Follett Report

Chapter 2 - Introduction and Working Methods

Membership of the Review

This Review of Library and related provision in higher education in the United Kingdom was commissioned jointly by the HEFCE, HEFCW, SHEFC, and DENI. The Review Group was chaired by Professor Sir Brian Follett, and its membership was widely drawn, including nominees of all four funding bodies, together with representatives of the CVCP, SCOP, and other interests from both within and outside higher education. This broadly based membership has enabled the Group to take account of a wide range of experience in formulating its proposals. Its full membership and terms of reference are given in annex A.
The Review Group met nine times between October 1992 and October 1993. Much detailed work was conducted by three sub-groups which were established to consider particular aspects of library provision: these were funding and resource issues, the management of libraries, and information technology. The membership of these sub-groups is also given at annex A. They each met on numerous occasions, and commissioned a variety of studies and papers on behalf of the Review. They reported to the main Review Group at regular intervals during the first half of 1993, and submitted final reports in July 1993.

The Scope of the Review

The primary impetus behind the establishment of the Review Group was concern over the implications of recent growth in undergraduate student numbers for the library services on which so much of teaching and learning depends. Other developments in the organisation and funding of higher education, and developments in teaching and learning techniques, reinforced the desirability of a review.
It quickly became clear to the Review Group that there was also a need to consider the role of libraries in support of research, not least because of recent disproportionate increases in the price of periodicals and specialist books which have placed pressure on many library budgets. Recent developments in information technology have also opened up many possibilities which are particularly relevant to libraries' support for research and scholarship. The Review Group has thus considered library provision from the point of view of both teaching and research.
The establishment of the Review Group was widely welcomed as being both timely and important. Many argued that a review was needed given that so many developments were taking place in higher education which had implications for libraries. This Report is also the first which attempts a general review of library and related provision in higher education in the UK since the Committee on Libraries established by the University Grants Committee in 1963, chaired by Dr Thomas Parry, whose report was published in July 1967 (Report of the Committee on Libraries, University Grants Committee, HMSO 1967).
For these and other reasons the review has aroused high expectations, not least amongst librarians themselves, and the Review Group has been aware of the considerable interest in its work from both within and outside higher education. It is hoped that this report will prove a valuable contribution to the development of library services in higher education, and that it will stimulate further discussion and development.
The Review Group has also been conscious of the difficulty and complexity of many of the issues which have been addressed: there are no panaceas, and the Review Group does not pretend to have all the answers. This is particularly so given the enormous diversity of institutions in the higher education sector, with differences arising because of institutions' history, their size, and their objectives (particularly in nce between teaching and research). This heterogeneity is described in more detail below (paragraphs 73- 74).
It is also important to bear in mind that many of these issues need to be set in an international context, where the UK is only one of many players. In these circumstances, and given the timetable for the production of its report, the Review Group has not sought (as Parry did) to present a comprehensive description of library provision in higher education, nor to analyse all the issues involved. Rather, it has focused on those areas where it believes practical proposals for progress can achieve most effect in the foreseeable future.

The Contents of this Report

A summary of the Group's principal conclusions was given in chapter one, and its detailed recommendations are summarised in chapter eight. These are addressed to the funding councils and to higher education institutions both individually and collectively through their representative bodies (CVCP, SCOP and Scottish bodies). Some recommendations are also addressed at least in part to others, including the research councils, the British Academy, the British Library, SCONUL, COPOL, the learned societies, and the publishing industry. In each case the Review Group has sought to identify where primary responsibility for carrying forward a recommendation lies, but in many cases co-operation between several organisations or bodies will be required.
The remainder of this report is organised as follows. Chapter three sets out the background and the context of the Review Group's work, with particular reference to current developments in higher education, and the implications of these for the provision of library and related services in support of teaching and research. Chapter four considers the management of library and information provision within institutions. siders in more detail the library's support for teaching, and chapter six discusses research related provision. Chapter seven covers Information Technology, which is of relevance to the support of both teaching and research.

The Work of the Sub-groups

The sub-groups commissioned several consultancy studies and surveys, and a large number of information papers, as part of their work. The following in particular may be noted:

The LISU Survey

The Review Group commissioned a survey of aspects of provision across the sector which was conducted by the Library and Information Statistics Unit (LISU) based at Loughborough University. This survey was aimed at obtaining information, both quantitative and qualitative, about a range of issues, particularly to supplement data not covered in SCONUL and COPOL statistics. It covered in particular the availability of space, the effects of cost increases, changes in teaching and research methods and organisation, and developments in information delivery techniques. It also explored how far resources and activities can sensibly be categorised as being in support of teaching or research In general the survey has been valuable and it has provided robust information in many areas; the results of the survey have, where appropriate, been used in preparing this report. In using the information obtained from the survey full account has been taken of any shortcomings which may have arisen because of the constraints (especially time) under which the survey was designed and completed. LISU will be publishing separately a report and analysis of the findings of the survey.

