Category Archives: Re-organising the Library

News and holiday announcements

As we begin to say goodbye to everyone at the end of Term, we have a few bits and pieces of news.

Firstly, a reminder that we close for Christmas on the 20th December, re-opening on 2nd January. We will be open tomorrow, Saturday 7th December, from 11-5pm and will open until 7pm next week (9th-13th December), but go back to our vacation opening hours of 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday from Monday 16th December until the start of next Term.

Secondly, vacation loans are now in effect, with books due back on the 21st January (Tuesday of 1st week). We are aware that some readers’ cards expire at the end of the year; if you are a card holder whose card expires during the Christmas closure, please let us know and we will extend your loan and waive any fines incurred once you have renewed your card.

Thirdly, a bit of good news: the Humanities Research Fair, which was cancelled due to strike action in November, is now rescheduled for 27th January. Details can be found here and the booking link is here.

We trust that everyone has had a productive term! There have certainly been some changes here. Three weeks ago we welcomed a new member of staff, Ruchi Srivastava, who is with us in the afternoons and at the Sackler in the mornings. The extra pair of hands has provided a much needed boost to our ability to shelve books promptly and avoid the shelving trolleys getting out of hand.

Readers may have noticed piles of blue crates in amongst the empty shelves round by the staff office – this is part of an ongoing project to move some of our older and more vulnerable collections to the Book Storage Facility, where they will be kept in cooler and more book-friendly conditions. Some of these materials have also been boxed in specially made acid-free boxes to ensure that they stay in the best condition possible. Books which have been moved to the BSF will still be orderable back to OIL, but if they date from before 1920 they will not be borrowable. All items in the collection which are more than 100 years old are confined to the library.

The reclassification has continued during the term, and will be accelerated by more staff-time after Christmas (more news on that in our next post). There may be a minor book-move after the holidays to accommodate the PJ-section, which is becoming slightly clogged again, but Kate says she will decide on that nearer the time.

Finally, we’d like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas (for those that do) and a Happy New Year (for everyone), and we will see you in 2020!

 

 

 

 

August and September Library Hours

 

August Bank Holiday Closure

Hello! We hope everyone is enjoying the relaxed atmosphere in the library over the summer.

Just a reminder that, as usual, we will be closed on the August Bank Holiday Monday — 26th August.

 

St Giles’ Fair

We will also be closed for the two days of St Giles’ Fair – the 9th and 10th of September.

For those readers who wonder why we do this, it is partly because of security concerns due to the large numbers of people who converge on this end of the city during the fair, and also because the noise from the rides is quite loud and intrusive. Your humble blogger was in the library while it was closed one afternoon a few years ago and the screams from one of the closer rides were quite alarming!

Otherwise, we will remain open 9am-5pm on Monday-Friday until the start of Michaelmas Term, when our usual term-time opening hours will be 9am-7pm on weekdays and 11am-5pm on Saturdays.

 

Book moves

As some of you will have noticed, there has been a bit of moving going on in the far end of the LC sequence; Kate is currently wading through the PL section.

Our most asked-for resource in that area, the New Catalogus Catalogorum (Z6605.S3 U54 NEW 1949 Ref.) has now moved to the opposite side of the aisle. We hope to get the rest of the move done before the start of Term, and apologise for the occasional loud noises caused by books falling over and shelves being moved around.

Summer Building Works Postponement

Following the postponement of building works until next summer (2020), the Oriental Institute will now be open during the summer vacation. Our Opening hours during July will be Monday-Friday 9.00-17.00.

Our opening hours during Aug and Sept will be confirmed in due course.

The vacation loan limit, which has been raised to 20 books, will remain in place, and further information that affects library users will be shared when it becomes available.

May news and reminders

Welcome back to everyone who was away for most of April! We trust that everyone had a relaxing and productive Easter Holiday (as much as the two are not mutually exclusive).

First up from us this month is a new trial for an e-resource which may prove useful to our students, Quran Gateway:

You can find it on the A-Z databases list under “Q” and it will be available for a month, until 31st May.

Building works

Following on from our previous post, we currently do not have any further information about the building works scheduled for the summer. As soon as we know more about the timeframe/scope/disruption or anything else, we will make sure that we post on this blog and also put signs up around the library.

 

Book moves

Kate has been rearranging the PJ area of the Library of Congress section, but only by a few shelves, so everything should be more or less where it was last term. As ever, this is a long-term process, and things will move around as more books are removed from the old sequence and added to the new one.

At present there are no plans for a large-scale move over the summer vacation as the timeline for the building works has yet to be finalised, but there may be a small rearrangement to move things up into the space vacated by the old PJ books which are currently being reclassified. We will inform readers if there is likely to be any disruption, but since Kate is the person who usually does the moves and she is only here on Tuesday and Friday afternoons there will be very little going on for most of the week!

