It seems a long time ago now that, back in 2015 (I think), HCLU extended its role to support LKS across the North.  How did we feel about becoming a northern network back then?  We all respond differently to change.  Some of us quickly saw the opportunities of working as a larger network.  For many of us, moving to a larger Network also reinforced how much we value our strong local networks: LIHNN, YOHHLNet, and Health Libraries North.

Some who were leading local inter-library loan networks (Steve Glover and Hugh Hanchard in particular I think) were quick to spot an opportunity to share more widely and thus a new, baby PANDDA was born (always a cause for international celebration). Specialist groups e.g. Mental Health Xtra and Northern Primary Care/Commissioning Librarians have embraced new members from across the North.  It certainly seems to make sense when working in such specialist areas, to widen the net and include as many colleagues as is feasible.

In 2018, HCLU launched a Northern CPD Programme.  The range of training has been welcomed and attendance seems to suggest that people do think it is worth travelling for.  In 2018 health literacy training was delivered to participants across the North and we will be working as a network to roll this training out to our colleagues across the region.  In 2019, there will be bespoke CASP Training delivered to Northern LKS staff and a Northern Healthcare LKS Conference to showcase best practice in the North. 

In 2019 a Northern Library Managers Network will be established (with virtual follow-up meetings for those who can’t attend in person).  There will be benefits to meeting as a larger group and learning from a broader range of services and colleagues.  Equally, in a changing NHS environment, it is important to work collaboratively at a local level.  Meanwhile, a small Northern Website Group have been busily working away developing a shiny, new Northern NHS LKS website which will be launched very soon.

And here we have the launch of Northern Lights which is an important step forward in helping us to move towards a sense of Northern identity.  So, we have come a long way since 2015.  The challenge will be to continue to work together and make best use of our resources across the North while maintaining our local support networks.  I am pretty sure we are up to the task.

Joanne Naughton
NHS LKS Development Manager – North East
Health Education England