Meet the Board
Our trustees are collectively responsible for setting and reviewing the strategic direction of Libraries Unlimited, in line with its charitable objectives.
They all have a passion for the future of Devon’s libraries, along with the vision, expertise and creativity to help the new organisation develop and grow sustainably.
Working with library staff, they will make a vital contribution by helping deliver a modern, vibrant and sustainable library service for Devon.
Prior to retiring to Devon Julie was the Chief Executive of the South West London Health Authority, where she was awarded a CBE for her services to the NHS following the London Bombings.
Julie has considerable Board level experience and overseeing organisational change. She was Chair of London Probation which moved from being a failing to a high performing organisation during her time.
Since moving to Devon Julie has been Chair of the Torbay NHS Care Trust and is also the current Chair of the Devon Partnership Trust.
She is a passionate supporter of the value of public libraries and has been a user of libraries all her life. She is a voracious reader and established a book group in her village and regularly visits her local library in Tiverton.
Ciara is the Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited and an ex officio trustee.
She has 20 years’ experience as a Chartered Librarian and is the former Head of Libraries, Culture and Heritage for Devon County Council. She has previously managed libraries in Gateshead, Cambridgeshire and Somerset as Principal Assistant County Librarian.
Ciara is passionate about the potential of public libraries, the value of reading and the power of information to transform lives. She was the first Library Fellow to participate in the Clore Leadership Fellowship and is the current President of the Society of Chief Librarians.
Rachel is the weekend supervisor at Exeter Library. She is responsible for ensuring that a high quality, customer focused service is provided to customers at Devon’s flagship library during busy weekends.
Rachel’s career began in the legal sector. She completed a law degree with the Open University and went on to study further at the College of Law in Birmingham. She then pursued a challenging and rewarding career in litigation while living in the Midlands.
While being an active user and supporter of libraries all her life Rachel found her true vocation in 2013 when she started work at Totnes Library and began to develop a new career in the library service.
Rachel has recently moved to Whimple with her family. She enjoys reading and is also a keen runner having completed a 50K race in Salisbury last summer.
Ann Draisey began her career in libraries after finishing a History of Art degree at the University of Edinburgh, starting as a Saturday Assistant in Exeter Library in 2009.
She also worked as an Information Assistant in all the campus libraries in the University of Exeter and as a Library Assistant at West Exe School, a large secondary school in Exeter where she was Library Manager.
Ann has a particular interest in library services for teenagers. She is a qualified librarian and a Chartered member of CILIP. Ann is currently Library Supervisor at Totnes Library.
Diane is a member of the Friends of Colyton Library.
A Devon based business woman she ran a successful retail business for 30 years with her husband. Her work in training and development in this sector was recognised by the Distributive Industries Training Board. She also established and ran a domiciliary care agency serving East Devon.
Volunteering is an important part of Diane’s life and she has previously volunteered for the Samaritans, the Citizens Advice Bureau and was an Exeter Red Coat Guide. She recently opened a Memory Cafe in Colyton, East Devon and is a committee member of the Colyton Friends Group.
Diane studied with the Open University to gain both a BA (Hons) and MA (Lit).
She is a Magistrate on the North and East Devon Bench and was elected as the Chair of the Bench’s Training and Development Committee In January of 2015.
Diane is committed to providing a library service which meets people’s needs and responds to how they live their lives.
Steve is a qualified chartered accountant and was Managing Director of the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group until his retirement in 2014. He led the development and establishment of this Clinical Commissioning Group which commissions care for a population of 300,000 and has a budget of £400m.
Steve is a former Vice Chair of the Health Finance Managers Association and member of the Health Finance Manager’s Association National Commissioning Committee.
Steve lives just outside Newton Abbot with his family.
David is an experienced Business Growth Coach and Non-Executive Director. He also has a passion for developing enterprise within education and works with many schools across Devon to help and mentor them in developing their own social enterprises.
He is also Expert in Residence at the University of Exeter, where he helps commercialise research and coaches students to create and run their own businesses.
David sits on the board of a number of diverse businesses, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a Professional of the Institute of Operational Risk.
Janet Fisher’s professional life has been spent working with children and young people, both in public and school libraries and charities concerned with literacy and the promotion of reading.
Since moving to Devon in 2007 she has been a Trustee of the Appledore Book Festival and with a colleague ran the Festival’s very successful schools programme.
Janet has also established a project which makes quilts for wounded military personnel.
She writes about children’s and young people’s literature, contributing to several books in the field, and has published a book about historical fiction. She also regularly reviews children’s books.
Janet and her husband have a smallholding and vineyard in North Devon, where she also sings, quilts, is continuing to learn to play the piano, and is actively involved in her local church. She has a son and daughter and three grand –daughters.
David is the Artistic Director, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of The Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter, which produces and supports new work from emerging national and local companies.
Prior to opening the Bike Shed, David worked as an actor and director. He is the Director of Ignite, Exeter’s Festival of Theatre and sits on the steering group for Exeter Cultural Partnership, the Laugh Out Loud festival and Exetreme Imagination children’s literature festival.
David has just completed a Clore Leadership Fellowship, as part of which he spent three months at the Royal Opera House.
Jonathan is a member of the Friends of Ottery St Mary Library group.
He worked for the BBC for twenty years, specialising mainly in central and eastern Europe. He reported for World Service from almost every country of the former Warsaw Pact during the 1990s, before moving on to run the Macedonian and then the Croatian language services.
From 2002 Jonathan ran the training team dedicated to the needs of World Service staff and became fascinated by the art of training journalists.
He left the BBC in 2010 to become a freelance trainer, and since then he has worked increasingly with data – learning about the growing world of data journalism and the Open Data movement.
Jonathan enjoys nothing more than travelling around Britain, the USA and Europe introducing journalists to the wonders of Open Data.
When not sitting in front of a computer screen, or standing in a training room, Jonathan loves playing the French Horn, reading or listening to music.
Emily Williams is a producer based in the South West who is driven by a desire to create a more ambitious, collaborative and exciting cultural ecology for professionals and audiences living and working in the region.
Emily is currently Executive Producer at Kaleider. Kaleider has a studio based in Exeter which brings people together to design, promote and produce live experiences.
Emily also co-founded and co-directed Wide Awake Devon (2010-2013), a development organisation that focussed on creating networks, access points and resources such as producing capacity for the performance sector in Devon.
Emily was also Creative Producer from 2010 – 2012 at the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth.
In 2014 Emily was selected for the Clore Emerging Leaders Course.