Law and Order in the Library


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Graduate Trainee Presentation for Oxford Trainee Project Showcase 2012!

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Law and Order in the Library

  1. 1. 4th July 2012Graduate Trainee Project ~ Louise Cowan
  2. 2. Law and Order in the LibraryThe aim of this presentation is to share the Objectivecontext, process and outcomes of a case study sbased on the rules and regulations of OxfordUniversity Libraries. Objectives: • Context and objectives of the project • Project methodology • Results of the case study • Conclusions
  3. 3. ContextWhat makes library rules an important and current issue?
  4. 4. The „"old atmosphere of quiet study" was being destroyed with "water bottles now allowed next to early printed Context books" and students bringing in "chocolate brownies, hand cream, even a burger and chips".‟ – Gillian Evans on the Bodleian Library [Interviewed by David Sanderson From: The Times May 23, 2012]“One mans library is another mans internet cafe.” -Leo Cutting [The Guardian- Blogging Students: 11 April, 2012] “The stereotypical description of a library tends to dwell upon the strict rules of conduct which are in place to moderate user behaviour.” - Bryant, Matthews, Walton [Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 2009] “One finds an extraordinarily generous attitude on the part of librarians in their recognition of possible infractions.” -Mast [Library & Archival Security, 1984]
  5. 5. Aims• To compare rules and regulations from a variety of libraries in Oxford• To find out what rules they have set• Know how rules are implemented and enforced• Know how successful rules are in maintaining a positive and efficient learning and working environment for students and other readers. The project further took into account individual library‟s provision for social study and considers whether this has impacted upon its rules and user behaviour.
  6. 6. Part 1 –St Hugh‟s College Library Record of rule breaks kept for two weeks Tally taken during floor walks, twice a day Method Took into account rules breaks and where rules were broken Criteria for tally taken from previous infractions Recorded in Excel
  7. 7. The Rules at ST Hugh‟s College Library: Students must borrow a book before it is taken from the library Case Study Students are not to mark or deface any book Bottled water only Part 1 Mobile phones to be kept on silent and calls to be taken outside Personal belonging should be taken with the reader when they leave the library Students are asked to abide by health and safety regulations to ensure a safe working environment Promoted: Website, Lib-Guide, College Handbook, Induction, E-mail, Staff Enforced: Verbal Warnings, Reminders, Floor Walks, CCTV, Book Security System Penalties: Fines, confiscation of food and drink, removal of left belongings
  8. 8. SurveyResults
  9. 9. This survey suggests that students are mostly likelyto follow rules when they most obviously impact onothers.Staff presence and easy to access point powers orfacilities such as computer workstations or personalstorage systems, are most likely to discourage rulebreaking as they remove the opportunity for someinfractions to occur at all.
  10. 10. Case StudyPart 2
  11. 11. Rules Guidelines Does terminology matter? Rules Regulations Rules and Regulations Rules from the Sorbonne Library in Paris circa the 15th Century: V. At no time shall fire or light be taken into the building. VI. No book may be removed from the library without consent of the house. […] VIII. It is forbidden to write on the volumes, to make any erasure, or to tear out the leaves. IX. Whether a person is writing or reading, he shall not disturb others either by talking or walking about. [The Medieval Libraries, Schachner, 1938]
  12. 12. Rules Reconsideration and updating of the library rules is for the most part, quite ad hoc. However, all libraries agree that there are four key rules which in one form or another are to be retained: 1. Books should be treated respectfully 2. Books should be returned promptly and fines paid as necessary 3. Readers should be respectful of others and cause no disturbance via talking or use of technology 4. Readers may not eat or drink in a library unless otherwise indicated by library notices and signs These four rules are all clearly focused on ensuring that the libraries resources and its users are respected appropriately.
  13. 13. Standard library rules might be considered to be universallyacknowledged and engrained in the understanding of socialnorms by some, but not all library users adhere to these basicprinciples. Promotio n Methods of Rule Promotion used:  Induction / registration  Library Contracts  On-line  Signage  Slips  E-mails Use of Social Media?