Library Staffing Consultancy

A study was commissioned from the John Fielden Consultancy to investigate the staffing aspects of library management, bearing in mind that library staff at all levels are critical in ensuring the effective support of teaching and learning, scholarship and research.

The consultants examined current changes affecting staffing and the organisation of learning support services, drawing on material collected through the LISU survey, and considered likely future models of service bearing in mind experience in the USA and Australia as well as in the UK. They reviewed the staffing implications of current developments and likely future trends, and made a series of detailed recommendations. Their Report, entitled "Supporting Expansion", is being published separately.

The Review Group has taken account of this study in making its own recommendations.

Information Technology Working Papers

A substantial volume of papers was produced as part of the work of the Information Technology sub-group. Because of their nature, and the advantages of early release, these have already been published through the UK Office for Library Networking, (Libraries and IT: Working Papers of the Information Sub-Committee of the HEFC's Libraries Review, UKOLN, University of Bath 1993). The Review Group hopes that these will be of interest to those wishing to obtain more details on the background to the IT related recommendations in this Report, and that they will represent a useful summary of the current state of development in the field.

The Review Group also commissioned a study by the University of Sussex on the relative use of monograph stock between teaching and research; and has corresponded ith the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge concerning their legal deposit libraries. Representatives of the Review Group also visited institutions in London, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Manchester in connection with studies of co-operative arrangements between libraries in those cities.
The work of the sub-groups covered much valuable detail, on which the main Review Group has drawn in framing its recommendations. Coverage of some of these matters in this report is in some cases less detailed, but as noted above the consultancy report on staffing and the IT working papers are being published separately, and the Review Group proposes that the IT sub-group report should be made available to the JISC to inform its implementation of the recommendations made here.
Although neither the main Review Group nor the sub-groups solicited submissions, a number were received and these were taken into account.

Language and Terminology

One of the difficulties in discussing academic libraries in the 1990s concerns the language to be used. As discussed in chapter four, it is increasingly necessary to think in terms of information services, of which the traditional library is one aspect, and in many cases users will soon come to think of their "library" as being a means of access to a range of services, rather than simply a particular place where information is stored.
It is difficult to avoid using traditional language without being cumbersome, but there is a danger that the existing terminology will not reflect the diversity and the changing nature of information provision in higher education. Because there are as yet inadequate substitutes for conventional terms, this report uses them freely, and departs m them only when a particular point requires it. However, in using conventional terms such as "library" and "librarian" the Group has understood them flexibly, and readers of this report should do likewise.

The Teaching and Research Functions of Librarie

The Review Group agreed at an early stage of its work that, in view of its remit, it should consider separately the role of libraries in support of research and of teaching. This provides a valuable perspective, and has helped to focus attention on important aspects of the Review Group's remit. It is also useful given that the funding councils increasingly require institutions to account separately for their use of grant allocated for teaching and for research. This separate treatment should not, however, be taken to imply that the role of library and information services in supporting teaching on the one hand and research on the other can always be separated easily in operational terms, or that there is no overlap or commonality between them.

Descriptions of Four Libraries

To illustrate the diversity and scale of library provision in higher education we offer the following sketches of four libraries.

A "New" University

This university is mainly geared for teaching but has growing research activity. It has 11,000 students and is located on two sites in a city and county town which are 18 miles apart. There are many links with local book shops and with local business and industry, which are heavy users of the Library and Information Service.

The Librarian is a member of the Academic Board and its Planning Committee and is also a member of the Senior Management Team of the university and chairs the county-wide LIP Executive Board.

The three site libraries, which are each open for 64 hours per week during term time, are serviced by 80 staff, 24 of whom are in professional posts. The libraries have a combined book stock of 310,000 and hold 2,200 journal titles. There are 1,118 reader spaces, 1,258 square metres of shelving and 6,217 square metres of floor space. The 13,000 registered users make 700,000 visits per annum (3000 per day) to the three libraries. 180 IT workspaces enable widespread access to the computer network and 44 CD-ROM databases.

