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Staff Development: EDI

Information for Library staff in support of professional development


  1. 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 Global Majority staff at the centre of our conversation. This research and report was designed and commissioned in order to help those of us who lead libraries to understand the lived experience of our staff from a Global Majority background.

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

  1. 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.  SCONUL commissioned research to explore whether it would be possible to capture EDI information as part of the existing 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. 

As a result, the SCONUL statistics for the year 2022-23 included a question set on the ethnic backgrounds of the library workforce and SCONUL will be publishing the results of this set alongside the rest of the statistics in Summer 2023.  This will later be followed by a review of the process.

  1. New Leadership Programme scoping study launched

SCONUL is a partner in a research project commissioned to support the creation of a cross-sector Emerging Leaders programme for members of ethnically diverse communities within libraries. The work is being funded by Arts Council England and has sector representation from a number of areas, including CILIP, WHELF and SCURL. Evidence Base, based at Birmingham City University, were chosen to undertake the scoping work and a survey is being carried out amongst staff in UK public, academic and research libraries to ascertain library staff needs in this area. Please see further details from lead partner RLUK: 

  1. Leading on Race Workshops

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: SCONUL will be supporting more of these workshops in 2023. To register an interest in future workshops or for further information, please contact Jenelle Negraeff at

  1. Global Majority staff and allies forum

SCONUL will lead on the Global Majority staff and allies forum in 2024. The forum aims to be a safe space for Global Majority library and information professionals to exchange information about careers and key issues in the academic library and information sector, as well as a network to develop sustainable support systems.  The first Forum meeting was held online in February 2021 and was open to all Global Majority staff working at SCONUL member institutions. A second meeting in September 2021 was also open to allies to attend ( The most recent meeting was held under the auspices of Academic Libraries North in June of 2022. SCONUL will release further details on meetings later in the year.

  1. Thriving in your Career Pt2, 9 June - travel and accommodation bursaries

Academic Libraries North is hosting Thriving in your Career Pt2 on Friday 9 June in Leeds with support from SCONUL, who offered several travel and accommodation bursaries to support staff who would otherwise struggle to attend.

This free face-to-face event hopes to build on the collaborative and supportive event held in June 2022, continuing the theme of how we can best thrive in our careers, whether we are looking to progress into a new role or want to develop in our current one and includes space for us to recognise the structural barriers that stand in our way. Staff from the Global Majority at all grades are encouraged to attend. The event will be held at University of Leeds and the link to register is here:

  1. Sharing resources and best practice

The SCONUL Organisational Development Group previously ran a programme of webinars and developed shared resources, which helped provide 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 meeting 3 times a year for those leading on EDI matters for regional and national library consortia.  For more information, please contact Ann Rossiter at