In 2019, SCONUL commissioned research to capture the lived experiences of BAME professionals in their own voices in member institutions.   The report, titled BAME staff experiences of academic and research libraries, invites those who lead academic and research libraries to hear the experiences of their staff and to act now to nurture and support them into the profession and leadership roles.

The SCONUL BAME Group was formed to support member institutions to deliver change in the following key areas as defined in the conclusion of the report:

  • Leadership
  • Voice
  • Zero tolerance
  • Cultural and behavioural change
  • Effective partnerships for change
  • Career progression.

Group objectives

  1. To provide opportunities for members to have challenging conversations about racism and white privilege to better understand how these influence our service cultures and systems.
  2. To collaborate with wider SCONUL membership to develop an action plan for delivery of agreed outcomes under the key areas identified above at both institution and sector level.
  3. To promote the LIS profession to BAME people at all school levels developing a pipeline of future professionals with points of entry into the profession from apprenticeships to professional traineeships.
  4. To identify and promote targeted training, mentoring, and sponsorship to develop existing BAME staff members for inter- and intra-institution career progression.
  5. To share knowledge about inclusive practices in recruitment/retention, learning and teaching, collection development/management, and space development.
  6. To develop bursaries and/or scholarships to support BAME staff to attend conferences, conduct research, and gain professional qualifications, where feasible.
  7. To provide opportunities for networking for BAME staff to build professional contacts amongst themselves and with allies nationally and internationally.
  8. To influence and advise the SCONUL Board on strategies and policies that have positive impact on the representation of BAME people in leadership positions, monitoring progress, and working collaboratively with other sector professional bodies.

SCONUL is establishing an Open Forum for BAME staff working at SCONUL member libraries to enable BAME staff to network and share information. The Forum will be led by the SCONUL BAME Group and will be held twice a year. Attendance will alternate, with one meeting for BAME staff members only and the other to include allies.