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Our Leadership Group

Meet the people leading the National Library. Our leadership team includes the National Librarian, Chief Librarian Alexander Turnbull Library and 4 other senior roles.

Members of the leadership team

Bill Macnaught, National Librarian

Chris Szekely, Chief Librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library

Elizabeth Jones, Director, Literacy and Learning

Rachel Esson, Director, Content Services

Fiona Fieldsend, Manager, Digital New Zealand

Lewis Brown, Manager, Strategy and Business Support

Bill Macnaught — National Librarian

Since 2011 Bill Macnaught has been responsible for leading all National Library services in New Zealand. He also contributes to the leadership of the Information and Knowledge Services branch of the Department of Internal Affairs.

Before coming to New Zealand, he was the Director of Libraries and Arts and later Head of Cultural Development at Gateshead Council in the northeast of England. There he initiated several major arts projects including the ‘Angel of the North’ sculpture by Sir Antony Gormley and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. In addition, Bill was Chair of the UK government’s Advisory Council on Libraries and was a Visiting Professor in librarianship at the University of Northumbria. In 2005 he was awarded a CBE for services to public libraries and cultural life in the UK.

From 2005 to 2011 Bill was Manager Puke Ariki in New Plymouth. Bill was a founder member of the Governance Group for the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa programme, which was inspired by a similar UK project in which he had been involved. He initiated the discussions that led to the National Library supporting the Kōtui project, designed to deliver better value for public libraries through the collective procurement of library management IT services.

Bill’s ambition is to lead the Library through the ‘Digital Shift’ to make it easier, today and in the future, for New Zealanders to use the knowledge we hold and to co-create new knowledge for cultural and economic benefit. Bill is passionate about the prospect of New Zealand having the most useful knowledge networks in the world.

Chris Szekely — Chief Librarian Alexander Turnbull Library

Chris Szekely has held the statutory role of Chief Librarian since 2007. He is responsible for ensuring that the collections of the Turnbull are preserved, protected, developed and made accessible.

Previously, Chris was City Librarian of Manukau Libraries in South Auckland, and he is a founding and life member of Te Rōpū Whakahau, an association for Māori working in libraries and information management.

He was an inaugural Commissioner on the Library and Information Advisory Commission in 2003 and is a Fellow of the Library & Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA). His professional interests include services to Maori and New Zealand children's literature.

Chris sees the future of the Turnbull as an institution that continues to be a trusted repository for New Zealand's documentary heritage, with reading rooms and facilities that are welcoming and relevant, and people who are expert and knowledgeable. He is excited by the opportunities for enhancing the use of collections through digital delivery.

Elizabeth Jones — Director Literacy and Learning

Elizabeth leads the Services to Schools teams, developing nationwide services that engage, motivate and inspire young people, educators and communities to enjoy reading and to support their development as digitally literate learners.  

Services to Schools work closely with learning communities nationwide to develop national approaches to reading engagement, modern library learning environments and digital literacy services. 

Rachel Esson — Director Content Services

Rachel Esson oversees the strategy and activities of Content Services, which collects and describes the National Library’s collections, and provides services to libraries, publishers and authors.

She is a professionally registered librarian who has held senior and strategic roles in academic and research libraries for many years. She has researched and published in the area of the evaluation of library services.

Her previous roles have included 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 and is currently the President Elect.

Fiona Fieldsend — Manager, Digital New Zealand

Fiona leads the talented Digital New Zealand teams who run and develop National Library of New Zealand’s digital discovery services. These services include the National Library website, Papers Past, digitalnz.org, our onsite discovery experiences and the award winning open source data aggregation tool, Supplejack.

Fiona co-founded DigitalNZ.org back in 2008 and was instrumental in bringing together over 200 content partners from across and beyond the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector to make New Zealand content easier to find, share and use. Collaborating to make things better for New Zealanders has been an important theme in her career. Prior to working at DigitalNZ she helped set up and manage EPIC, the national purchasing consortium that enables more affordable access to quality electronic resources in libraries.

Fiona has a wealth of knowledge and experience in digital collections, open licensing and rights, metadata, software development, and collaborative leadership. She advocates for user-centred research and design with a focus on how digital discovery platforms need to function, be protected, maintained, and continuously improved to best meet the needs of people.

Lewis Brown — Manager, Strategy and Business Support

Lewis manages a small team in the Office of the National Librarian that is responsible for the National Library's strategic, financial and business planning processes, providing secretariat support for the National Library’s statutory bodies, and assisting the National Librarianto meet his statutory responsibilities.

Lewis joined the Library in 2006 to help lead the development and writing of the New Zealand Digital Content Strategy, and has since worked in a variety of roles spanning policy analysis, strategy and governance support and planning. For a period he worked with Digital New Zealand.

Previously Lewis has had a wide range of experience in government operational and business planning roles.