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John Leary and Julia Munro to retire

John Leary and Julia Munro

John Leary, Director of Information Technology, and Julia Munro, Director of University Library and Collections Services and University Librarian, have announced their retirements from the University.

Julia joined the University on 1 January 1993 as the Deputy Librarian, and became University Librarian on 1 December 2001. As Deputy she worked to restructure and embed the Library’s liaison teams, ensuring effective communication channels with all academic departments.  She also led the introduction of the Library’s Staff Development Hour – still going strong 20 years later.

As the University Librarian, Julia continued to emphasise a staff development and training culture with the Library’s achievement of IiP accreditation in 2003 – the first part of the University to gain this - and again still maintained today.   The introduction of self-service loans/returns enabled extensions to opening hours over the years, culminating in the 24/7 term time operations of today.  In 2008, she added the additional responsibility of oversight of the University Museums and Special Collections Service (UMASCS), becoming the Head (now Director) of University Library and Collections Services.  UMASCS and the Library now work increasingly closely together to the benefit of both their staff and the users.  She has also absorbed Study Advice and Maths Support and the University’s institutional repository (CentAUR) team into her remit.

Julia Munro, Director of University LibraryIn 2015, she achieved a longstanding ambition when Reading became a member of Research Libraries UK (a very competitive process!).  Another focus has been her endless determination to see the Library’s facilities improved to meet the needs of today’s students, with a number of piecemeal refurbishments over several years but now nearing fulfilment with the current major refurbishment project, due to complete in autumn 2019.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor, commented, “Julia has been an outstanding Director of the University Library and Collections Service. Her passion for all things library and collections is palpable so it has been a pleasure and an honour to work with her.

“I am delighted that the major refurbishment of the University Library began in Julia’s time as she has been a passionate advocate for students and staff having access to the best possible people and facilities. She will be a very hard act to follow but I wish her a long, happy and fulfilling retirement”.

John joined the University on 3 January 2012 as Director of IT Services, becoming Director of IT on 1 September 2014, following the successful restructuring of the service by bringing in school and departmentally based staff into the central team.

John Director, Director of ITHe led the IT workstream within the Efficiency and Effectiveness Programme and many significant developments were accomplished during this time, including: better ways of integrating data between our core systems (the “Enterprise Service Bus”); the introduction of remote support tools for our IT support staff; an improved system for managing our IT user accounts, and improvements in our governance of IT procurement arrangements. The foundations laid during that Programme are now underpinning and enabling many of our current service developments, such as the EMA Programme and Henley’s AHEP Programme.

The Vice-Chancellor said, “John has given great service to the University in his nearly seven years with us. He has combined great technical expertise with a calm and reassuring style. John has also been expert in making even the most complex IT developments sound understandable and accessible to users.

“In John’s time, the University has seriously stepped up its investment in information technology and systems. It is to John’s immense credit that in the midst of such change, he has ensured that students and staff have continued to receive excellent support.

“I wish John a very happy retirement as he undertakes new ventures in his post-university life”.

John retires on 30 June, with his last day in the University being Monday 18th June. The process of recruiting his successor is underway, with interviews being held on Monday 11 June.

Julia retires on Friday 30 November and the process of recruiting her successor will begin shortly, with the intention that the new appointment will be in post as of Monday 3 December.

Richard Messer, the University Secretary and Chief Strategy Officer, is leading the recruitment process in both cases.

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