SCONUL is the professional association for academic and research libraries in the UK and Ireland. Our members range from research-intensive institutions to specialist higher education providers. Our wonderful national libraries are lynchpins of the SCONUL community which also includes libraries holding important national collections.

We speak for this diverse membership with a single voice on the strategic issues facing the sector, advocating for the value and importance of libraries in teaching and learning, in the research process; in student success and in delivering our institutions’ innovation and engagement agenda, for example in the drive for equality, diversity and inclusion and on sustainability. 

We are led by our members, driven by their needs and informed by their priorities. Our reach relies on commitment by those at our member organisations who give a great deal of time to formal working groups and through contributions to projects, events and discussions. The SCONUL community is unstinting in its willingness to share intelligence, strategic insights and experience to meet the community’s collective needs. This is our most valuable asset.

SCONUL members are the libraries themselves, with the heads of library service making up the Executive Board which is responsible for governance and for setting the strategy for the organisation.  SCONUL also has  supporting the strategy and ensuring that our members are informed about, and engaged with, the major issues and challenges facing the library sector. They are supported by an Executive Director and office, engaged in policy development, lobbying and coordination and support.

SCONUL is a UK registered charity (278550) and a company limited by guarantee (England 1436951). Our activities are governed by our Articles of Association and Rules for the Conduct of Business. You can find out more about SCONUL’s work in our most recent annual report. You can find previous year's reports too.

It was founded in 1950 (as the Standing Conference of National and University Libraries). In 1994 it merged with COPOL, the Council of Polytechnic Librarians: at that time the British polytechnics were reconstituted as universities. In 2001 SCONUL changed its name to the Society of College, National and University Libraries, having welcomed colleges of higher education into membership.


University of Oxford


University of Aberdeen


University of Wales Trinity St David