Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum

Posted in WHELF

Swansea University goes live with WHELF Shared LMS

WHELF Shared LMS project reaches major milestone

The 23rd June 2015 will be a landmark achievement in the WHELF Shared LMS project as the first institution, Swansea University, goes live with implementation of the latest generation library management system Alma, and the resource discovery service Primo, from Ex Libris. The project has adhered to a rigorous and demanding implementation schedule to reach this milestone.  Andrew Brown, Collections Services and Systems Librarian at Swansea University commented that, “It’s been a real team effort at Swansea University with so many staff involved, and we’ve enjoyed strong support from Gareth Owen, the WHELF programme manager and the ExLibris implementation team”. The remaining institutions from cohort 1 of the project including Aberystwyth University, the University of South Wales and the National Library of Wales will also all be going live within the next few months and the system will be operational across all 11 WHELF institutions and the Welsh NHS Libraries (via Cardiff University) by the end of 2016.

Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism met colleagues working on the WHELF Shared LMS project at the recent CILIP Cymru Wales Conference. He said “Working collaboratively on a shared library management system will bring significant benefits for students, lecturers and library staff, along with financial savings. I am impressed that this excellent example of Welsh institutions working together has received international attention, and I’m pleased that the Welsh Government has been able to support this initiative.”

A shared library management system operating across all WHELF institutions will have far reaching benefits including better service delivery through a single search across all institutions along with the potential to share data and services to increase the value, visibility and relevance of collections. The value of the project has already been recognised with WHELF winning the “Outstanding Library Team” category at the recent Times Higher Education Leadership and Managements Awards 2015 (THELMAs).

Posted in Uncategorised

Event: Librarians developing digital literacies

Librarians developing digital literacies
10am to 4pm Friday 17th July 2015
Hadyn Ellis Building
Cardiff University, Cathays Park, Cardiff. CF24 4HQ
(Map –
n.b. There is no public parking available near the venue.

A free event (refreshments and lunch provided) kindly sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales and CILIP Information Literacy Group.

We are pleased to invite you to attend this exciting event organised by librarians from Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) and the Great Western 4 libraries. This will be an ideal opportunity to share ideas and expertise with colleagues from across Wales, the South-West and further afield on the theme of developing digital literacies (

The purpose of the event is to create an opportunity for librarians to learn from each other about approaches to developing staff and student digital literacies. This is an area where many libraries and librarians are still thinking through, and coming to terms with, varied terminology, ambiguous concepts and challenging logistical issues. The intention is to not load the day too heavily with theoretical debate but to focus on identifying and sharing workable solutions. No doubt questions will arise throughout concerning different interpretations and understandings of skills, literacies, capabilities, competencies and proficiencies, but hopefully common ground will emerge through considering the kinds of digital practices people perform. The aim is for people to go away with a least one idea they feel they can try out in their own institution.
If you are interested in contributing to the Teachmeet session (this could be on any aspect of technology use for either staff development within the library or provided for students and academic staff) please contact Joe Nicholls (, Tel: 02920870266) for more details.

We hope you can join us for what promises to be an informative and enjoyable day. You can book your place by registering through Eventbrite ( Alternatively, contact Joe Nicholls.

n.b. Places are limited and will be allocated on a ‘first -come first-served’ basis.

The programme for the day includes a number of invited speakers who are librarians with direct experience of working to develop library services specifically to enable the development of staff and student digital literacies.

9.30 am – Registration
10.00 – Preliminaries
10.05 – Welcome. Janet Peters, Director of Libraries and University Librarian at Cardiff University
10.20 – Activity: Digital visitor or resident?
10.30 – ‘Digital literacies and libraries – setting the scene’ – Lis Parcell, Jisc Subject Specialist: Libraries and Digital Resources
11.00 – ‘Developing Œdigital confidence in library staff’ (provisional title). Nicole Hinton, Assistand Director – Workforce Planning and Development National Library of Australia
11.30 – Coffee/Tea – Networking
12.00 – Teachmeet session
13.00 pm – Lunch – Networking
13.45 – ‘Librarian heal thyself – building staff digital literacy training from scratch: The Newcastle approach.’ Aimee Cook, Assistant Liaison Librarian with the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Team at Newcastle University
14.15 – Activity: Idea generation and exploration
14.45 – ‘Digital literacy for distance learners: the OU story’. Katherine Reedy, Digital and Information Literacy Specialist at Open University Library Services
15.15 – ‘Looking to the future: The librarian’s role in developing digital literacies’ Joe Nicholls, Principal Consultant: Digital Enablement in the Library Service at Cardiff University
15.45 – Wrap up
16.00 – Close.

