement in major service developments. We will also ensure that our services are inclusive and that we match the needs of our diverse user communities through an increasingly flexible way of delivering services that seeks to anticipate need as well as being responsive to demand. We will • Enhance and raise the visibility of the Library Services offer, confirming its central role within the academic life of the University • Improve access to our physical and virtual environments to support discovery and learning while keeping pace with changing user behaviours and technology • Establish performance standards and continually measure our services against these standards as part of our commitment to continuous improvement


We will recognise success when • Students are included in relevant project or stakeholder teams for all major service developments • Usage data demonstrates a high level of engagement with our physical and virtual services • Internal surveys record consistently high satisfaction levels (over 80%) and the NSS scores have increased by at least 3% and / or are above the benchmark average, whichever is greater • Customer Services Excellence Award has been achieved

Collections Develop, sustain and improve access to content that informs and inspires our users and that aligns with the University’s academic profile

Our collections represent a rich resource in the arts, design and communication disciplines. They are integral to learning, teaching and research as sources of both inspiration and information, and increasingly play a key role in object-based learning. Additionally, our archives and special collections have national and international significance, and hence are used by external scholars and practitioners as well as by our own staff and students. During the next three years we will increase our electronic resources and seek opportunities to digitise more of our collections. We also intend to procure a state-of-the-art library management system and develop our resource discovery tools. These will enable us to capture and make accessible content, whether it is held within our collections or available remotely, whether it is formally published or user-generated, purchased or open access. We will • Develop, maintain and promote high quality collections that reflect the academic profile of the University and its constituent Colleges • Maximise access to relevant content through our library and archival management systems and resource discovery tools • Engage with and develop appropriate publishing and delivery models to support current pedagogic practices

We will recognise success when • All the in-print key texts referenced in course reading lists are available in our libraries in a timely manner • Usage levels show an appropriate level of engagement with our collections across all courses • Our collections and student work demonstrating creative responses to these collections are showcased through regular displays and exhibitions • Designated status has been attributed to those archives and collections that we have identified as being of national importance • New library management and discovery systems have been procured


Academic Support Support and develop students to become confident independent learners and fulfil their academic potential

A major priority for Library Services is the development of our contribution to academic support. The University’s new Strategy for Academic Support provides the context for this work. We will work in collaboration with colleagues in other academic support services as well as with course teams to deliver an additional enhancement-based offer that is clearly defined and accessible to all students. The Library Services’ input will focus on information and digital literacies and will seek to enable all library users to become effective independent learners. In doing this, we intend to develop an offer that is reflective of current pedagogic practices within the creative arts and that recognises that many of our students are visual learners. We will build on the success of the Learning Zones as student-centred and highly flexible learning environments, and we will promote a range of academic support activities through our Libraries and Learning Zones in order to raise the visibility and accessibility of this offer. We will • Collaborate with course teams and other colleagues to deliver high quality academic support • Define and communicate the Library Services offer within the context of University provision, focusing on information and digital literacy • Develop virtual and face-toface support and guidance in order to maximise the exploitation of our collections and services


We will recognise success when • Effective working relationships exist that enable us to play a pro-active role in academic support developments across the University • Increased take-up for our academic support activities has been recorded at all Colleges • High levels of student satisfaction with the help and support provided by library staff are recorded in user surveys • Positive impact of our academic support activities is demonstrated within the University’s quality assurance processes

Research support Support and enhance a University research culture in the creative arts that is sustainable and world class

Library Services will support and enhance the University’s research culture through a variety of initiatives related to the development of our services and collections, and through building closer relationships with the research community. UAL Research Online is already viewed as a role model for arts-based institutional repositories and UAL is one of the first universities to develop a research data management policy for the creative arts. With REF2014 on the horizon we will prioritise our contribution to the University’s submission in the early years of this Strategy by developing UAL Research Online as the primary resource for capturing and making accessible our research outputs. This is one aspect of a longer term strategy on the digital curation of our research activity. We will • Enhance the Library Services’ offer to researchers and embed it within the University’s research culture • Collaborate with the research community to digitally curate the University’s research outputs and data, ensuring compliance with national policies related to scholarly communications and open access • Preserve and promote our archives and collections of national and international significance as part of the University’s research environment

We will recognise success when • Research support is delivered through a range of activities, including through the RNUAL Programme and relevant CPD units for Early Career Researchers, and high levels of satisfaction are recorded for this support • UAL Research Online contains all the research outputs for the REF2014 submission • The research value of our collections has been evidenced through a series of conferences, exhibitions, and publications that also contribute to the University’s research environment


Staff Refine roles and develop staff to achieve our goals

The knowledge, skills and capabilities required of staff working within university libraries are changing and expanding as the academic and information landscape becomes ever more complex. The focus for Library Services during the next period will be on developing our staff in order to maximise their contribution to the development of Library Services and to the University. This work will be informed by the Library Services Staff Development Needs Analysis Project undertaken in Spring 2013 as well as by an awareness of work underway within the profession, including the Future Skills Project. We will • Develop the knowledge and skills of our staff to reflect current professional practices and developments in higher education • Implement ways of working that align with our service models and that provide capacity for enhancement and partnership working • Encourage staff to contribute to publications and conferences to raise our profile and to promote professional scholarship


