UM Mansfield Library to Share Resources Statewide

June 27, 2016

MISSOULA – A new system will allow academic library users statewide to access the holdings of 16 libraries in Montana through a single online search.

The University of Montana’s Mansfield Library – along with 15 other institutions in Montana’s Treasure State Academic Information & Library Services (TRAILS) consortium – recently selected Ex Libris Alma Resource Management Service as its new integrated library system.

Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, is a leading global provider of cloud-based solutions for higher education. The data testing, reconfiguration and migration of the service began in late May. The new system is expected to go live in December.

“This new library management system will give our students, faculty and campus community greater access to all university library collections in Montana,” said UM Provost Perry Brown. “In addition, it will modernize the records on collections. Since all Montana libraries will use the same system, it should lead to increased use of valuable library resources across the state.”

The TRAILS consortium sought a solution to increase staff efficiency by unifying workflows and reorganizing resources to have the greatest impact.

Further requirements included a native, cloud-based system to help offset administration and energy costs; a discovery environment that would be flexible enough for large libraries to customize and powerful enough to provide excellent patron services out-of-the-box; a rich analytics environment; and a vendor with a proven record of partnering with academic institutions.

With the Alma resource management platform, the consortium will gain all of these features, offering member libraries benefits on many levels through the sharing of skills and resources.

“The implementation of the Alma library system is going to be an exciting process,” said Shali Zhang, professor and dean of libraries at UM. “The new system will enable all participating libraries to work more efficiently, share expertise and resources, and provide better services to our user community – students, faculty and staff – thus strengthening the library’s impact on learning and research initiatives. I am thrilled that in-depth collaboration between library colleagues at Montana’s academic campuses will soon be a reality.”

“We chose Alma as the technological solution that will allow the 16 academic libraries of TRAILS to build and manage collections more cooperatively,” said Kenning Arlitsch, dean of Montana State University Library. “We expect this move will eventually bring greater access to information resources to students and faculty across Montana’s institutions of higher education.”

Ex Libris North America’s president, Eric Hines, said the company’s resource management platform will be a key factor in helping Montana’s academic libraries meet their goal to support student success and faculty research.

“It is wonderful to see so many long-standing customers in Montana joining the Alma community,” Hines said. “We look forward to many more years of successful partnership with Montana’s academic libraries.”

The TRAILS consortium formed in 2016 with the goal of providing click-through access for students and faculty to all digital information resources purchased by any college or university in Montana. For more information, visit


Contact: Shali Zhang, UM libraries dean, 406-243-6800,