First Woman University Librarian, 1980

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In January 1980 Brenda Elizabeth Moon (1931-2011) became Edinburgh University's first female University Librarian. She would go on to play a pioneering role in bringing Edinburgh University Library into the digital age.

Appointed following the resignation of Richard Fifoot (1925-1992), Moon brought to the role a clear vision of the transformative effect that digitisation would have on libraries. At the Brynmor Jones Library, Hull University, where she had been deputy to Philip Larkin, she had installed the first GEAC library computer system in the UK. On arriving at Edinburgh she persuaded the university to accelerate its automation programme, and Edinburgh thus became one of the first university libraries to network a version of its online catalogue.

Moon also recognized the importance of national and international collaboration between libraries in an increasingly globalized research and teaching environment. She ensured that Edinburgh University played a major role in library co-operative networks and was a co-founder of CURL (Consortium of University Research Libraries, now RLUK). She was also a strong advocate for staff exchanges between Edinburgh University Library and other university libraries.

Moon laid particular emphasis on building up archives and special collections and expanding the library's collections to include museum objects and art works. Major collections that she brought to Edinburgh University include the papers of modern Scottish writers such as George Mackay Brown), Norman MacCaig, and Hugh MacDiarmid, the Papers of Arthur Koestler, and the Corson Collection of Sir Walter Scott Materials.


  • Sheila Cannell, 'Brenda Moon: University Librarian Who Had a Clear Vision of the Transformative Effects of Digitisation', The Independent, 5 April 2011 [[1], accessed 2 September 2014]]
  • Peter B. Freshwater, 'Brenda Elizabeth Moon MA MPhil PhD FRSE Librarian to the University 1980-1996: An Appreciation', University of Edinburgh Journal, XLV, no. 1 (June 2011), p. 7.
  • Derek Law, 'Brenda Moon Obituary', The Guardian, 31 March 2011 [[2], accessed 2 September 2014]]