If you have any queries about the day please contact Joe Nicholls (, Tel: 02920870266).

Posted in digital literacy, events, information literacy, Uncategorised, workforce development

WHELF wins at THELMAs 2015

WHELF are the proud winners of the Outstanding Library Team Award, announced on Thursday June 18th at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2015. The awards, now in their seventh year recognise outstanding leadership and management in the UK’s higher education institutions.

The Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) – comprising the National Library of Wales, all 10 Welsh higher education institutions and Welsh NHS Libraries – is a groundbreaking partnership to deliver a library management system for the whole country. A single identity now allows users to access and borrow material from every higher education library, while both physical and digital services are being transformed.

The judges described WHELF as an “ambitious project” that “shows great trust, ability to develop a shared vision and achieve impressive cross-organisational alignment and coordination”. “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,” the panel said.

Members of the WHELF Shared LMS team with their award. Image courtesy of THE

Members of the WHELF Shared LMS team with their award. Image courtesy of THE

The WHELF project, the first of its kind within UK higher education, has secured funding through Jisc and CyMAL (Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales).

Facilitated by Cardiff University, which chaired both the working and the steering groups, it 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. Chair of WHELF, Aled Gruffydd Jones (Chief Executive and Librarian, NLW) commented that ‘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.’

Janet Peters (Cardiff University) collecting the award on behalf of WHELF. Photo courtesy of THE

Janet Peters (Cardiff University) collecting the award on behalf of WHELF. Photo courtesy of THE

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 winners were chosen by a panel of judges including 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.

Posted in events, shared services, Welsh universities, WHELF Tagged with: ,

SWAMP conference 2015: Keeping libraries relevant

SWAMP Libraries Together

South West and Mid Wales Regional Library Partnership SWAMP Staff Conference 2015

Thursday 9 July, Media Resource Centre, Llandrindod Wells

 Keeping Libraries Relevant

We live in a challenging time for libraries.  Digital access to information is in a seeming constant state of evolution, providing challenges for our users and ourselves, as library staff, to keep pace. Buildings, space and services are under pressure as the social context in which we provide them and the expectation around them alters.  The knowledge we as library staff need to do our jobs effectively shifts and develops in ways that make just keeping core skills up to date a demanding task.  At times, it seems the continuing need for libraries to exist is under question, such have been the changes to the environment we operate in and the scope of the challenges being faced.

Within this context, the theme for the 2015 SWAMP Staff conference is ‘Keeping Libraries Relevant’. During the day colleagues from all sectors will come together to explore how libraries can develop services, support the use of digital technologies and develop our own skills to remain in the place we need to be – at the centre of the communities we serve, providing the services that can make a difference to people’s lives, throughout their lives.

The conference is aimed at frontline staff and middle managers.

‘Staying relevant, becoming sustainable: challenges in a time of change’
Peter Gaw, Head of Libraries, Archives, Arts, Information & Learning Services, Nottinghamshire

‘Advocacy and professional development – how CILIP can support you’
Mandy Powell, Head of CILIP Cymru Wales
‘Working together to benefit our communities’
Communities First

Jane Purdie and Bethan Rogers, Audience Development Team,
All Wales – Libraries, Archives and Museums
The New LMS
Gareth Owen, Programme Manager WHELF Shared LMS
Engaging with Children: Storytelling
Cat Weatherill, Professional Storyteller, Author and Library Veteran

Download the full Programme SWAMP Staff Conference 2015

Download a booking form

Posted in events Tagged with:

Event: The Institution as Academic Publisher: an Open Access Approach

This event will be a forum to discuss the benefits and difficulties of Open Access academic publishing as an institution. It is open to library staff and other interested people from HEIs in Wales and South-West England.

Speakers from Cardiff University will discuss their new project, Cardiff University Press, and invited speaker Lara Speicher from UCL Press will compare and contrast the different models of Open Access publishing at HEIs.

