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A wave of consolidation hit the library market on Tuesday as both ProQuest and Bibliotecha announced major acquisitions. ProQuest will acquire Ex Libris, which provides technology solutions for libraries, and Bibliotecha will take over 3M's library division.
ProQuest said in the announcement that it will use the acquisition to strengthen its existing products and to tackle issues such as "disparate workflows for print, electronic and digital resources, and navigation of complex and rapidly changing technology, content and user environments." Once the deal closes, the two companies plan to form a new unit called Ex Libris, a ProQuest Company. The companies will continue to support the products they offer today. According to American Libraries Magazine, the acquisition creates the largest vendor in the library technology market.
Roger C. Schonfeld, program director for libraries and scholarly communication at the research organization Ithaka S+R, said in a blog post that the acquisition further blurs the lines between content platforms and library system providers. "What this deal tells us perhaps most clearly of all is that ProQuest believes there is a future in the [integrated library system]," Schonfeld wrote. "It might not be illogical for a company with its eyes on the library systems market to imagine being able to leapfrog over serving print collections altogether and building a systems environment for an e-only future."