LETTER: On the trail of top librarian

I am searching for permission from the family of a nationally well-known librarian to quote from his ‘A Librarian’s Odyssey’ and also to use a photograph of him marching at the head of a company of wartime soldiers in Malton, North Yorkshire – where he ended six-seven years of service in the East Yorkshire Regiment.

I have enquired of Eastbourne Library about the late Kenneth Harrison’s family who may still be in the area or known thereabouts. It was suggested I also contact the Herald to seek information.

Mr Harrison was Eastbourne Borough Librarian from 1950 until 1958 (coming from Hove and moving on to Hendon). He settled in Eastbourne after retiring from Westminster Libraries in 1980.

At Eastbourne he was to be responsible for building the new Central Library on the site of the bomb-damaged older building (not allowed until 1955).

He said in his book that he had a pleasant and loyal staff, but ‘the real weakness of the service was the children’s library’.

He managed to appoint Jennifer Stevens a specialist chartered children’s librarian. He also established Junior Book Week, of which eight were held in his time, and introduced notable speakers such as Patrick Moore and Geoffrey Trease.

Anyone who can help can contact me via email – johnopenlearning@yahoo.co.uk

JOHN DEAN

York