Monash University Library Annual Report 2006

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2006 in review

Cathrine Harboe-Ree, University Librarian

A decade ago, forecasters were predicting the death (or serious decline) of university libraries as a result of the digital revolution. While the world does look different today, it is interesting to see that visits to Monash University Libraries increased by 3.5% in 2006 compared with 2005, while loans were almost static. Reference enquiries increased, document delivery requests reduced, but the major change continues to be in the area of use of electronic resources with a 55% increase in the use of Library-supplied databases as an example. It can now be seen that these new resources complement, rather than replace, more traditional collections and services.

The past decade has been referred to as one of 'white water change' for university libraries, with services being transformed to be more user-focussed, dramatic shifts towards the use of electronic resources and the library playing a different role, helping to showcase and manage research output for the university.

This is certainly true of Monash University Library, and excellent progress was made in all of these areas in 2006. With regard to the library buildings, the newly refurbished Hargrave-Andrew Library and the Berwick Library and Learning Commons were opened and have been greatly appreciated by users. Planning for an improved Pharmacy Library occurred, and new facilities for both Malaysia and South Africa were in construction. The move towards learning commons, where library and information technology and other services are combined, advanced significantly at Berwick, Malaysia and South Africa, but also at Pharmacy. These changes, together with further improvements in information literacy, led to the University's decision to transfer responsibility for language and learning support services to the Library. This will take effect from the middle of 2007.

The Library continued to acquire significant electronic resources (44.2% of the collection budget is now spent on these), but it now has an established role in creating, managing and disseminating electronic resources and services. The Lectures Online service investigated the feasibility of podcasting, which will be introduced in 2007. The ARROW Repository was used to support the University's Mock Research Quality Framework (RQF) and several collections were developed for inclusion in the repository, including pictures from the Centre for Gippsland Studies, electronic copies of higher degree by research theses and working papers from the Faculty of Business and Economics. The Australian Government provided an additional grant of $4.3 million for the national ARROW project, which is led by Monash University, to continue in 2007. The Monash University ePress, which is managed by the Library, enjoyed its first full year of operation with fully functioning software, publishing the equivalent of 17 titles (15 journal issues and 2 monographs).

Services were improved in a number of ways, including participation in ask.monash, use of SMS for informing users, an upgrade in the printing and computing environments and increased and standardised of hours of opening.

The Library in Australia continued to support the two overseas campuses. In 2006 this included leading the design processes for the two overseas campus library and learning commons, negotiating access to electronic resources and providing systems and overall management support.

The treasures of the Library's collections, particularly from the Rare Books and Asian Studies Research Collections, were showcased through a range of exhibitions throughout the year, and a feature of both the Hargrave-Andrew Library and the Berwick Library and Learning Commons are permanent displays of art works from the University's collections.

I would like to thank the University for the way it clearly expresses the value it places on its Library, the many members of faculty who engage with the Library through its collections, services and information literacy programs, and the wonderful staff of the Library, whose inspired work results in the Library performing extremely well in University and external surveys.

As well as this overview, the Annual Report contains full details of progress against the 2006 Strategic Plan, together with the following appendices:

  1. Statistics
  2. Key Performance Indicators
  3. Publications, presentations and memberships
  4. Library committees
  5. Selected new resources

Download the full report (PDF, 0.95 MB)