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The Council


 Officers and Council elected at the AGM 2017


The following members were elected as Officers at the AGM:


President:                  Mary Stuart, Offaly County Libraries

Vice-President:          Marian Higgins, Kildare Library and Arts Services

Vice-President:          Cathal McCauley, Maynooth University


Honorary Treasurer:   Lorna Dodd, Maynooth University

Honorary Secretary:   Eimear McGinn, Kildare Library and Arts Services



The following members were elected to the Council of the Library Association of Ireland:


Mary Stuart, President

Mary joined the public library service in Westmeath in 1983 as a Library Assistant and progressed to Executive Librarian before departing the library service in 2005 for a role in Human Resources and Corporate Services in Westmeath County Council.  She took up her current post as County Librarian in Offaly County Council in 2009. Her professional interests include ICT and libraries, the future of public libraries and the value of human resources and customer services.





Marian Higgins, Vice-President




Cathal McCauley, Vice-President


Cathal was appointed University Librarian at NUI Maynooth in September 2008. Between 2002 and 2008 he fulfilled a number of roles in University College Dublin (UCD) Library including Head of Reader Services. Prior to joining UCD Cathal worked for the accountants and management consultants FGS (Farrell Grant Sparks) where he held a variety of posts including Director of Consulting. Cathal's research interests include library design, strategic collection development, and the harnessing of new technologies and new service models to enhance the library experience for staff and readers. Cathal oversaw the design and delivery of NUI Maynooth’s  €20 million library extension which was officially opened in June 2013. He is a regular speaker and guest lecturer on issues facing libraries including library design, innovation and change management. He is a member and Council member of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI). He is a member, and former Chair, of  the Irish Universities Association Librarians’ Group (IUALG). He is currently Secretary and Treasurer of the Consortium of National and University Libraries in Ireland (CONUL).



Jane Burns

Jane Burns, MBA, MLIS, MPhil has over 20 years’ experience as a Library & Information Professional. She has worked in a number of different library environments including Third Levels, Government, Educational, Science and Digital Media. Jane is a graduate of SILS, UCD and a member of the Alumni Committee.  She is a past committee member of the Academic & Special Libraries Committee and is the Business Manager for An Leabharlann. She was recently awarded Fellowship Membership of the Library Association of Ireland for her role in contributing to the development of the profession and her commitment to Continuous Professional Development and Research. Jane is an Occasional Lecturer at UCD teaching Management for Information Professionals. She is also a published author. Jane's current role is Research Manager at the Health Professions Education Centre at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.



Dr. Philip Cohen

Dr Philip Cohen has been Head of Library Services at Dublin Institute of Technology since 2004.  Before that, he worked for more than 20 years in various University libraries in the UK.  Philip is Convenor of the Education Committee: CPD and a member of the Education Committee: Professional Standards.  He is particularly interested in the role of libraries and librarians in the education process, as well as the education of librarians themselves.



Dr Sandra Collins

Dr Sandra Collins is the Director of the National Library of Ireland. Sandra is originally a mathematician who developed her passion for digital innovation and cultural heritage over 20 years in the public and private sectors. She was previously the founding Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland in the Royal Irish Academy, and in 2014 she was named as one of Silicon Republic's Top 100 Women in Technology. Sandra is an international advocate for Open Data and a member of the Irish Government’s Open Data Governance Board and the Irish National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy. 




Melanie Cunningham

Waterford City Libraries



Margaret Hayes

Margaret Hayes, (BA., H.Dip.inEd.,DLIS., ALAI.).  Margaret Hayes (nee Dunne) started her library career in 1977 following an earlier career in education. She worked for 7 years with the then Dun Laoghaire Public libraries, securing her library qualification in 1981, under the public library education sponsorship scheme. She joined Dublin City Public Libraries as a librarian in 1984. Her professional career has ranged over all aspects of public library service delivery in Dublin City. She served as Deputy Dublin City librarian from 2000 until her appointment as Dublin City Librarian in July 2010.
She is a member of the Council of the Library Association of Ireland 2014 and of the North-South Liaison Committee.  She is a member of the (LGMA) National Libraries Development Committee and of the (LGMA)  Library Management System and Services Governance Board.
She is chair of both the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Management Group and of the committee of the International Impac Dublin Literary Award since June 2010. She is also chair since 2013 of the Dublin Book Festival Committee. She is an officer member of Dublin City Council’s Commemorations Sub-Committee.
Margaret is chair of the Culture Group and a member of the Steering Committee for the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter (PSCQ) Development which will be anchored by a new City library for Dublin.



