Report from the CILIP Cymru/Wales conference

I recently attended the CILIP Cymru/Wales conference held in Llandudno 11th-12th May 2017. Thank you to MALD (Welsh Government, Museum, Archives & Libraries Division) for providing me with a sponsored place for the Thursday, this is my report from some of the sessions of that day.

Linda Tomos (Chief Executive and Librarian, National Library of Wales) opened the conference with a networking master class. It was interesting to hear Linda’s breadth of experience in the library world and how valuable networking can be to help develop productive relationships and strengthen professional confidence. Linda recognised that as a profession we are sometimes not “loud enough” and networking is a way strengthen and advocate for the profession. Undoubtedly, the profession has a number of strong networks including, CILIP, SCL (Society of Chief Librarians) and of course WHELF. Collaborative groups such as these create opportunities and strength through their networks. Linda suggested that perhaps it is time to reinvigorate the lottery funded People’s Network to develop a museum archives and library network for the 21st century.

A question from the floor quizzed Linda on what she would suggest is the best way to engage with politicians in order to advocate for our profession. She suggested that networking again was key in this situation; be strategic, develop knowledge of their portfolio, what are the problems and issues for them and then present the library as the cost effective solution to a problem. Politicians listen to solutions.

With an implementation date of 25th May 2018 for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to come into force in the European Union, it was timely to hear from David Teague  (Information Commissioner’s Office, Wales) on “GDPR: a design for life”.  The current Data Protection Act came into force in 1998 and since then the world has seen a period of rapid development. There is a huge issue of trying to control data in a world of constantly changing and developing technology. Our organizations can prepare themselves for the reforms by following the 12 steps on the ICO website. And then there is the issue that when the UK adopts the Act we will still be part of the EU but this will not be the situation once Brexit is implemented. Interesting times….

I attended the breakout session, ” Marketing to thrive and survive” with Giles Lloyd Brown and Sian Nielson from Swansea University. Although a library Marketing Group was already in existence it needed reinvigorating in order to ensure coordination of activities across teams and sites. Changes in the delivery of enquiry services within the Library had also raised concerns around whether the subject librarians were still engaging and reaching out to students. The year has seen a number of successful campaigns, from the use of pop up banners to promote the Library during Freshers Week, to Survive and Thrive, reaching out to students to help with their assignments and promote LibGuides; through to Pryderi the Parrot to raise awareness of plagiarism. Lessons learnt from their marketing activities included the importance of gathering statistics to start collecting evidence of engagement and for future benchmarking. The group’s marketing success has been evidenced this year by winning the HE category of the Welsh Libraries Marketing Awards 2017.

I found Neil Frude’s presentation on “Bibliotherapy: strategy, schemes, struggles and successes” particularly interesting. Although I had heard of the “Books on Prescription” scheme I was not fully aware of its origins and the weight of evidence there is for the positive impact it can have on helping with mental health issues.  The first “Books on Prescription” scheme originated in Wales and was devised by Professor Frude. The scheme provides high quality self help books as a type of therapy suitable for those identified as being at step 2 of the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines for the identification of mental health disorders. Mental health services are increasingly under pressure, Professor Frude stated that 1 in 6 in the UK has a diagnosable mental health condition, and with limited numbers of therapists and psychologists available (1 therapist to 1000 people needing help!) these needs cannot be met. There is strong scientific evidence that therapy books are just as effective for treatment for this group of sufferers as group or individual therapies and is an excellent and often preferred alternative to prescription drugs. The “Books on Prescription” scheme model has been adopted in the UK and rolled out in many other countries across the world. Unfortunately the scheme in Wales has become virtually defunct but there was strong support in the room that the scheme should be restarted and SCL Wales (Society of Chief Librarians) are leading the approach on this. In my opinion the “Books on Prescription” scheme aligns itself very closely with the objectives of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (Wales) and must surely be reinstated in Wales.

The conference evening dinner saw the announcement of the Welsh Librarian of the Year Award. The winner was Wendy Foster, Knowledge Services Manager at Glangwili Hospital Library and a lifetime acheivement award presented to Hywel James, Principal Librarian, Gwynedd Service. It was great to read and see the many nominations across the profession, recognising the depth and breadth of the profession.

Thank you to Kathryn Parry (Development Manager, CILIP Cymru Wales) and all of the CILIP Cymru Wales Committee for providing an excellent programme and stimulating conference.

Rachael Whitfield, WHELF Development Officer


Posted in events, workforce development Tagged with: ,

Gregynog Colloquium 2017 – open for booking

The Gregynog Colloquium has been organized this year by UWTSD and Swansea University and will take place between 12th-16th June 2017.

This year’s Library programme is a varied mix of topics linked to the theme of ‘Advocacy, Engagement and the Student Experience’ and welcomes Michael Jubb of the Academic Book of the Future project; Andrew Harrison, Director of Spaces that Work and Professor of Practice at UWTSD; and Tania Olson and Sandra Reed from the University of the Arts London to give the keynote address.

