Monash University Library Annual Report 2007

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2007 in review

Cathrine Harboe-Ree, University Librarian

In 2007 the Library continued to develop its services and take on new roles in order to improve its contribution to Monash University.

One of the Library's most significant contributions to the University's education objectives was taking responsibility for the University's language and learning services. It did this by establishing the Learning Skills Unit as part of the Library's operations, with learning skills advisers based in each branch library. The learning skills service model is very closely aligned with the learning commons concept and the Library's information literacy programs. This new arrangement has provided an exceptional platform for information services staff and learning skills advisers to work with each other and with academic staff to ensure integration of learning skills and information literacy into coursework. Co-locating learning skills advisers and librarians in branch libraries enhances this collaboration. An excellent example of the model was the involvement of Business and Economics subject librarians and learning skills advisers in the review of six Bachelor of Business units, resulting in the integration of information and learning skills into the foundation units and assessment of these skills as part of the unit curriculum. As well as teaching within the academic curriculum, learning skills advisers use library facilities for their programs and for regular "drop-in" sessions for students.

The Library's Education Support Plan was also published during the year, complementing the previously published Research Support Plan. These Plans provide a focus for more strategic support of the University's essential activities.

During 2007 more than 3.5 million visits were made to the Libraries. Once again this is an increase over last year's results, and is evidence of the importance of libraries as learning spaces on campuses. Under the Library's Facilities Master Plan, which guides a coordinated program of improvement and refurbishment across all campuses, planning for a major refurbishment of the Pharmacy Library was completed. This work should be completed during the first half of 2008.

At the heart of the Library's services is the collection, which in 2007 continued its strong growth as a result of the University's sustained funding commitment. Over 44,000 new volumes were added to the physical collection. Continued growth of electronic resources means that Monash has one of the best developed University Library collections in Australia, providing access to almost 800 databases, very nearly 75,000 electronic journals, and more than 245,000 electronic books. Almost 50% of the acquisitions budget was spent on electronic resources. This reflects the changing way the Library provides services to both our student and research communities.

The Library continues to provide excellent support to Monash staff and students, evidenced by improvements in the results of the 2007 Library user survey. This biennial survey provides a valuable measure of performance over time and enables comparisons against Group of Eight university libraries. This year's results showed an improvement in the Library's ranking in several areas. The Library continues to meet or exceed its performance targets as specified in its Service Level Agreements (SLA) with faculties.

New libraries opened on both the South African and Malaysian campuses during the year. A number of visits were made by Library staff to and from these campuses, continuing to support staff and facilities development on these sites.

In partnership with the e-Research Centre and the Information Technology Services division, the Library is playing a leading role supporting best practice in the development of repositories for published and unpublished research. During 2007 the Monash node of ARROW (Australian Research Repositories Online to the World) extended its content significantly and now includes material from a wide range of research disciplines. The range of book and journal titles offered by the ePress continued to grow.

This activity has now extended to the development of the University's ability to manage the growing volume and complexity of digital data created through research. A data management policy and plan were created and trialled with a number of researchers in 2007, in readiness for more extensive application in 2008.

While some traditional uses of the Library have been declining, the number of library visits rose by 3.5% and accesses to electronic resources increased by almost 300%. This dramatic increase reflects the growth in the electronic resources collection, improved access to the resources through federated searching tools such as Multisearch and increased awareness of these resources on the part of library users.

Compared to audiostreaming previously supplied, the more popular mp3 format for downloading and podcasting of lectures has increased the use of Monash University Lectures Online.

I am very proud of the way that Monash University Library staff continue to embrace the need to evolve and develop services in response to the University's objectives and requirements. This is a wonderful group of staff to work with, and I thank each and every one for another strong year of achievement. I would also like to thank the University for its ongoing commitment to the Library, which is expressed in a number of ways, not least through maintenance of the budget, without which the Library could not strive to be one of the leading academic libraries in the world.

As well as this overview, the Annual Report contains full details of 2007 priorities and progress against the 2007 Strategic Plan, together with the following appendices:

  1. Statistics
  2. Key Performance Indicators
  3. Visitors
  4. Publications, presentations and memberships
  5. Library Committees - General Library Committee, Monash University Library ePress Advisory Committee
  6. Selected new resources

Download the full report (PDF, 1.33 MB)