NoWAL Annual Review 2019 A look back at NoWAL's activities and achievements

Chair’s Reflection on 2019

Welcome to our Annual Review showcasing the activities of NoWAL in 2019.

2019 has been a very busy year for NoWAL, especially in relation to the very successful conference “Exploring & supporting diversity in academic libraries.” The theme really hit a chord with delegates and we will continue to explore related themes and topics through future training and development events. Running the conference also made us stop and think about how we run our events to ensure they are inclusive and this has been embedded into how we plan and run all our events. A big thank you to the Conference Team who put so much hard work into the preparations and ensured the day went well.

Susan Murray, NoWAL Chair

The NoWAL Plan has been revised and updated by the Board to cover the period 2019-2022. A survey of Directors has been undertaken to help identify priorities and Operations Group members will lead the key themes. Some early examples include exploring the way our training and development is delivered in particular through online delivery and we will also be gathering some key data for benchmarking purposes.

NoWAL and Northern Collaboration decided it was time to explore the relationship between the two consortia so a consultant has looked at the options available to us for the future. This involved a survey to staff and I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to complete this; your contributions are valued. We hope to be able to take this work forward early in the New Year.

I would like to thank all the officers for their contributions this year and also Nicky Freeman, our Operations Officer.

Best wishes, Susan Murray, NoWAL Chair

LJMU Aldham Robarts Pavillion Extension

NoWAL Operations Group

At the NoWAL AGM in June 2019, there were several changes to the Operations Group as officers reached the end of their terms of office:

Heather Thrift (LJMU), Sandra Bracegirdle (Manchester) and Ruth Jenkins (Manchester Metropolitan) stepped down from their roles.

In a change to previous years, the vacant positions were offered to both the Board and Senior Staff Group and two member of the Senior Group have joined the Operations Group as a result.

The Operations Group now comprises:

  • Susan Murray - Chair (Liverpool Hope University)
  • Julia Martin - Vice Chair (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)
  • Julie Hitchen - Treasurer (University of Central Lancashire)
  • Phil Cheeseman - Training & Development Lead (Lancaster University)
  • Paul Everitt - Senior Staff Link (Manchester Metropolitan University)
NoWAL Operations Group: L-R Julia Martin, Julie Hitchen, Paul Everitt, Phil Cheeseman, Susan Murray
Nicky Freeman, NoWAL Operations Officer
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

NoWAL Plan

During the first few months of 2019, the aims and objectives of the NoWAL Plan 2016–2019 were reviewed and completed, with items agreed for rollover to a new plan.

The NoWAL Chair would like to thank members of the Operations Group for their efforts on the completion of the Plan’s objectives, not least Sandra Bracegirdle, former Chair, and Heather Thrift, former Training & Development Lead.

NoWAL Plan 2019 – 2022

NoWAL Plan 2019-2022

The new NoWAL Plan was drawn up after consultation with the Board and Senior Staff Group, whose ideas and feedback went into the creation of the new more streamlined and achievable plan. The plan for 2019 – 2022 retains the three strategic themes, but their reach and remit have been amended to suit the style of the changed objectives. Progress made on the Plan will be reported annually at the Annual General Meeting in June.

The new strategic leads for the themes are:

  • Knowledge Exchange & Sharing – Paul Everitt and Julia Martin
  • Service Development & Planning – Susan Murray
  • Workforce Development & Planning – Phil Cheeseman

Further information on the plan, including the aims and objectives against each theme, can be found on the NoWAL website.

University of Manchester Main Library

Activities of Special Interest and Functional Groups

University of Cumbria, Lancaster Campus Library

Communities of Practice

Since the end of 2018, there have been a number of Communities of Practice (CoPs) developed within NoWAL.

The CoPs have all been set up to enable staff to come together to share experiences and issues, promote good practice and to showcase the best activities and developments taking place across NoWAL.