The IT programme is also varied and includes presentations on information security, analytics, staff development, Powershell and Office 365, service management and many others.

Wednesday is a crossover day with presentations from 11:30 onwards which will be of interest to both Library and IT colleagues.

The draft programme and the booking form are on the website

Posted in events, student experience Tagged with: , ,

Event: Librarians Supporting the Research Lifecycle

WHELF Research Group event

Please join us to hear invited research staff describe their research lifecycle, pressure points, and support they find useful from the library service.  We also have guest speaker Dr Penny Dowdney who will share her expertise on supporting researcher development at Bangor University and via Vitae, the UK organisation championing the personal and professional development of research students and staff in higher education institutions and research institutes. This will be a networking event for all librarians working in, or interested in, research support, where we will discuss our current support for researchers, and examine how we can raise awareness and market our services to researchers.

8th May 1pm-4pm Cardiff University, please book your place at:

9th May 10am-2pm Swansea University, please book your place at:

10th May 1pm-4pm Bangor University, this is a Teachmeet, generously sponsored by the CILIP Information Literacy Group please contact Chris Roberts to book your place


Posted in RDM, research, Research group blog, research support, workforce development Tagged with:

WHELF meeting update

The WHELF Representatives met via videoconference on Tuesday 7th February 2017. These are some of the topics that were discussed at this meeting.

 Digital preservation/digital repositories: The National Library of Wales are organizing an event at the end of March to provide a forum to facilitate open discussions on the digital preservation requirements of WHELF and ARCW (Archives and Record Council Wales). There will be breakout sessions held in the afternoon which will provide a forum to discuss and define further requirements for a digital repository.

 Academic Book Week: Sue Hodges had delivered a presentation on the “Treasures of Wales” at the British Library during Academic Book Week (23rd-28th Jan). The presentation was followed by a discussion on how we can open up our Collections.

 WHELF Shared LMS: Work is being progressed by a number of Project Boards to capitalise on the opportunities that the shared LMS has opened up for WHELF.  The Cataloguing Project Board are exploring the opportunities offered by Jisc’s National Bibliographic Knowledgebase project. WHELF will have a representative on the NBK Steering group to develop this.

Cambridge Econometrics will produce a draft report by the end of February as part of the Jisc funded project to identify the benefits of the WHELF Shared LMS. The draft report is supplemented by three WHELF institutions case studies from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the National Library of Wales and Cardiff University. The final report will be disseminated later in the year.

Reading lists: There is an opportunity to run a joint tendering exercise for WHELF to procure reading list management software. Although WHELF institutions are at different stages in their current contracts there was agreement that a joint tender could be explored further. Cardiff and Swansea University will meet to discuss this procurement exercise further and make recommendations for WHELF.

Changes to the WHELF Executive:  It was Sue Hodges last meeting as WHELF Chair as she retires from Bangor University at the end of February. She was presented with flowers and thanked for Chairing WHELF over the last 18 months and for all her hard work, commitment as a member during the last 5 and a half years. Steve Williams, University Librarian Head of Libraries, Archives, Culture and Arts, Swansea University ( was formally ratified as new Vice Chair of WHELF and Emma Adamson, Director of Learning Services, University of South Wales (  will take over as Chair from 1st March.


Posted in news, repositories, WHELF, Whelf shared LMS

ARCW and WHELF Digital Preservation event 28.3.2017

This event will provide a forum for the discussion of WHELF and ARCW (Archives and Record Council Wales) digital preservation requirements, and demonstrate the progress that has been made in developing a technical infrastructure for ARCW. The breakout sessions will provide an opportunity to further define requirements for future development.

Please book a.s.a.p. via

10.30               Arrival, registration and refreshments

10:.50              Welcome – Linda Tomos, National Librarian, NLW

11:00               Sarah Higgins, Lecturer, Aberystwyth University and Sally McInnes, Chair ARCW Digital Preservation Sub-Group and Joint Chair WHELF ASC Group:  Demonstrating Collective Responsibility and Technical Innovation through the work of the ARCW Digital Preservation Group

11.30               Steve Williams, Vice-Chair of WHELF, University Librarian and Head of Libraries, Archives, Culture and Arts at Swansea University:  WHELF Vision for a Wales-Wide Digital Repository

12.00               Jake Henry, ARCW Digital Preservation Project Officer, Liam Tomkins and Charles Dixon, ARCW Project Developers: End to end preservation system demonstration

12.30               Glen Robson, Head of Systems, NLW: Displaying digital information in new ways through IIIF

1.00                 Lunch

2.00                 Paula Keogh, Arkivum Client Manager for UK Heritage Sector: Perpetua demonstration

2.30                 Two breakout sessions: ARCW to be led by Jake Henry and WHELF to be led by Glen Robson

3.15                 Report back

3.45                 Close

Posted in archives & special collections, collaboration, digitisation, repositories, research

The National Library of Wales @Cardiff

The National Library of Wales and Cardiff University are pleased to announce the signing of a collaboration agreement which outlines ways in which the two institutions will work together in the future.

