Sally Bannard, Library Manager at the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design (WSMAD), has retired after 39 years of service.

Since joining in 1977, Sally has witnessed five library refurbishments, but the opening of the current library building by the Queen on 6 December 1995 stood out to her as a very exciting moment.

When remembering the day, Sally said: “Her (the Queen) face suddenly changed when she saw the students and it lit up, and as she left everyone cheered.”

The building was a such a huge success and attracted so much attention because it was like no other library in the UK at the time.

“We had librarians from all over the world visiting the library including from China and Israel,” Sally explained. “It was ground breaking because it merged IT and library services in one building. Every university librarian in the country knew about this building.”

“The facilities enabled students to research their projects using books, journals and archives, and then write up their work on a computer, get it bound or even printed in colour.”

Sally noted that the library is a place that is neutral and open to everyone and has great resources.

“We have fantastic electronic resources but the print collection is amazing because for example we have taught fashion since the 1960s, photography from the 19th century, so when I tell students that we have Vogue from the 1940s they fall off their chairs.”

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During her career Sally had a chance to learn and grow in various parts of Librarianship. These include learning how to: create the systems and database for the library; write on 35 mm slides, HTML, and how to use Teletext and the first Mac minis.

She also gained an NVQ in Customer Service and five years ago visited Shanghai University to experience and learn about their library as part of a student exchange programme that was being developed by the University of Westminster at the time.

When asked about what she will miss the most Sally replies with a smile: “I know it’s a cliché that you will miss the people, but it’s true. I can walk around the campus and I know people here. It’s a friendly campus.”

“I will miss being in the loop culturally. You see all our new students and you find out what their concerns are, what they are listening to, what are they wearing and where they are going.

“I hope students continue to like the library and value it as a space, and that it remains the centre of the campus.”

Her future plans involve volunteering at the V&A and William Heath Robinson museums, and renting a beach hut, where she can look out at the sea with a cup of tea.

Let’s wish her all the best and not forget all the work she has put into the great library we have now.


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