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Surrey Libraries to get next generation service

Library visitors and staff across Surrey are to get the latest technology kit and services while tax payers save money - thanks to a new technology deal.

UK  ()

Surrey County Council's new contract will let library visitors enjoy free Wi-Fi in any of the Council's libraries and visitors using the library computers will sit down at brand new PCs. The self-service machines used to borrow, return and renew books and DVDs will also be upgraded, making them quicker and easier to use and readying them for the next generation Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

Visitors will be able to access library and local information via the internet from home, work or library using the latest Web 2.0 software and software called Axiell Arena. Arena offers customers the opportunity to discuss and rate books, films, music and events using social media. Community groups can use the space to publish their own information in one central location, making it easier for residents to find these details.

Staff will also benefit from new PCs with the IT administration managed centrally for improved computer performance and better service to library users. The IT network throughout all the libraries will be completely replaced and the OpenGalaxy library management system that staff use to manage the stock and catalogue will be upgraded.

The new contract will save the council and local tax payers £230,000/year compared to the previous agreement, or £1.6m over the next seven years. The contractor, Axiell, specialises in working with public libraries to provide technology and associated services. Axiell held the previous contract and was reappointed following an extensive competitive tendering process run by Surrey County Council. The savings are being made thanks to careful efficiencies by Axiell and to the dialogue-based competitive tendering process run by the Council.

Denise Saliagopoulos, Surrey County Council's Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, said: "Value for money is essential and we have struck a deal that provides library users with a better service for less cost. Modern technology means people are using libraries in different ways so we must keep apace and I'm certain free Wi-Fi access will prove very popular. We will also be developing our online library and ebook service which is becoming incredibly popular."

Jim Burton, Axiell's Managing Director, said:
"We are delighted to have been able to offer an innovative and extremely cost-effective service to Surrey County Council which we believe will result in improved services for the people of Surrey. Axiell focuses on service quality coupled with innovation and a one-stop shop and this is why over a third of public libraries in the UK choose to work with us."



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