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SPRI Review 2009: Library and Information Service

Library and Information Service

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco viewing a Shackleton expedition diary, with the Director and Archivist
HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco viewing a Shackleton expedition diary, with the Director and Archivist

In addition to providing services to students and academic staff from many departments of the University, the Library received 1250 visits from external readers in 2009. Undergraduates on the Geography Part II Glaciology and Arctic Peoples courses also made good use of the library's resources. Library staff provided induction sessions and delivered information-literacy training on demand for all postgraduate students, entailing over 90 hours of contact time for library staff. During the year, the Library hosted visits from the University's graduate library trainees group, representatives from the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), Getty Images, the Royal Society, the Desk Officers of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Polar Regions Unit, library and communications staff from the Norsk Polarinstitutt, students from the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Sharon Tahirkheli, the Director of Information Systems for the American Geological Institute. The Librarian again provided tours during the University's Alumni Weekend and the Open Cambridge weekend, all of which were fully booked. Parts of the collection from the Library and Archives relating to Captain Scott were filmed for the BBC4 series 'Dear Diary', to be broadcast in 2010.

A total of 2160 monographic items were added to the library during the year. Issues for 415 periodical titles were received, down from 530 in 2008, reflecting the increasing provision of journal material in electronic form. The sections of the SPRILIB catalogue accessible from the library's web pages (Antarctica, Ice and Snow and Russian North) were also updated to include material published up to the end of 2008. Polar and Glaciological Abstracts was published in-house and three issues were produced during the year. Records were again sent for two updates of the Arctic and Antarctic Regions CD-ROM published by the National Information Services Corporation (NISC). Working in co-operation with the World Data Centre for Glaciology, records of items relating to the current International Polar Year were submitted quarterly to the IPY Publications Database,, also hosted by NISC. Input continued to the Antarctic Bibliography, searchable free of charge on the web at

Mrs Lane acted as Chair of the Polar Libraries Colloquy and continued to chair the Cambridge University Bibliographic Standards Advisory Group. She represented the Institute on the Journals Coordination Scheme Consultative Committee for the School of Physical Sciences. She was interviewed on radio and television on a number of occasions during the year and in July visited the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven at the invitation of their Librarian. Library Assistant Mark Gilbert continued his studies for a Masters degree in Library and Information Science by distance learning from the University of Wales Aberystwyth. He was also seconded for one day per week to the HLF Collecting Cultures project on Inuit Art, and his library duties were ably undertaken by Mrs Ann Keith.

The Library acknowledges the assistance provided by its volunteers, whose efforts are much appreciated. Their help in researching and maintaining the Library's collections is vital in enabling the library to provide research support worldwide. Percy Hammond and Jean Cruttwell made substantial progress on their catalogue of the map collection. Jonathan Pinhey, John Reid and Maria Shorthouse all provided time and expertise on a variety of projects during the year.

The Old Library was refurbished as part of a wider programme of renovation linked to the Institute's major museum refurbishment project. The heating system was renewed, damaged plasterwork repaired, paintwork redecorated, all shelving and book stock cleaned and new blinds installed.

In addition to research grants received for specific projects, the Institute received, during the financial year, sums for the general support of information and library services. Thanks are due to the following supporting bodies:

Ministry of Defence grant in aid (DC-ICSP) £35,000
Royal Society grant-in-aid (for WDCGC) £11,000
Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation £12,000
FCO Polar Regions Unit £5,000

During the year, the Library also hosted a number of scholars visiting the Institute for extended periods, including: Ms Elisa Burchert (University of Heidelberg), Prof. Daria Carle (University of Alaska, Anchorage), Dr Peter Clancy (St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia), Captain Larry Conrad (Horizon Air, Seattle, USA), Dr Prabir Dastrdar (Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences), Prof. David Day (Tokyo University), Dr Bernadette Hince (Australian National University), Prof. Olafur Ingolfsson (University of Iceland), Dr Ray Williams (University of Tasmania).

Heather Lane