6 Inspirational Women in the Library & Information World

March 8, 2019
Clare Brown

I have to thank my friends overseas for introducing me to International Women’s Day. We’ve marched, sung, cried and debated - but ultimately we spend the day celebrating each other. It has encouraged me to think about the individuals who have - and continue to - shape the library and information profession. This is a list of women who have personally inspired me on my career journey. #BalanceforBetter !!!

woman-281473_1920Image from Pixabay

  • Betty Moys (1928-2002) is arguably the most famous law librarian in the world. Many people use her classification system in their commercial and academic information centres. She was one of the founding members of BIALL which is an invaluable professional body offering advice, learning and networking opportunities to legal librarians.

  • After 13 years at the Bodleian Law Library, Ruth Bird retired in 2017. She oversaw a particularly turbulent period where there were many projects aimed at improving access to important collections. But it was her commitment to the profession as a whole which I found so inspiring. Approachable, knowledgeable and kind, she always has words of encouragement when we speak.

  • For over 30 years, Catherine McArdle has been Deputy Librarian at The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn. Her dedication was deserving of the Wildy-BIALL Librarian of the Year Award in 2013. Lincoln’s Inn library training, e.g. their long running Pepper v Hart research course, always provides an excellent opportunity to practice advanced legal research skills.

  • Fiona Fogden has been an inspirational voice throughout my career. Always insightful and innovative, she has worked with some of the largest law firms in the world to ensure information excellence. She is an interesting speaker at events, and happy to share her expertise and experience with others. Her career path demonstrates our flexibility and capacity for reinvention.

  • The secret to a thriving industry is diversity and disruption - the library world is no exception. I have few words to describe how Jennifer Bayjoo has affected me, so I will use hers: simply ‘powering through together’. She founded DILON (Diversity in Libraries of the North) which has made me look at my profession with new eyes. Listen. Learn. Act. Amplify.

  • The success of Jo Wood’s podcast is awe-inspiring! She started Librarians with Lives (LwL) in 2017 and has released 49 episodes (at time of writing). It features conversations with information workers from a range of sectors and institutions in both the UK and abroad. In her blog, she has been open about personal challenges and how this project has changed her professional life. She has become the voice of the modern information profession.

I am lucky to work in libraries and information because I am surrounded by supportive, sharing, thought-provoking, talented women. These are just 6 women who have rocked my library world - who would be on your list?