Shared services event, Dundee

CyMAL was invited to give the opening talk at the CILIPS Shared Services event in Dundee on 25th May and I was pleased to take up the offer because although Wales seems to be doing well in general with its libraries, we’re not so good at broadcasting all the good projects, partnerships and activities that are going on here. Hopefully over time this blog will address that and I can tell everyone how wonderful Welsh libraries are!

My talk (available on Slideshare – Libraries Inspire) was well received (if I may say so myself!), and the many questions afterwards kept me on my toes. The delegates (about 40+ in number, mainly public librarians but a few from other library sectors) were very interested in a range of issues, for example: consulting users, library strategies, e-books. 

Librarians ready to share

Throughout the day it was interesting to see that the other speakers raised issues that are of relevance to Wales. Methil library in Fife, for example, had been refurbished in 2000 and has transitioned from being a ‘shared’ facility with the local council to ‘joint’ and now to full integration. The speaker argued that integration is a totally different mindset and a huge shift in approach especially for the customer-facing staff. For example, integration means that the frontline council office and library staff deal with all enquiries (graded to three different levels) on a single customer service desk, whereas previously the shared facility had separate enquiry desks with different service hours etc.

Methil library has also installed a self-issue machine but they have found that staff now don’t have the same opportunities to promote forthcoming events to customers during the check-in/out transaction time as they formerly did. How have libraries in Wales who have self-issue machines tackled this issue?

I really enjoyed all the talks during the day and meeting Scottish librarians who are just as friendly as Welsh ones! I also enjoyed Edinburgh and walking around the very different old town and new town areas and sampling the wonderful vegetarian restaurants. I would fully recommend Edinburgh as a city holiday/work destination! 

For information, this is how Scotland and Wales compare for number of libraries:

Number of: Scotland* Wales
Public library services 32 22
FE college libraries 43 c. 23**
HEI/university libraries 19 c. 12**
National Library 1 1
Population 5,222,100 2,999,300
(*taken from somewhere, but unfortunately I did not make a note of the source. Bad Librarian. **Mergers on-going, number fluctuating.)

About alysontyler

Civil servant, yoga teacher and former librarian.
This entry was posted in CILIP, Presentations / talks, Scotland, Shared services. Bookmark the permalink.

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