Isobel Hunter appointed as first Chief Executive of SCL

Isobel Hunter

Isobel Hunter has today been announced as the first Chief Executive of SCL. Isobel joins the organisation at an exciting time as we become a registered charity and begin the final preparations for our role as the Sector Support Organisation for libraries, funded by Arts Council England.

SCL’s vision is an inclusive, modern, sustainable and high quality public library service at the heart of every community in the UK. We believe modern public libraries should be the cornerstone of the community and should deliver a diverse spectrum of local needs around information, learning, literacy, employment and digital skills, health, culture and leisure.

Isobel Hunter joins SCL from The National Archives where she is Head of Archives Sector Development, serving a national constituency of 2,500 archives. During her time there, Isobel led the development of Archives Unlocked, a new government vision for archives with a plan to address resilience, digital capacity and impact in the sector. Within the first year she secured nearly £1m external funding for the plan.

Mark Freeman

SCL are also pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Freeman as President Elect. Mark is currently Libraries and Information Services Manager in Stockton-on-Tees and has worked in libraries for over 35 years. Mark has been a committed member of SCL who has led the SCL/Share the Vision Six Steps Promise since it began in 2011. In June he will take over as President from Neil MacInnes who has been SCL President since June 2016.

Isobel Hunter:
‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead SCL alongside the new President, Mark Freeman, at the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the organisation’s history. I share SCL’s vision of the value of libraries to build strong communities and change people’s lives. As the first Chief Executive of SCL, I will work with members to ensure we continue to deliver this vision and to represent, connect and support public library leaders up and down the country.’

Mark Freeman:
‘Libraries have always been part of my life and I’m passionate about the potential they offer to communities across the world, so I’m truly honoured to be the next President of SCL. I’m really looking forward to working with Isobel, our new Chief Executive, and with my colleagues as we become an organisation which supports and helps to develop our public libraries for future generations.’

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England:
‘SCL plays an important role in connecting public libraries and their leaders and in offering opportunities to explore and share reading, information, knowledge and culture in the communities they serve. I wish Isobel and Mark well in their new roles and we look forward to working with them as we welcome SCL as a Sector Support Organisation in our 2018-22 National Portfolio from 1 April.’

SCL’s unique strength is its membership, and we will continue to represent, connect, improve and drive innovation in the public library sector together with our members as we become a Sector Support Organisation. We welcome the expertise and dedication that Isobel and Mark will bring to the new organisation and to our membership as a whole.


Notes to Editors

The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) is a membership organisation, representing heads of library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. SCL takes a leading role in the development of public libraries, through sharing best practices, advocating for continuous improvement on behalf of local people, and leading the debate on the future of the public library service.

As a Sector Support Organisation, SCL’s role will be to:

  • Represent the public library sector nationally, regionally and locally
  • Connect partners to local libraries, by brokering national partnerships
  • Improve the provision of local library services
  • Drive innovation and new thinking around the role of libraries in a modern society.