We will recognise success when • The impact of CPD opportunities can be evidenced in staff performance through the University’s appraisal processes • Appropriate working practices are in place that match operational requirements and that underpin effective partnerships • Staffing implications of service enhancements are addressed upfront as part of any change initiative • All staff in professional grades have contributed to publications and presentations within their field of expertise or proactively participated in professional activities through external networks

Resources and processes Align resources to strategic priorities to maximise efficiency and effectiveness

The imperative to be increasingly resource efficient and to eradicate unnecessary expenditure will continue to be a priority during the next three years. The University’s IT infrastructure and online systems will be upgraded as we move to an increasingly digital-by-default culture. These will change the way we undertake some of our core functions and so will impact on every member of staff and many of our internal processes. In turn, Library Services will continue to seek ways to streamline processes and work smarter so that the best possible use of our existing resources can be achieved in order to provide and sustain a high quality service. We will • Model and manage budgets to ensure we make best use of our resources • Develop and implement a governance structure and effective communications to improve internal decisionmaking and provide opportunities for greater staff engagement • Utilise business processes and technologies proven to increase efficiency and effectiveness

We will recognise success when • An increased proportion of our budget is spent on collections and services in order to directly benefit the academic community • Decisions are made in a timely manner and decisions about policies and procedures can be clearly tracked by staff • Unnecessary duplication of effort is eradicated so that things are only done once where this is appropriate • Online working methods are the default position and the use of paper-based systems is reduced



Critical success factors

A set of Key Performance Indicators and Service Standards are being developed, and we intend to pilot a balanced scorecard approach to evaluation that is aligned to this Strategy. Each Strategic Aim has its own impact / success measures, in addition there are some critical success factors that we believe will signal the overall success of the Strategy. We will recognise success when we • Are fully embedded in the University academic and executive governance structures and recognised as a key player in the University’s strategic development • Consistently contribute to new course developments and course reviews across all Colleges • Increase the proportion of staff and students, from FE through to research, actively using the Library’s physical and virtual collections and services • Sustain high levels of student satisfaction as measured by internal and national surveys, including satisfaction levels within the NSS that are above the benchmark for UK specialist art and design institutions


• Receive positive feedback for the impact we have on all the University’s curriculum and research activities through internal, QAA and OFSTED quality assurance processes • Have financial investment in our Library Services that is consistent with benchmark institutions and appropriate to our needs as a multi-site University service • Demonstrate operational efficiency through savings generated by streamlining processes and maximising the value of online systems and technologies • Realise tangible and intangible benefits that demonstrate value for money in any future project or change initiative • Can demonstrate successful partnership-working with students, academic colleagues and with other central services that lead to service improvements • Improve the University’s profile through our staff’s contribution to scholarship and innovation within arts librarianship and education



Strategic enablers

Library Services is at the core of the academic life of the University. Consequently our new Strategy is inextricably linked to the Learning & Teaching and Research Strategies of the University and to the academic plans of the Colleges. Effective academic liaison through representation in the University’s academic committee and governance structures is vital to our success. Participation in the University’s academic planning and quality assurance processes ensures that we can contribute to as well as respond to changes in the academic portfolio. Our commitment to improving the student experience requires a close working relationship with colleagues working in academic support and other student services so that we can take a holistic and coordinated approach to supporting students. It also requires an understanding of the varying needs of our diverse student communities gained in part through working collaboratively with colleagues who have expertise in diversity, widening participation and the international student experience. Student feedback and pro-active engagement with the Students’ Union and the wider student community underpins our service ethos where students are at the heart of all that we do.


As a large and complex department that is spread over many sites Library Services seeks to provide a consistent service culture that can be adapted to match the specific needs and academic profiles of each College. We are highly dependent on the University’s infrastructure, namely its physical and virtual estate, but we are also aware that external hosting for some of our online systems and services may provide a more robust strategy for the future. Appropriate staffing and ongoing financial investment are necessary to ensure that the collections and services can develop in accordance with academic and pedagogic developments as well as with student expectations. An increasingly agile approach to ways of working and greater use of online systems and tools will help us to deliver best value for money solutions to our users but the importance of the physical collections and in-person support remains critical to student satisfaction and so continues to be at the core of our service provision.


Photography by Christine Donnier-Valentin © Designed by Anne Odling-Smee For additional information please contact: The Directorate Office
 Libraries and Academic Support Services
 University of the Arts London 272 High Holborn London WC1V 7EY Tel: 020 7514 8072 © University of the Arts London, 2013.

Library Services Strategy 2013–2016  
Library Services Strategy 2013–2016