The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames becomes the 14th member of the London Libraries Consortium, giving borough residents access to over 6 million items from 150 library branches across London. Library staff will benefit too as the consortium will provide frontline employees with the opportunity to work on development projects with peers across London.
Grace McElwee, Strategic Manager, Library & Heritage Service, says, "We are delighted to be joining the consortium and working with a third of London Boroughs. As a small borough with seven libraries, it will be of great benefit to our users to have access to a much wider range and quantity of stock through the shared stock and catalogue of the consortium."
Kingston is also keen to modernise its technology and will be making use of the consortium's EDI technology to facilitate electronic ordering, payment of invoices and direct delivery of new stock to branches.
Grace adds, "In the current climate libraries must make savings and reshape their services to fit the new economic reality and the consortium offers real opportunities for joined up working, sharing best practice and joint procurement to create a cost-effective and efficient service that delivers real benefits to customers. In this austere climate it is timely to be looking outside our own Borough and collaborating with others to drive efficiencies and developments."
Kingston Council is undergoing radical change through its One Council programme. The hosted service which Axiell Ltd offers for the shared Open Galaxy library management system fits into this programme and the consortium's joint procurement through a Framework Agreement is consistent with Kingston's new ICT strategy -- putting the Library Service at the centre of new ways of working and delivering services across the Council.
Staff at management and frontline level will be visiting other libraries in the consortium to view their working practices and discuss developments to the system; and employees will participate in the regular LLC board, strategy and work group meetings.
The Borough will go live with the shared catalogue in Autumn 2011, following a thorough overhaul of the catalogue data.