Bringing ideas, imagination, information and knowledge to people’s lives and communities

Our Board

Our trustees are collectively responsible for setting and reviewing the strategic direction of Libraries Unlimited, in line with its charitable objectives.

They all have a passion for the future of libraries, along with the vision, expertise and creativity to help the new organisation develop and grow sustainably.

Working with library staff, they make a vital contribution by helping deliver modern, vibrant and sustainable library services.

Julie Dent profile picture

Julie Dent

Chair

Julie has significant professional experience of managing and leading large organisations across the South West and in London.

Prior to retiring to Devon Julie was the Chief Executive of the South West London Health Authority, where she was awarded a CBE for her services to the NHS following the London Bombings.

Julie has considerable Board level experience and overseeing organisational change. She was Chair of London Probation which moved from being a failing to a high performing organisation during her time.

Since moving to Devon Julie has been Chair of the Torbay NHS Care Trust and is also the current Chair of the Devon Partnership Trust.

She is a passionate supporter of the value of public libraries and has been a user of libraries all her life. She is a voracious reader and established a book group in her village and regularly visits her local library in Tiverton.

Ciara Eastell profile picture

Ciara Eastell

Chief Executive

Ciara Eastell is the Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited and an ex officio trustee.

She has over 20 years’ experience as a Chartered Librarian and is the former Head of Libraries, Culture and Heritage for Devon County Council. She has previously managed libraries in Gateshead, Cambridgeshire and Somerset.

Ciara is passionate about the potential of public libraries, the value of reading and the power of information to transform lives. She was President of the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) from 2014-2016; is a member of the British Library's Advisory Council and was the first librarian to participate in the Clore Leadership Programme. Ciara was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours 2017 for services to libraries.

Ann Draisey profile picture

Ann Draisey

Staff Trustee

Ann Draisey began her career in libraries after finishing a History of Art degree at the University of Edinburgh, starting as a Saturday Assistant in Exeter Library in 2009.

She also worked as an Information Assistant in all the campus libraries in the University of Exeter and as a Library Assistant at West Exe School, a large secondary school in Exeter where she was Library Manager.

Ann has a particular interest in library services for teenagers. She is a qualified librarian and a Chartered member of CILIP. Ann is currently Library Supervisor at Totnes Library.

Diane Dean profile picture

Diane Dean

Community Trustee

Diane is a member of the Friends of Colyton Library.

A Devon based business woman she ran a successful retail business for 30 years with her husband. Her work in training and development in this sector was recognised by the Distributive Industries Training Board. She also established and ran a domiciliary care agency serving East Devon.

Volunteering is an important part of Diane’s life and she has previously volunteered for the Samaritans, the Citizens Advice Bureau and was an Exeter Red Coat Guide. She recently opened a Memory Cafe in Colyton, East Devon and is a committee member of the Colyton Friends Group.

Diane studied with the Open University to gain both a BA (Hons) and MA (Lit).

She is a Magistrate on the North and East Devon Bench and was elected as the Chair of the Bench’s Training and Development Committee In January of 2015.

Diane is committed to providing a library service which meets people’s needs and responds to how they live their lives.

Steve Wallwork profile picture

Steve Wallwork

Independent Trustee

Steve is a qualified chartered accountant and was Managing Director of the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group until his retirement in 2014. He led the development and establishment of this Clinical Commissioning Group which commissions care for a population of 300,000.

Steve is a former Chair of the Health Finance Managers Association South West and member of the Health Finance Manager’s Association National Commissioning Committee.

Steve lives just outside Newton Abbot with his family.

David Solomides profile picture

David Solomides

Independent Trustee

David is an experienced Business Growth Coach and Non-Executive Director. He also has a passion for developing enterprise within education and works with many schools across Devon to help and mentor them in developing their own social enterprises.

He is also Expert in Residence at the University of Exeter, where he helps commercialise research and coaches students to create and run their own businesses.

David sits on the board of a number of diverse businesses, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a Professional of the Institute of Operational Risk.

Janet Fisher profile picture

Janet Fisher

Independent Trustee

Janet Fisher’s professional life has been spent working with children and young people, both in public and school libraries and charities concerned with literacy and the promotion of reading.

Since moving to Devon in 2007 she has been a Trustee of the Appledore Book Festival and with a colleague ran the Festival’s very successful schools programme.

Janet has worked in school libraries in Saudi Arabia and Montreal, and has an MSc in the Management of Libraries and Information Services. Janet has also established a project which makes quilts for wounded military personnel.

All through her working life she has been writing about children’s and young people’s literature, having published a book about historical fiction, contributed to several books in the field, and still regularly reviews children’s books.

Janet and her husband have a smallholding and vineyard in North Devon, where she also sings, quilts, is continuing to learn to play the piano, and is actively involved in her local church. She has a son and daughter and three grand –daughters.

David Lockwood profile picture

David Lockwood

Independent Trustee

David is the Artistic Director, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of The Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter, which produces and supports new work from emerging national and local companies.

Prior to opening the Bike Shed, David worked as an actor and director. He is the Director of Ignite, Exeter’s Festival of Theatre and sits on the steering group for Exeter Cultural Partnership, the Laugh Out Loud festival and Exetreme Imagination children’s literature festival.

David has just completed a Clore Leadership Fellowship, as part of which he spent three months at the Royal Opera House.

Emily Macaulay MBE

Staff Trustee

Emily has worked within Devon Libraries since 2013 arriving as the refurbished Exeter Library prepared to open. Originally a Senior Supervisor for Operations Emily is now the Centre Manager for Exeter Library.

Previously to working in libraries Emily completed an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Criminology and then worked in the criminal justice system within Devon and Cornwall, for the Police, Local Criminal Justice Board and most recently the Police Authority / Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. In addition to her community engagement work in these organisations she was also elected Chair of the Gay Police Association, a staff support group for members of the policing family that identified as LGB/T. It was this work that saw Emily awarded an MBE for services to equality and diversity.

Outside of work Emily is a keen runner and uses this to fundraise for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, a charity based in Leeds.

Sue Simmons

Community Trustee

Sue is a founder member and the secretary of BLAST (Bovey Library Action Support Team) – the friends group for Bovey Tracey library. She has lived in Devon for over 20 years. Sue’s background is in mental health nursing – in clinical practice, education and management in the NHS. More recently she has been working part-time for the Care Quality Commission and doing some independent consultancy work. She has two adult sons now living in Bristol.

Sue and her husband are volunteer hosts with Nightstop which provides emergency accommodation for homeless young people, and she is a trustee of a charity for education and welfare in Bangladesh. In her spare time she loves to walk, cycle, enjoy Devon’s beautiful countryside and, of course, read. She and friends established their local book group around fourteen years ago and it is still going from strength to strength. She is very positive about the future for Libraries Unlimited.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.