A community of practice is a group of individuals who come together to share ideas, develop expertise and solve problems around a topic of interest.

Etienne Wenger uses the following definition: 


“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”
Etienne Wenger et al., Cultivating Communities of Practice, 2002

There are over 20 communities of practice developed by NHS knowledge and library staff covering a wide range of topics of interest. 

Some arrange meet-ups in person, online webinars, exchange ideas and good practice via mailing lists and many have discussion boards and shared documents as part of a FutureNHS Workspace. 

You can join as many communities as you wish and manage your messaging preferences within settings so you don’t get overwhelmed. 

To make the most of your community start by introducing yourself and sharing your interest in the topic.  Don’t be afraid to ask a question or share an example of some work you have done. 

Communities can be fantastic store-houses of example documents and templates but also a place to share the know-how of how to approach something new. 

Don’t forget to hold an annual review of your community to check it is still relevant, active and meeting needs. 

To thrive, communities need to be nurtured.  Find out more on the Knowledge Management Toolkit Communities of Practice page.

Communities of practice on FutureNHS

Apprentices: Knowledge and Library Services

A space to share your questions, to learn from others and connect with apprentices across the country.  

Apprenticeships for Managers: Knowledge and Library Services

A place for managers to ask questions and share good practice about recruiting and working with knowledge and library service apprentices. 

Corporate Librarians' Community of Practice

A platform for colleagues who work in Knowledge Management or corporate (non-clinical) information management in library services.

The group focuses on encouraging communication and collaboration between colleagues, to develop expertise and promote shared innovation.

Quarterly virtual meet-up. 

Current and Emerging Technology in Knowledge and Library Services

Keeps an eye on current and possible future developments in technology.

Thinks about their implications for healthcare; shares case studies and best practice.

Virtual meet-up every other month with guest speakers.

Integrated care Knowledge and Library Services

For KLS staff who are working towards or interested in serving health and care staff across their ICS. This workspace is for sharing what's worked - and what hasn't worked so well - on this journey.  Regular meet-ups at least once a quarter. 

Knowledge and Library Hub

This is a place for shared learning and that will help drive development of the NHS Knowledge and Library Hub.   

Knowledge Mobilisation and Management

For anyone with an interest in applying knowledge management or knowledge mobilisation tools and techniques to health and care. 

It is a safe space to ask questions, raise queries, test out ideas and share what has worked and what has been learnt from what did not work. 

Quarterly virtual meet-up. 

Leadership Alumni for NHS Knowledge and Library Services

A space for the alumni of the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programmes to continue their learning journey, share great resources and reflect on leadership topics. 

Literature Search Expert Peer Review

This workspace provides NHS Library and Knowledge staff with facilities to share literature searches for peer support and review.

For both beginners and more experienced searchers there is merit in seeking and obtaining feedback on examples of searches undertaken.

Such feedback provides opportunities for both continuous improvement and provides assurance from peers in terms of the quality of professional practice. 

NHS-HE Libraries Group West Midlands

This group aims to promote the sharing of information and good practice, and where applicable, facilitating collaboration amongst libraries supporting the same groups of students and researchers. 

NHS Repositories

A collaborative space for NHS and non-commercial health institutions in the UK to share learning and ideas.

Primary Care Knowledge Specialists

The aim of the CoP is enable joint working and the sharing of best practice amongst knowledge specialists working with Primary Care Training Hubs. Virtual meet-ups every other month. 

Postgraduate Study for NHS Knowledge and Library Specialists

for colleagues working within NHS Knowledge and Library Services (KLS) who are preparing to or are currently undertaking a postgraduate qualification related to libraries, knowledge and information management.

Invited members include those who successfully applied for bursary funding from NHS England, those being funded by their employing organisation or those who are self-funded.

A shared area for students to access peer-support from other students based within healthcare libraries.  

Promotional Resources for NHS Knowledge for Healthcare

In this workspace you can resources you can use to promote knowledge and library services within your own organisations and systems. 

Search and Training Forums (London, South East and South West)

A sharing and collaborative space for members of different search and training forums across London, South East and South West.

Sustainability in NHS Knowledge and Library Services

For members of the KLS community with an interest in sustainability in the NHS.  Discuss ideas, share practice and help people get involved in sustainable initiatives both nationally and locally. 

Regional library management systems

Workspaces to discuss regional library management systems and share documentation.

Other communities of practice and networking groups

CILIP Health Libraries Group

A UK based network of individuals working in or professionally interested in health and social care.


HILJClub is an initiative aimed at encouraging engagement with articles published in HILJ (Health Information & Libraries Journal). 

It can be a helpful nudge to a bit of CPD, something for a CILIP revalidation log or just to satisfy your curiosity.

University Health & Medical Librarians Group (UHMLG)

Brings together health care librarians and information professionals from the NHS, Higher Education and related sectors to discuss topics of mutual interest, and to share experiences of best practice and effective collaboration.

See also the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Specialty KLS discussion list.


Please let us know if you would like your Community of Practice listed here or if you would like help setting up your own community of practice.  Contact the team on  [email protected].