Pass GO…

Once upon a time there were libraries with books…maybe newspapers, the odd magazine, quiet corners to catch up on a little R&R.

The social history of modern libraries is fascinating and constantly presents challenging concepts for discussion and, as with the acceleration of the timescales of everything, we are seeing ever more views, opinions, comment with R&R now appearing to mean react and respond. Maybe it was a seasonal thing, or just a reflection on less hurried times, that upon hearing of the latest mergers in the library supply chain and the accompanying noises, that the image of a well-known board game was conjured up.

Like Monopoly, libraries are part of our culture, enduring yet capable of arousing great passion. To most library users these are the familiar attributes we associate with our public or educational libraries. However, for librarians their purchasing departments and local authorities, it the less desirable forfeit spaces; finance, accountability and return on investment that they keep landing on.

So where does the recent acquisition of 3m Library Systems by Bibliotheca fit into the game? From some we hear the frustrated cry that they are buying up the best property, will soon have all the stations and be managing the utilities.Others want to kick the board over and end the game, some scaremongers even seeing the whole game only being continued by taking their battleship token overseas.

What’s the reality? Well, little has changed since The Library Management System Suppliers had their monopoly challenged by the Stock Management and Security Suppliers. This led to agreement amongst suppliers, recently through the new Library Communications Framework, to give librarians a choice of equipment and suppliers.

Now with software compatibility has come the development of high quality standardised, yet customisable products, and, with the expanded choice more innovation and competitive pricing.

Phil Farrell CEO of 2CQR, previously 25 years with 3M, understands the concern of his former customers, “It’s not all about who has the most property on the board…it’s the quality of the property and the way you play the game”.

So librarians can still enjoy Monopoly, moving around the board landing on reliable, experienced UK based suppliers who will help you avoid Chance, Jail and, in appropriate cases, Tax.