WORLDKINGS - Worldkings News - Australia Records Institute (AURI) Mary Ronnie: First woman in the world to head a national library


( Mary Ronnie became the head of the National Library in 1976, the first woman to be appointed. It was a notable appointment - at the time librarianship was heavily populated by women but few held top positions.

Mary Allan Ronnie (12 June 1926 – 17 March 2023) was a New Zealand librarian. She was New Zealand's first female National Librarian, from 1976 to 1981, and the first woman in the world to head a national library. Before becoming National Librarian she was head of Dunedin Public Library, and afterwards, she served as Auckland City Librarian.


She graduated with a diploma from the New Zealand Library School in 1952 and embarked on a career in public libraries. She had been attracted to them since her schooldays when her walk home each night included a browse through the shelves of the local library.

She was a crusader for public libraries, believing they needed to be made more attractive to all sectors of the community.

In her view, libraries were meeting places as well as resource centers and it was the librarian's job to find good quality material acceptable to a wide range of people. She had no time for the librarian who hid behind a desk and piles of books. And she firmly believed that no library should have a "silence" sign.

In 1977, Ronnie was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal. In the 1982 Queen's Birthday Honours, she was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services. She was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Literature (LittD) by the University of Otago in 2007 and received a Dunedin Public Libraries Citation in 2007.

According to the Internet

Brian (Collect & Edit) - WORLDKINGS (Source of photos : internet )


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