There are currently 5 CoPs which are in various stages of development:

  • Academic Skills
  • Building & Space Management
  • Content & Collections
  • Copyright
  • Technology
University of Bolton Peter Marsh Library

Examples of activities undertaken by the CoPs:

The University of Salford's Clifford Whitworth Library

NoWAL Events 2019

During 2019, the events which took place across NoWAL’s institutions included exchanges of experience, TeachMeets, Workshops & visits on a diverse selection of topics. Each event was extremely well attended, with feedback suggesting attendees had gathered lots of tips and ideas to share at their home institutions.

University of Chester Seaborne Library

We get great feedback from our events:

"Hearing new ideas from people who are already implementing them, and who can discuss practicalities and the ups and downs that have led them to the finished result, really brings things to life."

"Another interesting and useful event and a great chance to catch up with colleagues."

"A really successful day with thought-out content. the day felt packed with information."

"There were some really innovative ideas and practices presented throughout the session that I can see my institution using as inspiration for activities."

"I really enjoy NoWAL events and get a lot from them. Always interesting and informative."

"The presentations were all excellent and it was really good to chat to people before and after the session, as well as during the break."

"I found the whole event useful from the presentations to the group chats."

University of Central Lancashire Library

NoWAL Conference

Exploring & supporting diversity in academic libraries Friday 28th June 2019 - Foresight Centre, University of Liverpool

#nowal19 focused on issues of diversity and inclusivity in academic libraries and hosted 131 people, across a full day of activity and collaboration. Speakers and delegates came from across NoWAL as well as from many universities around the UK, from Edinburgh to Southampton.

Activity at the NoWAL Conference #nowal19

The Programme offered a balance of papers and workshops across the four themes of the conference: Accessibility; Collaboration & Engagement; Inclusive Workplace Culture; and Mental Health & Wellbeing. The inspiring keynote came from Dr Jason Arday addressing the persistence of racism in HE and advocating for the decentering and decolonising of knowledge and curricula. A first for a NoWAL conference was the post-lunch panel question and answer session, chaired by Susan Murray. This proved a welcome addition to the programme, with great involvement from the audience & insightful comments from the panel

University of Liverpool Sydney Jones Library

The conference raised the profile of NoWAL on a national level with its combination of external delegates and speakers coupled with the innovative NoWAL projects and activities showcased, and via the Twitter buzz which began well ahead of the conference and continued throughout the day and beyond.

The good practice around equality and diversity principles learned during the organisation of the event has been rolled out to all NoWAL events and themes from the conference will be followed up at future events.

NoWAL Conference Team 2019: L-R Jason Arday (Keynote Speaker), Nicola Gregory (Liverpool), Vanessa McHugh (Manchester), Carly Rowley (Liverpool), Mark Burgess (Manchester Metropolitan), Sara Wadee (Salford), Matthew Adams (Liverpool Hope), Padma Inala (Manchester), Nicky Freeman (NoWAL)

“My brain is still fizzing with everything from #nowal19 yesterday but I think my biggest takeaway for equality and diversity (not just in libraries but the world right now) would be from @YearwoodJackman that we need to walk in hope.” Quote (via Twitter) from @AlicePonderland

The Panel from the NoWAL Conference Q&A Session: L-R Imogen Christie, Lorraine Beard (Manchester), Elaine Chapman (Technological University Dublin), Marilyn Clarke (Goldsmiths), Jason Arday (Keynote)
Lancaster University Library

Looking Ahead to 2020

NoWAL Training & Development

NoWAL has a packed programme of Training & Development events in the first half of 2020, with plans for 18 exchanges of experience, teachmeets and workshops, plus two visits to local libraries and collections.

In this non-conference year, NoWAL will also host and pay for 4 expert events to support the work of its member libraries:

  • Systematic Reviews – February 2020
  • Effective Emergency Planning – May 2020
  • Negotiating & Influencing Skills – Date TBC
  • Preservation and conservation – Date TBC
Liverpool Hope University Sheppard-Worlock Library

NoWAL / Northern Collaboration Review

During November 2019, a consultant was employed by both consortia to look at the synergies and duplications across our activities. The options paper from this consultation will be reviewed in early 2020, with the outcome and plans for the future disseminated to the members during the year.

Manchester Metropolitan University Library


Royal Northern College of Music