Cardiff Metropolitan University's library team as part of the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) was honoured at last night's Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMA).
The Wales-wide WHELF shared library management system project was named 'Outstanding Library Team' at the awards, which are a highlight of the academic calendar and celebrate the best of the Higher Education sector.
WHELF includes all 10 Welsh higher education institutions and the National Library of Wales, and along with Welsh NHS Libraries is working together as a ground-breaking partnership to deliver a library management system for the whole country.
Led by Cardiff University on behalf of WHELF, the project will realise the system implementation of a single cloud-hosted, next generation Library Management System (LMS), and is the first of its kind within UK higher education. The project has secured funding through Jisc and CyMAL (Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales), and will seek to realise a single identity allowing library users to access and borrow material from every higher education library, while both physical and digital services are being transformed.
The Cardiff University led project has comprised WHELF institution members collaborating on project working and steering groups, and has been a genuinely collaborative process, with all the member libraries playing a full and active part. Given their geographical distribution, this has involved video-conferencing and shared online spaces for storage and real-time production of essential documentation.
Judges described the WHELF shared LMS Project as an 'ambitious project' that 'shows great trust, ability to develop a shared vision and achieve impressive cross-organisational alignment and coordination'. The panel said: "As well as cost savings on procurement and infrastructure, the partnership approach will improve discovery and ultimately access to library resources for all users in Welsh universities, the National Library of Wales and further afield."
Emma Adamson, Cardiff Met's Head of Library Services, said: 'We are delighted that as WHELF we have won the 'Outstanding Library Team' category, it is a wonderful achievement for all involved. The WHELF shared LMS project is an innovative and truly collaborative project, which will seek to deliver improved access and discoverability to library collections for all students and researchers, both here at the University and across Wales.'
Emma's team will be seeking to implement the new LMS during 2015/16, with the implementation beginning this summer. With the selection of supplier 'Ex Libris' as a single provider, the Consortium will deliver the system on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis; streamlining workflows and expanding opportunities for collaboration across the Consortium.
The project will provide potential for all institutions to share data and services to increase the value, visibility and relevance of library collections.
WHELF Chairman Aled Gruffydd Jones, also Chief Executive and Librarian, and Accounting Officer at The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, said:
"This award is a tribute to the excellent collaboration that has been developed between library teams in very different kinds of institutions across Wales. The mutual trust and respect on which it is founded not only enhances the services we offer to our users, and at a lower cost, but also provides a very strong basis for further joint working in the future."
Cardiff Met's Library Services team has received awards previously, including winning a national award at last year's Welsh Libraries and Archives Marketing Innovation Award. In the awards, which were open to all library and archive services in Wales, the team received a trophy and £500 prize for the promotion of their 'I love DocDel' initiative, part of the Document Delivery Working Group.
The University's International department was also shortlisted in the Outstanding International Strategy category of the THELMA Awards for their outward student mobility project, which provides a range of overseas opportunities to Cardiff Met students and staff. Winners attended a black-tie event in at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, hosted by actor and comedian Jack Whitehall, where over 1,000 guests gathered to celebrate outstanding performance in the competitive world of UK higher education.
The panel of judges included Alison Johns, Chief Executive of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, David McBeth, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange Services at the University of Strathclyde, and Maja Maricevic, Head of Higher Education at the British Library.