SCONUL was founded in 1950 as the Standing Conference of National and University Libraries. In 1994 when British polytechnics 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:
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 higher education institutions (not only universities but also higher education colleges and specialist schools and conservatoires); the British Library and the National Libraries of Ireland, Scotland and Wales; and libraries in national museums and other specialist institutions.
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