One of the benefits of the computerised lending system, which has not been mentioned as much as the benefits to the users, is the fact that the Librarian can get management information easily. For example on Saturday 1st February I was able to get a “snapshot” of the books on loan, 83, and the number of books overdue, 16 (of which 14 are on loan to a student who is ill). This information is as valuable as the regular weekly statistics of how many books have been borrowed.
Another very useful report is the “hot list” of the most borrowed books. This is not synonymous with a list of the most popular books as it is produced by the number of times a book has been borrowed, and if one person keeps renewing a book, it “counts” the same as if several different people have chosen it. With this caveat it can be quite interesting and useful information.
Last term the “top five” titles were:
The global covenant: human conduct in a world of states
Research methods in Anthropology
And for the academic year 2001–2002, probably more valid as over a longer period:
Numerical recipes in C (22 loans)
Finance against poverty (14 loans)
The ethnographer’s toolkit (13 loans)
Bayesian theory (11 loans)
The enchanted world of sleep (11 loans)
Although some people are making excellent and regular use of the library, I am aware from emails I receive that there are still some members of the College who don’t even know how to borrow or return books, let alone how to renew them or request items on loan. This is a great pity and I have sent out an email referring people once again to the Library website and its users’ guide, http://users.ox.ac.uk/~scrolib/). Meanwhile, those who have “cracked” the (very simple) system are probably quite content not to have competition for the books they’re interested in.
The display of biographies did not arouse as much interest as the previous display of books about “How to get a degree”, “How to write essays” etc, but we are continuing to highlight various sections of the library and at present the topic is Tudor England to which various Senior Members have contributed books, and in April the topic will be Shakespeare.
I now return to the perennial question of space. The new shelves, installed last summer, are full and there is again a backlog of catalogued books in my office. I suggested last summer that double-sided shelving in the Lange room would be necessary and in the absence of any other solution I will recommend that again.
The academic year 2003–2004 started well with a large amount of new shelving being installed in the Lange Room. This meant that the books could be stored on the shelves in a much more attractive manner and made the whole room itself look more congenial for private study. The only drawback was that the shelves were completed very late in the Long Vacation and I was working to reorganise the shelves, with the help of a student volunteer, on the Saturday and Sunday before Noughth Week.
I gave my usual induction sessions to new students on “An introduction to Oxford Library Services and Electronic Resources”. Students do not just use resources physically available in Oxford, but more and more rely on the “virtual” or “digital” library resources. Surprisingly, students seem to be very confident in using these virtual sources, but get confused by the simple matter of where to return books!
During the year the Library received nine donations to the Alumnus Collection. I would like to thank all these people for their generous donations to the Collection, and encourage others to do likewise when they have a book published. As well as contributing to the Library’s holdings it helps your colleagues in St Cross to appreciate and understand your work.
Interestingly, the annual statistics of new accessions show that roughly three-quarters of new books were obtained via donation (304 out of a total of 409 new books). These donations, of course, are very helpful for the Library budget, but represent only a few individuals who are very generous.
There were 1,073 loans to members of St Cross during the year. 230 people were registered to use the Library, but only 102 were “active users”, i.e. borrowed at least one book during the year. The opportunity to renew books online was much appreciated as the figure of 491 renewals during the year indicates.
The stocktaking during the Christmas vacation was quite disappointing, but the list of missing books (about 120) included those missing during previous years. These have now been given the status “Missing” on the catalogue to save people from wasting time looking for them. It is gratifying to be able to report that from time to time they creep back!
We organised a display of fiction books during Hilary Term in response to a request from the Common Room Committee, but the number of books borrowed from this display was no higher that those borrowed from non-fiction displays. The most popular is the one in Michaelmas Term on study techniques.
I have been working on some of the older material housed in Sara Dickson’s office, so that it is catalogued with a class number, which enables it to be found. (Some of these books are on OLIS, but with no location given). I had hoped to have completed this work by the beginning of MT 2004, but this has not proved possible.
Much of the routine work of processing new books and re-shelving returned books is carried out by Angela Davis, who has been a very reliable and helpful student representative/library assistant during the year. I would like to publicly record my appreciation of her work, especially for “holding the fort” when I’ve been away. She has also been responsible for the special displays in the Library – at the moment we are displaying guides to getting higher degrees and how to write essays etc.
Although St Cross College is a relative new-comer amongst the colleges and halls of Oxford, it has already accumulated a surprising volume of material in its archives. Some of this relates to the history of the land on St Cross Road, where the College was first located and from which it takes its name, and the frontage on St Giles, where it is now happily ensconced. Most of the archives concern the people responsible for the founding and development of the College in its early days and the everyday running of the College thereafter. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to work with this material and to help preserve it for future use. I am of course indebted to the organization and hard work of my predecessor, Alan Coates, who in turn continued the archival system set in place by his predecessor, Paul Morgan.
