Remembering Ann Rees, Librarian

Library staff were saddened to hear of the death of Ann Rees (Continuing Education Librarian 1982-2005) on March 11th, 2022.

When reflecting on the loss of a former colleague, particularly one who was in post for so many years, it may seem commonplace to say that they embodied the spirit of the organisation, but this was very much true of Ann (pictured above left with members of library staff in 2004) and her quiet, steadfast commitment to the ethos of Continuing Education and its students.

Ann was my line manager when I first joined the library staff, and I remember her as someone who felt deeply that the Continuing Education Library exists to provide a welcoming learning environment for Continuing Education students, particularly for those who may not previously have had an opportunity to enjoy all the benefits, social and academic, that a Continuing Education course can bring. She had a strong innate sense of the importance of equal opportunity, and advocated the needs of Continuing Education Library users within the University at a time when their status as a unique group was perhaps less widely recognised than it is now.

Ann exuded a quiet authority, but was self-effacing in her role as Continuing Education Librarian, always prioritising a sense of duty of service to the library collections and readers. She cared very much about her library staff in whom she instilled the importance of maintaining high professional standards, something which she achieved with an understated sense of humour and a genuine concern for staff wellbeing and development. Her rigorous care for the library collections, and for readers as individuals, set a tone which has been carried forward over the years, even as library services in Oxford have undergone periods of significant change.  

During her time as Continuing Education Librarian, Ann oversaw the development of the library from very modest beginnings ( little more than a room of books), all the way through to its incorporation, in 2005, into what was then known as Oxford University Library Services, (now the Bodleian Libraries). Ann was very concerned at that time of transition that the individual identity and ethos of the Continuing Education Library be maintained and developed, and it very much due to her efforts, as well as those of her successors, that this remains so today. The Department for Continuing Education, and the Bodleian Libraries, as well as thousands of readers who use the Continuing Education Library each year have very much benefited from Ann’s influence and legacy.

Prior to her arrival at Continuing Education, Ann was a teacher. She later worked at Guildhall Library in London, and maintained an interest in London history.

We extend our thoughts to all those who knew Ann, and especially to her husband Mervyn.

Amy Wolstenholme
Bodleian Continuing Education Library


Published 25 May 2022