CILIP North West: Past and Present

The library and information profession has always had strong representation in the North West, and its influence can be felt beyond the region. The information below provides a brief overview of the Networks origins and history.

Library Association North Western Branch Archives (1896-2002)

The North Western Branch of the Library Association was the first non-Metropolitan body within the Library Association, established in Manchester on 15th November 1896. Until 1905 it ran alongside an earlier, non-Library Association organisation, the Librarians of the Mersey District, founded in 1887 to discuss mutual concerns of a new profession – itself the first regional grouping of librarians to be set up outside London. Both organisations were dominated by public librarians (although other groups were in membership) and they were masterminded by public chief librarians such as Charles Madeley of Warrington, Charles W. Sutton of Manchester and Pete Cowell of Liverpool, themselves founder members of the Library Association in 1877, and also long-standing members of its national council.

The historical significance of the Branch is great, because of its establishment in a region of the UK which contributed significantly to the founding and growth of the library profession from 1850 (in 1905 the North West accounted for 14% of the total membership of the Library Association throughout Great Britain).

Information kindly supplied by John Tiernan in 1998, former LANWB Archivist.

CILIP North West Branch Archives (2002-2014)

In 2002 the Library Association and the Institute of Information Scientists merged to form CILIP and new regional branches were formed. CILIP NW Branch strived to be inclusive of members and ran events relevant to most sectors of membership. Similarly the committee comprised members from different sectors including student members and new professionals. The archived newsletters give a flavour of the interests and activities of the branch over the years it existed.

In response to the challenges of sustaining regional branches of the Career Development and Professional Training and Education Groups of CILIP alongside the main regional branches CILIP decided to merger these regional groups with the local branch to form new Regional Member Networks. The North West Member Network was therefore launched on 5th March 2014.

Fiona Hughes, Chair CILIP North West Branch 2007-2009.


A copy of Library Association North Western Branch Archives (1994-2002) and CILIP North West Branch Archives (2002-2014) can be found at Manchester Central Library.

An inventory of those archives can be found below.