Since the beginning of lockdown in March, digitisation activities at the Bill Bryson Library as we know them have changed quite a bit! We launched our Scan and Deliver service on Friday 3rd July, and have just unplugged our Disability Support and Digitisation Co-Ordinator, Katie Skellett, to ask her to tell us more…
Without access to library stock or to British Library’s Enhanced Higher Education Scanning Service (EHESS), and with the purchase of print books on hold until further notice, we knew we needed to adapt our service … and fast!
From borrowing from our lecturers’ bookshelves to using our own phone cameras to supply scans, we can honestly say we tried it all. Thankfully, the Copyright Licensing Agency temporarily relaxed their Higher Education License regulations, which meant that, until 30th June, these kinds of desperate measures were acceptable. The new rules also meant that we were able to borrow content from other universities; even up to 30 % or three chapters of their stuff as long as it was already owned by our Library, but sadly banished to the confines of quarantine behind the Billy Bee’s doors. 🙁 These exceptions made us distinctly happier because librarians love to share, especially if it means we get to have a nosey at what other libraries have in stock!
These relaxations to the licence also bought us time to plan cunning new offerings in our online provision. The launch of our ‘Scan and Deliver’* service on Friday 3rd July is our most recent service adaptation (*yes, we went there, Adam and the Ants fans). With this launch, we’re now very happy to be able to scan and share content directly with our academics and postgrads whilst most are still in lockdown or working from home.
We must explain that Scan and Deliver sadly doesn’t rely on Deliveroo for the delivery component of the service (we did briefly consider whether we could offer a Small Island muffin per request…until we admitted that we ourselves would likely be responsible for submitting 99.9% of requests to get cake). However, the service does rely on a small but well-formed team who are thrilled to be back in the Bill Bryson Library (some might say perfectly-formed … and by ‘some’ … we mean us). Librarians let loose on scanning equipment after 3 months of lockdown is a sight to behold, let us tell you! Even the scanners are pleased to have been awoken from hibernation. And boy, have they been busy!
Of course, we couldn’t do any of this without our colleagues supporting so brilliantly from home… and the addition of furry co-workers has made the work interesting to say the least! Their remote help means we can concentrate on retrieving and scanning the valuable print resources that our academics and postgraduates have told us are urgently needed for research.
Now we are nearly back to full steam, the Digitisation Team are also preparing to support the provision of reading list material for 2020/21. We take our preparation for this busy time of year very seriously. So seriously in fact, that we have already embarked upon our very strict annual dietary regimen of strong coffee, Victoria sponge and lemon drizzle. Rumour has it that the rebels among us will be stretching our palettes to include red velvet and confetti sprinkle cake this year. Of course, in line with actual librarian law, all fuelling takes place well away from the books and the journals. On the back of all this cake-related excitement we’re ready and raring to go, alongside our equally fabulous Faculty Support Team.
We admit the realignment of Digitisation since lockdown hasn’t been all been about cake and taking photos of books though. In fact, it’s been fairly difficult figuring out how to provide our services without access to the equipment and facilities we so highly depend upon in normal times. However, as with all the other amazing changes to services by teams across Library and Collections, and across the University as a whole, it has been an education in adaptation. It’s also been a privilege to work in a supportive department which focuses on delivering the best experience for students and staff alike, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in.
‘Adapt and overcome’, they said.
And buoyed by copious amounts of caffeine and sugar – and a generous dollop of valued patience from the University community – we promise we are.