New Wales-wide library system will foster greater collaboration between universities

​23/09/2016

​Julie James AM, Minister for Skills and Science, Sue Hodges, Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF), Chair Mandy Powell, Head of CILIP Cymru Wales, Hywel James, Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) Wales Chair.

​The new bilingual library management system which will be shared by Welsh university libraries, including Cardiff Metropolitan University, as well as NHS libraries, and the National Library of Wales, will deliver cost benefits, greater collaboration, and the potential to share collections throughout Wales.

A library management system is the technology which enables university and other libraries to buy, catalogue, lend and show their holdings. The consortium, brought together by the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF, a network of university libraries and the National Library of Wales), and project managed by Cardiff University, has introduced the Alma and Primo systems, marketed by Ex Libris, across its member institutions during a three-year long programme. 

The successful introduction of the new system across the WHELF network was celebrated yesterday at an event at the Senedd with Julie James AM, the Minister for Skills and Science.

The 'Celebrating library collaboration' event is also supported by Wales' public libraries and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP, which supports the work of the Library, Information and Knowledge Profession), to celebrate wider cooperation across libraries in Wales. 

Sue Hodges, Director of Libraries and Archives at Bangor University and Chair of WHELF stated: "This is a remarkable achievement which demonstrates the trust, commitment, vision and strength of collaboration within WHELF. I would like to thank all of the WHELF institutions and Ex-Libris for their fantastic efforts in delivering the implementation and roll-out of the system on time and to extremely challenging deadlines.  Students will benefit immensely from this new library system which provides easier access to resources for teaching, learning and research."

The Society of Chief Librarians for Wales said: "Cooperation is a crucial part of the efforts of Public Library Services in Wales to fulfil their statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient service for their residents. With the launch of the first phase to adopt a Library Computer Management System for Wales in North Wales, this project will offer benefits for all authorities and is important step forward to ensuring sustainable models of delivery of Welsh public library services."

Mandy Powell, Head of CILIP Cymru Wales said: "It is thrilling to see a project of this scope and ambition being rightly celebrated. Librarians, Information and Knowledge Managers are all experts in the world of information and whether it is using their extensive skills to benefit users by widening access, saving money or opening up collections, great things happen when librarians are involved."