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National Library of Wales Honoured At Times Higher ‘THELMA’ Awards

The National Library of Wales’ has been honoured as part of the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) at The 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.

The collaborative group is chaired by Aled Gruffydd Jones, Chief Executive and Librarian of the National Library of Wales with other members including Directors of Information Services and Heads of Library Services.

WHELF actively promotes the work of higher education libraries in Wales and provides a focus for the development of new ideas and services. 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.

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.”

WHELF Chairman Aled Gruffydd Jones 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.”

WHELF’s mission is to promote collaboration in library and information services, to seek cost benefits for shared and consortial services, encourage the exchange of ideas, provide a forum for mutual support and help facilitate new initiatives in library, archives and information service provision.

Members of the WHELF Consortium currently employ a variety of standalone Library Management Systems, and several different discovery systems.  With the selection of Ex Libris as a single provider, the Consortium will deliver a single cloud-based next generation library system, delivered on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis.

The project will provide potential for all institutions to share data and services to increase the value, visibility and relevance of library collections.

Winners of the THELMA Awards 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.

For more information about WHELF visit the website, or on Twitter @WHELFed


  • For further enquiries contact: Lydia Whitfield at Effective Communication: or 02920 838 315 or 07890 953402