This free event will take place on: Thursday 9th July 2015, 12.00-4.00pm, Bute Building, Cardiff University, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3NB

Provisional programme

12.00pm-1.00pm  Buffet lunch and registration
1.00pm-1.15pm    Welcome and introduction to event
1.15pm-1.45pm    Presentation on comparative models of institutional publishing
1.45pm- 2.15pm   Presentation on future ambitions for Cardiff University Press
2.15pm-2.30pm    Break for tea/coffee
2.30pm-3.30pm    Group discussions on institutional publishing issues
3.30pm-4.00pm    Plenary session: group feedback and conclusions

Bookings are via EventBrite:

If you have any queries please contact Cardiff University Press: tel. 029 2087 0965, email , Twitter @CardiffUP

Posted in events, open access Tagged with: , ,

Welsh Collaboration in action event: 23rd June 2015

Welsh Collaboration in Action: A Joint Event for Librarians Supporting HE in FE is being held this year on Tuesday 23rd June 2015 at University of South Wales, Library and Student Centre, Treforest Campus from 10am-4:30pm.

The morning session will include FE and HE updates from each institution. After lunch there will be a tour of the newly refurbished Treforest Library. The afternoon session will concentrate on Managing Change and will be facilitated by Nicola Robinson, HR Partner at USW.  Nicola is an excellent trainer and her sessions always involve a mix of discussions and activities.   A copy of the programme can be downloaded here.

Travel directions can be found on USW’s  web pages:

Parking is “pay and display” in the students/visitors carpark opposite the main campus.

To book a place please email Sally Skym  by 12th June  and include any particular dietary requirements you may have.

Posted in Uncategorised

The library career and qualifications path

Many thanks to Alyson Tyler (CyMAL) for this overview of the library career and qualifications route and for providing details of bursary opportunities.

Posted in Uncategorised Tagged with:

WHELF Quarterly meeting update

WHELF Representatives met at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden on Thursday 30th April 2015 to Friday 1st May 2015.

From left to right: Julie Hart (Aberystwyth University) WHELF Treasurer, Megan Wiley (RWCMD), Sue Hodges (Bangor University) Vice-Chair of WHELF, Janet Peters (Cardiff University), Emma Adamson (Cardiff Metropolitan University), Andrew Dalgleish (University of South Wales) Mark Hughes (Swansea University), Steve Williams (Swansea University), Paul Jeorrett (Glyndwr University), Aled Gruffydd Jones (NLW) Chair of WHELF, Alison Harding (UWTSD: Carmarthen & Lampeter), Anne Harvey (UWTSD: Swansea), Jo Parker (OU).

From left to right: Julie Hart (Aberystwyth University) WHELF Treasurer, Megan Wiley (RWCMD), Sue Hodges (Bangor University) Vice-Chair of WHELF, Janet Peters (Cardiff University), Emma Adamson (Cardiff Metropolitan University), Andrew Dalgleish (University of South Wales) Mark Hughes (Swansea University), Steve Williams (Swansea University), Paul Jeorrett (Glyndwr University), Aled Gruffydd Jones (NLW) Chair of WHELF, Alison Harding (UWTSD: Carmarthen & Lampeter), Anne Harvey (UWTSD: Swansea), Jo Parker (OU).

We welcomed Megan Wiley representing the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to her first WHELF meeting. Megan replaces Judith Agus who retired from the RWCMD at the end of last year.

Some of the topics for discussion at the meeting were:


Progress update: Cohort 1 started implementation immediately following the Christmas break and the project teams from Swansea University, Aberystwyth University, the University of South Wales and the National Library of Wales have been working with Ex Libris to keep to a tight and demanding implementation schedule. Implementation remains on schedule and the first institution Swansea University, will go live in the next few weeks. The National Library of Wales is also leading and making progress on the Welsh language interface. There has been a lot of activity around communicating the project’s achievements and ambitions, both within institutions and externally including presentations in Glasgow, Dublin and online presentations to the Ontario Council of University Libraries in Canada and a digital libraries conference in Slovakia. The project has also been shortlisted in the “Outstanding Library Team” category of the Times Higher Education Leadership and Managements Awards (THELMAs) for 2015.

Programme Manager of the WHELF Shared LMS, Gareth Owen had also prepared a paper for discussion by WHELF on future governance options as it progresses from governing implementation of the shared LMS to governing business as usual and will help develop the work on benefits realisation.

WHELF Archives and Special Collections sub-group

Sally McInnes, Head of Collection Care, National Library of Wales, has been appointed as Chair of the WHELF Archives and Special Collections Group. As there are key areas in the WHELF Action Plan that fall within the role and remit of this group, it was felt that a Vice Chair is also needed and WHELF is pleased to welcome Sian Williams, Librarian, South Wales Miners’ Library to take on this role.

