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Norfolk Libraries appoints new head

The new head of Norfolk Libraries believes the county's libraries "will play a key role in Norfolk’s recovery from the pandemic".

Jill Turrell is taking on the role of head of service, following the retirement of Jan Holden who has overseen Norfolk’s libraries for over 20 years.

Jill said: "This an exciting opportunity with an extraordinary service so I can’t wait to get started.

Jill Terrell (45553210)
Jill Terrell (45553210)

"Our libraries are at the centre of each community they serve, and they will play a key role in Norfolk’s recovery from the pandemic."

She added: "Many of us have rekindled our love for books in the last year and our libraries are ready and waiting to provide everyone with a great choice of material, whether that's books on the shelf or an ebook.

"Beyond the books, we have seen each library become a hub for local groups and services that are a lifeline to so many. We have seen our digital offer transform in lockdown which has allowed us to keep in contact with even more people, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back when it is safe to do so.”

Jill moves into the role from her current position as an assistant head of service, having joined Norfolk libraries in 2017. Her library career began over 30 years ago and has seen her serve as the head of libraries in Cambridgeshire and at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

She will be taking over from Jan Holden, who received a British Empire Medal in the 2020 Queen’s Honours for services to public libraries.

Jan said: "After a long career working in libraries, in Islington, Sheffield, South Wales and finally in Norfolk I’m getting to the time in my life when I need to think about stepping aside and letting someone else take over.

"The people I’ve had the privilege to work alongside, and the difference they’ve made to people’s lives has really inspired me over the past 21 years. 2020 and the pandemic really showed what libraries and library staff can do."

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council said: "We are delighted to confirm the appointment of such an experienced and well-respected member of our team.

"The role attracted very skilled candidates from far and wide which I think reflects the excellent reputation of both our county and the esteem in which our library service is held."

Norfolk’s libraries are currently open with an ‘at the door’ service which offers a range of borrowing opportunities.

A provisional reopening date of April 12 was given in the government's roadmap, but has yet to be confirmed. The Norfolk Library and Information Service will release plans when further information becomes available.

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