University community mourns pioneering Librarian

The University of Waikato is mourning the passing of its first Librarian, Jeannette (Jenny) King at the age of 92.

12 May 2021

Jenny began her library career at King’s College in Auckland before becoming Head of Lending Services at the University of Auckland Library. She arrived in Hamilton in 1964 to take up the position of Librarian at what was then a branch of the University of Auckland, before the University of Waikato was formally established and the Library gained its independence.

She spent the next 30 years building the University of Waikato Library from a few thousand books housed in A Block to a collection of 710,000 volumes serviced by more than 70 staff in its own purpose-built building, now Te Manawa Student Centre. This included establishing and developing the New Zealand Collection, which Jenny populated by combing second-hand catalogues, bidding at auctions, attending sales and seeking donations.

Beyond the Library, Jenny made a substantial contribution to the wider University, serving on a number of committees, including the Professorial and Academic Board. She also pioneered an equal opportunities approach, playing an active role in staffing matters.

Jenny also assisted in the foundation of a Waikato branch of the New Zealand Library Association, liaising with other librarians in the region and developing coordinated regional library services.

The University conferred an Honorary Doctorate on Jenny in 1995 following her retirement, to mark her decades of service and role in shaping the University Library, as well as her contribution to the University community.

The University has lowered its flag to mark Jenny’s passing, and thoughts are with her family, friends and former colleagues at this time.



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