Monash University Library Annual Report 2009

Download the full report (PDF, 0.26 MB)

2009 in review

Cathrine Harboe-Ree, University Librarian

The Library continues to transform its collections, facilities and services in response to significant changes in the University and information environments, and to ensure that the Library contributes to the achievement of the University’s goals as effectively as possible.

The biennial library user survey, coordinated by the Council of Australian University Librarians using a survey instrument administered by Insync Solutions, was undertaken in May 2009. A record 6,069 responses were received from Australian, Malaysian and South African staff and students. The results placed Monash second in the Group of Eight (Go8) for the first time, while increased satisfaction with the Library's performance put it on the cusp of the first quartile (top 25%) when compared with 40 other university libraries in the database. The report shows that performance scores for each of the five survey categories have increased since the last survey in 2007. Two of the five categories, Library Staff and Information Resources, are performing in the first quartile (top 25%) compared to the whole Insync library data collection. Action plans have been developed in response to the outcomes of the survey. These include improving access to power and wireless connectivity for laptop computers, redesign of the Library website to make it easier to use, and redesign of spaces to respond to the need for quiet and group study spaces.

During 2009 important progress was made towards achieving the ten priorities set out in the 2009-2011 Library Strategic Plan. These include:

Facilities

The Library continued to upgrade and improve facilities in accordance with the Facilities Master Plan wherever possible. Most recently a new learning space has been created in the Gippsland Library, featuring a mix of innovative design, furniture and technology to create a very flexible space that is proving to be extremely popular with students. Major refurbishments are still planned for the Sir Louis Matheson and Caulfield Libraries. A decision has not yet been made about the new Law Library planned as part of a major project on the Caulfield campus.

Information research and learning skills

Learning skills is now well established in the Library and has facilitated a significant increase in the embedding and integration of learning skills and information literacy in the curriculum. A full review of learning skills conducted in 2009 concluded that the program based in the Library has been very successful. A feature of both programs is the attempt to evaluate their impact on student performance.

Resource discovery

Progress towards improving resource access and discovery has been made through the Resource Discovery Project. The second phase of the project undertook an analysis of software options and recommended a solution which will provide a new search and discovery layer for catalogued materials, electronic resources and institutional repository items. Late in 2009 the Project Steering Committee recommended the purchase of Primo v. 3 and Primo Central from Ex Libris with a view to migrating from AARLIN to an Ex Libris hosted solution in 2010 for 2011.

Resource discovery was also enhanced by the launch of the bX recommender service, which assists library users in discovering scholarly articles of potential interest based on other people’s use of resources in contributing organisations. Monash University Library Annual Report 2009

Collection development

The Library has continued to collaborate with faculties to build a collection responsive to the University’s education and research directions. Improvements have been particularly influenced by new locations for courses and research groups. Knowledge of collections is promoted through initiatives like the rare books exhibitions and publicising new acquisitions. Despite the impact of the global financial crisis and a tight University budgeting environment, the Library collections grew significantly during 2009. The collection budget was $17.3 million, and the proportion spent on electronic resources was almost 56%. During the year the number of items in the physical collections increased slightly, however the growth in electronic resources was over 7.3%. As can be seen in the statistical summary, use of the physical resources and services offered by the Library continues to grow.

Construction has commenced on the second collaborative storage building, CARM2, to be managed by CAVAL on La Trobe University land in Bundoora. Monash and the University of Melbourne are the two major stakeholders in this undertaking, which should be ready for use by the third quarter of 2010. Planning is well advanced for the Library to begin using the store as soon as it becomes operational.

For many years the Matheson Library has had a separate Undergraduate Collection, which primarily contained course materials, and a Main Collection, which was established for researchers and academics. The two collections were merged at the end of 2009. This major project involved moving a very large number of journals, monographs and other materials throughout the Matheson Library. By the end of the project it was estimated that over 1 million volumes had been moved, along with the relocation of many bays of shelving and associated furnishings. A significant amount of space was freed up by the move, some of which has already been redeployed as quiet study space for users.

The Library is the beneficiary of the largest bequest ever received by Monash. The bequest, from the estate of Ada Booth, is valued at approximately $10 million; it includes a large number of books, journals and sound recordings including approximately 9,000 volumes of Slavic language material, 600 English language books, hundreds of Chinese language titles and some rare Australian material. It is planned to establish an Ada Booth Slavic Collection in the Matheson Library and to further develop this using funds made available under the terms of the bequest. Ada Booth was a retired academic – a physicist – from the University of Melbourne.

The private collection of the late John Cargher, music broadcaster, comprising thousands of mostly opera music recordings (2000+ vinyl, 1200+ CDs), libretti and related material (journals, programmes, etc) was donated by Robyn Walton, John Cargher's widow, in early 2009.

