Leonard Jolley, MA (London) FLA, FLAA
Obituary. Biblia. August/September 1994, No 4, p.4
The death on 22 July of Leonard Jolley brings to a close an era which began with his appointment as University Librarian at the University of Western Australia in 1959 and which coincided with the expansion of university libraries and librarianship not only in Western Australia but also in Australia generally. He held this position for over twenty years retiring at the end of 1979. He had previously held the position of Deputy Librarian at Glasgow University and brought with him a tradition of scholarly librarianship. Consequently he was aware, and constantly reminded his academic colleagues, that one cannot have a good university without a good library. At the same time
he was ever conscious that a good library requires competent intelligent staff and the services to exploit fully its holdings. It is to him that the University of Western Australia owes the strength and depth of its collections, particularly in the humanities.
One of his first tasks was to plan a new library building. This he did with Professor Gordon Stephenson as consultant architect. Their aim was to provide an inviting building with open planning with books and library staff readily accessible to its users. At the same time it was to be a pleasant and restful place in which to read and study. The resulting Reid Library, opened in 1965, was a fine achievement architecturally and functionally. He also set about strengthening the staff by the creation of three academic positions at the level of lecturer and senior lecturer to oversee Technical and Readers' Services. The latter were also improved with the building up of a Reference staff which included graduates in a wide range of disciplines. Reader education courses were introduced and as early as 1965 a film was produced showing undergraduates how to use the Library. At the same time he set about coordinating all the library collections held in academic departments so that they could be administered centrally. By the time of his retirement several of these had been combined into large subject libraries such as the Mathematics and Physical Sciences Library and the Biological Sciences Library. This involved a programme of recataloguing and reclassifying much of the Library. In the 1970s, foreseeing the advantages of automation, he started investigative plans for an automated catalogue and initiated one of the earliest automated loan systems in Australia. The '60s and '70s were indeed a stimulating time for his professional staff, several of whom have gone on to occupy high positions in other Australian libraries.
In the wider world of librarianship he played a leading role in the deliberations of CAUL and of AACOBS and at one time was President of the WA Branch of the Library Association of Australia.
When the WA Institute of Technology (now Curtin University) set up its School of Information and Library Studies, he undertook some part-time lecturing and during his sabbatical leave in 1966 he lectured at the Post graduate School of Librarianship and Information Science at Sheffield University. Many former students will recall studying his textbook ' Principles of Cataloguing' which was published in 1960.
Older librarians, particularly those in universities, will remember his Annual Reports which gave an insight into his perception of the role of university libraries and which did not hesitate from time to time to criticise his teaching colleagues. They were widely read in Britain as well as in Australasia. Those who knew Leonard Jolley will long remember his fine intellect and scholarship, his stimulating company and dry wit. Librarianship not only in Western Australia but also in Australia is the richer for having enjoyed his presence and his leadership.
He did not suffer fools gladly: Leonard J Jolley. By Brian Dibble, Australian Library Journal, Nov 99, pp327-342.