 

Reminders

We are now back on to Term time opening until the end of June, 9am-7pm on weekdays and 11am-5pm on Saturdays.

Readers are requested not to bring coffee – in keep-cups or otherwise – into the library, but just to drink water (in a sealed bottle, not one of the cups from the water cooler downstairs), please. Coffee and foodstuffs attract pests which may damage the books. We realise that people are revising for exams and feel the need to caffeinate themselves in order to concentrate, but that is easily managed in the common room downstairs (and stretching your legs every so often and getting away from your screens is never a bad thing).

As ever, please keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for up-to-the-minute (or as soon as we find out about it) news!

Advance notice of temporary summer closure

At some point during the summer vacation, the Oriental Institute Library will need to close temporarily. This is to allow for refurbishment work funded by the recent gift to the University, given in honour of the British Foundation for the Study of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus, which was announced in the University Gazette of 25th Oct 2018. Refurbishment will include creation of a room within the library to provide office accommodation for Nizami Ganjavi scholars. This will involve some substantial building work that will include creation of a new door from the scholars’ room into the main Oriental Institute lobby area. The current library reader service point will be moved to a new location in the library; the acoustic barriers  surrounding the service desk will be removed and new acoustic barriers will be installed around the relocated service point.

The closure dates and advance notice of periods of noise and disruption to users will be communicated as soon as the library receives a detailed schedule of work. We would ask those who are planning to work in the library over the summer vacation to get in touch with library staff to let us know as soon as possible when you are planning to work in the library and what open shelf books you are intending to use. The graduate student vacation loan limit will be raised to 20 books and we strongly advise people to borrow their books at the beginning of the vacation. A fetching service to the Sackler Library will also be put in place. If you know of any colleagues from outside of Oxford who are planning to use the Oriental Institute Library over the summer, we would be grateful if you could share this advance warning with them.

Welcome to OIL! Michaelmas Term 2018

October is upon us once again (where did September go?!) and we find ourselves at the start of another Academic Year. We are excited to meet all the new students and of course to see all our returning readers again.

What follows is a brief news-report of the summer, and a few reminders of the library rules and general housekeeping so that we can get off to a smooth start.

Summer update

The summer saw the continuation of the building works to change the heating system in the Oriental Institute, and also the installation of new windows on the basement. We were closed for four weeks, during which time our Sackler colleagues facilitated collecting of books from OIL to their reading rooms for our readers (thanks again to them for that!). Unfortunately, a supply problem resulted in the closure not coinciding with the noisiest part of the work, which happened when the shiny new pipes were being installed and caused some disruption. Happily the installation is now complete and the new panels near the ceiling are ready. The new heating system should be much more efficient and less wasteful than the previous (largely uncontrollable) one, so we should not need to have *quite* so many windows open in the middle of winter.

Kate has collated her reclassification data for the 2017-18 academic year; she has reached the last tier of the row which she started last year and has reclassified 645 shelfmarks, amounting to 797 individual books, in the last year.

A minor book-move was carried out over the Vacation. This mostly affects the end of the LC sequence, where the main change is that the PK books now start in the middle section rather than under the windows by the computers. PJ now occupies that space, with space to grow as that is the area currently being reclassified. All the shelves are labelled as accurately as possible (allowing for occasional moves round corners). There are now only two large sections which have similar shelfmarks to the LC collection – PJ and PK. We have noticed a difference over the past few years in the numbers of people asking where things are, which has reduced dramatically as the reclassification has progressed, so we know it is worth doing! If at any time you need a book which is being reclassified, please speak to staff. If it is not a Tuesday or Friday afternoon (the days when Kate is at OIL) then it might be awaiting a label on her trolley, but staff will be able to advise you.

New staff

Excitingly, we have three new members of staff joining the OIL team this term. Ben, who is the Graduate Trainee for the Sackler, will be doing some hours at OIL this year including Tuesday evenings; Katie, who is the Graduate Trainee at the Taylorian, will be working Thursday evenings during the Terms this year, and Jennifer, a new Library Assistant with responsibilities for both Sackler and OIL will be spending some of her time at OIL each week.

We are optimistic that these extra pairs of hands will enable us to deal with problems which have arisen due to our staffing-shortages over the last few years, including the shelving in the basement, which requires a re-organisation of the KSL section for which we have had no time.

General reminders

As it is now Term time, we are now open until 7pm on weekdays and from 11am – 5pm on Saturdays.

