Karen is a graduate of Edinburgh University and spent her early career in England and the USA before moving to Queen’s University Belfast where she held several library management posts before retiring in 2017.
In addition to being a member of the LIBER Architecture Group, she chairs the UK Designing Libraries Advisory Board and is a former Chair of the IFLA Library Buildings & Equipment Standing Committee.
She has published widely on a range of library building and other architectural topics and has presented papers at many national and international conferences. Professional achievements include Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals and honorary membership of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects. She is also a founder of ARCLIB, an organisation for architecture librarians in the UK, and a current member and former chair of Hearth Historic Buildings Trust – a building preservation trust which restores historic buildings at risk for a variety of uses including social housing.
Karen was awarded an OBE in 2007 for services to architectural heritage.
LIBER and in particular the LIBER Architecture Group (LAG) matter because of the Europe-wide contribution to the library and information profession. LAG matters because it is a very active group of people with considerable knowledge of library planning and design who endeavor to support anyone embarking on a library building/refurbishment project through sharing expertise and highlighting key buildings from which lessons can be learnt. The biennial seminar is widely respected and very influential.