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A Case Study of the Reorganization of the Libraries at Oxford University UISK, Charles University Prague 9 March 2006. Academic Libraries are Experimenting with New Structures. Centralized or decentralized Many new types of positions Still usually hierarchical structure
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Over the past nine years it and most of the other libraries at Oxford have been undergoing a process of integration and reorganization
In the 1430s, Duke Humfrey endowed the university with his collection of books and gave money for a room to be built above the Divinity School.
Oxford had an extremely rich and diverse library service provided by over one hundred libraries
How can a group of libraries, most all with long-standing histories and traditions, be integrated into a single system? How can the appropriate balance between the past and the present be achieved?
The job description for the post set up clearly the expectations for the new librarian
“Following Consultation after publication of the various reports, the University has decided to establish the new, very senior library appointment and to charge its holder with the task, amongst other duties, of submitting within three years details proposals for creating an integrated library system for the University under the direction of the new officer.”
( From position advertisement of Director of University Library Services and Bodley's Librarian: Further Particulars)
Arrived in Oxford in January 1997.
Came from University of Leeds where he had been library director for 10 years
According to the Thomas report of 1995 the guiding principle of the integration is: "any changes that might be proposed must have as their prime justification the improvement of the overall service provided to users of Oxford's libraries. Altering existing arrangements solely for the sake of administrative tidiness cannot be justified if it results in a less satisfactory service."
Hard to judge because the integration effort was accompanied by a general cutback in funding across the university
What were the results?
Service to readers has improved