Up to 8 books can be borrowed at any one time, the normal loan period is 2 weeks, and they can be renewed online via SOLO up to three times before you need to bring them back to the library. We have longer loan periods during vacations. If you are not able to renew an item it is likely to be because someone else has placed a hold on it; if this is the case, please return the book to the library by its expiry date.

Please leave books for return in the big blue box on the counter just inside the library door or pass them to the library staff member at the desk. Please do not leave returns anywhere else, especially the returns trolleys inside the library, as this may result in them not being checked in properly. If this happens they may stay on your record for longer than necessary, and you could get emails suggesting that they are overdue.

If you have been using a book in the library and are not sure where it came from on the shelves please leave it on the shelving trolleys by the front office or on one of the reshelving areas in the library, rather than putting it back in a random gap. This is especially important for the complex Library of Congress shelfmarks as mis-shelving even a few books away may mean that people cannot then find the book again. If you are not sure, please leave it for us to do. It’s what we’re here for, after all!

As a general rule, books from the BSF cannot be borrowed from the library. Please do not attempt to take them out of the building. They belong to the Bodleian, which has a no-borrowing policy. BSF books can be collected from the library desk – just show us your Bod Card so we can collect it from the back office – and should be returned to the desk after each use so we can put them back in the reserve. BSF books will stay here for one week, and this can be extended using your SOLO account. There are two exceptions to the no-borrowing rule: the Aris Collection of Tibetan Books or the Arabic Literature collection which originated at the Middle East Centre. These books may be borrowed in the normal way. Please do not send books back until you are sure you’ve finished with them completely as they will take up to a week to return if you re-order them. If a book is left on the desk we will usually return it to the reserve rather than sending it back to the BSF for this reason.

Food and drinks other than water are not permitted in the library because they can encourage pests which damage the collections. If you need to eat something, please use the Common Room in the basement.

Water in a bottle with a lid which can be sealed is permitted in the library, but please do not use plastic cups. Keep-cups are not allowed.

PCs for the use of readers are located to the right as you enter the library; four are Library PCs which require a login and the other two are “kiosk” PCs which connect to the internet but have limited functionality for other things. There is also another PC in the basement which is available for readers to use; it is at the far end from the staircase, next to the microfilm reader.

We have a height-adjustable desk, located near the windows by the library computers which is available for anyone who needs to work in a standing position; there is also an adjustable chair which can be used either with the desk or at a normal desk.

If you have any suggestions of books which we should hold but do not, there is a form which can be accessed via SOLO, or you could write something in the Suggestions Book, which is on the counter in the aisle directly opposite the door to the back office, near the photocopiers. We monitor this regularly and are happy to acquire (within budgetary reason) books relevant to the collections.

Finally, if you have any questions, please ask! There will be someone at the desk or shelving nearby most of the time; look out for a note on the front counter.

 

 

Late Summer news and reminders

We’re back!

Enormous thanks to our colleagues at the Sackler Library for their help in ensuring that our readers were able to access the books from OIL which they needed during the closure, and for bringing everything back so promptly when we re-opened! It would not have been possible to ensure accessibility to our collections without their help – not least because most of us were on holiday for most of the closure…

Building Works

We have yet to receive a timetable from the builders for the remainder of the building work still to be done, some of which will be carried out in the library. They have now started on some of that work as of this week, however.

If any areas of the library need to be sheeted off to protect them during the works we will ensure that staff can get into those areas at least once a day to retrieve books which readers may need; we will endeavour to keep everyone up to date so keep an eye out for notices around the library.

Book Moves

Kate has been moving the Library of Congress section around again, we’re afraid. PK now starts in the middle of the library near the Reference section at the Sackler end, the PJ sequence having been extended into the shelves under the windows. This should facilitate her continuation of the reclassification project, which is gradually moving towards its completion. Shelf labels in the affected areas will be updated before the start of Term.

Opening times

A reminder that we are CLOSED on the August Bank Holiday Monday, August 27th, and also on the Monday and Tuesday of the following week – September 3rd and 4th for St Giles Fair.

Otherwise our opening hours will remain 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday until the start of Term.

 

 

 

 

 

April News

Welcome back!

We decided to delay the blog post for a couple of weeks after the start of April as we figured that it was better to wait until a time when most people are actually back in Oxford, rather than right at the start of the month when we were all sluggish from too many Easter eggs.

Ahem. We trust you all had a restful break?

New height-adjustable table/chair

We took delivery over the vacation of these new pieces of equipment, a height-adjustable table and a chair which can be configured for various positions for use with the table or elsewhere.

Anyone is welcome to make use of them, but please note that readers with a specific need – such as the need to work at a high desk due to a back problem, for example – will take priority.

