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

Our Team

The Chief Executive and the management team are responsible for the day-to-day management of the organisation and its services.

Joanne Launder profile picture

Joanne Launder

Interim Chief Executive

Jo is Head of Service Delivery for Libraries Unlimited and is currently acting Chief Executive on an interim basis. She has almost twenty years’ experience of working in libraries, most recently as an Area Manager for Devon Libraries and previously in library posts for the University of Plymouth, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of Leeds and Enfield Libraries.

As a member of the senior management team Jo is responsible for the delivery and development of library services for the organisation, working with the Service Delivery Team on innovative models of approach to ensure that libraries are at the heart of their local communities, meeting the needs and aspirations of local people.

A Chartered Librarian with an MA from University College London, Jo is passionate about the delivery of excellent customer service.

Karen Best Libraries Unlimited

Karen Best

Director of Finance and Operations

Karen is Director of Finance and Operations for Libraries Unlimited. She has over twenty years’ experience of working in the private and public sectors in a wide range of finance roles, including extensive experience of delivering systems implementations, driving continuous improvement and team development. Most recently, Karen was Head of Financial Operations at the University of Exeter after relocating from the South East.

As a member of the senior management team, Karen is responsible for the overall financial management, integrity and control of the organisation. Her team also support all areas of the organisation with operational and change activities from a HR, Finance and broader business perspective.

Karen is passionate about the power and pleasure of reading to enable individuals to realise their potential. Also, as a Chartered Accountant, she believes in the role of Finance and other support functions to enable the organisation to fulfil its ambition and vision.

Steve Turner

Head of Commercial and Innovation

Steve is Head of Commercial & Innovation for Libraries Unlimited. He has over twenty years’ experience of working in the public and private sectors in a wide range of areas including property and programme management, business support and development, and raising funds from local, national and EU grant schemes.
Most recently Steve was Economy & Enterprise Team Manager at Devon County Council and prior to this he worked at a senior level in a number of local authorities and the private sector in Nottinghamshire.

As a member of the senior management team Steve is responsible for the overall management of property, marketing and communications, new income generation and fundraising activities. He also works with a small, dedicated team to develop new innovative services which currently include Fab Lab Devon and the Business & Intellectual Property Centre.

Steve is a big believer in the role that libraries can play in supporting the economic and social well-being of local communities and is keen to use his experience to develop this role further.

Phil Blay

Head of IT and Digital

Phil is Head of IT and Digital. He has many years of experience in the ICT sector, mainly obtained in the legal arena.

For the last six years he has worked at a Devon law firm, managing a large ICT modernisation project including several mergers. This included all system installations and the resulting connectivity issues caused by a number of office moves.

Phil previously worked for the library service Online Services Team and has a solid knowledge of existing library infrastructure. Phil is responsible for establishing an independent ICT infrastructure for Libraries Unlimited and improving access to digital services.

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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.