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Library waves farewell to Ian Burn after 32 years

Ian Burn

'I have always enjoyed the variety of my job, dealing with any problems that arise around the Library, and working with different people on a day to day basis.'

Ian Burn retires at the end of the month after working in the University's main Library for 32 years.

Ian joined the University on moving to Reading in 1979. His first role in the Library was as an Administrative Assistant responsible for looking after the library building, managing the porters and handing out weekly pay packets to the library staff.

The Library had a large extension added in 1984 to accommodate the growing student population and resources, and Ian's role has developed over the years to fit with the changing technology and purpose of the Library.

He said: "Many years ago students would be queuing out of the door to get all their photocopying done before vacation time, for example. Now that they rely far more on computers my role as Support Services Manager has adapted with these changes. The atmosphere has also changed in recent years and it has certainly become louder, what with all the students' mobile phones, laptops and group work.

"I remember when we still used 'Telex' machines to send internal messages, and memos had to be typed out on a type writer! We had to keep a copy of every memo sent and received, and the Librarians would have to make new cards for every book in the Library every time a new cataloguing system was introduced. Things were a lot more labour intensive then, so the introduction of email and networked computers has definitely made things simpler.

"I have always enjoyed the variety of my job, dealing with any problems that arise around the Library, and working with different people on a day to day basis. Although I'm looking forward to retiring, I know I'm going to miss the pleasant working environment at the University and all the great people I have worked with over the years." 

Ironically in the lead up to his retirement, Ian and his wife have actually moved closer to the University, but they are planning on spending a lot of their time at their house in the Isle of Skye. Ian is also hoping to dedicate more time to researching the history of Reading and the Whiteknights campus.

Ian's last day is this Friday 30 September. Friends and colleagues will be saying farewell to Ian at 5.00pm in the Library on that day.

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