  14. 14. Enforcement
  15. 15. Overdue Books and FinesLibrary rules are not always seen as being as seriousProblem of terminology – books go missing, are lost ormisplaced, not stolenFine payment is a big issue for most libraries in the study.Four out of the ten libraries do not enforce finesRSL and SSL take a very lenient view Use of staff discretion Larger fine totals halved Very little conflict Students would rather justThe Union Library Issues with „Drop and Run‟ Students pay a small fine as a Lack of power or mechanism to enforce rule consequence of being able to Parental involvement keep the book that they need for as long as they need it.
  16. 16. Missing BooksMissing books is one of the issues that most upsets library users•Law, SSL, Taylorian and Union Libraries reported issues withmissing books•RSL and Jesus College report no real issues with missingbooks•Law, Taylorian and SSL suggest that missing books are usuallyjust mis-shelved Four out of the ten Libraries have a CCTV system – none of these libraries monitor their systems regularly Seven out of the ten libraries have a book security system and alarm At St Hugh‟s we have found evidence of students removing book security tags and have CCTV footage of students trying to get books passed the security gates without setting off the alarm.
  17. 17. Desk Reservations and Items Left Behind A problem mainly for libraries with late or 24 hour openingSt Hilda‟s CollegeSainsbury LibraryJesus College St Hilda’s & Sainsbury Library  Initial note left to remind students to clear desks  Items cleared after a specified time limit  Clearing also done each morning  Issue raised – students leaving items just so staff will clear them up!Jesus College Library Students can reserve desks using a dated note Library reserves right to remove or clear items as necessary Some complaints about lack of space – but system generally works
  18. 18. SilenceAll libraries in the study reported that students respondedvery positively to the rules regarding silence in libraries.Small incidences may occasionally occur e.g.•At the SSL complaints about laptops being used in the quiet area •staff patrolled of the area to ensure students were aware of the rules in that space.•At the Sainsbury library users in the group space canoccasionally get quite loud during busy times and need to bereminded by staff to keep the volume to a minimum.However, in general, as reported by the Lawlibrary, readers are usually silent and get disgruntled ifanyone, including staff, make a noise!
  19. 19. Food and Drink Issues with food and drink varied across the Oxford Libraries studiedLaw Library Problem with one persistent user Issues in Graduate Reading rooms Variety of rules make things confusing forSt Hilda‟s College students Introduction of £10 fines next term Sainsbury LibraryAll Souls‟ College  Allows any drink as long as it has a lid Not usually an issue  Issues with other food Issues solved via reminder slips on desks Jesus CollegeTaylorian  Allows any food as long as it does not Food an issue, especially coffee and in have a strong smell unsupervised reading rooms While the college libraries and libraries with foodSSL facilities within the same building did indicate aCoffee the biggest issue significant difficulty with food there were a number of exceptions to the rule
  20. 20. AccessA problem for libraries which limit user access, such as college libraries and the Sainsbury library Colleges: Users bringing in friends from other colleges Borrowing books for friends from other colleges Non-college members sneaking in Sainsbury Library  Busy library therefore numbers need to be limited  Non-members can only visit during staffed hours  Need an access card to gain entry to the library
  21. 21. Patrols or „Floor Walks‟One of the most effective ways of enforcing library rules isto incorporate regular staff patrols of the library.In six out of the ten libraries interviewed, patrolling didnot occur at all.At the law library, while the librarian would likepatrolling to happen regularly as part of desk duty, it doesnot always happen.The SSL library introduced short term patrolling inresponse to a student complaint Floor Walks can also be useful opportunities forSt Hilda‟s library is planning on implementing librarypatrols next term. staff to provide on the spot help to users whoThe Sainsbury Library carries out regular patrols in order might not be so willingto ensure rules, particularly about food and access rightsare followed. to approach the enquiry desk!
  22. 22. All libraries in the study found that the vast majority of“ Students students had a positive attitude to their library‟s rules and regulations.Library rules are clear and common sense, most studentshave no problem adhering to them. Rule infractions ultimately boil down to ignorance of library etiquette rather than intentional misbehaviour.The nature of the library building, with its grand structure anddesign, help to ensure that library rules are respected. Students‟ general attitude is positive simply because it‟s their own choice to be there, they have come specifically to work, not to do other things. Students generally have a good attitude toward the library and they respect the rules that make ” sense to them. They tend to follow rules about books and silence and mobile use because they see the impact it would have on others. Although students‟ attitude is mostly good, an element of respect is perhaps missing.