Service enhancements

The Service Points Review is providing a major thrust towards continuing to improve user experience of the Library’s services and collections. The project’s key objective is to implement high quality, consistent physical and virtual service point operations across the whole Library. This is simplifying and streamlining access to service points for library users, and includes improved communication about the services offered. Other service enhancements include a move to open holds and reserves, the deployment of new Document Delivery software and planning for new online reading lists software.

Monash Passport

The Monash Passport, in particular the implementation of Passport 2-0 and the honours program, will influence demand on Library services from undergraduates. Loan entitlements for honours students have been increased, and Passport 2.0 will provide opportunities for an early introduction to research information and data management practices. Library staff participated in the Honours Task Force, and this is one of the ways the range of services and collections which the Library offers for this cohort of students is communicated.

eResearch

The Library contributes to the University’s eResearch strategies through the ARROW Repository, electronic publishing, data management coordination and the DARE project, and contributes to the success of the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) on a local and national level.

Library staff have led the development of the Monash Research Data Management Policy and Procedures, which will be presented to the Research Committee in 2010. In conjunction with the Monash e-Research Centre, the Library delivered exPERT seminars through the Monash Research Graduate School and faculty-specific eResearch and data management outreach programs to Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students. An operational plan for data management has been developed. The DARE project provides professional development and support for contact librarians to act as a link between researchers and the University’s data management services. Project funding from ANDS through the Seeding the Commons initiative has allowed the appointment of two Research Data Librarians for one year.

The ARROW Repository has over 30,000 records providing stewardship for Monash’s research output and supporting the ERA and HERDC requirements. The target of adding 20,000 records to ARROW in 2009 was exceeded and the first climate research data set was added to the repository in September.

A new ePress Manager, Dr Nathan Hollier, was appointed to lead the implementation of the review of the ePress conducted in 2008. Details of 2009 publications are attached.

In 2009 $48 million was allocated to ANDS through the Education Investment Fund (EIF), in addition to the $24 million already provided through NCRIS funding. This necessitated a significant rethinking of the ANDS programs and activities, and is providing an extraordinary opportunity to transform the way Australian research data is managed and made available for collaboration and further research.

eEducation

In addition to the substantial electronic resources and services already provided by the Library, an eLearning Coordinator was appointed to provide leadership in this area. Also in 2009 the Library led the deployment of Echosystem software to substantially upgrade the Lectures Online service by providing audio and video content of lectures.

Planning for the introduction of a notebook lending trial at the Peninsula Library in 2010 was completed.

Communication

Improving awareness and use of Library services through more effective communication is a priority. The communications framework implemented in late 2008 has informed the development of communication strategies for all services and activities, and helps make the development of effective communication strategies easier for all staff. The Library’s suite of user publications were reviewed and provided online where possible.

Staff

A number of strategies to improve recruitment have been implemented, including revision of procedures and the constitution of interview panels. Staff development activities throughout 2009 provided opportunities for staff at all levels to participate in programs. These included group activities to support staff wellbeing and health, project management, leadership and management training, emotional intelligence workshops, and the initiation of a staff mentoring program.

The Library’s performance in the staff survey was very positive, with most areas improved on the 2007 results. Action plans in response to the survey are being developed for implementation in 2010.

The excellence of the contribution made by Library staff was recognised through a number of awards in 2009. The Library’s Law Faculty team won the Vice Chancellor’s award for exceptional performance by professional staff for work undertaken by this group over a number years to develop undergraduate students’ legal research information and communication skills within the Bachelor of Laws curriculum. The award highlighted the work of the team in developing two core units which combine face to face and online learning components and demonstrate a commitment to student-centred teaching and continuous improvement. Staff cited on the award are Lisa Smith, Kay Tucker, Poh York Lee, Geraldine Woodhatch, Caroline Knaggs, Sandra Pyke and Trish Hughes.

Veronica Png and Faculty of Business and Economics staff member Dr Aldonio Ferreira were awarded the Dean of Business and Economics Award for Excellence in Teaching for their contribution to the student learning experience through their Group Work and Group Presentation Skills collaboration.

These awards exemplify the ongoing contribution and calibre of staff in the Monash University Library.

As well as this overview the full Report (PDF, 0.26 MB) includes the following appendices providing greater detail than can be included here:

  1. Progress against 2009 Plan
  2. Statistical summary
  3. Service Level Agreement report
  4. Visitors
  5. Staff publications, presentations, and memberships
  6. Library committees
    • General Library Committee
    • ePress Advisory Committee
    • Copyright Advisory Committee
    • Research Data Management Subcommittee
    • Research Data Management Advisory Group