Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 291 2017
services can be delivered to users faster, then improved on iteratively
for better and more consistent service both in the short and the
long term.
Case Study
Organizational Context
The University of Toronto is large: 88,766 students enrolled on three
campuses around the Greater Toronto Area.6 The university has a
sizable undergraduate population, but also has a strong research focus,
with over Can$1.1 billion awarded in research funding in 2014–2015.7
The Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings puts us 22nd
in the world with a score of 91.9% for citations and 86.3% for research.8
The University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) supports the university’s
mission of “fostering an academic community in which the
learning and scholarship of every member may flourish”9 with
44 libraries across three campuses staffed by around 900 people,
including 500 librarians and professional staff. Our collections
budget was Can$31,449,135 in 2016, and we ranked fourth in the
Association of Research Libraries' Library Investment Index
for 2014–2015.10 Our largest library, John P. Robarts Library,
welcomes 18,000 visitors a day at peak term while our main
website handled 9.1 million page views in the last academic year.
UTL departmental structures have been relatively static since the
early 1990s. Standing committees are the primary way that staff
of different libraries and departments come together to consult
on common functions like reference, website management,
cataloging, or mentorship. Occasionally these standing committees
form smaller working groups to address specific issues that
require expertise from several libraries or skill sets, but these
groups are generally investigative in nature. Secondments,
where a staff member temporarily takes on a new position in
another library unit, are infrequent but not unheard of.
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