Gill Morris writes:

On Wednesday 10th March WHELF welcomed colleagues to a Zoom presentation from Philippa Price, Subject Librarian at Swansea University.

In November 2020 Swansea University held a Living Books event for its staff entitled A Brave New World: Resilience and Community. Philippa shared her experience of being in the planning group and gave a great deal of helpful and practical tips. Attendees had an opportunity to ask questions and also share their own experience, and some went away with renewed determination to set up their own events.

Many thanks to all who took part and to Philippa for such an honest and thought-provoking presentation.

Here is the joint CILIP Wales, WHELF, National Library, NHS Libraries and Welsh Public Libraries response to the (Draft) WG Digital Strategy:

Download the full report from the link, key recommendations below.

Key recommendations

Recommendation 1: Learning from previous policies

We believe that the Digital Strategy for Wales builds on a legacy of policies for Wales and the rest of the UK with broad digital ambitions. We would recommend that the development of the policy ought to draw on and reference previous policies, and to seek to identify from them any impediments to implementation.

Recommendation 2: Implementation Plan for the Strategy

To be effective, the Digital Strategy for Wales must be accompanied by clear lines of responsibility, measurable outcomes and a dedicated budget commitment. We recommend that the Strategy should be accompanied by an Implementation Plan that details these elements in the context of current responsibilities, targets and spending allocations.

Recommendation 3: Digital preservation and continuity

As Welsh Government knows, effective mechanisms for the retention and preservation of the digital record are key to continuity and accountability for digital development. We recommend that this broad national strategy take into account the infrastructure and skills needed to appraise, store, secure and provide access to digital assets in the long term.

Recommendation 4: Data and information literacy

We recommend that the Welsh Government recognise the importance of data and information literacy as core competencies for the future population, and embed these into curricula in schools, FE and HE.

Recommendation 5: Digital Skills Strategy

The draft strategy rightly recognises the need to invest in advanced digital, information and data skills to create a 22nd century workforce for Wales. This takes long-term planning and partnership with learning providers. We recommend that the Digital Strategy for Wales should be accompanied by a Digital Skills Strategy for Wales, supported by a Committee drawing on skills from Further and Higher Education, professional bodies, Apprenticeships and sector employers.

Using Living Books to help to develop understanding across diverse experiences and cultures

10.00-11.30 Wednesday 10th March via Zoom

Philippa Price will share her experience of helping to organise ‘A
Brave New World: Resilience and community’, an online event at
Swansea University to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and
encourage understanding through Living Books. Living Books were
recruited from the university’s staff and student community. Each
Book had a story to share that encapsulated the themes of resilience
or community. Visitors to the event borrowed a Living
Book(s) for a 15-minute personal conversation during which they
were encouraged to ask questions and learn more about the Book.
Philippa will talk about how the idea came about and explain the
planning and preparation that was involved in holding the event.
There will be time at the end for an informal chat so delegates can
ask questions and discuss ideas.
10.00-11.00 Presentation (questions encouraged)
11.00-11.30 Informal discussion (bring a beverage!)
This CPD event is aimed at those who are interested in hosting a
similar event or would like to find out more about the concept.

WHELF: Welsh Higher Education Libraries Forum An Open Letter to Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales : The National Library of Wales

The Welsh Government has enshrined in legislation the key principles of inclusive citizenship, wellbeing and national prosperity in the 2015 Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act. A cornerstone of this is our cultural institutions and most notably our National Library. The current development of Digital Strategy for Wales further strengthens the role of the National Library, both now and for our shared future.

The role of the National Library in supporting the university and research communities of Wales and beyond is fundamental to our collaborative success as a sector and a nation. It both supports and preserves our national scholarly endeavors and acts as an important link and conduit for linking and sharing that knowledge and our shared Welsh culture and heritage here and across the wider world.

A library, particularly a national library, is not just a space, filled with word, images and objects, either virtual or physical. It is , the skills, the expertise and the passion which the people working there bring that enables the knowledge, rich stories and nations memories within to be preserved, shared, and provided with the context to be used and understood.

We understand the pressures of the financial situation and the pressures every organization and institution is under, but the National Library, any library, cannot function without the necessary resources and staff to do all the things required of it. There is little gain, and huge opportunity lost if the National Library of Wales were to fall into that position and thus be unable to bring its unique strengths to the development of Wales’ future.

We ask you to again look at this situation and seek to find a way forward and a long-term funding level that enables the National Library of Wales to sustain its role in our community and play its full potential part into the future.

Alison Harding

Executive Head of Library and Learning Resources, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

WHELF: Vice-Chair

Excluded Voices – a WHELF Conference

WHELF are organising a free one-day conference on Excluded Voices and our Collections to be held online, on 22nd April 2021. We’d like to invite colleagues from the libraries, museums and heritage sector organisations across the UK to submit abstracts for the conference.

We are looking for abstracts for keynote presentations (20 minutes), lightning talks (10 minutes) and poster presentations (to be delivered during refreshment breaks on rotation).

The conference will focus on recognising the structural inequalities which are often present in our collections and services, and on showcasing initiatives and developments which seek to tackle these. The dominant voices in our collections are often those of privilege, but there are many other stories and multiple perspectives, sometimes hidden or excluded from view.  Relevant topics for submission will include the development of inclusive collection policies, diversifying reading lists and curricula, showcasing diverse collections and practices, and critical assessment of bias in our structures and policies.

