Our spheres of activity

Return to SCONUL strategy 2023-26




We are at an exciting time for academic and research libraries. Libraries are partners in the academic enterprise, playing an essential role in teaching and learning, in the research process; in engagement, and are integrated into cross-institutional systems and processes.

This brings opportunities for the organisation to benefit from the specialist expertise of library professionals in supporting students, managing data and managing knowledge sharing and preservation, among other areas. As institutions drive towards digital transformation; embrace the open agenda long espoused by libraries and the associated shift in research culture; and place a greater focus on student support and wellbeing and on the role as universities as civic actors, libraries have important contributions to make.

We will explore the opportunities and challenges for libraries in supporting their institutions in four core areas:

Organisational development

We will explore:

  • Developing our current workforce to support institutions’ drive towards digital transformation.
  • Generating the radical shift needed to deliver a diverse workforce that is truly representative of our society.
  • New approaches to recruitment, retention and professional development to meet the HE recruitment challenge by coming together through networking, mentoring and peer support to enabling sharing practice and experience.

Sustainable content provision

We will explore:

  • Models for journal provision post-transitional agreements while continuing to work closely with Jisc Collections and other partners on negotiations with publishers.
  • Creative approaches to the provision of monographs and the development of a sustainable model for etextbook provision.
  • Opportunities for collaboration on curating and creating collections and for knowledge sharing.

Services and systems

We will explore:

  • The transformative potential, and practical application, of AI solutions for libraries and library interaction with AI technologies in higher education.
  • Interrogating the market for library technology to foster competitiveness and value for money.
  • The scope for technology-enabled innovation across the sector, spreading innovative practice and supporting early adoption.

Cross-cutting themes

We will also explore a number of cross cutting themes which apply across content, workforce and technology spheres:

  • The drive towards net-zero and the sustainable library (library spaces, content provision and support).
  • Digital transformation and visioning new models of library provision including transforming library spaces to meet emerging institution demand.
  • Integrating the physical and digital library to create a positive user experience.