The Future of the Systems Librarian webinar, 31 October 2023

This webinar marked the launch of the SCONUL project on “The Future of the Systems Librarian”.  With developments in library technology accelerating, this project is considering the role of the systems librarian in supporting the evolving needs of the library. Some institutions in the sector are reporting difficulties in recruitment, and succession planning remains challenging as staff in systems roles retire, while the role, and the systems themselves, continue to evolve. As data and learning analytics increase in importance to universities, this project is considering how systems librarians can provide that added value to their institutions. In particular it is looking at:

  • the evolving nature of the role including looking at the implications of AI and other developments in library systems
  • the nature and breadth of the skills required and implications for role descriptions, grading and salaries for systems librarians
  • effective organisational models for deploying these skills within institutions, including the experience of peer professional services.
  • the pipeline for recruitment of, and career development paths for, systems librarians


University of Portsmouth


Georgina Dimmock, Head of Library Systems, Skills, Collections and Archives, University of Northampton and Chair of the SCONUL working group on “The Future of the Systems Librarian” introduced the webinar. 

She set out the background to the project, pointing out that a number of institutions within the sector are experiencing problems with recruitment, particularly systems recruitment and technical recruitment. The project is looking at the ideas of succession planning, the imminent retirement of many staff, the evolution of the systems librarian role, including in terms of AI and data and learning analytics. The project will be looking at the pipeline for recruitment, career development paths, the nature and breadth of the skills required, role descriptions, grading , salaries, the evolving nature of the role, and where the role sits within institutional structures.  

The presentations and the discussion that followed here: 



The accompanying online chat and resources can be found here:

Chat transcript and comments


Adil Adnan's presentation

Paul Smith's presentation

Margaret Stone's presentation