1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Director of Library, Learning Support and Culture?
My professional background includes previous roles at Canterbury Cathedral Library, and the Universities of Reading and Birmingham. At Royal Holloway, I am responsible for the strategy and service delivery of the whole department, including collections, services, and space management. As the department supports the entire College community, we interface with every academic department, all professional services, and the Student Union. We also have an externally-facing remit due to our nationally significant collections, which include archives, art and special collections. The role therefore requires me to be both inward- and outward-facing, ensuring that what we’re prioritising in the library aligns with the College’s strategy, and broader national initiatives.
2. Our College's Cultural Services have recently been restructured and restarted, including the appointment of three new colleagues in various roles. What do you hope to achieve through this restructured team?
The reconfiguration is intended to enable our archives, art, exhibitions and special collections services to respond effectively to key ambitions in the College Strategy, and in a co-ordinated and focussed way. For example, our plans include: expanding the student employability opportunities across these services; ensuring a more co-ordinated approach to the care of our unique heritage collections; and ensuring parity in how different services are promoted and embedded into education, research and knowledge exchange planning.
3. What key projects or initiatives are coming up for the Library, Learning Support and Cultural Services?
Our Library plan, aligned with the College’s Strategy, covers 18 areas of activity. To pick just a few projects from the list, these include: hosting summer skills placements on curating diversity, and diversifying reading lists; participating in a national project to better understand the library experience of black students; investigating students’ motivation behind their NSS scores on learning resources; working internally and externally to achieve the affordable transition to open research; completing the paused process of applying for Museum Accreditation; and restarting our exhibitions programme.
4. What do you enjoy most about working at our College?
As with any organisation, it is the people that make Royal Holloway what it is. I’m blessed to have a fantastic team, committed to providing an excellent student and researcher experience, and I appreciate the many other colleagues across the College who so willingly support us in our work. I also enjoy being part of an institution with a long history, as evidenced through our fascinating heritage collections. I’m always conscious of my part in ensuring this rich cultural legacy is adequately protected, curated and developed for future generations.
5. How do you like to spend your free time outside of work?
I am a keen organist and singer, so most Sundays I’m to be found seated on the organ bench accompanying worship in my local church. I also enjoy giving recitals, and so usually have a programme of new music I’m in the process of learning. I like having a fresh musical challenge to concentrate on - it helps me wind down at the end of the day!