Libraries after lockdown: A virtual collaboration

SCONUL's project Libraries after Lockdown brought members together to share and learn from our collective responses to the Covid 19 crisis and to think creatively about the future. It looked at service design, organisational development, and at library technology and markets through three programmes of activity including virtual events.

This new way of working was developed to meet the challenges of the pandemic and members’ needs, for example working at speed to deliver webinars, open data sets and advocacy. As the sector emerged from this crisis, we have be delivering our strategic aims taking the best from this way of working. 

Libraries after Lockdown programmes

We established three programmes:

From Adaptive Practice to Service Redesign 
Blended learning and the shape and design of library services

The Dynamic Workforce
Developing an agile, resilient workforce to meet the evolving needs of the institution

Embracing Disruption 
New technologies, markets and new uses for existing technologies

Alongside this, our work on the cost and value of content will continue, focusing on ebooks, journal negotiations including with Elsevier, and developments in open access including the UKRI OA policy which is expected this summer.


University of Aberdeen


How we worked

Each programme included a series of activities bringing members together to discuss and shape our collective future. We created opportunities for you to share innovation and best practice; to debate the trends and issues that will shape the future of the sector; and to hear from expert contributors from within and beyond the sector. Some events had a clear strategic focus and others addressed more operational issues providing opportunities for those leading practice areas to debate and discuss the way forward. 

This work has helped inform the conversations that we needed to have with our stakeholders inside and beyond the institution. The pandemic placed libraries centre stage in discussions about university life. At points this meant a strong focus on the physical library and at others on the online delivery of content and support for online teaching and research. We have seen an opportunity for libraries to assert their vital central role in the physical and virtual life of their institution. We hope the recordings and materials will continue to be useful in the years to come.