Lai Ma

Lai Ma is a Lecturer in UCD School of Information and Library Studies. She received her MLS and PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington, where she also gained library experience in technical services. Prior to coming to Ireland, Lai taught for Indiana University-Bloomington and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, primarily in the areas of resource description and access.



Aoife Lawton




Zoë  Melling

Zoë has worked in the special library sector for over 20 years, and is currently Librarian at the Legal Aid Board, a position she has held since May 2007.  Her role involves managing the resources and services of two libraries:  The Legal Aid Board Library, which focuses primarily on civil law in Ireland, and the Refugee Documentation Centre Library, which caters for agencies involved in the asylum process.  Her responsibilities also include administration of a joint Library Management System & Digital Archive.  Prior to this, Zoë worked for five years at the Bar Council Law Library, which provides a library and information service for barristers.   Before taking up law librarianship, Zoë was a media librarian in New Zealand, where a part-time position at a broadcasting company in 1990 proved the launching pad for her career, followed by ten years in a newspaper library.  Zoë is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, where she completed an MLIS in 1999 and a BA in 1990. She is a committee member of the Government Libraries Section of the LAI, which she chaired from 2008-2010, and is also a member of the British & Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) and the Irish and European user groups for SirsiDynix customers.



Mary Murphy

Currently an Executive Librarian with Meath County Council Library Service at Ashbourne Library, her duties  include managing three branches, marketing, press releases, event management for the county on the events team, running the post primary school service and the library web page. She is also a child protection officer for the Council. Her Library experience began as a library assistant/senior library assistant  at the University of Teesside Library, leading to her first professional post as Reference/Local Studies Librarian at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council Library Services and then as a Senior Executive Officer at  Stockton-on-Tees Borough council in the UK.




Emer O’Brien

Education: BA ( Law and European Studies , 1997 and LLM ( European and Comparative Law), 1998 & MSc ( Library and Information Studies) Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, 2002. Emer Started working in Libraries at The University of Limerick during holidays as a student. On moving to London in 1998, she started working in Corporate Information Management and Knowledge Management with Saatchi & Saatchi and PWC  Returning to Ireland in 2001 she left a corporate environment to start her  career in public  libraries with Waterford City Libraries,  later moving to Cork County Libraries and then as a Assistant Librarian with Tipperary Libraries in 2004. In 2007 she was promoted to Senior Executive Librarian with Tipperary Libraries. Main current work responsibilities: Childrens and Schools, PMDS and training, LMS , website and online facilities, social Inclusion, events and marketing, technical services, disability services




Sinéad O'Gorman

Wexford Libraries



Kathryn Smith




Sandra Turner

Kildare Library and Arts Service



Joan Ward

Joan Ward, M.A. (Hons) Library and Information Management , Northumbria University, M.B.S. (Hons) Michael Smurfit Business School, UCD. Joan works in Libraries Development, Local Government Management Agency. Libraries Development, LGMA was set up to carry out the functions of An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, The Library Council which was dissolved in October 2012. Libraries Development is co-ordinating the implementation of  Opportunities for All,  the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s strategy for public libraries 2013-2017 and Joan is currently involved in the roll out of the programmes under this strategy.  Joan co-ordinates the Europe Direct Information Centre network in public libraries, is the national representative for the ENUMERATE EU project for the creation of a baseline of statistical data about digitisation, digital preservation and online access to cultural heritage in Europe, co-ordinates the Changing Libraries Programme and is a member of the national Heritage Week Steering Group. Joan worked previously in An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, which she joined in 2002.