About The Mercian Collaboration

The Mercian Collaboration is a professional network principally formed from SCONUL member higher education libraries based in the East and West Midlands of England.  As a regional subgroup of SCONUL, any library service based in the Midlands, who are SCONUL members, are eligible for Collaboration membership (see eligibility below). The Collaboration provides a space to work together to explore training and development, and to seek efficiencies on behalf of our institutions and the wider community. Members draw on their own and each other’s good practice and ideas, as well as their awareness of relevant ideas and developments from outside the Collaboration.

While a Steering Group and the Collaboration's Officer manage operations, the Mercian Collaboration works in a number of way to achieve and further its aims, including:

  • Developing strategic and operational plans and through them enabling a programme of activities across the region
  • Holding meetings to conduct Collaboration business, exchange experience and identify current best practice
  • Offering member exclusive events, to provide training and development opportunities for awareness-raising, skills development and professional thinking to support the range of members’ requirements
  • Engaging the skills and experience of members’ staff in shared approaches to opportunities and challenges
  • Developing relations with and learning from others who share similar interests as well as working with other relevant groups as appropriate

The Collaboration funds its activities, through levying membership charges and through other agreed means. Cost models are proposed annually by the Treasurer, on behalf of the Steering Group, for consideration by Members.

Membership Eligibility

As noted above, all regional members of SCONUL are welcome to apply to join the Mercian Collaboration. Members and their staff are expected and encouraged to participate fully take a full-participation in the life and work of the Collaboration, in terms of: subgroup membership, event hosting, Steering Group and Board membership and attendance at our events.

  • Organisations who are full SCONUL members, located within the region and request membership will normally have an automatic right to join the Collaboration.
  • Applications from Associate members of SCONUL will be considered by the Steering Group, and approved by the Board, to confirm organisation suitability against a number of criteria, including but not limited to: maintenance of an appropriately sized library service and commercial conflicts of interest.

In both cases, membership fees will be levied at the appropriate tier and satisfied before membership commences. For more information on membership contact the Officer or Chair.

Governance

Directors of Member Libraries form the Collaboration's governing body, whom elect a Steering Group which has oversight of the Collaboration's activities and ensures progress of its plans. The Steering Group holds separate meetings, and comprises a Chair, Vice Chair, and Treasurer, with the Development Officer serving as an ex officio member and secretary. Steering Group officers normally serve a 2 year period of office, and are eligible to stand again after this period. Notably, the Vice Chair normally succeeds as Chair. Other Directors are co-opted as required to ensure a broad representation of interests from across the membership on the Group.  

The Collaboration normally meets twice yearly (normally March and October), with Library Directors expected to attend the meetings. Special Interest SubGroups maintain their own meeting patterns, and report to the Directors via formal and informal routes. The Steering Group normally meets four times annually, via telecon, although additional meetings are sometimes requested by the Chair.

Executive Support & Operational Management

A Development Officer, employed in a part-time capacity on behalf of the Collaboration by SCONUL, reports directly to the Chair and Steering Group. As de facto Chief Operating Officer, their role is to provide executive management of the Collaboration, assisting in realising its objectives, projects, groups, services and developments. The Officer leads on coordinating organisational governance and satisfying formal reporting requirements by and to the Collaboration’s governing and parent bodies.

Crucially, they facilitate operational matters including communication, liaison and relationships between special interest groups and their officers, as the Chair and Steering Group's representative. Consequently, they are an ex officio member on all special interest group committees and organising bodies, where they advise, inform and help to guide activities. Additionally, they are the primary point of contact for all external enquiries along with maintaining the Collaboration’s online and social media presences.