Monash University Library Annual Report 2005
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2005 in reviewCathrine Harboe-Ree, University Librarian
Building partnerships with our users was pivotal to the library's efforts in 2005 as we worked to modernise and improve facilities and services and be more dynamic in our response to user needs.
The completion of the refurbishment of the Hargrave-Andrew Library in November was an important milestone in the updating of our library branches, setting the benchmark for a new era Monash University Library experience. The increased quantity of workstations and data points, flexible seating for a variety of study styles, contemporary open plan layout and architecture, improved signage and a co-ordinated theme to the artworks on display all contribute towards our goal of providing users with a library space that is a pleasure to use. The enhanced service and support possible and the enthusiasm of our staff in their new environment have also set the standard for the refurbishment of our other libraries.
Design of new library buildings in South Africa and Malaysia was also concluded in 2005, and the first steps taken in planning for the refurbishment of the Sir Louis Matheson and Pharmacy libraries due to take place from 2006 to 2008. The Berwick Library and Learning Commons, adopting the design principles of the Hargrave-Andrew, has led the way in an innovative combined Library and Information Technology Services offering. Library information and loans as well as computer account and password queries and other related information technology matters are all handled from one central point, creating seamless interaction with users. The learning commons concept will be extended to other branches in the coming years.
Technology was once again at the forefront of the library's achievements for 2005. Major improvements to the library website include making it more relevant and easier to navigate and, following a usability study, the catalogue received a major overhaul. The new design, incorporating a user friendly interface and improved search options, has been welcomed by users. Other progress includes the significant extension of the Monash University Lectures Online service and the installation of wireless capability in all branches.
The ePress, launched in 2004 as a pioneering project in the publishing of scholarly material, has gone from strength to strength with four new titles published during 2005. A number of breakthroughs made in the sourcing and customisation of software resulted in the creation of an innovative and efficient business model and enabled an outstanding output from the small ePress team. The ePress will focus on building content, finding its markets and developing partnerships over the coming years.
The ARROW project, in which Monash is the leading institution, also made some critical advances in 2005 in its efforts to identify and test software and solutions to support best practice institutional digital repositories. Moving from being a behind the scenes assignment to a far more visible and high profile venture, it is an example of the library's commitment to supporting the university's strategic research focus. More than 1700 digitised images from the Centre for Gippsland Studies Picture Collection are now housed in the repository and available via the internet. This is a good practical example of the value the repository can add by storing and making scholarly material available to a wide audience, and demonstrates some of the capability of the repository. Development has progressed to the point that the repository will be fully tested and ready to support the university's collection of research material for submission to the upcoming Research Quality Framework.
The library has continued with its efforts to work in partnership with teaching staff by integrating information literacy programs into faculty courses and curricula. The resulting improvements in students' ability to find and use information and apply approved methods in practices, such as citing and referencing, is being progressively recognised by a number of faculties. The transfer of the university's copyright advisory function to the library also demonstrates the wider role the library now plays.
The Rodski library user survey conducted in 2005 showed that the Monash community's satisfaction with the library has increased since the survey was last conducted in 2003. The highest performing area was 'staff', while 'communication' showed the most improvement. 'Facilities and equipment', the lowest performing area, is being aggressively addressed through the library's refurbishment plans and the upgrade of computer equipment and resources.
In conclusion I would like to acknowledge and thank the library's dedicated staff, without whom the achievements recorded in this annual report would not have been possible. Development of our staff to meet the needs of the changing user environment continues to be a high focus, while a number of secondments to key positions during the year provided opportunities for cross-skilling and sharing of expertise across branches. The Monash-wide staff survey conducted at the end of 2005 positioned the library staff satisfaction score in the top five out of the 30 faculties and departments surveyed. I believe this result is a reflection of our ongoing efforts to create a fair, stimulating and satisfying work environment that in turn enables the library to play a meaningful role in supporting and advancing the university's goals.
As well as this overview, the Annual Report contains full details of progress against the 2005 Strategic Plan, together with the following appendices:
- Key Performance Indicators
- Selected publications and presentations
- General Library Committee
- Monash University Library ePress Advisory Committee
- New library resources
Download the full report (PDF, 0.91 MB)