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Library Knowledge Services (North)

YOHHLNet Committee


Heather Steele - Joint Chair
Library and Knowledge Lead,
Leeds & York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

I started my first professional post in 2012 at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, after completing an MA while working in NHS Leeds at the Public Health Resource Centre (PHRC). In 2016 I started my current role as Library and Knowledge Lead.

Helen Curtis - Secretary
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

I have been the Library Manager at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust for 25 years. I am a passionate advocate of libraries believing they have an enormous contribution to make not only to the evidence based medicine within the NHS but also in broader society alleviating health inequalities and social exclusion.

Craig Abbs - Treasurer
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

I’ve been with the NHS since March 2019 after a career break.  Before that I was at the Department of Health in Leeds for ten years, managing enquiries, carrying out literature searches and current awareness trawls, systems maintenance and creating an online archive of health circulars amongst other things. Prior to moving to Yorkshire I worked for several years in Public Libraries as a Librarian in north-west London and prior to this a Library Assistant in Norwich. 

I qualified with an MA from Sheffield very near the end of the last century and have been a chartered member of CILIP since 2002.

Joel Kerry - CPD Lead
Site Librarian, 
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

I currently work as Site Librarian for Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, responsible for day-to-day delivery of our services at St James's Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary, including line management of our Library Assistants. I also manage the Trust's journals subscriptions and am point of contact for clinical staff outreach. I also deliver information skills training and conduct evidence searches and systematic review support.

Prior to working in health libraries I worked in public libraries for 17 years, beginning my career as a Library Assistant then progressing to specialise as Local and Family History Librarian.

In addition to my current role I'm currently a CILIP Professional Registration Mentor and Newsletter Editor for the CILIP Health Libraries Group (HLG).

Sarah Gardner
Clinical / Outreach Librarian,
Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

After firmly intending to work in public libraries after a stint as a Graduate Trainee in Nottinghamshire Country Libraries, I started my professional career in the voluntary sector, running information services first at Nottingham Mencap, and later at Headway, National Head Injuries Association. I moved into the NHS in 1999 as an Information & Library Officer specialising in consumer health information at what was then Trent Healthline but quickly became NHS Direct. Ten brilliant years and six different roles later, I left in 2009 to learn a new trade – Clinical Outreach Librarian at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, an acute trust in the East Midlands.

In July 2015 I took up the position of Clinical/Outreach Librarian with Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals, based in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Sarah Hennessy
Library and Knowledge Service Manager
South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust

I currently work in a Mental Health setting at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. I was recruited in March 2013 to help drive the library service forward, introducing new initiatives such as knowledge management, improved communications and marketing, literature searching and critical appraisal training, etc. along with supporting strategic planning and development.

Until then I was a Clinical Librarian at NHS Direct, having worked there for 12 years. Here I was responsible for developing and maintaining an up to date library and information service for NHS Direct, specifically aimed at information for the patient, and also contributing to the development of the Patient Decision Aids and Health and Symptom Checkers. I also later supported clinical research and undertook searches contributing to Systematic Reviews.

In addition to my role within the Trust I actively engage in other networks to raise awareness of health libraries and contribute to the development of the skills and expertise of the health library workforce. I am co-Chair of the the CILIP Health Libraries Group (HLG), as well as being the Conference Lead for #HLG2016 and a previous Chair of Libraries for Nursing (now HLG Nursing). I also sit on the Patient Information Forum (PiF) Advisory Board and am currently enjoying participating in the CILIP Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme.

Donna Irving
Freelance Information Specialist,

I joined Leeds University in February 2019 after 9 years working in as a Health Librarian in Higher Education, and over 20 years as a qualified librarian. My career has involved supporting academic staff, researchers and students within health studies schools, teaching Information skills on postgraduate and undergraduate modules (search methods, health databases, reference management software), collection development, academic liaison, quality assurance, service development and team management.

I am a Chartered member of CILIP and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am also a Regular Feature Editor (Teaching and Learning in Practice) for the CILIP Health Libraries Group (HLG) Health Libraries & Information Journal.

Chris Lawton
Specialist Librarian (E-Resources),
North Lincolnshire & Goole Hospitals NHS Trust

I started working for the NHS in 1999 as a Receptionist working in A&E and moved into the library in 2008. I started out as a Student Liaison, before moving onto being a Library Co-ordinator & then into my current role.

Maria José Simões

Assistant Librarian,

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

I began my career in 2005 as a Library Assistant at the University of Bradford Library, where I moved on to become a Senior Library Assistant and finally worked as the Disability Support Librarian during 2011-15.
I have also worked at the Cervantes Institute in Leeds, as Librarian Co-ordinator.
I started working in the NHS in 2014, job-sharing as a Library Manager for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

Jennifer Roberts
Library Assistant,
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Having started my career working and volunteering in museums/archives, I moved sectors to work in libraries in early 2016. I joined the NHS in February 2017, initially at Leeds Community Healthcare Trust before moving to Leeds Teaching Hospitals in August 2018.

I am currently studying for an MA in Library & Information Services Management (via Distance Learning).


Helen Swales

Library Service Manager

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

I started my career at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, before moving into Health Libraries in 1996. 

After two years at Bradford Royal Infirmary I on the role of Librarian for Leeds Health Authority, and after various organisational restructures, am now Library Service Manager for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust. I manage delivery of the library service for all LCHT staff across Leeds and also via Service Level Agreements delivery of library services to NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (including the GP Confederation) and Public Health staff in Leeds City Council.

I also chair the city-wide Project Team for improving access to health library services in Leeds, with specific responsibility for service development.

Rebecca Williams
Library and Knowledge Services Development Manager - Yorkshire & Humber,
Health Education England

I currently work within Health Education England providing support for the development of NHS LKS within the Yorkshire and Humber regions.

I started my professional library career as Assistant Librarian at Airedale NHS Trust and then moved to become Senior Librarian there. After a number of years I moved to Bradford District Care Trust to become Library Manager. I had previously had experience in academic libraries working as both a Graduate Trainee and a Library Assistant.