Following a preliminary survey of the archives, I have decided to begin my tenure as archivist by giving special attention to the photographic materials, as well as miscellaneous material such as architectural plans. Such material has not in the past been catalogued but rather set to one side for future development. I feel it is now time to properly protect and catalogue the surprisingly large number of photographs and other miscellaneous material. In addition to the yearly College photographs (some unlabelled!) and prints of historical photographs of St Giles (see below), there are over 500 photographs taken at special social events virtually all of which are unlabelled. My intention is to scan all the photographs and then make prints after placing a number alongside each person shown in a photograph. At this point I hope to invite all members of St Cross (past and present) to join in and help identify the events and the people so that we will have a useful record of the early decades of this College.
On a personal note, I was pleased to find in the St Cross archives some early maps of the land alongside St Giles on which it is indicated that in the 19th century the Friends’ Meeting House was on the land now occupied by the garden outside the south wing of St Cross, while in the 17th century the Meeting House was where the Oriental Institute now stands. This particularly interested me because a distant relative of mine, one Richard Waln (d. 1698), from one of the earliest families in Yorkshire to convert to Quakerism, established in 1683 in his home in Cheltenham the first Friends’ meeting in this area (which became the Abington Particular Meeting or the Abington Monthly Meeting) from which he then established two other meetings houses (including that known as the Oxford meeting). His brother, Nicholas Waln, incidentally, accompanied William Penn on his first voyage to Pennsylvania and was instrumental in founding the Quaker community there. And so when I saw this on the map in our archives, it seemed especially fitting that I now find myself working with this archival material and looking out onto the garden where once the meeting house stood.
ST CROSS COLLEGE GAUDY 6 –7 September 2003
If the number of emails and letters thanking College for arranging the Gaudy is anything to go by, the event must be judged a great success: all seemed to go very smoothly and pretty well to plan. Guests began arriving at around 3.00 p.m. for tea and to hear the Master’s speech of welcome on the Saturday afternoon. The Vice-Master, Dr Nick Mayhew, then spoke about The College, Past, Present and Future. He laid particular stress on the way the College had developed under the Mastership of Dick Repp, both in terms of buildings and in terms of its growing numbers and excellent academic reputation. The hope was that we would be able to sustain the momentum on both these fronts not least by building a new west wing and by funding more scholarships. Whilst recognising that, as a young college we had not yet built up an alumni membership studded with millionaires, he hoped that all who could do so would consider contributing to the college fund.
Also displayed in public for the first time was the Achievement of Arms as granted by the Royal College of Arms to St Cross in the year 2000. Resplendent in purple and silver and bearing three massy seals, the vellum scroll announced “To All and Singular” the College’s right to arms and detailed both in words and by illustration their precise nature. Following the speeches of welcome, there were a number of optional tours, each led by a member of college expert in their particular field. Thanks are due to Helene la Rue, Derek Roe, Nick Mayhew and Charles Mould for their lively and hugely successful introductions to (respectively) the Pitt Rivers, the College paintings and art treasures, the Ashmolean and the University colleges. There were several requests for more of the same on other occasions.
The dinner in Hall was a memorable occasion and the kitchen staff excelled themselves. Founding Fellow Fred Hodcroft spoke entertainingly of the College and its early years. Speaking of more recent times he stressed the part played by Dick Repp with the support of Cathy in making the college the thriving and happy place it is today. He ended by proposing a toast to Dick and Cathy. Thanking him, the Master went on speak of the role of the postgraduate college in the university and of the importance of establishing a college identity. He proposed a toast to St Cross and its members.
The dinner over, Isabelle Ryder played piano to a mellow and appreciative audience. The bar remained open until the small hours and the floodlit gardens provided a pleasant place to walk and talk. At Brunch the following morning a jazz quartet played in the Common room. The weather remained brilliant and warm, so most guests spent time in the sunshine on the parched college lawns. A number of college members had brought their children and it was a lively and appropriately familial gathering.
40th Anniversary Gaudy 3-4 September 2005 To mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of St Cross College in 1965 we are holding a Gaudy on 3-4 September 2005 to which all alumni, current, former and Emeritus Fellows, Honorary Fellows and friends of the College are invited.
The programme will include Saturday afternoon tea, a selection of tours around College, the University and Oxford, a black tie Gaudy dinner, and brunch on Sunday morning.
Partners and families are welcome to all elements of the Gaudy apart from the dinner which is restricted to former and current College members because of space. Some overnight accommodation will be available.
Please complete the booking form enclosed with this Record and return it as soon as possible, as places for dinner and accommodation will be limited.
If you have any queries about the Gaudy weekend, contact Joëlle Hoggan in the Alumni & Development Office (details on page 48).