 

Two lectures about Persian books

https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson/whats-on/upcoming-events/2018/may/persian-arts-of-the-book

Readers of Persian may be interested in the above event on May 16th. Bookings may be made through the website. We will mention this again on Facebook nearer the time to remind everyone.

 

Mundane library matters

Last week we said goodbye to Natalija, who has left OIL to work as a cataloguer for the Bodleian, based at the Osney offices. We would like to wish her the best of luck in her new job – she will be missed by the rest of the team.

The PJ section has been rearranged again over the vacation to make room for the end of the 6000s, which were rather too crowded. We hope this will facilitate the reclassification for some time, although these things are notoriously hard to predict.

Finally, a reminder that we are now back to our Term time opening hours, so will be open from 9 am to 7 pm on weekdays and 11 am to 5 pm on Saturdays.

February News and Reminders for March

 

Winter returns…

This post is a little late, owing to the slightly chaotic scenes last week when we were a bit short staffed due to the extreme weather conditions. We would like to thank everyone for your patience with the delays to the deliveries which resulted from the snow, and also apologise for the tropical conditions in the library. The old heating system got rather enthusiastic when the temperatures outside dropped, and we know that some people found the resulting heat a little too much, particularly as everyone was dressed for the Siberian conditions outside. Fortunately, the observant will have noticed the additions around the building of new radiators which will be plumbed in during the Summer vacation and will enable us to control the temperatures around the library and hopefully keep readers (and books) in slightly more favourable conditions.

Vacation notes

With this being the final week of Term, please note that we will revert to vacation opening hours from 19th March until 14th April: we will be CLOSED on Saturdays and will be open 9am – 5pm Monday-Friday.

We will also be closed for Easter from Thursday 29th March until Monday 2nd April inclusive, reopening at 9am on Tuesday 3rd.

Vacation Loans are now in effect; any books checked out or renewed will be due back on April 24th.

 

Book Moves and shelving

As we mentioned in February’s post, we are currently at something of an impasse in the basement with regard to new Korean Studies Library books, for which we need to rearrange the shelves. We have not managed to organise this due to staffing pressures, but hope to reach a solution soon. In the meantime readers are welcome to browse the reshelving trolleys on the ground floor if there are any basement books which they cannot find on the shelves downstairs.

Kate has also reached a point with the PJ reclassification where she is unable to fit anything else on the shelves and has been stashing unreclassifiable books on shelves near the older PJ sequence with a view to doing a book move after the end of Term. She will be adjusting the amount of growth space in the G-P sections in the hope of making up a bit of room to space out the PJ section where it is particularly full and also to fit in the books which have not been reclassified. She tells us that the problem lay in the large number of dictionaries, which took up a lot of shelf space and left her without much flexibility for additional books in the same area. She will begin moving things next week, and apologises in advance for any falling book noises or bad language.

Incidentally, all the Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic editions are now on the shelf by the front office as far as we know, but if anyone sees any with the old label please feel free to pass them on to Kate to be reclassified!

Summer catch-up and reminders

Firstly…

We hope everyone has had a lovely summer!

Oxford’s official Autumn begins with St Giles’ Fair next week, so don’t forget that OIL will be closed on Monday and Tuesday as usual. We re-open on Wednesday, and will continue our shortened opening hours until the first week of October.

 

Summer shifting

Readers familiar with the layout of the library will no doubt be delighted to discover that Kate has now rearranged it…  Much of the collection has moved – but only from the middle of DS onwards, so those of you who use BP and similar will still find everything in the same place!

For the first time, the LC sequence has encroached on the old classification stronghold that was “the bit in the middle”. The end of PK, the whole of PL and everything up to and including Z are now at the Sackler end of that section, with the rest of old PJ and PK and others still to do. PK starts under the windows near the reader computers and PJ takes up much of the bay in the middle near the windows, with G and H having moved further from under the windows on the Sackler side. Lidio has helpfully re-jigged the floor plan of the ground floor to take into account all the changes. New shelf-labels have been applied to the entire ground floor.

Another change is that the Z.Per section is now with the other Periodicals at the far end of the library round towards the stairs. All the periodicals are now in once place, which we hope will avoid confusion.

We have also created a pair of “Outsized Folio” shelves on the Folio section near the windows; please be careful with these books as some of them are very heavy (especially the big green ones).

 

Building matters

Unlike last summer, when we had the delight of the replacement of the skylights, this year has been relatively quiet, with only the minor works in the basement taking place. We thank our readers who were frustrated by lack of access to the library’s basement for their forbearance! Next summer will see the replacement of the heating system, but we can worry about that nearer the time.

As ever, do keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates about everyday things which are going on; we promise the blog will get more lively once the rest of the University does…