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Suffolk Libraries chief executive reveals plan to retire in 2018

PUBLISHED: 09:15 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:22 17 July 2017

Suffolk Libraries chief executive Alison Wheeler. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Libraries chief executive Alison Wheeler. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The chief executive of Suffolk’s library service has announced she will be stepping down from the role next year.

Alison Wheeler and James Powell from Suffolk Libraries with the most popular books of 2016. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAlison Wheeler and James Powell from Suffolk Libraries with the most popular books of 2016. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Alison Wheeler, a former librarian, has been in charge of the service since 2012.

The 59-year-old, who has lived and worked in the county for more than 38 years, revealed she would be retiring today - explaining that she has decided to move on to the next chapter of her life.

She will be devoting more time to being a family carer - but will not be leaving libraries completely and plans to stay on as a trustee of the national library and information organisation CILIP.

Alison will also continue to be a trustee of Eastern Angles.

Alison Wheeler, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, has revealed she will be stepping down next year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAlison Wheeler, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, has revealed she will be stepping down next year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I’ve worked for nearly 40 years in Suffolk’s public library service and it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to work with all of the staff over the years”, she said.

“It’s been an especial honour to lead Suffolk Libraries for the last five years.

“I will be 60 next February and I have decided to move on to the next chapter of my life, devoting more time to being a family carer.

She added: “I’m sure I will also be an active and supportive library user. In fact, you can rely on it!”

Alison, who qualified as a librarian in 1979 after studying at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, has worked in and managed libraries across the country for more than a decade.

Before joining Suffolk Libraries she spent four years working in adult social care as the head of information and advice.

She added: “I am very proud of what have all achieved together at Suffolk Libraries, and believe that our library service is better than ever, ready and preparing for another five years of successful and innovative delivery.

“I will continue as chief executive until February 2018 when I will hand over to whoever is lucky enough to lead this exceptional organisation with our inspiring staff, our dedicated board and the brilliant volunteers.”

Recruitment for a new chief is currently underway.

Suffolk Libraries board chair Tony Brown said: “I’d like to pay tribute to Alison as she has contributed so much to the success of Suffolk Libraries over the past five years and to the county’s library service over many years.

“Her particular combination of vision, passion, versatility, and resilience will be impossible to replicate.”

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