Binding Project Final Report
I. Executive Summary
The Binding Project was initiated during Spring Semester 2003 to bring periodical binding as up to date as possible prior to the implementation of the Aleph LMS. The project lasted 18 weeks, during which time 3,100 items were bound at a total cost of $20,925 for binding and $6088.69 for the Binding Project Assistant. The total cost for the project was $27,013.69.
During the Spring Semester 2003 the Binding Unit undertook a Periodicals Binding Project. Initiated on the advice of the Library Directors, the objective of the Project was to bring the libraries as current as possible in periodical binding prior to our switch to production date for Aleph. A project of this scope was deemed necessary because we discovered that the current receipt statements would not migrate from NOTIS to Aleph. The project was also an opportunity to bring the various libraries’ periodical collections current, or as close to current as possible. Some of the collections were up to 5 years behind in their periodical binding.
The Binding Unit Head, in conjunction with the Preservation Department Head, researched the binding situation at the branch libraries to determine where the Project assistant would be most effective. The libraries chosen to participate in the project were the Architecture and Fine Arts Library, the Education Library, the Latin American Collection, and Library West. Libraries participating in the project were encouraged to continue their normal binding production as they saw fit.
Funding was provided to cover the costs of a temporary employee at $8.00 per hour for 40 hours a week for the proposed period from Feb 3rd 2003 though May 12th 2003. The initial estimated costs for the Project assistant are listed in Appendix A Chart 1. The project was extended from the original end date of May 12th to June 5th due to the Libraries’ decision to postpone the STP date. The final cost for the Binding Assistant, including hours worked and total number of volumes bound, are listed in Appendix A Chart 2.
The initial goal of the Project was to bind 2,250 volumes by May 12th. This estimate was based on an expectation of 8 volumes 100% prepared per hour once fully trained, with an expected total of 200 volumes produced per week, for a total of 400 volumes per shipment. (8 * 40 = 320, however time was allocated for gathering, shipping, packing and unpacking, and movement between branches). The original Branch Pull Schedule and West Pull Schedule are listed in Appendix B.
The Preservation Department Head and Binding Unit Head discussed in depth the advantages and disadvantages of two courses of action with regard to staffing the position of Binding Project Assistant. The first option was to hire one assistant at 40 hours a week. The second option was to hire four assistants at 10 hours a week each. Taking into account space considerations, the amount of training required, and the logistics of coordinating four assistants part time as opposed to one assistant full time, we decided to choose the one assistant at 40 hours a week.
After a brief interview process, Hank Young was hired as the Binding Project Assistant (hereafter referred to as the BPA). The BPA processed materials from Library West every shipment, and alternated among the other participating branches every shipment as well. For example, during the first shipment, the BPA processed items from West and Education, during the second shipment items were processed from West and AFA, and the third shipment consisted of items from West and LAC. This cycle continued for the duration of the project.
The project was conducted in close concert with the branch directors and binding representatives. During the first week of the project, the Binding Unit Head and BPA visited each participating branch to discuss the project with the Branch directors and branch binding representatives. During these discussions, guidelines were set to determine how the BPA would operate at the branches and what assistance the branch binding representatives would provide. Gathering loose periodicals was conducted in accordance with the wishes of the branch directors and binding representatives.
There were varying degrees of periodicals binding production occurring in the branches prior to the Binding Project. During the Project, binding production generally went up in the branches involved, with the Education Library production showing the highest level of increase. By the close of the Project, the backlog at AFA and Education was completely bound, while the backlog at LAC was significantly reduced.
The BPA was responsible for gathering materials from the target libraries, transporting them (or having them sent through library mail) to the Preservation Department for NOTIS and LARS processing, including updating the receipt lines and holdings screens, and preparing the processed materials for shipment to the bindery. When materials were returned from the bindery, the BPA was responsible for unpacking and returning the materials to the target library. The BPA performed post binding quality control on the Library West materials while the Library Binding Committee members at the holding library performed quality control on the branch materials.
Quality control became a difficult task during the Project. The Binding Unit Head normally completes pre-bindery quality control on periodicals processed in the Preservation Department. Due to the massive increase in volume during the project, the Preservation Department Head assisted for the duration of the project. Pre-bindery quality control occupied the majority of the Binding Unit Head’s time during the project, and took up a significant portion of the Preservation Department Head’s time as well.
At AFA, Tom Caswell and John Seay compiled a list of periodicals to be bound in the order they required them bound. The Binding Unit agreed to their request, with the stipulation that they gathered the materials instead of the BPA. AFA staff gathered the materials to be bound into the Binding office at AFA, and the BPA boxed them up for shipment to the Preservation Department. The complete list was bound by the conclusion of the project. The total number of items bound for AFA was 430, not including materials processed through the project that were pamphlet bound. The Excel spreadsheet submitted by Mr. Caswell is shown in Appendix C. It is estimated by AFA staff that an additional 40 hours of AFA staff and student time was dedicated to the project.
At Education, the BPA gathered from the beginning of the collection, progressing alphabetically by title. Iona Malanchuk assigned Flo Turcotte to bind from the end of the collection (the “z’s”) backwards in the hopes of meeting the BPA in the middle. This strategy paid off, as the BPA and Mrs. Turcotte completely eradicated the backlog. The total number of items bound for Education by the BPA was 1,130, not including materials processed through the project that were pamphlet bound. This was the highest production for any branch. It is estimated by Education staff that an additional 250 hours of Education staff time was dedicated to the project.
