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SPRI Review 2011: Library and Information Service

Library and Information Service

The Library provides services to students and academic staff from many University departments, with the majority of regular users coming from within the Institute and from the Department of Geography. In addition, the Library received almost 900 visits from external readers during the year. Library staff continued to provide induction sessions and deliver information-literacy training on demand for postgraduate students. During 2011, the Library hosted visits from, amongst others, the Rector and staff of Yakutsk University, the Captain and senior officers of HMS Protector, the Heritage Lottery Fund East of England team, the Art Fund regional group, students from the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, librarianship students from University College London, the Cambridge graduate library trainees, the Cambridge Library Group and the Cambridge Visiting Scholars group. From April to June, students from West Suffolk College used the Library’s resources as part of a joint education and outreach project on nutrition and metabolism. The Librarian again provided tours during the Alumni Weekend and the Open Cambridge weekend, all of which were fully booked. Library and archival material relating to Captain Scott and to the history of glaciology was filmed by the BBC and ITV, as well as by a number of independent production companies.

A total of 2324 monographic items was added to the library during the year. The SPRILIB web catalogue (Antarctica, Ice and Snow and Russian North) was also updated to include material published up to the end of 2011. Polar and Glaciological Abstracts was published in-house with three issues produced during the year. Records were sent for two updates of the Arctic and Antarctic Regions CD-ROM published by the National Information Services Corporation. 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, Input continued to the Antarctic Bibliography, searchable free of charge on the web at In July, The Librarian, Archivist and Picture Librarian visited Michael Swales to discuss the deposit of the Tristan da Cunha archive in the SPRI collections. During the Michaelmas Term, the Librarian and her Assistant, Rebecca Stancombe, worked with staff from Cambridge University Press to select titles suitable for reproduction in facsimile in CUP’s Cambridge Library Collection.

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 several supporting bodies.

Ministry of Defence grant in aid (DC-ICSP) £35,000
Royal Society grant-in-aid (for WDCGC) £11,000
FCO Polar Regions Unit £10,000

Heather Lane continued to represent the Institute on the Journals Coordination Scheme Consultative Committee for the School of Physical Sciences and on the Departmental and Faculty Librarians’ Group. She was elected to the newly formed Cambridge Libraries Advisory Group, which replaced the General Board Committee on Libraries. She represented the Institute at meetings of the Antarctica 100 committee and at the British Antarctic Territories stakeholders meeting, as well as continuing as a member of the Joint Museums Committee and the Cambridge Museums Steering Group. Georgina Cronin began a postgraduate qualification in Information and Library Management by distance learning from Northumbria University which has been supported in part by the Institute’s B.B. Roberts Fund. She also trained as a First Aider with St John Ambulance. Suzan Griffiths provided occasional cover in the Library Office for staff on leave.

Our volunteers assist the staff to research and maintain the Library’s collections. Their efforts are critical in helping the library to provide research support. We were saddened by the sudden death of Maria Shorthouse, who had worked tirelessly to maintain our collections of press cuttings over the past few years. Percy Hammond and Jean Cruttwell continued their excellent work with the map collection and John Reid applied his research expertise to a number of complex enquiries. Janey Huber continued to work a new bibliography of the French peri-Antarctic islands and was joined by Niamh O’Mahony, whose Russian language skills are a great advantage. The Library also offered work placements to William Wright and Thomas Sherwin from the Perse School.

Heather Lane