The total budget of the library service is 2.2 million of which 1 million is accounted for by staff costs. 630,000 is spent on books and 20,000 on staff development. The capital budget amounts to 90,000.

Library provision is being enhanced by the creation of a law library to service the new Law School; the development of the CD-ROM network; the replacement of the eight year old Geac systems with a new library management system and the continued growth in use of electronic media.

A "Redbrick" University

This university is located about a mile from the centre of a large city. It has approximately 12,500 undergraduates, 2,500 postgraduates and 1,130 academic staff. Nearly every major academic discipline is represented within the institution.

The Librarian, who is advised by a Joint Library Committee of Senate and Council, is ex officio member of Senate, of the Academic Resources Committee and of the principal Computing Policy Committee. Subject specialists on the Library staff are members of every faculty board and their appropriate sub-committees. A five-year rolling strategic plan was completed in 1992, and its principles are incorporated in the University's strategic plan.

The Library comprises two major buildings, a number of faculty and departmental libraries and three book stores. There are substantial holdings of rare books and special collections. There is almost 100 kilometres of shelving and a total usable area of 26,700 square metres. The library is part of a consortium of academic libraries in the city.

36,000 registered readers are serviced by 34 academic-related staff and 114 other staff. The Main Library has 2,000 reader seats and is open during term time for 66.5 hours per week with full services and for a further 15 hours for reading purposes only. Holdings include over 3,500,000 books and over one million manuscript and archival items. Around 7,000 current journals are received, and 40 CD-ROMs are networked.

In 1992-93 the total recurrent income of the library from all sources was approximately 5 million. This includes expenditure on staff of 2.4 million; on periodicals, abstracts and indexes, 971,000; on monographs and reference works, 753,000; and on operating costs, 490,000.

A "Post-Robbins" University

Established in the mid 1960s this university is situated on a campus five miles outside a provincial city. It has around 6,400 undergraduates, 1,400 postgraduates, and 1000 academic staff. It is active in both teaching and research across a wide range of subjects. The Librarian reports directly to the Vice-Chancellor. He is also accountable ibrary Committee (chaired by a Pro-Vice Chancellor).

The library, which is open for 78.5 hours a week in term time, serves a constituency of 19,000 registered readers, whose numbers are growing at a rate of eight per cent per annum - annual turnstile admissions to the main site exceed one million a year. It has 13,840 square metres of floor space, 1,400 reader spaces and 127 IT spaces. There are 91 staff of whom 33.5 are on professional grades. Book stock amounts to 500,000 and there are over 3,700 current journals. Stock is added at a net rate of 700 metres of printed materials (about 25,000 volumes) and 200 metres of archives each year. Most of the library's operations are supported by an integrated minicomputer-based system supplied by BLCMP. The on-line catalogue, a major CD-ROM facility comprising 50 databases, and other information services are networked within the library and across the campus LAN.

The budget for 1993-94 is 2.9 million, including non-recurrent funds. Of this 1.4 million is earmarked for the purchase of materials (including 700,000 on periodicals), information systems and binding services.

An HE College

The college, an Anglican foundation, was established over 150 years ago and is located on one site close to the centre of a provincial city. In recent years the college has broadened its work from its original base in teacher training, diversifying particularly into the arts and humanities and areas of professional training including nursing. Presently around 3,700 students are enrolled on full- and part-time courses.

The Learning Resources Centre is housed in a set of inter-connected buildings. As well as fulfilling the traditional role of an academic library the centre services course planning and organisation, teaching and consultancy in learning resources, and also runs video production unit of near-broadcast standard. All operations connected with issues and returns, cataloguing and classification, and acquisitions are now fully automated. The college has pioneered the use of BLCMP's circulation and cataloguing systems with audio-visual equipment and other non-book materials.

The Librarian manages the acquisition, cataloguing and circulation of the various learning resources held centrally by the college Learning Resources Centre and reports to the Co-ordinator of Learning Resources who is ex-officio a member of the Academic Board. The Library is open for 65 hours a week in term time, has over 2,700 metres of shelving, 1,600 square metres of floor area, 239 reader spaces, 15 IT spaces and two CD-ROM databases. There are 21.2 library staff (six in professional grades) serving around 4,300 users. 130,000 volumes of books and 571 current journals are held. The number of loans is over 80,000 a year.

Total annual expenditure amounts to 421,000 of which 291,000 is accounted for by staff salaries. 100,000 is spent on books and 30,000 on periodicals.

Copyright © 1993 Joint Funding Council

[Contents List]