At LAC, the BPA gathered in call number order from the beginning of the collection in consultation with Justino Llanque-Chana, Paul Losch and Richard Phillips. This segment of the project presented the most difficulties due to the language difference, sporadic publishing schedule, and incompleteness of LAC materials. The total number of items bound for LAC by the BPA was 639, not including materials processed through the project that were pamphlet bound. It is estimated by LAC staff that an additional 50 hours of LAC staff and student time was dedicated to the project.
Library West materials were gathered by Dee Hawes and Hank Young in consultation with Kendra Carter, the Library West Periodicals binder. Mrs. Carter’s production also increased during the course of the project. Library West constituted the second highest production by the BPA at 901 items bound, not including materials processed through the project that were pamphlet bound.
V. Totals and Outcomes
The total number of volumes bound was 3,100, surpassing the estimated goal of 2,250 volumes, not including items processed by the Binding Assistant for pamphlet binding. Appendix D lists the total number of items bound per shipment by branch. The total binding cost for materials bound by the BPA was $20,925 ($6.75 * 3100 volumes bound).
To break these numbers down, the BPA worked 707 hours and bound 3100 volumes. This comes to 4.5 volumes per hour. While that number seems low, a large portion of his time was dedicated to branch visits, collation, and detective work on the material pulled, plus the time spent performing the minimal secretarial duties necessary while stationed at the secretary’s desk. The binding costs per hour come out to $29.60 (707 / $20,925). The total cost to the library for the project was $27,013.69 ($20,925 for materials bound + $6,088.69 for the BPA). The total cost per item bound was $8.71 per volume ($27,013.69 total cost of project / 3,100 total items bound). The periodicals sent for pamphlet binding through the project went untracked, and while time was spent on their production, they do not contribute to any of these numbers, except for hours worked.
Some issues were raised during the course of the project that affected several steps in the binding process at different locations. The first was the need to reallocate space in the Preservation Department to accommodate the extra influx of items to be bound. The Conservation Unit Head offered space for shelving which was used for the duration of the project. The second was the need for extra boxes for use in Preservation as well as those needed for the branches. The Binding Unit Head requested and received over 100 extra boxes from the Bindery. A third issue was the extra load on the mailroom staff. We discussed the project with the mailroom staff, providing them with the schedule for branch shipments so they would be aware when the extra boxes would be coming and from which branch. This coordination worked well. A fourth issue is tracking materials processed by the BPA sent for pamphlet binding. The issue did not come up until late in the project, by which time it was too late to retroactively track the materials. This tracking is critical in keeping accurate statistics.
The final issue, and one of the most important, was where the BPA would be stationed while working. The Preservation Department does not have many open workstations; space is at a premium. The BPA shifted locations within the department several times during the course of the project. At the outset, the BPA was located in Conservation at an open workstation, but was relocated when the Conservation Technician was hired. The BPA worked at the student workstation for a short period before taking up semi-permanent residence at the department secretary’s desk after she resigned. After the new secretary was hired, the BPA returned to the student workstation for the remainder of the project.
VI. Summary & Recommendations
The Preservation Department held a wrap up party on May 30th
to thank Mr. Young for his hard work throughout the project. Representatives
from the participating branches attended as did Martha Hruska, the Associate
Director for Technical Services. At the party the final statistics to that point
were presented to the attendees. Several people in attendance voiced their
satisfaction with the successful outcome of the project.
There are several recommendations for future projects based on the experiences from this project.
· Continue to locate the BPA in the Binding Unit to offer more coordination and supervision than if the BPA spends the majority of his time at the branches.
Justification: The concept of a binding assistant working out of the Binding Unit binding items for the branches is a sound one. If the funding exists “roving binding assistant” could be utilized to prevent future backlogs. There are two options with regard to the duration of the “roving binding assistant”, time limited and ongoing. Appendix E shows the estimated costs that would be incurred by a new time limited project (with four optional time limits) or an ongoing roving binding assistant working 10 hours a week at $8.00 per hour binding at least 6 items per hour.
· A dedicated workstation for the BPA.
Justification: This is a key issue that must be addressed if the project is to be repeated or if an ongoing roving binding assistant is hired. The constant shifting from one workstation to another was inefficient and at times counterproductive. During the period the BPA was stationed at the secretary’s desk he performed minimal but disruptive secretarial duties such as answering the phone, receiving thesis and dissertations into the department, and minimal directional information to departmental visitors. A dedicated workstation would alleviate any outside pressures and distractions.
· Ensure that the BPA be allowed to focus solely on binding activities in order to increase items bound per hour rate.
Justification: The BPA bound 4.5 items per hour during the course of the project. We would like to see a rate of 6+ items per hour. This increase would be the result of a couple of factors. First, the roving binding assistant would have a dedicated workstation. Second, the branches would be responsible for gathering and sending the materials to be bound to the Preservation Department as well as post bindery quality control. This would free the roving binding assistant to focus solely on binding.
The project is considered a success in the Binding Unit and at the participating branches for several reasons. Our initial goal for items bound was exceeded, and a high quality was maintained throughout. Coordination and cooperation between the Binding Unit and the Branches was clear and complete. Any concerns were discussed and resolved. Also, binding at the participating branches increased for the duration of the project.