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SirsiDynix Wins Contract for Public libraries in Wales

Smart Libraries Newsletter [October 2015]


SirsiDynix has been selected to provide its Symphony ILS for all of the public library services in Wales. This project can be counted among the increasing number of national or statewide initiatives to provide shared technology infrastructure for libraries within a jurisdiction. Although Wales is a relatively small country with a population of just over 3 million, automating all of its libraries through a single ILS ranks as an ambitious project.

The public library services of Wales will offer a single library card to provide access to materials and services provided any public library in the country. This single library card will enable access to e-books and electronic magazines in addition to the ability to borrow and return physical materials from any of the Welsh public libraries. Until the implementation of this national system, residents generally can only borrow materials from the library in their municipality or county.

Winner Takes All

This project consolidated a variety of ILS implementation into a single national system. Most counties in Wales had previously implemented automation systems independently and from different providers. This new national system displaces a variety of incumbent implementations. This win for Sirsi- Dynix comes at the expense of other vendors that have had many years of involvement with public libraries in Wales.

Some of the public libraries in Wales were already using the Symphony ILS from SirsiDynix, including Blaenau Gwent Libraries, Cardiff Library Services, the Monmouthshire County Library Service, Powys Libraries, and Swansea Libraries. These libraries serve 29 percent of the population of Wales (according to 2011 census figures quoted from Wikipedia), meaning that SirsiDynix will move into the remaining 71 percent of the service population, displacing a number of products provided by other companies.

Prior to the implementation of the national project, Infor's Vubis Smart was used by the largest portion of the population of Wales (36 percent). Library services that will migrate from Vubis Smart to Symphony include Bridgend Library Service, Caerphilly Library Service, Carmarthenshire Libraries, Ceredigion County Library Service, Neath Port Talbot Library Services, Newport City Library Service, Pembrokeshire Libraries, and the Vale of Glamorgan Library Service. Vubis Smart or its newer V-smart product has remains in use in 25 library services in the United Kingdom serving around 400 individual facilities.

The Alto ILS offered by Capita is currently used in six libraries in Wales that serve 23 percent of its population, including Conwy County Library Service, Gwynedd Library Service, Isle of Anglesey Library Service, Merthyr Tydfil County Library Service, Rhondda Cynon Taff Libraries, and Torfaen Libraries. Alto has not been implemented outside of the United Kingdom, but remains a strong system in that country with implementations in 91 library services with a total of around 1,000 physical branches.

Axiell Open Galaxy is currently in place in three libraries serving 12 percent of the population of Wales. These include the Denbighshire Library Service, Flintshire County Library Service, and Wrexham County Borough Library. Not counting the Welsh libraries, Open Galaxy is used in 24 library services in the United Kingdom and their 825 individual facilities.

Current Wales National Projects

Wales has previously launched a national project to provide shared infrastructure for its university libraries. The WHELF (Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum ), including the national library, the major university libraries, and those with its National Health Service, announced its selection of Ex Libris Aleph and Primo in December 2014. The consortium announced on June 25, 2015 that Swansea University had gone live with Alma with the remaining institutions to follow through the end of 2016.

Library Services in Wales
DistrictPopulationIncumbent ILSTotal
Blaenau Gwent69,800Symphony878,800
Flintshire152,700Axiell OpenGalaxy
Wrexham135,100Axiell OpenGalaxy
Denbighshire93,900Axiell OpenGalaxy381,700
Rhondda Cynon Taf234,400Capita Alto
Gwynedd121,500Capita Alt
Conwy115,300Capita Alto
Torfaen91,200Capita Alto23%
Anglesey69,900Capita Alto
Merthyr Tydfil58,90 Capita Alto691,200
Carmarthenshire184,000Vubis Smart
Caerphilly178,800Vubis Smart
Newport145,800Vubis Smart
Neath Port Talbot139,900Vubis Smart36%
Bridgend139,400Vubis Smart
Vale of Glamorgan126,700Vubis Smart
Pembrokeshire122,600Vubis Smart
Ceredigion75,300Vubis Smart1,112,500
Total population of Wales3,064,200

Other State-wide or National Projects for Shared Library Technology Infrastructure

Other large-scale projects that SirsiDynix has been awarded include the state of South Australia (1.68 million); the Kōtui project of an opt-in national service in New Zealand that currently includes 25 library services and their 96 individual branches.

The state of Western Australia initiated a process to consider a state-wide ILS, but eventually decided instead to identify a set of qualified products from which library services could select. In August 2015 Civica and Insight Informatics announced that they were among the preferred suppliers with their Spydus and LIBERO products respectively. While there is a trend toward shared infrastructure projects, the outcome of the Western Australia process shows it may not always turn out to be the preferred approach.

National systems that have been awarded to Innovative's Sierra ILS include the country of Ireland (4.6 million population). In July 2015 Innovative announced that 6 of the 30 library services involved in this project have already gone live with Sierra. These library services include those that serve the city of Dublin, South Dublin, Wexford Dn Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, and Kildare.

Denmark is in the process of implementing a national library system for most of its public and school libraries. This project was awarded to a Danish company called Dantek in December 2013, which was subsequently acquired by the large IT services firm Systematic (August 2014). A major milestone has recently been accomplished with the implementation of the new shared system (Flles Bibliotekssystem) for the seven libraries of the municipality of Horsens its completion announced on September 4, 2015. Implementation of the system for the libraries of the municipality of Aabenraa was set for the following week.

The Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) representing the libraries of the eight public universities in Hong Kong has initiated a procurement process for a library services platform to be shared by its members. The tender was issued in July 2015 and will be open through the end of August 2015.

The Scottish Confederation of University Research Libraries (SCURL) has issued a tender for a new library management system. SCURL describes this initiative as a framework agreement, with Heriot Watt University and Abertay University as the lead institutions. Other member institutions may join, subject to a specific commitment at the onset.

View Citation
Publication Year:2015
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 35 Number 10
Issue:October 2015
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Record Number:21469
Last Update:2022-11-29 00:43:10
Date Created:2016-04-08 08:18:40