The National Library (NLW) and Cardiff University have a long history of collaboration, including recently on the award winning WHELF LMS project to procure a new shared Library Management System for the sector. This new agreement builds on previous successes and will provide benefits for the general public as well as to the current users of both libraries.

As well as joint exhibitions, lectures and other events, students and the wider public will be able to access NLW digital collections and resources from its new base located within the Arts and Social Studies Library of Cardiff University, which until now has only been available on site in Aberystwyth, including its screen and sound archive.

Linda Tomos, Chief Executive and Librarian, NLW said:

“This new and exciting arrangement between the National Library and Cardiff University provides further proof that the Library remains at the forefront of new ways of opening up the national collections to all, wherever they live or work.”

Janet Peters, Director of Cardiff University Libraries, said:

“We look forward to welcoming new readers to the dedicated NLW space in the Arts and Social Studies Library and to providing the same range of digital resources to our students and researchers as they would find in Aberystwyth. We shall literally have a national library on our doorstep.”

Further Information:
Elin-Hâf 01970 632471 or

[This press release courtesy of NLW and Cardiff University]

Posted in collaboration, news

New Chair and Vice-Chair for WHELF

Emma Adamson, Chair of WHELF and Director of Learning Services, University of South Wales.

WHELF congratulates Emma Adamson on her new role of Chair of WHELF from March 1st 2017. Emma is the Director of Learning Services at the University of South Wales and has been a member of WHELF since 2010.Emma became Vice-Chair of WHELF in 2015 and now steps into the role of Chair following the retirement of Sue Hodges.

We also welcome Steve Williams who has been elected as the new Vice-Chair of WHELF. Steve is University Librarian and Head of Libraries, Archives, Culture and Arts at Swansea University and has been a member of WHELF since 2015.

Steve Williams, Vice Chair of WHELF and Head of Libraries, Archives, Culture and Arts, Swansea University

Steve is also to be congratulated on his appointment as a Trustee for the National Library of Wales. He also represents WHELF on the SCONUL Executive Board.

We very much look forward to working with Emma and Steve in their new roles for WHELF.

Mairwen Owen, Head of Academic Services will be the new WHELF representative for Bangor University following Sue Hodges’ retirement.

Posted in news, WHELF

Farewell to Sue Hodges

We bid farewell at the end of this month to Sue Hodges, Chair of WHELF and Director of Libraries and Archives at Bangor University. Sue joined WHELF in 2011 and played a key role in developing a new governance structure for WHELF with establishing the WHELF Officers group and in the writing of a formal Constitution. She also contributed greatly to the writing of  WHELF’s new Strategy and Action Plan. Sue was Vice-Chair of WHELF from 2013-2015 and then stepped into the role of Chair in October 2015. Sue is not quite ready to retire and intends to work part-time doing coaching and mentoring training and also some teaching in coaching, leadership and management. WHELF thanks Sue for her support of WHELF activities and her commitment and enthusiasm in the roles of Vice-Chair and Chair. We wish her all the very best for the future.

Sue Hodges (7th from right) with WHELF Representatives at the October 2016 meeting, Gregynog Hall

Posted in news

In memory of Judith Agus

Judith Agus, former College Librarian at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), sadly passed away on Tuesday 14th February 2017. Judith retired from RWCMD in December 2014 and was a greatly respected and dedicated librarian and a really valued member of WHELF. She will be sadly missed.

The following information from the website of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama highlights the contribution that Judith made to the profession:

Judith was the College’s Librarian from December 1995 to December 2014 and during that time made a significant number of changes and improvements to the Library, professionalising resources and transforming it into the much-valued service it is today.

Forward thinking, Judith significantly raised awareness of the importance of Library services within the HE and Peer Group; she was a great ambassador for the College and a much-respected colleague.

Judith was awarded a President’s Medal at the Graduation Ceremony in July 2014 in recognition of her long and distinguished service to the College. She took a special interest in our students’ personal development and continued to follow with interest the careers of our graduates even after her retirement

Our thoughts are with Judith’s family at this very sad time” (

Judith Agus (left, 2nd row from front) with WHELF Representatives Feburary 2013

Posted in Uncategorised

NLW Strategy Review 2017

The National Library of Wales (NLW) have launched a consultation on their Strategy, “Safeguarding Wales’ Culture and Heritage for All: Moving the National Library Forward 2017-2021”.  NLW would like to engage with as many people as possible in the consultation to get the views of  the people who visit and use its services and resources. Further information and links to the Strategy and Questionnaire can be accessed here.

The consultation ends on the 10th February 2017.

Posted in archives & special collections