Preface to the Report of the Review of the University Library Service
Dr David Grant, Vice-Chancellor
Cardiff's library service plays a vital role by managing and creating information that underpins our success in research, learning and teaching. The service is central to the fulfilment of the University’s mission, and therefore needs to be reviewed against a growing demand, a changing demand, and the possible benefits from innovative new services and technologies.
In the summer of 2004, I initiated a comprehensive review of needs and opportunities. I am now delighted to present the Report of this review. The Review Group has analysed the University’s needs from the Library Service over the next decade. Needs that are changing and will continue to change. The Group looked at comparable services in other Russell Group universities. Extensive internal consultation has also taken place, with a questionnaire survey of staff and students in each of the 28 Academic Schools. There was also consultation with School and University committees.
The Review Group recommends an Immediate Action Plan of imaginative proposals to enhance and re-focus services, involving greater use of IT, in-depth support for teachers, learners and researchers; and greater integration between INSRV and the Academic Schools. Fundamental to the initiative to improve services is the deployment of advanced IT solutions such as INSRV’s Modern IT Working Environment (MWE). The aim is to facilitate the Library’s evolution into a forward-looking 21st century service, enabling a continuing shift towards access rather than ownership as a strategy for the delivery of information resources.
For the longer term the Review Group proposes a Strategic Plan in two phases. Phase 1 is a programme of new build and refurbishment to create flexible, fit for purpose library space for the Cathays Park campus. It is hoped that the new buildings will incorporate a range of services and facilities, so that they become a natural focus for academic and related activities. Proposals for the Heath Park campus will be developed as Phase 2 following further discussions with the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trusts, and other Trusts throughout Wales. This will address issues such as the provision for students on off-site placement and their access to computer networks.
The Strategic Plan is timely and bold in its vision, though it presents an undeniable challenge to obtain the necessary capital funding; but, if it can be achieved, it will release significant amounts of prime space for academic expansion. New, innovative, and it is hoped iconic library buildings appropriate to a modern Library and Information Service will be created, consistent with the University’s 21st century aspirations.
The Report is the outcome of much time and hard work on the part of the Review Group as well as other members of the University. Their work, embodied in this Report, lays the foundations for the future development of a Library Service delivering excellent services in an innovative environment, both physical and virtual. On behalf of the University I congratulate all involved on an excellent piece of work and I wish to record my thanks for their contributions.
Dr David Grant