Obituary of Margaret Keeling, BA, MA, MCLIP, PhD

Dr. Dorothy Margaret Keeling died on 27 March 2018 after a long battle against cancer.

Prior to her retirement in 2004, Margaret held senior positions in the public library services in Staffordshire and Essex, finishing her career as Head of Libraries, Information, Heritage and Culture in Essex.

Margaret Keeling’s first permanent appointment in Staffordshire was as Mobile Librarian in Lichfield from September 1986. She held a number of positions after that and she was appointed as County Librarian in 1998.

Margaret came to Essex from Staffordshire in September 2001, having come down early for a couple of days in August to help steer the service’s response to a Best Value Review report.  The way in which Margaret was able to steer the potentially difficult situation which the report might have resulted in, by agreeing with its findings and simultaneously putting together a coherent and positive plan to take the service forward, set the tenor for her work and leadership in Essex.   Margaret was very much a leader with a clear vision for the future and a firm idea of how to achieve this. She worked hard herself and expected her colleagues to do the same. Fools were not suffered but she always placed the welfare of staff very much to the fore.

 There was an enjoyable retirement party at the Essex Record Office in September 2004 where many of her past colleagues from public libraries gathered to wish her well. Whilst she was in Essex Margaret stayed in a Chelmsford flat but after retirement she returned to Staffordshire and her family before a move to Woodbridge in Suffolk where her funeral took place on  20 April 2018.

Margaret was a lifelong Christian and, while in Essex, worshipped at the Central Baptist Church in Chelmsford where she is still remembered.  She served for several years as the fifth President of the Librarians’ Christian Fellowship. In this role she chaired conferences, wrote articles, and contributed to the review group which led to the organisation’s name change to Christians in Library and Information Services in 2014. Margaret was also involved in the work of the Christian Book Promotion Trust and its Speaking Volumes scheme in which grants were made towards Christian books for libraries of all kinds.

Our prayers and sympathies go to Margaret’s husband, Brian, and members of her family, at this sad time of bereavement.


Geoff Elgar – Formerly of Essex Libraries

Alan Medway – Library Service Operations Manager, Staffordshire Library and Information Service

Graham Hedges – Secretary, Christians in Library and Information Services


First appeared in the “Information Professional”, September 2018