 WHELF Action Plan

The implementation of the Shared LMS is the key priority of the WHELF Action Plan but much good work continues in other areas of the Action Plan. Aim 1 (Student Experience) has completed a review and scoping exercise of access and borrowing schemes across WHELF institutions and the findings will inform a web page on the WHELF website. Aim 2 of the Action Plan (Research and Enterprise) has convened a Research sub-group to progress the key priorities in this area. The sub-group has representation from all WHELF institutions and will hold its first meeting on 5th June. An event will be held in the autumn of this year to explore the themes of Aim 3, International and globalised University. A discussion at the meeting around Aim 4 of the Action Plan, Workforce Development has lead to the convening of a working group of WHELF Reps to develop training objectives for WHELF.

Gregynog Colloquium

The annual WHELF/HEWIT Colloquium programme has been finalised and booking is now open for the event on 15th-19th June 2015. The theme for this year is “Partnership and Collaboration”

The Academic Book of the Future


We welcomed Dr Sam Rayner (Director of the Centre for Publishing and Senior Lecturer in Publishing at UCL) as our guest speaker on Friday morning to talk to WHELF Reps about the AHRC/BL collaborative project on the Academic Book of the Future. The project’s starting point is to look at the many issues and themes surrounding academic books including how to define what an academic book is, what do scholars want from academic books, how do we make academic books more accessible, how do we preserve them for the future, what are the new challenges facing publishers, librarians, scholars. The project will make provision for a number of mini research projects within its remit along with workshops and events. Academic Book Week will be run from 9th-16th November showcasing academic book excellence.

Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden


Posted in news

From Dylan Thomas Day to CILIP Cymru Wales #CILIPW15: why Thursdays can be great!

I hope you don’t mind but as it has been such an uncharacteristically fantastic end to a week, I thought I might share some of the happenings…

What do a statistician, an artist, three poets and a ‘colloquy’ of historians have in common?

To begin, we were delighted on Thursday 14th to gather some such examples of academic character, rigour, weight and impact together to formally open the inaugural International Dylan Thomas Day at an event celebrated by Hannah Ellis – granddaughter of Dylan Thomas, Ken Skates – Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Culture Tourism and Sport, and other guests.

Hannah Ellis with the Dylan Thomas notebook

Hannah Ellis with the Dylan Thomas notebook

The Dylan Thomas notebook, shown left with Hannah, which we purchased at auction last autumn, has since been assessed and digitised. Following the launch event a series of viewings of the notebook was arranged – the first time it has ever been seen publicly.

Professor John Goodby, our delightful Dylan Thomas expert and editor of the centenary edition of his poems refers to the notebook as “the holy grail of Thomas scholars” and our next step will be to create a replica for educational outreach work with schools and others. The notebook itself is housed within our Richard Burton Archives and we will be rolling out Turning the Pages versions of this and other material over the coming year.

BBC News coverage – with video:


Following the Launch of Dylan Day, we were delighted to take two musicians, one of the aforementioned poets, and other guests to visit the early stages of the interior fit out of the ‘Great Hall’ concert venue (below) being built on our new £450million Bay Campus – as well as the almost complete Bay Library.

Bay Campus Great Hall

Bay Campus Great Hall

To end the day, as events really are like buses and all come along at the same time, still on Thursday (it was quite a long day) we were busy with the CILIP Cymru Wales #CILIPW15 conference at the Marriott Hotel in Swansea. The CILIP Wales team did their usual great job organising and getting speakers that covered everything from library philosophy to ‘friends of’ public library groups, and also the (THELMA shortlisted) WHELF Shared Library Management System currently being rolled out across Wales to all university and NHS libraries, as well as the National Library of Wales.

To round off a great evening, we were thrilled that CILIP Cymru Wales awarded Mark Hughes, Swansea University Libraries’ Head of Collections, the honour of being the Welsh Librarian of the Year 2015.

Each of these activities have over the past year(s) involved support from a range of libraries, archives, museums and other services in Wales and across the UK – for which we are always grateful.

Swansea Bay and the Mumbles from #CILIPW15

Swansea Bay and the Mumbles from #CILIPW15

Posted in archives & special collections, collaboration, events, news Tagged with: , ,

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