SCONUL's commitment to fostering diversity

SCONUL’s commitment to fostering diversity

The SCONUL Board is the sponsor and driver of the organisation’s work on equality, diversity and inclusion and it is committed to this remaining a priority for support and funding.  The Board and staff will lead on and model the change we believe we need to see.

Our work continues to be informed by the report we commissioned and published in 2019 BAME staff experiences of academic and research libraries which put the voices of BAME staff at the centre of our conversation. This report was designed and commissioned this research in order to help those of us who lead our libraries to understand the lived experience of our staff from a BAME background.

Following its publication, SCONUL has been working on a series of initiatives to address the challenges it raised.

Data on the library workforce

The report noted that we lacked proper data on the makeup of the workforce in academic and research libraries. While CILIP had captured general data on the library workforce which demonstrated a clear lack of diversity across the sector, this did not provide the level of granularity needed to understand the picture within HE.  We commissioned research to explore whether it would be possible to capture EDI information as part of the SCONUL benchmarking statistics, the report on which is available here: This showed that members believed they can and should capture this data and that doing so will provide an important benchmark that will support individual institutions in measuring their own progress as well as supporting the sector in fostering greater diversity. 

The SCONUL statistics for the year 2022-23 will include data on the make-up of the workforce and we intend to publish these in summer 2023.

Leading on Race

We have partnered with AdvanceHE to bring members subsidised development workshops on ‘Leading Change on Race Equality’. The two linked workshops are designed to strengthen knowledge, skills and confidence to lead progress on race equality in college, national and university libraries. Further information is available here: In 2022-23, SCONUL will be supporting two iterations of the workshops in October 2022 and March 2023.  We are able to offer these at £95 per participant which should ensure that cost is not a barrier for any of our members.  To register an interest or for further information, please contact Jenelle Negraeff at  

Black, Asian Minority Ethnic Staff Forum

SCONUL holds a Forum every six months for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff open to all BAME staff working at SCONUL member institutions. The aims is to create a safe space for library and information professionals to exchange information about careers and key issues in the academic library and information sector, as well as network to develop sustainable support systems.  The first Forum meeting was held online in February 2021 and the next meeting will be open to allies as well as to all BAME staff at SCONUL libraries.  We are seeking staff from SCONUL member institutions to join a task and finish group to lead on development and delivery of the next Forum meeting with administrative support from the SCONUL office. More information is available here:

Sharing resources and best practice

SCONUL has a programme of webinars and shared resources developed by our Organisational Development Group will provides a venue for discussion on meeting the challenge of fostering greater diversity in our workforce. Recordings of past sessions are available here:

SCONUL also facilitates a six-monthly meeting for those leading on EDI matters for regional and national library consortia.  For more information, please contact Ann Rossiter at