Following a call for nominations in October 2018, RLUK has elected a new Vice-Chair and six new members to its Board of Directors, effective from the date of the recent AGM, 21 March 2019.

Jessica Gardner, University of Cambridge and a current member of the Board, stood unopposed for the role of Vice-Chair and will serve in this role for two years before succeeding to the role of Chair in 2021.

Jessica Gardner said: ‘I have gained enormously from the insights and experience from peers across the RLUK network. The opportunity to give something back as vice-chair, then chair, means a great deal to me, and with a new strategy in place it’s an ideal time to act and work on behalf of RLUK membership to further our powerful agenda for scholarship and research libraries.’

The six new Board members elected to an initial three-year term are Nick Barratt, Senate House Libraries; Stella Butler, University of Leeds; Diane Job, University of Birmingham; Caroline Taylor, University of Leicester. Jill Taylor-Roe, Newcastle University, and Masud Khokhar, University of York, had previously served six-months on the Board as co-opted members but were formally elected for a new three-year term.

Robin Green, University of Warwick, is RLUK’s new Chair and he commented: ‘I’d like to welcome (for some, welcome back!) our new Board members. The wide range of experience and interests represented in the refreshed Board will bring added drive to further progressing our Strategy. Thanks to Nicola’s efforts in her time as Chair, RLUK is in a strong position and we can now build on this. I’m grateful to Jess for taking on the role of Vice-Chair and eventual Chair, and look forward to working closely with her and Board members over the coming period.’


Learn more about RLUK’s new Vice-Chair

Dr Jessica Gardner started her current role as University Librarian and Director of Library Services for the University of Cambridge in April 2017. In that role, she is also a member of the Legal Deposit Librarians Committee, a Director of the Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries, a Trustee of the Sir Winston Churchill Archives at Churchill College, Cambridge, and a fellow of Selwwn College, Cambridge. Jessica also represents Cambridge as its library representative on the International Alliance of Research Libraries (IARU).

Jessica joined the RLUK Board in April 2013, just before she left her role as Head of Library and Culture Services at the University of Exeter for the post of University Librarian at the University of Bristol. Whilst at Bristol, Jessica laid the foundations for the University’s major capital investment in a new University Library, and led institutional initiatives to develop a roadmap for investment in learning spaces for independent study. She first joined Exeter, as Head of Special Collections, in 2001; and went on to lead a wider portfolio, including art and culture, before stepping up in 2009 to lead the library teams through the rapid changes associated with the development of Exeter’s ground-breaking Forum project. Also at Exeter, Jessica established her professional interest and leadership in open access, which has continued through subsequent roles and culminated in the development at Cambridge of the University’s position statement on Open Research.

Jessica began her career at the University of Leeds, where she describes having undertaken a decade-long apprenticeship in the University Library, alongside her undergraduate and post-graduate studies. At Leeds, Jessica worked in most of the library departments, from facilities to cataloguing and from reader services to special collections. It was in Special Collections at the Brotherton that Jessica worked closely with literary archives and manuscripts, a focus that she made the subject of her PhD, and her early to mid-career, and which informed her most recent work for the RLUK Board as Special Collections Champion.


Learn more about RLUK’s new Board members:

Dr Nick Barratt FRHistS joined the University of London’s Senate House Library in 2015 as the Associate Director, Collections and Engagement, moving from The National Archives. Having taken up a role as acting Director from August 2017, he was appointed in post in April 2018. Other current roles include Honorary Associate Professor of Public History at the University of Nottingham and committee member for the Community Archives and Heritage Group, reflecting his training as a historian and PhD in medieval history, as well as a research and media background in personal heritage. He is also a board member of SCONUL.

Dr Stella Butler joined the University of Leeds in 2011 as University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection. Stella chairs the panel for the Designation Scheme of Arts Council England which aims to identify and celebrate collections of outstanding significance held in museums, libraries and archives across England. She was Chair of Research Libraries UK between 2013 and 2015 and will be joining the Board again in March 2019.  She is a member of the Executive Board of Sconul and chairs the Sconul Content Strategy Group. She also chairs the Management Board of White Rose University Press and the management committee of Chetham’s Library in Manchester, which was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. She is a Patron of the Pankhurst Trust, which secured 62 Nelson Street Manchester, the birthplace of the suffragette movement as a Women’s Centre. Stella has published widely on the history of science and medicine and on library and heritage issues.

Diane Job moved to the University of Birmingham in 2009 to take up the post of Director of Library Services. Diane’s portfolio includes responsibility for Library Services and Special Collections; recently her remit has been expanded recently to include other shared learning spaces on campus as well as development and management of all centrally managed teaching spaces.

Diane oversaw the development of the University’s new Main Library which opened in autumn 2016 and is currently involved in the development of a teaching and learning building on an adjacent plot.

Phase 1 of The University of Birmingham’s overseas campus in Dubai opened in Sept 2018 and Diane and her team are currently working towards the project for the full campus there.

Caroline Taylor is Librarian at the University of Leicester. She has over 20 years of experience in senior leadership roles in the Library sector. Many of these have been in public libraries and local government, including, Acting Head of Libraries in the London Borough of Camden, Client Manager for Libraries and Archives and later Lifelong Learning Manager in the City of Westminster, Head of Library and Information Services in the London Borough of Richmond and County Librarian for Oxfordshire. She moved into academic libraries 9 years ago, becoming Head of Library and Learning Resources at Nottingham Trent University and latterly in 2013, University Librarian at Leicester. Caroline’s portfolio at Leicester includes the University Library, the Leicester Learning Institute (curriculum development, student learning and educational practice), records management and data protection. Her professional interests are wide ranging and include collection development, learning space design and leadership development. Caroline is Vice Chair of SCONUL and a trustee of the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust.

Masud Khokhar joined the University of York as Director of Library and Archives in 2018 where he oversees all key developments and contributes to the overall governance of Information Services Directorate. Masud’s career has focused on digital leadership and innovation in the rapidly changing library environment. He has extensive experience in strategy development, digital innovation, and staff empowerment gained during a varied career in private and higher education sectors with roles at Bodleian Libraries, Lancaster University and the University of York. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Research Libraries UK (RLUK) where he leads on the Digital Scholarship theme.

Jill Taylor-Roe is Director of Academic Services and University Librarian at Newcastle University. The role includes strategic oversight of the University’s Learning and Teaching Development Service, Writing Development Centre and Print Services.  She began her career in Library Acquisitions, focusing on procurement and collection development activity. In 1994, she led a small project group who established the North East and Yorkshire Academic Libraries (NEYAL) purchasing consortium to leverage better procurement deals for library materials.  The consortium is still thriving, with a membership that has expanded far beyond the original cohort – it is now the second largest library purchasing group in the UK.  As Head of Liaison and Academic Services at Newcastle, Jill led the transformation of the Library’s Special Collections and Archives, allied to the creation of an award-winning Educational Outreach team. She has extensive experience of regional and national committee work having served as a member of key groups such as the Jisc Content Strategy Group, UK Serials Group Main Committee and Education Committee, together with numerous publisher library advisory boards.  Her current professional interests include scholarly communication, special collections and archives, educational outreach, public engagement and leadership development. Jill is a qualified executive coach and mentor and works with colleagues in the University’s organisational development unit to facilitate leadership development activity not just for library staff, but for professional staff across the wider University.