Veterinary School Library Project

Over the last couple of months, I have been providing cover for the Vet School Librarian who is absent on sick leave. To this end, I have been partly-based at the Department of Veterinary Medicine. This is an ongoing report of how the process of inter-departmental collaboration and staffing integration has progressed.


First Phase

The Preliminary Site Visit

This became an increasing necessity due to the suddenness of the Librarian’s absence and the Vet School’s necessity to find a replacement. Initially, due to the lack of handover, some establishment of work processes needed to be established and solutions found to a series of problems encountered.

  • Gaining access to the varied databases (such as Voyager) via usernames and passwords
  • General stock identification and familiarization with each subject area
  • Locating equipment and gaining access where restricted
  • Understanding existing Library restrictions and loan policies
  • Meeting and understanding the core staff network
  • Establishing working hours (7 hours a week split into two separate time slots)

Day One

  • Meeting ancillary staff
  • Solving interim issues that had arisen – discussing impact of forthcoming library management system, establishing the value of Cambridge Core and how to gain access to it, learning spare journal location, and establishing new document delivery practice
  • Fixing broken shelves
  • Library desk tidying (reshelving loose stock, removing unwanted papers/folders/equipment and refilling photocopying machine – a regular duty later referred to as ‘Housekeeping’)
  • Emptying the returns dropbox, changing holdings information and security tag reactivation (a regular duty later referred to as ‘Housekeeping’)
  • Opening and sorting post (a regular duty later referred to as ‘Housekeeping’)
  • Registering new journal stock (a regular duty later referred to as ‘Housekeeping’)

Day Two

  • Reader registration: adapting practice and creating patron folder
  • Locating regularly-used book series
  • Understanding manual loan procedure
  • Fixing network issue with help of internal IT staff
  • Sourcing and sending 3 articles to Vet Student
  • Housekeeping

Day Three

  • Finding place in library for superseded unbound journal parts from the current year
  • Gathering of unbound journal stock from previous years for binding at a later date
  • Stamping and shelving journals returned from binder
  • Recycling unwanted cardboard
  • Checking in with IT with regards to the network issue and establishing practice to deal with long-term
  • Fitted new keyboard (donated by out-of-date UL stock) as exisiting one was faulty
  • Housekeeping

Day Four

  • Helping student locate journal via various discovery tools
  • Reader registration
  • Fixed printer jam and ordered toner via Admin
  • Helped student gain UniofCam access with the help of IT
  • Query from Fitzwilliam College librarian with regard to past papers – was able to establish that we do not hold the ones she required for her students and was able to suggest alternative source
  • Set up an ‘Uncatalogued’ bookshelf in the library to get new books out in the library. This enabled readers to manually view and borrow the items without cataloguing them
  • Set up an ad-hoc Inter-Library Loans (ILL) ordering service based on my knowledge of the Moore Library system. It will utilise the same subsidised payment system as that at the Moore Library and be subject to the same copyright terms and retain the same restrictions on material. Dr Tim Williams was my first customer using this system

Day Five

  • Voyager Circulation reboot required in Library – no need for IT, ascertained and fixed the problem. This might need further investigation at a later date
  • Located items in library for reader (mis-shelved). Subsequently, did a complete scan of the shelves for out of place items – found five!
  • Fitted new toner in printer
  • Sorted out a scanning query with the help of Emma on reception
  • Investigated online access to Veterinary Clinics of North America (VCNA), a heavy-use monograph series for Barbara Skelly (Hospital / Equine). Discovered access route isn’t paid for by department (too expensive) but found alternate non-print route via UL’s e-Legal Deposit machines (terminals primarily located in Moore and UL). Informed requesting reader and interested other parties. of source

Second Phase

So, with essential processes and systems now understood and in place, a working routine could be established. Subsequent adjustments, problems (and solutions) could be handled on an ad-hoc basis. Below is a list of those further issues of note. These will continue, until the completion of the interim period is over:

  • Questionnaire received for establishing changes necessary to smooth changeover from old Voyager to Alma library management system. Over the next couple of weeks, I initiated a period of negotiation between the relevant Vet Med and Alma team staff members, correct terminology was established and I was able to return the form completed
  • Ran Voyager Reporter on overdue Library stock, checked shelves in case of non-circulation return, and chased the remainder of the items with e-mails to students.
  • Visit from staff member from Clinical Pathology who revealed that they have list of borrowed library items on long-term loan which they rely on Librarian to renew as they become overdue. Located handwritten list and renewed relevant items
  • New library books poster display found. Photocopied covers of latest items received which enabled me to update the display
  • Time-sheets for working hours completed and handed in – to be done in future on a monthly basis
  • Visits from various library users requiring location of resources (either available in the library or available online) and identified any unavailable as “to be purchased”. Was able to fulfil each query with use of established practices; investigating different avenues of enquiry where necessary
  • Read up on various reports from Alma documentation, FutureLib and Protolib to inform future methodology to be passed on to the returning Librarian
  • Brief visit from camera crew wanting to film immediately in the library – suggested that as it was quiet in library that I had no issue with it but that they should talk to Admin Officer to gain approval and subsequently give notice so that suitable time-slots can be found and arrangements made in advance
  • Stamped and shelved new delivery of theses in Library Office
  • Re-ordered VCNA into more-easily understood sequence after reader had trouble locating volume
  • Visit from Librarian who, now on the mend, will be phasing herself back into routine slowly. Discussed various library issues including future practice, binding, theses, VCNA e-Journal purchase, working hours, ILLs, new registrations and problems of existing anomalous layout
  • Visit from Gareth Pearce (Veterinary Surgeon) who informed of pre-exiting practice of passing past copies of Farmer’s Weekly through him to Hospital – thanked him for insight and agreed to continue established practice
  • Donations of items to library – processed and put on Uncatalogued bookshelf
  • Registered a 2-month visiting scholar, at the request of his supervisor, and located an item he needed for his research
  • Reader enquiry about whether we or the University ran a binding service – pointed them in the direction of the Graduate Union who run a subsidised hard and soft binding service via J.S. Wilson & Son Bookbinders:
  • Reader enquiry about an ongoing IT issue with the self-issue computer. Temporarily solved the problem and discussed a longer-term fix with the IT department.
  • Book purchase request from Lou in the Pharmacy for latest edition of BSAVA Small Animal Formulary: Part A. Located a source in the short term and put forward for a purchase (via the Librarian) in the longer term listing book details, contact point and purchasing code.



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