Category Archives: National Library Service

A Single Library Management System for Ireland

For a significant part of 2013/14 I spent some time away from the heady delights of the RFID world and returned to two of my first loves – Ireland and Library Management Systems.

Having recently completed a review of the Scottish SEDAR Project (an Open Source consortium of local authorities using the Evergreen system) for the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) I was approached in March by members of the Irish working party charged with the responsibility for drawing up the business plan and specification for Ireland.

The project’s scope had grown from its original aim of replacing the four Dublin authorities existing Axiell system to finding one that could run all of the nation’s 259 public libraries. My mission – should I choose to accept it (and I did) was to pull together the ideas and wishes of all of the library authorities in the Republic and create a specification that would ensure room for future growth – both in terms of size and scope of the services to be delivered – while preserving existing services and functionality as far as possible. Time was tight so the possibility of running a competitive dialogue – as we had successfully done with Libraries NI a year or so earlier – wasn’t possible.

It was a fascinating and challenging project as the scope continued to develop during the course of writing the specification. 24/7 access to buildings was added after a pilot scheme in five Irish authorities was announced in late 2013.

Many of my library colleagues have been asking for copies of the bid documents for some time but I haven’t felt able to oblige until now as the work was paid for by the Irish government. However the award – to III for their Sierra system – has now been formally announced and the award notice contains a link to the Request for Tender document so presumably anyone wishing to download it for their own use can now do so. (you can access the page here).

If you’d like a copy of the scoring mechanism – in Excel format – that I created to be used in conjunction with the specification you can download a copy here.

Do I think Wales, Scotland and England should follow Ireland’s example?

That will be the subject of a later post.