Special Interest Groups & Communities of Practice

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
NoWAL has the following Special Interest Groups who meet two or three times a year, allowing for face-to- face discussions on specific current topics / themes, or matters beyond the scope of online discussions, and networking.  All NoWAL SIGs are expected to report to the NoWAL AGM every June using the reporting template (see Nicky Freeman if you need more information)

Academic Librarians' Group
The Group is a network for all Academic Librarians, Liaison Librarians, Subject Librarians or other appropriate members of staff, carrying out a liaison / subject librarian role based in NoWAL member libraries. It provides a forum for discussion and sharing of experience across the member institutions.  The Group is currently chaired by Sheila Murphy and Olwen Pennington of Edge Hill University.  

Terms of Reference
Minutes of the Meeting - 14th November 2019

Minutes of the Meeting - 15th May 2019

Next Meeting - 1.30pm, 21st May 2020 - UCLan 

The Academic Librarians Group has representation from 13 member libraries (LJMU is not currently represented).  

Copyright Group
The Group undertakes the following:

  • To brief and support the NoWAL board, including providing updates at committee meetings
  • To promote good practice and guidance to NoWAL members
  • To facilitate exchange of experience between members via events, training and the discussion list
  • To represent NoWAL on national copyright groups, such as SCONUL
  • To develop and maintain relevant webpages and resources on the NoWAL website.

Terms of Reference


Research Group
The Group aims to communicate, share ideas, questions and best practice relating to research support in North West academic Libraries. It is open to any member of NoWAL working in, or with an interest in, research support and research activities.  The Group's current Chair is Judith Carr from the University of Liverpool, with Katherine Stephan, from the Liverpool john Moores University, as Vice Chair.  

Terms of Reference
Blog Post - Meeting 18th July 2018

The Research Group has representation from all 14 member libraries.  


Special Collections Group
The Group aims to create a forum for librarians in NoWAL library special collections to share experience and best practice as well as provide a conduit for publicising their collections, services and special exhibitions.

Terms of Reference

Communities of Practice (CoP) 
In 2018, NoWAL created the following Community of Practice groups which sprung from NoWAL events.  All NoWAL CoPs are expected to report to the NoWAL AGM every June using the reporting template (see Nicky Freeman if you need more information)

Academic Skills (ASCoP)

The NoWAL Academic Skills Community of Practice is chaired by Craig Morley from the University of Manhester and is:

  • A community of all those involved in information literacy, academic literacy and wellbeing (regardless of job title!)  
  • An opportunity to share, reflect and develop
  • A showcase for new and innovative teaching and learning development practices
  • An opportunity to meet and collaborate with colleagues across the Northwest

The group meets three to four times a year, and is open to new and established staff alike. 

The ASCoP has representation from staff at the following institutions: Bolton; Chester; Cumbria; Edge Hill; Liverpool; Liverpool Hope; LJMU; Manchester; Manchester Met; Salford; and UCLan (plus one partner college - Hugh Baird).  For further details, please contact Nicky Freeman.


The minutes of the meetings can be found here:
 - first meeting on 23rd November 2018 at University of Chester
 - second meeting on 8th March 2019 at UCLan 
 - third
 meeting on 12th July 2019 at Edge Hill University 
 - fourth meeting on 9th December 2019 at University of Salford
Other documents from the meeting: Digital Tools used in Teaching and Academic Skills at Salford

  • The next meeting of the group will be in March 2020 at the University of Manchester followed by a summer meeting at the University of Liverpool.  Details of both meetings will be confirmed nearer the time.  

If you wish to join the ASCoP, please contact Nicky Freeman (n.freeman100@salford.ac.uk) or Craig Morley (craig.morley@manchester.ac.uk).

Buildings and Space Management
This small CoP met on 23rd October 2018 at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (chaired by Jackie Pearce) - notes from the meeting are available here.


Content & Collections CoP
This newly formed CoP has met once so far, in February 2019.  It aims to meet twice a year.  The Terms of Reference can be found here.

Further information is available from the CoP Chair, Sandra Bracegirdle.  Please feel free to contact her to discuss the group further - sandra.bracegirdle@manchester.ac.uk or contact Nicky Freeman (n.freeman100@salford.ac.uk) to be added to the distribution list.   

The Content & Collections CoP has representation from staff at the following institutions: Chester; Edge Hill; Liverpool; Manchester; Manchester Met; Salford; and UCLan.  For further details, please contact Nicky Freeman.

Copyright CoP
The Copyright CoP is chaired by Neil Sprunt from the University of Manchester.  The Terms of Reference for the group can be found here.

The group meets three to four times a year, and is open to new and established staff alike. 

The notes from the meetings are available here:

 - first meeting on 12th July 2018 blog post of the first meeting (written by Neil Sprunt)  

 - second meeting on 5th November 2018 at the University of Liverpool

 - third meeting on 15th February 2019

 - fourth meeting on 28th May 2019 at Manchester Metropolitan University

There is also an interview with Neil - read here his thoughts on the CoP and what he has learnt so far - or find it in the NoWAL Newsletter.  

  • The next meeting is on Monday 9th December 2019 (2:00-4:00pm) at Edge Hill University.  If you'd be interested in attending, please contact Neil.

The Copyright CoP Group has representation from all 14 member libraries.  


The Technology CoP met for the first on 29th October 2018 at Manchester Metropolitan University, the meeting chaired by Emily Shields.  The CoP is looking for additional members - if you would like to join or are interested in what kind of topics they are looking at, see the note from Emily following the first meeting.  

The CoP met again on 14th February 2019 at the University of Manchester's Alan Gilbert Learning Commons.  The meeting firstly explored Manchester's Digilab followed by roundtable discussions on key topics.