Message from Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Library changes

6 February 2014

Dear colleagues,

Over the past 18 months the University Librarian, Anne Bell, has been talking with staff across all the library's sites about what it means to be a successful 21st-century research library. This week, the library has published a draft change proposal as part of wider changes to provide library services more in tune with the needs of today's students and researchers.

Technology has changed the way all of us work, live and study, and our library users tell us they increasingly make use of those technological advances to engage with both the services and the information resources provided by the library. Our physical libraries remain important hubs for students and academic staff, but, particularly among the research community, 'virtual' interaction with the library is more common than physical visits and this is the case for all disciplines. Yet our libraries are not equipped to properly service that demand: we appear, relative to our main Australian competitors, to allocate a higher proportion of the library's budget to managing paper-based collections and significantly less to digital collections. We need to act if we are to support properly the needs of our researchers and students.

The changes envisaged by the draft change proposal would significantly enhance the experience of students and researchers, including providing 24 x 7 access at some locations and dedicated services to support postgraduate coursework and Higher Degree Research students, as well as increased investment in the library's virtual services. The proposal would deliver a library system that provides a fitting platform for meaningful investment. Our physical collections would continue to be an essential hub of our library services both to support contemporaneous scholarship and to preserve an important part of our institutional and national heritage.

The draft change proposal is open for comment until 14 March, and you can read it on the staff intranet. To provide non-library staff with the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed changes, the University Librarian and I will hold a staff forum from 1.30 to 2.30pm on Tuesday 25 February in the General Lecture Theatre in the Quadrangle. If you plan to attend, please email so we can keep track of numbers. I look forward to seeing some of you there.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Stephen Garton

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor