SCONUL is the membership organisation for all academic and national libraries
National library
A national library is a library specifically established by the government of a country to serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books...

 in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...



SCONUL was founded in 1950 as the Standing Conference of National and University Libraries. In 1994 when British polytechnic
Polytechnic (United Kingdom)
A polytechnic was a type of tertiary education teaching institution in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. After the passage of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 they became universities which meant they could award their own degrees. The comparable institutions in Scotland were...

s became universities it merged with COPOL, the Council of Polytechnic Librarians, and in 2001 it extended its membership to libraries of Colleges of Higher Education and changed to its current name.


SCONUL states its aims as:

For the benefit of our libraries and their users we aim:
  • to promote the sharing and development of good practice
  • to influence policy makers and encourage debate
  • to raise the profile of higher education and national libraries


SCONUL's activities include advocacy for the higher education library community, training and sharing best practice, making arrangements for reciprocal access to libraries, and the collection of statistics.


Its members include libraries
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 in higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 institutions (not only universities
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 but also higher education colleges and specialist schools and conservatoires); the British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

 and the National Libraries of Ireland
National Library of Ireland
The National Library of Ireland is Ireland's national library located in Dublin, in a building designed by Thomas Newenham Deane. The Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism is the member of the Irish Government responsible for the library....

, Scotland
National Library of Scotland
The National Library of Scotland is the legal deposit library of Scotland and is one of the country's National Collections. It is based in a collection of buildings in Edinburgh city centre. The headquarters is on George IV Bridge, between the Old Town and the university quarter...

 and Wales
National Library of Wales
The National Library of Wales , Aberystwyth, is the national legal deposit library of Wales; one of the Welsh Government sponsored bodies.Welsh is its main medium of communication...

; and libraries in national museums and other specialist institutions.

SCONUL is governed by its members whose Representatives meet twice a year, and between meetings by an elected Executive Board. SCONUL is a registered charity
Charitable trust
A charitable trust is an irrevocable trust established for charitable purposes, and is a more specific term than "charitable organization".-United States:...


The SCONUL Executive Director, from 13 September 2010, is Ann Rossiter and the office is based at 102 Euston Street, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, UK, NW1 2HA.
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