WHELF update: November 2012

WHELF: Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum
November 2012: an update

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

At our recent meeting in October, these were some of the topics under discussion:

WHELF Focus on the Future
The purpose of this session, led by Sue Hodges, was to re-vision what WHELF is all about. We are already good at shared services but can we improve? Do we need to refocus our work on priorities in the sector such as the student experience, employability, and of course cost benefit?

During the morning we were able to build on the positive changes that have already been put in place.  We then examined our vision of the future and looked at strategies which would meet the needs of the Welsh Government, the HE sector, our students, academic staff and the community within which we work. Over the next few months we will be building on this work to put in place a new strategy, mission and action plan for WHELF, as well as developing a new constitution, financial model and membership criteria.

Library Systems Shared Services
The JISC pathfinder project, led by Cardiff University on behalf of WHELF, is now underway.  David Edwards (Project Director) and Glyn Ryland (Project Manager) gave a presentation indicating progress with the project to date, the success criteria, and the emphasis on future governance models for whichever type of solution is recommended. The approach put forward was supported by the WHELF Steering Group. Site visits are now being arranged to gather information for the project.

The final report will include a discussion of the various delivery models which would be available for a shared Library Management System, an assessment of the market place, an indication of costs and recommendations on the feasibility and viability of adopting a shared solution.
Find out more at: http://blogs.cf.ac.uk/sharedlms/

Working with public libraries in Wales
Emma Adamson reported on a very successful meeting she had organised between WHELF and Society of Chief Librarians (SCL Wales) representatives at Cardiff Metropolitan University in August. A subsequent meeting took place in October. Areas of shared interest between SCL Wales and WHELF were initially agreed as:

  • Library Management Systems (LMS)
  • E-access
  • Reading
  • Workforce development / skills
  • Promotion and advocacy

Walk-in Access Wales
WHELF’s project to enable walk-in access to electronic resources in Welsh HE libraries is making good progress.  A solution is about to be implemented at the pilot site at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and a trial walk-in service has already been developed at Cardiff and Cardiff Metropolitan Universities.

We are working with colleagues in Scotland following the publication of their excellent Walk-in Access Toolkit and we are contributing to the UK-wide SCONUL WATER project (Walk in Access To E-Resources). Walk-in Access Wales Project Officer, Bronwen Blatchford, gave a presentation at one of the recent SCONUL workshops in London.
Find out more at: http://walkinaccesswales.wordpress.com/

We are pleased to report that Alison Harding from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is now representing WHELF on the SCONUL Access steering group.

ALIS Wales Conference 2012
Judith Agus reported that ALIS (Accessible Libraries and Information Services) Wales will hold their conference this year at the National Library of Wales on 27 November. The theme of the conference is: “Access all areas: Accessibility in Higher Education”. Speakers will include Disability Wales, Enable UK, CyMAL and ALIS Wales members currently working in providing accessible services to students in higher education.
Find out more at: http://www.alis-wales.ac.uk/en/news.shtml

WHELF marked two retirements at our recent meeting – Jeremy Atkinson and Josephine Burt – they will both be very much missed but we wish them long and happy retirements. Jeremy is retiring from his post as Director of Learning & Corporate Support Services at the University of Glamorgan, and Josephine from her post as Business Development Manager, Library Services at the Open University.

For more information please contact:
Sue Mace
Development Officer
WHELF: Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum

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