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2020 Council review of Library services

Long-term Fellows with a keen eye and good memory may recall a piece for the March 2010 issue of Geoscientist by past-President Professor Peter Styles, announcing a review of Library services.

Titled “From Gutenberg to Google”, the article set out the challenges our Library faced in spanning the print and digital worlds and catering for the developing needs (and preferences) of information consumers, and Council’s case for commissioning a review of how the Library acquires and manages it collections and services. Peter and colleagues reported to Council in November 2010 and many of their recommendations have subsequently been carried out.

It is no surprise that, ten years on, the information world in which we all work has continued to develop, offering new opportunities and making new demands on providers and users. The circumstances of the Society, too, have changed. While the Library and its services continue to be seen by many Fellows and visitors as a major benefit, and the sole benefit by some, its running costs continue to be high.

Additionally, while the Library (journal, book and map collections for loan as well as precious and unique archives) occupies a large part of Burlington House, ongoing negotiations with the government over the Burlington House lease introduce some uncertainty about the location and size of the Society’s future home.

This new review will address these issues, with additional consideration of changing publisher practices and the Society’s relations with other Library service providers. The process will be chaired by Hazel Rymer and overseen by a working group comprising seven individuals with wide and varying experiences in Library development and associated areas. 

Group members

Chair Hazel Rymer (Professor of Environmental Volcanology at the Open University and former Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning & Teaching Innovation; former Council member and Secretary, External Affairs)
Others (non-staff) Dave Quinn (representative of the Publications and Information Committee)  
Doug McClymont (Chair of the Library User Group)
Graham Goffey (representative of the Finance and Planning Committee)
Mark Thorley (Science & Technology Facilities Council; formerly NERC’s Head of Science Information)
Gemma Wood (Manager, Special Projects at the Royal Society of Chemistry) 
Wayne Sime (Chief Executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers; formerly Director of Library Services, Royal Society of Medicine)
Others (staff) Neal Marriott (Project Manager; formerly Director of Publishing)

The Working Group will be gathering and analysing wide ranging data in the coming months, consulting Fellows and seeking the views of both users and current non-users of our Library and information services. The aim will be to report to Council towards the end of the year.