Harvard College Library
Changes in research, teaching, and learning, along with ever-changing developments in technology, continue to prompt the Harvard College Library to find innovative ways to update many programs and services. The current budget constraints, coupled with a smaller workforce, provided added impetus for exploring how to meet our users' changing needs with fewer resources. Public services, access services, technical services, and conservation services were identified as areas where a realignment of resources might prove beneficial. The Library began an exploration of the possibilities of an HCL-wide approach to these functions that would build on librarians' roles and promote staff expertise, create greater efficiencies, and, most importantly, better serve today's faculty and students. This planning aligns with the Provost's call to "streamline library infrastructure in order to improve services and maximize the resources available to its users."
As a first step, HCL Research, Teaching, and Learning Services, all units in Lamont, and the Widener Research Services and Access Services were reorganized to form four new units:
Staff continued to provide core services within their old reporting structures throughout the fall, while participating in planning sessions with their new teams. The reorganization of Widener and Lamont public services took effect in January 2010.
With the reorganization of Widener and Lamont, there will no longer be a music librarian to head the former Morse Music and Media unit in Lamont. The declining circulation activity surfaced the question of relocating the materials to the Loeb Music Library. Aligning with efforts in HCL to operate in a more streamlined and integrated way, Lamont and Loeb Music staff collaborated on a proposal to transfer Lamont's music scores to Loeb Music. The relocation project is scheduled for summer 2010. Scores are no longer being purchased for Lamont and several small funds belonging to Morse Music were transferred to Loeb Music.
A renewed strategic focus on the reorganization of HCL Technical Services (HCLTS) began in FY 2009 and included extensive and thorough planning, discussion, training, documentation, and communication throughout the year. It culminated in the launch of a new departmental structure in May 2010 that puts the Library in a better position to provide a simpler and quicker means of access to materials; increased access to hidden collections; and metadata in a variety of schemas for print and non-print materials.
The new HCLTS consists of three units:
As part of the reorganization of Widener Access Services, the technical services function from the Widener Serials Services unit was moved to HCLTS. The Fine Arts Library Technical Services unit was integrated into HCLTS when the Library's other units relocated to the Littauer and Sackler buildings.
With the new organization in place, it becomes possible to envision the benefits of further centralization of administrative functions and technical services staff from across HCL into the 625 Massachusetts Avenue operation. Exploration of this possibility is under way.
In FY 2010, the Conservation Services group located in Widener Library assumed responsibility for the preservation review, conservation treatment, binding, and shelf preparation of materials from Fine Arts and Lamont libraries, and worked strategically to incorporate affected workflows and personnel into its existing program. The Collections conservators also assumed responsibility for the supervision and training of conservation technicians at Cabot and Tozzer libraries, centralizing administration and expanding impact of conservation services to HCL locations in the North Campus. Binding and Shelf Preparation expanded its services to include the Slavic and Middle Eastern divisions' HD materials and contributed to the final reduction of the Materials Management backlog.
This past year HCL has been engaged in the process launched by Dean of Science Jeremy Bloxham in April 2009 to examine the organizational structure of the science libraries in FAS. As a result of the planning, three science libraries were to transfer administratively to HCL beginning in FY 2010: Birkhoff Mathematics Library, the Physics Research Library, and the Chemical and Chemical Biology Library. Staff members in the transferred libraries were introduced to new practices around accounting and budgeting, collection development, acquisitions, and cataloging, as well as new supervisors and staff across HCL. Transfer of other FAS science libraries was put on hold due to changing priorities and Harvard-wide planning efforts by the Provost.
Although it was not part of a reorganization, the Fine Arts Library relocation provided impetus to realign responsibilities and workflows in its two locations. Each new or refined routine had at its heart the goal of re-orienting patrons to the new spaces and reestablishing the coherence of onsite collections and services for optimal access.