Future-ready libraries

Start & End Date : 
Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Royal College of Physicians
11 St Andrews Place
London NW1 4LE

09.00 - 16.30hrs

This one-day conference brings the SCONUL community together face-to-face for the first time since the pandemic. While it includes formal sessions, the focus will be on members coming together to discuss common experiences and to share learning, and to collaborate on planning for the future. We will reflect on learning from the Libraries after Lockdown programme and consider the opportunities and challenges facing the sector.



  • We will be hearing from Professor Susan Orr, Pro Vice-Chancellor Education at De Montfort University and Chair of the OfS Blended Learning Review Panel on the shape of learning and teaching post-Covid.
  • We're also joined by Margaret Ayers, Vice-Chair of UHR and Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Canterbury Christ Church University for a discussion about the challenges facing the sector around recruitment, retention and development of staff.
  • We are hosting parallel sessions on: 
    1. Artificial intelligence. What do libraries need to know about AI, its potential impacts on, and solutions for, their libraries and developing uses across their institutions. SCONUL and Jisc have been developing a project to explore these questions and this inaugural workshop will provide an opportunity to define and shape the project. Led by Andy MacGregor, Director of edtech at Jisc; Paul Bailey, Head of co-design at Jisc and Sue Attewell, Head of edtech at Jisc.
    2. Beyond transitional agreements. This workshop will explore on the shape of content provision post transitional agreements across the range of teaching and learning and research materials, including open access and subscription models. We will look beyond a three year planning horizon, with a particular focus on budget and resource planning. Led by Libby Homer, Liam Earney and Caren Milloy.
    3. Collaboration on collections. Developments in library technologies such as RapidILL and Jisc's Library Hub, the growth of open access in the UK and controlled digital lending are all enablers to greater collaboration across the sector on collections. This workshop will explore the opportunities and drivers for greater collaboration. Led by Jane Saunders and Nick Woolley.
  • There will be community learning workshops which will provide an opportunity for participants to share experiences, practice and questions on: 
    1. The sustainable library. 75% of UUK member institutions have now committed to net zero targets and libraries are actively exploring how their own practices can be adapted to help address the climate crisis, including addressing challenges such as legacy buildings. Members are invited to come together to discuss the actions and approaches they are taking to deliver and to consider scope for shared and collaborative action.
    2. Rethinking recruitment in an age of scarcity. The library community faces twin challenges for its recruitment: how do we attract a more diverse workforce which better reflects the communities we serve, and in an age of scarcity where recruitment is challenging across HE generally, how can we attract, recruit and retain a workforce with the skills we need? Members are invited to come together to share their experiences, to discuss what steps they have taken to try and meet these challenges (successful or otherwise) and to consider what scope there is for action as a community to support each other and to make a difference.
    3. Virtual and physical library spaces post pandemic. As the pandemic recedes and we reach clearer water on institutional approaches to blended learning and teaching and more clarity on student behaviours post pandemic, how might these changes shape library spaces and services? Members are invited to share their learning and practice on developing integrated physical and virtual library spaces, and meet the needs of users.
  • We will also hear updates from the SCONUL Community of Interest groups.

Who should attend? The conference is open to all staff at SCONUL member institutions.  For details on how to register e-mail sconul@sconul.ac.uk


Structure: The day will include a mix of formal sessions and member-driven workshops with plenty of opportunities to catch up with colleagues.


Timing: The conference opens with a networking breakfast from 9-10am with the formal proceedings running from 10am until 4.30pm.


Cost: £185