National Library announces new National Librarian — Te Pouhuaki

11 November 2020: National Library announces new National Librarian — Te Pouhuaki

Rachel Esson has been appointed as New Zealand’s National Librarian Te Pouhuaki. Rachel takes up the role from within the National Library, where she currently serves as Director for Content Services.

Te Tari Taiwhenua| Internal Affairs Deputy Chief Executive Information and Knowledge Services Peter Murray says this appointment panel was looking for a leader to cover collaboration, professional leadership, Te Ao Māori, strategy and delivery.

“Rachel stood out due to her passion for libraries after a long career in various library areas — including her time with us as the Associate Chief Librarian Research Collections at the Alexander Turnbull Library and as Director of Content Services.”

Rachel has a strong academic background in the library and information sector and significant involvement with the Library and Information Association (LIANZA) and is currently immediate past president. Rachel has been with National Library since 2012 when she joined after time at the Victoria University of Wellington Library, the University of Otago School of Medicine and Health Sciences and various other library organisations.

Rachel says there are extraordinary opportunities with the implementation of the Tāhuhu programme requiring a paradigm shift for the National Library and Archives New Zealand. “Now is the time to re-examine how we operate and deliver our services as we move increasingly into a digital world, removing barriers to turning knowledge into value for New Zealanders.”

The role of National Librarian — Te Pouhuaki is a strategic leadership position, charged with setting the direction for the National Library.

Peter Murray says with significant recent investment in Aotearoa New Zealand history and libraries, this is an exciting time to join the National Library and a key role in leading the work to better safeguard and preserve our collections so current and future generations can access our unique stories and heritage.

Recruitment opened earlier this year for the role of National Librarian Te Pouhuaki, following Bill Macnaught’s retirement.

“I would like to thank Bill for his great leadership of National Library over the past ten years, leading the establishment of the library within the Department of Internal Affairs, He Tohu delivery, Services to Schools modernisation, and completing strategic Directions to 2030,” says Peter Murray.

“Bill leaves us with a clear path to the future which I am delighted Rachel will take up in the leadership role.”

Rachel will assume the role of National Librarian Te Pouhuaki on 17 December.


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Editor’s notes


Rachel Esson is currently Director of Content Services at the National Library of NZ, a role she has held since 2016, having held senior and strategic roles in academic and research libraries, including Associate Chief Librarian Research Collections at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Rachel is a professionally registered librarian with a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Victoria University, and holds a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching from the University of Otago. She has researched and published in evaluation of library services.

Before joining the National Library leadership team, Rachel was Associate Director, Library Academic Services at Victoria University and Medical Librarian (University of Otago, Wellington). She is actively involved with the Library and Information Association of NZ (LIANZA) and is Immediate Past President.