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Scottish consortium signs £1.5m libraries contract with Civica

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Following a procurement exercise carried out by Tayside Procurement Consortium on behalf of Scottish Consortium of Public Libraries (SCoPL) consisting of Angus, Perth & Kinross, Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and North Ayrshire  local authorities as well as High Life Highland, has awarded a contract worth £1.5 million for a new library management system to Civica.

The company’s market-leading ‘Spydus’ software will help the consortium members to improve services and reduce costs. ScoPL will be joined by existing Civica Scottish customers Argyll and Bute Council, Inverclyde Council, Leisure and Culture Dundee and South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture. The 10 services collectively serve over 62% of the Scottish citizens.

The new solution will automate and digitise services, with members expecting to reduce costs significantly over 36 months. The web-based system will enable the authorities to automate a full range of services from public access, bookings and home lending to cataloguing, inter-library loans and stock rotation. There are no immediate plans but the system has the potential for sharing library customers to share stock across SCoPL. 

For four of the six SCoPL library services, the digital system will go live in November and December 2015; the remaining two will follow next year.  As part of the transformation project, Civica is training library staff to get the most out of the technology. In addition to public libraries, Spydus is being rolled to schools in some of the SCoPL members starting with Aberdeenshire’s twelve academies. Students at these schools will only need one library card to access services at either their school or the public library. In time, over 50 schools are expected to implement Spydus.

The consortium’s spirit of co-operation comes from the Scottish public sector reform vision of the Christie Commission and chimes with the recently-launched ‘Ambition and Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020.’ The consortium wanted a cost-effective system which would facilitate strong staff processes and provide high-quality customer experiences.  SCOPL’s decision to work with Civica reflects the strategy’s goals to work smarter, make the best use of technology and save money.

Given this is a managed services arrangement; trust in the supplier is paramount. As several local authorities in the consortium are already using and benefitting from Civica’s ICON managed payment system, belief that Spydus will deliver on its promises is already high.

Lee Burley, managing director of Civica Education, said: “It’s widely known that libraries have faced an uncertain future. According to Civica research with local government executives, 63% of respondents believe libraries will suffer if urgent action isn’t taken to mitigate the impact of efficiency cuts. Against this backdrop, we’re delighted to be able to play a central role in the evolution of Scotland’s libraries, with a view to maintaining their valuable services in the local community. Through working with the consortium, major steps have been taken to secure the transfer of knowledge in the digital era.”

SCoPL Consortium said: “The SCoPL Consortium members recognised the need to work together to provide best value both in monetary and workforce capacity terms. We are confident that we have a shared platform which will enable us to deliver, individually or collectively, the world-class digital library services and robust back office a 21st century library needs. The integrated Civica solution is a significant milestone as we modernise our libraries by streamlining processes and improving the customer experience. We are looking forward to working together as the largest consortium of Library Services in Scotland to deliver an open and accessible public library service in line with the strategic aims of Ambition and Opportunity to ensure that we can respond to the changing needs and aspirations of our communities.

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