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SCONUL is led by an Executive Board which has responsibility for the overall governance of the organisation including its finances and for setting its strategic direction in consultation with our members. Elections to the SCONUL Board are held each year at our annual AGM with members being elected for a standard three year-term. We also have a small number of co-opted members on the Board, representing the interests of important sections of the library community.

SCONUL is constituted as 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.

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.