Denis Richardson

Walter Denis Richardson (1927-2011) 

From Australia’s Library & Information Services – an Encyclopaedia of Practice and Practitioners (ALIAS), 1991. Ed Harrison Bryan, vol. 3 p.24:

W. D. Richardson, university and public librarian, was born, educated and secured his professional qualifications in Britain (BA Hons., University of Sheffield, 1948, Fellow of the Library Association, 1955). He spent the early part of his career in the city libraries of Leeds (1951-53) and Bradford (1953-55), before taking up the position of Librarian at the Claremont Public Library (1955-59), Western Australia.

An apparent determination to experience the widest range of latitude as well as longitude saw him in charge of the Glenelg (Victoria) Regional Library (1959-60) and the Toowoomba (Queensland) Public Library (1961-63), before moving to Canberra, initially to take charge of the Canberra Public Library Service (1964-70) and later, as Deputy National Librarian (1970-74).

In 1975 he was appointed University Librarian, University of Melbourne.  During his period at Melbourne the Library regained the impetus of development it had lost during a period of lesser support by the University.

Active in professional matters, he was President of the Library Association of Australia (LAA) in 1980, served on its Board of Examiners (1975-76), convened its Futures Committee (1982) and took a prominent part in drafting its submission to the Committee of Inquiry into Public Libraries ( Horton Report).  He was a member of the Standing Committee of the Australian Advisory Council on bibliographical Services (AACOBS) (1975, 1976, 1980) and convened its Working Party on Systems and Communications.  His concern at the same time for the development of computerised information services and for genuine resource sharing is demonstrated by his foundation chairmanship of the AUSINET Users Committee and his membership of the board of directors of CAVAL.

An articulate writer (Svensma Prize 1951) and an eloquent speaker, he features prominently in the proceedings of the LAA's biennial conferences. He was awarded the Fellowship of the LAA in 1982.


There is a more personal obituary on WD Richardson in Obituaries Australia