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New Wales-wide library system will foster greater collaboration between The National Library of Wales and Universities


A new library management system which will promote collaboration between cross-sector libraries in Wales was celebrated at an event in the National Assembly on Thursday 22 September 2016.

The new bilingual library management system which will be shared by The National Library of Wales, Welsh university libraries (Aberyswyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Swansea University, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Wrexham Glyndwr University), NHS libraries, will deliver cost benefits, greater collaboration, and the potential to share collections throughout Wales. The National Library of Wales was one of the first group of Libraries to go live, and Bangor and Glyndwr Universities recently completed the roll-out of the system, finalising the implementation schedule across 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 at an event at the Senedd with Julie James AM, the Minister for Skills and Science.

The ‘Celebrating library collaboration’ event was 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 National Library of Wales introduced the new library management system in December 2015 and is already realising the benefits of being part of the consortium.

Linda Tomos, National Librarian said:
“The National Library of Wales is delighted to be part of this ground-breaking project to deliver a fully bilingual library management system.   The project is already delivering huge benefits for our users and will continue to promote greater collaboration between cross-sector libraries in Wales”.

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Notes to editors

WHELF (Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum) is a collaborative group of all the higher education libraries in Wales, together with the National Library of Wales, the National Museum of Wales, Natural Resources Wales and the Open University. It is chaired by Sue Hodges, Director of Libraries and Archives (Bangor University) and its members are the Directors of Information Services and Heads of Library Services.

WHELF’s mission is to promote collaboration in library and information services, seek benefits from 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.