To submit your abstract please complete the attached template and return to Gill Morris, WHELF Development Officer by 1st March 2021

You’ll be contacted by 19th March 2021 to confirm acceptance of your abstract. We welcome submissions in Welsh or English.

We intend to record all presentations for inclusion on our Internet page for the benefit of colleagues across the sector.

With thanks to JISC for technical support

It’s that time of year again! The Archives & Special Collections Group are taking part in the Color Our Collections social media campaign run by the New York Academy of Medicine Library, joining with other libraries, archives, and museums around the world to share free colouring sheets based on materials in our collections.

This year the campaign kicks off on Monday 1st February and runs through till Friday 5th  February.

Download the book here, print the sheets and share your filled-in images on social media, using the hashtags #colorourcollections (because the campaign launched in America most institutions are using the American spelling of colour!), #lliwioeincasgliadau, and tag us in @WHELFed.

And don’t forget to check out which other institutions around the world are taking part using the #colorourcollections hashtag or visiting the website of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Happy colouring!!

Philippa Price writes:

On the 16th December 2020, librarians from higher and further education institutions across Wales gathered for the latest WHELF teachmeet to share good practice. As you’d expect in 2020, the event took place online. The theme was learning and teaching remotely. Colleagues drew on their experiences of the previous nine months to share the ways in which they’ve been teaching and supporting students online. An accompanying Padlet allowed attendees and others to exchange ideas and ask for help. There were three presentations on the day:

· Creating interactive library tutorials with LibWizard

Jose Lopez Blanco, University of South Wales

· Creating online library content using Microsoft Sway and Articulate Storyline

Alice de Angeli and Peter Duffield Fuller, University of Wales, Trinity St. David

· Changing times: a case study of embedded asynchronous learning and teaching

Rebecca Mogg and Neil Pollock, Cardiff University

Attendees received a feedback survey after the event. All respondents reported that the teachmeet was helpful. Comments showed that respondents appreciated the opportunity to see how other institutions had approached remote teaching and learning as well as recognising common challenges.

If you missed the teachmeet or would like to revisit any of the presentations, you can view a recording of the event:

The Padlet is still available and we encourage you to keep using it to share ideas and discussions:

Made with Padlet

Amy Staniforth writes:

NHS Wales Library and Knowledge Service and Newtown Area Library have been recognized by CILIP Cymru Wales, the Library and Information association in Wales, for their incredible commitment and innovative services during a turbulent 2020.

The Award, presented by Lord Elis-Thomas MS, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism and Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP at CILIP Cymru Wales’ Open Day and AGM on Thursday (3rd December) celebrates outstanding professional achievements by teams working within Library/Information Services in Wales.

As joint first prize winners both teams take £400 back to their service.

The Runners Up

The runners up team was The Welsh Higher Education Library Forum (WHELF) Cataloguing Team, nominated by Alan Hughes from Cardiff University. Alan says “the WHELF cataloguing Team has had a transformational and refreshing impact on the reinvention of cataloguing activities across Wales and beyond.

The all-Wales partnership of 14 higher education and research institutions – through modest confidence, expertise and professional connections – have been able to penetrate far wider and influential networks. Alan was blown over by their ability to rebrand a traditionally hidden and solitary activity into a front-facing force with Wales at the helm of the sector.”

The judges agreed, saying “It was nice to see an application from such a key team, often overlooked, but vital to providing core Library services. Their work supporting WHELF institutions, also has a wider impact due to partnership working both nationally and internationally.” As runners up the WHELF Cataloguing Team take £100 back to their network.

The WHELF Learning and Teaching Group invites you to our free Teachmeet on Wednesday 16th December 11am-12pm: ‘Is there anybody there? Learning and teaching with students remotely’.

The Teachmeet will be held on Zoom and include the following :


Sarah Jones, WHELF Learning and Teaching Group Chair, University of Wales, Trinity St. David.

Creating interactive library tutorials with LibWizard

Jose Lopez Blanco, University of South Wales

Creating online library content using Microsoft Sway and Articulate Storyline

Alice de Angeli and Peter Duffield-Fuller, University of Wales, Trinity St. David

Changing times: a case study of embedded asynchronous learning and teaching

Rebecca Mogg and Neil Pollock, Cardiff University

To accompany the Teachmeet we have set up this Padlet on which we encourage you to share what’s worked well for you and seek ideas to overcome some of the challenges you’ve faced:

Christmas jumpers are encouraged and please bring your own festive treats.

If you would like to attend, please book a place here . The closing date for bookings is 5pm on 14 December. Joining information will be circulated to registered participants on 15 December.

We hope you can join us. We encourage all members of the WHELF community to use the Padlet, not just registered participants.

Rebecca Mogg and Philippa Price (on behalf of WHELF Learning and Teaching Group)


Alison Harding , Executive Head of Library and Learning Resources at UWTSD, writes:

We have recently participated in a case study with Ex Libris on implementing Alma across a small multi-campus university This will be made available on the Ex Libris Customer Stories website and will be shared through their social media channels