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wendy parker

Miss Wendy M Parker, BA, ALA

As many colleagues will be aware, Miss Wendy Parker, former Assistant Librarian in the University Library, died on 26 March 2013.

Wendy Parker graduated in French and English from the University College of North Wales, Bangor, in 1954.  She completed a Diploma in Education, also at Bangor, in the following year and then spent some five years teaching in secondary schools.  At that point, she enrolled at Ealing Technical College on a course leading to the professional examinations of the Library Association.  She became an Associate of the Library Association (ALA) in 1964.  Having spent a year in a branch library in Aylesbury, she took up an appointment as Assistant Librarian at the Royal Society of Medicine, in London, in 1963.  Three years later, in 1966, she moved to a post at the University of Bath.  Her responsibilities at both the Royal Society of Medicine and Bath involved a substantial amount of cataloguing but she also gained experience in other fields, including the provision of readers’ advisory services, an area for which she developed a particular appetite and aptitude; this was to stand her in good stead later in her career.  At both institutions, she impressed with her diligence and intelligence.

In 1970, Wendy Parker took up her appointment at Leeds.  Initially, she was based in the Medical Library where she quickly proved herself a capable and authoritative presence.  Within a few years of her arrival, however, she became involved in preparatory work for the running of the new Edward Boyle Library (known originally as the South Library) and, on its opening in 1975, she was put in charge of reader services.  This was a particularly demanding role.  At the time, the Edward Boyle Library was the busiest library in the University system with more than one million visitors a year.  With self-service facilities still a distant prospect, staff were under considerable pressure to maintain a prompt and efficient service.  Wendy Parker was more than equal to the task, however.  She ably led the more than thirty staff for whose training, supervision and deployment she was responsible.  Friendly and approachable, she was also possessed of considerable qualities of authority, diplomacy, fairness and resilience to complement her professional expertise.  Liked and respected by her colleagues, she also enjoyed the full confidence of readers, who recognised that her over-riding motivation was to create the conditions enabling them to use the Library as smoothly and effectively as possible.  Her devotion to her responsibilities moved the then Librarian, Dennis Cox, to describe her as being foremost amongst those who had ‘borne the burden and heat of the day’.

Following a brief return to duties in the Medical and Dental Library, Wendy Parker retired in 1992.  In retirement, she continued her voluntary work as a reader for the RNIB/University Recording Centre on campus.  Her varied outside interests included history, her garden and her cats.