RLUK is a library member organisation of international standing. It represents excellence both collectively and through individual members. The mission of RLUK is to shape the research library agenda and contribute to the wider knowledge economy through innovative projects and services that add value and impact to the process of research and researcher-training.
By the nature of its remit, RLUK membership is limited to selected institutions in the UK and Ireland. The membership currently consists of 37 research intensive libraries, with the RLUK Board agreeing a cap of a maximum of 40 members. This cap is to ensure that RLUK remains a representative body for its members, ensuring effective lobbying, and undertaking key activities. As we enter an ambitious new strategic period, RLUK is opening an application process for potential new members. This paper outlines the mechanism by which prospective members may apply and by which their application will be assessed.
RLUK’s strategy is set by the membership through an extensive period of consultation. As such, the strategy reflects the members’ priorities. RLUK relies on the active engagement of its members to achieve the aims of the strategy. Therefore, applicants should provide evidence of:
- support for and a commitment to the RLUK mission and strategy, The Library Transforming.
- furthering the work associated with achieving the strategy
- a willingness to contribute to our networks
RLUK takes a holistic view of applicants’ activities, including the institution’s research profile, the support for research provided by the library and the breadth and depth of the collections, including their cultural significance. Applicants will be required to demonstrate either positive support for the highest level of research or that they hold and curate collections of world-wide significance (or, ideally both). They will also be expected to provide a letter of support from a senior executive of the institution, typically at VC/DVC/PVC level.
It is expected that RLUK members support research of international significance. Those applicants who can show that they provide support to research across the full spectrum of academic disciplines can make a strong case. However, RLUK accepts that institutions which are not multi-faculty can still have excellent research libraries, as can smaller research-intensive universities. In either case, details of how the library supports research should be outlined.
Where possible, applicants should provide relevant quantitative data indicating the research strengths of the institution and the library. Applicants should also provide highlights of initiatives and projects that involve the library and support the full research lifecycle, researcher development, research engagement, and research culture.
Applicants should provide evidence for the national and international significance of their collections. We take a broad view of ‘collections’, ranging across the full spectrum of culture and heritage. This could include details of designation or accreditation status (for example, through the Arts Council England scheme), testimonials from academics, cultural impact, etc. Greater weight will be given to those institutions that can show a variety of unique and distinctive collections across a range of disciplines. Again, exceptions will be made for institutions that have a more discipline-focussed range of collections provided those collections are truly exceptional.
It is a condition of membership that applicants agree to sign-up to the RLUK Access Agreement. We appreciate that there may be some exceptions to this and if you have any questions about this, please do get in touch with the RLUK vice-chair and the executive team.
Institutions in the UK or Ireland wishing to apply to become members of RLUK should submit a case following the guidance below to the RLUK Executive (email@example.com) by midnight on 22 April 2022. A membership group drawn from the RLUK community and chaired by the RLUK Vice-Chair will consider applications and make a recommendation to the May meeting of the RLUK Board. If an institution is successful it will be eligible to become a member from the start of the new academic year (1 August 2022 in RLUK’s case).
Submitting an application
Applications should be no more than 2000 words long (excluding supporting statements).
Applications should be submitted as a word or PDF document, with responses to all the following questions:
- Describe how your library aligns with the Mission of RLUK
- Describe how you would support the RLUK strategy, providing details for specific strategic strands and cross-cutting themes. Please add evidence of value you may bring to RLUK, including how you would contribute to RLUK Networks.
- Please outline how the library supports research and researchers
- Please provide evidence for the national and international significance of your collections
- Are there any other factors you would like the committee to take into consideration?