May 22, 2017

“Operational Excellence”
7th Collection Development Seminar for Academic Libraries
Wednesday 17th May 2017, Birmingham, The Studio

The theme of the 7th Collection Development seminar was “Operational Excellence”, which is all about tackling inefficient and wasteful processes in order to deliver effective services, making the most of our resources in the context of the needs of our institutions. We are very fortunate to be part of a NAG community where innovation flourishes and an appetite for sharing experience is very healthy.

Our speakers included:

Matt Durant and Ted Spilsbury from the University of the West of England with their new approach to PDA, which further reduces expenditure on unused stock while streamlining Acquisitions processes. They described the implementation of this initiative and how PDA data is being used in the analysis of user behaviour.

Amjad Husain’s paper focussed on the challenges following a reduction of staff resource in the Acquisitions Department at the University of Bradford Library. Many of us will identify with this difficult situation and he described how this team have devised innovative ways of dealing with workload by changing workflows and embracing new technology.

Gavin Phillips from Imperial College London spoke about improving reading list processes using a team-based and iterative approach known as a Rapid Improvement Exercise. Gavin talked briefly about the context and methodology of the project before moving on to the details of the process improvements made, the ‘continuous improvement’ nature of the project, and the benefits delivered to the College.

Joe Schulkins and Rachel Schulkins concentrated on a Chrome plugin, developed especially for the Acquisitions Department to handle book requests at the University of Liverpool. The initiative ensures that adequate and standardized information is always supplied so that the team can work effectively. We learnt about the development of the tool, how the use of it was embedded into Library teams, and how they plan to develop it to bring further service benefits to the institution.

Kevin Wilson from Goldsmiths College told us about their approach to using an increased number of on-demand video streaming services. This initiative aims to use a blend of different platforms and purchase models to reduce reliance on physical media and address the challenges of space restrictions, limited budget, and a changing student expectation of on-demand streaming resources.

Our breakout session was led by Alex Molotnikoff and Kirsten Allan from OEE Consulting who used the medium of Lego to show how processes can be streamlined and improved.

The slides were available via Glisser for delegates on the day and to download after the session.

We had some fantastic prize draw goodies from Proquest and Facet Publishing and new for Seminar was sponsorship of all the catering by Kanopy and of the lanyards from Nielsen Book.

Your general feedback indicates that we are doing a good job in ensuring a varied mix of content relevant to the academic library sector and presenting it to you in a professional manner. Of course, the opportunity to get together with our peers from around the country is also extremely valuable for us all. We will endeavour to retain all of this value for 2018 while making improvements based on your feedback and experimenting where we see potential.

Though aimed primarily at academic libraries we welcomed all delegates from all points in the supply chain who are interested in the content. The seminar is an excellent opportunity for networking and dialogue between librarians, vendors, and publishers.

In recognition of the difficulties in the sector, we froze prices from 2016 and NAG members also received a significant discount.  The cost to NAG members was £160+VAT, non-members could attend for £210 + VAT.

The venue received good feedback in both 2016 and 2017.  It is just a short walk from Birmingham New Street Station, and provides great facilities for the day including WiFi.  We successfully used Glisser to share slides and as an option for questions again.
A full programme is available here. Papers were published in Taking Stock (26:1) which is available online for NAG Members.

Opportunities for NAG Members to sponsor elements of the Seminar were available. More information about current sponsorship opportunities is available here.