ULC Annual Report 1995-96
Library Services and User Education
The Library Services and User Education subcommittee, formed by ULC action in
late fall 1994, oversees services and educational opportunities offered to
library users. Formation of the subcommittee was prompted by issues arising
from the report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Campus Circulation Policies
(presented to the ULC at its May 10, 1994 meeting) and by the growing need for
library user education.
The subcommittee focused its attention primarily on circulation issues,
particularly campus library circulation policies. Consequently, the
subcommittee initiated a review of circulation policies of libraries across
campus, making extensive use of the material gathered and summarized by the Ad
Hoc committee on Circulation Policies.
The overall objective in this area is to offer recommendations to the ULC in
order to provide more uniformity across campus libraries consistent with the
ideal of providing fair and improved access to collections. Achieving this
involves a series of sequential recommendations for ULC consideration and
approval, as opposed to recommending a single, all-inclusive revamping of
The subcommittee surveyed the circulation policies of various campus libraries
and decided to focus initially on a review of loan periods. The campus-wide
standard for loan periods for students was found satisfactory, despite
variation in length (In general, the loan period for students is a semester or
less, with the majority of libraries permitting a 4 week loan interval.).
Consequently, no changes in undergraduate loan periods were recommended. This
issue will be reviewed again soon.
In contrast, faculty and staff were extended automatic renewal privileges or
indefinite loan periods at many campus libraries. The subcommittee believes
this unfairly places responsibility for accounting for checked-out materials
with library staff as opposed to the individual using the material,
dramatically reducing the availability of the collection to other users.
Furthermore, the process of automatically renewing material checked out by
faculty is costly in terms of time and effort of the library staff and
contributes to eventual loss of material from the collection.
For these reasons, the subcommittee recommended the elimination of automatic
renewal privileges for faculty and staff. The recommended policy was
consistent with a similar proposal approved by the Memorial Library committee.
The proposal was presented, discussed and approved unanimously by the ULC at
its May 9, 1995 meeting. Amendments included: 1) limitation of loan period for
items loaned by graduate students to a maximum of two years to be consistent
with faculty loan periods; and 2) implementation of the policy by all campus
libraries and not merely those named in the original proposal. It was noted
that the library circulation staff could take extenuating circumstances into
account as appropriate when circulating and renewing materials, in recognition
of the different needs and use patterns among faculty in various disciplines.
The policy to eliminate automatic renewal for faculty and staff became
effective in January 1996.
The subcommittee's agenda for the upcoming year includes plans to monitor the
- Progress with the General Education Communication requirement and the
library's role in this initiative;
- Implementation of the new policy of eliminating automatic renewal privileges
for faculty and staff. The subcommittee will evaluate user response to the
policy now that it is in force;
- Results of user survey as they relate to services and user education. It is
anticipated that these responses will identify issues of concern to library
patrons that could be addressed by the subcommittee.
The subcommittee is also addressing the issue of loan periods for all
materials, circulation of current journals, and establishment of a minimum
campus standard (it is currently anticipated that individual libraries would
have the flexibility to adopt a more stringent standard if they desired).
Toward this end the subcommittee has circulated a questionnaire to all the
campus libraries requesting information on how a standardized loan policy would
impact their constituencies. To date the subcommittee has received responses
from 23 of 25 libraries polled.
Finally, the subcommittee wishes to review responses from the user survey
concerning library hours in an attempt to document the extent of user
Last modified July 7, 1998
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