  23. 23. Silence is Golden“When it comes to the rules on talking, Im almost as fierce as Studentsthe librarians [...] anyone who answers the phone saying "Imin the library" and then proceeds to have a lengthyconversation should be expelled from university.” -Leo Cutting [Guardian, Blogging Students - 11 April,2012] Hide Books at Your Peril “The survey asked students whether they agreed or disagreed that ‟theft from the library is making studying difficult‟. [...] 86 per cent of the sample thought theft was making studying difficult. [...]As one student commented ‟It‟s often very difficult to find books appropriate for our course. They are never on the shelves when the computer says they should be, it‟s so annoying‟.” -Gregson & Hocking [Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 1995]
  24. 24. Comments taken from:The Guardian-Blogging Students: Students: How do you behave in the Library? Posted 11.4.2012[] Students “Moderation is the key when it comes to food. While I would argue theres little harm in enjoying something fizzy and a packet of Walkers finest on food in while you study, a line has to be drawn somewhere.” -Leo Cutting the library Guardian: Blogging Students – 1 April 2012 “Haribo was pretty much acceptable wherever, as it should be.” - Comment by „TheToon‟ [10:58 am 11.4.12] “Get your greasy, sticky fingers off the books please,” -Comment by „davidabsalom‟ [11:38 11.4.12] “CRISPS!!!!! Even the thought of the rattling bags makes me so angry I can‟t write anymore” -Comment by „proevpete‟ [12:00pm 11.4.12].
  25. 25. Six out of the ten Oxford Libraries have no provision for social study  No demand for group study areas from Social Study any of their users.  Some subjects just don’t involve group work therefore subject libraries don’t need group study spaces  In Oxford there don’t tend to be many group projects or assignments because students have small tutorial classes and tend to work more independently.
  26. 26. St Hilda’s LibraryHas one discussion room which can be booked howeverthe room is small, does not have access to power points for Social Studylaptops and doubles as a storage space. Sainsbury Library •Modern Building •Range of Learning Spaces •Round group study tables promote discussion •Study spaces very popular and heavily used •Noise can be an issue Social Science Library •Modern Building •Wide range of Learning Rooms •Group discussion rooms popular •Noise not an issue as rooms are separate Radcliffe Science Library •Recently refurbished building •Range of learning areas •Group spaces well used •Noise and food not problems because in very separate parts of the library
  27. 27. Library rules focus on respect for: •Books •Resources Conclusions •The Library •Other UsersStudents have a hierarchical view toward rules, some are moreimportant than others Paradox arose, in which libraries believed that their rules were common sense and clearly defined but also held that student conduct was merely down to mistakes or ignorance of the regulations. Librarians have a tendency to be very lenient when it comes to library infractions College libraries have a greater challenge with rules than Bodleian Libraries Little conclusive evidence of „cafe culture‟ in Oxford Libraries Students are mostly content and generally happy to adhere to library rules and regulations
  28. 28. RecommendationsPromotion and Student involvement are key to raising awareness Supervision, staff presence, CCTV and book security all help to minimise more serious rule infractions Important to try and provide students with the facilities they need to ensure they don‟t need to break the rules to get what they want.
  29. 29. With Thanks To: St Hugh‟s College Library St Hilda‟s College Library Acknowledgement Jesus College Library s All Souls‟ Library SSL RSL Sainsbury Library Law Library English Library Taylorian Library The Union LibraryBibliographyJoanna Bryant, Graham Matthews , Graham Walton: “UK Academic libraries and social and learning space : Acase study of Loughborough University Library” Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 2009 41: 7Mick Gregson, Allison Hocking: “Theft and damage in an academic library: the student experience” Journalof Librarianship and Information Science 1995 27: 191Sharon Mast :Ripping Off and Ripping Out, Library & Archival Security, 1984 5:4,31-51Nathan Schachner, The Mediaeval Universities, London: G.Allen & Unwin, 1938Blogging Students:
  30. 30. Image: Go To Jail Acknowledgement sImage: salt and vinegar Image: The Source of Wisdom Image: Out-take for 073 brownie Image: Day 8
  31. 31. Image: Day 979. The missing piece. Acknowledgement00/6130255931 sImage: Thanksgiving at the Trolls Someone threw away a perfectlygood white boy Gin and Cigarettes: