We have all been shocked and deeply saddened by the news that Rowena Macrae-Gibson, our friend and Deputy Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG), died on Friday 6th October. Nick Poole paid tribute to her at the CILIP AGM on Thursday night. In addition to all the work she did for the ILG, she had been involved in the CILIP Career Development Group for many years before that. Jane Secker, Chair of ILG, said: “I’ve known Rowena since she came to work with me at LSE in 2003 and both personally and professionally I shall miss her for her good advice, her sense of humour and her dedication to her work and information literacy. It is hard to believe such a vibrant person has gone so soon.”
When we heard the sad news about Rowena, the Information Literacy Group and LILAC committees started sharing our thoughts and memories of Rowena on our mailing list. It was immediately clear what a big influence she had on all of us, and how much we all cared about her. We’ve included a few extracts below but would like to invite you to share any thoughts or memories you have about Rowena using the comments option on this blog post.
Elaine Sykes, our Treasurer, said: “… her passion for Information Literacy, acting as an unceasing champion for it as a basic human right has been heartening in a world of ‘fake news’. The sheer quality of her work, even amidst the challenges of ill health, were inspirational. I’ll miss her combination of passion and humour a lot and the committee won’t be the same without her.”
Emma Coonan, Editor in chief of the Journal of Information Literacy, said: “It’s almost impossible to take in that such a vivid person is no longer here, and that her incisive intellect has gone from us. Yet Rowena made such a deep impression on everyone she met that she will not be forgotten.”
Laura Woods, our Secretary, said: “Rowena was the first person to welcome me to the committee. Over the few short years I knew her, I really valued her advice, her insight and her compassion. Rowena was fiercely intelligent, passionate and dedicated to campaigning for libraries and for information literacy.”
Maria Bell, her former colleague from LSE, said: “Rowena was passionate. Passionate about information literacy, libraries, learning and passionate about opera (more Wagner than Puccini), ballet, cricket, cricket and cricket, Radio 4, Leonard Cohen (she travelled Europe to see him), Dr Who (more classic than new), politics, … passionate and opinionated! She faced her illness with the same fire and commitment to get through it. Many of us had fun catching up at LILAC this year and were looking forward to more times like this.”
Her husband Mark has asked that, if you want to remember Rowena, donations can be made to the Michael Sobell Hospice and to Mount Vernon Hospital.