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01 Jul 2015

Liz Osborne, Outreach and Enquiry Services Manager at the Bodleian Health Care Libraries

Liz Osborne, Outreach and Enquiry Services Manager aliz osborne.jpgt the Bodleian Health Care Libraries, sadly passed away on the 1st of May this year after a long illness.  All of us at the Bodleian Health Care Libraries were extremely sad to hear the news and I speak on behalf of all our team when I say how pleased and privileged we were to get to know her and to work with her.  I am therefore very grateful to have an opportunity to write just few words on behalf of myself and Liz’s other colleagues and friends at Oxford.

Liz joined us at the end of 2013 and was the easily the standout candidate and personality when we interviewed her.  Almost as soon as she started talking to us I could feel my colleagues relax in their chairs as they also realised that we’d found the right person, and in the time that she spent with us she more than proved us correct.
Although Liz wasn’t with us for very long she made a big impact on all of us.   We have a team of over 20 people so we have a real mix of people and personalities, but Liz got on well with everybody.  She was greatly liked by all of her colleagues and also got on extremely well with the healthcare staff that we serve. 
Her approach to her work was always extremely professional but not in a dour or strict “professional” way as her friendliness and enthusiasm for her role always shone through.   She was always more than happy to roll her sleeves up to support her colleagues and her fresh perspective and positive outlook meant that she was a real breath of fresh air.   And of course her positive attitude during her illness was clear to all of us who spoke to her.  Even when she was an inpatient at the John Radcliffe she was still supporting the work of the hospital.  For example, I vividly recall opening the hospital magazine one lunchtime only to see a photo of Liz in her hospital room publicising the launch of new patient information packs.
I know from conversations with her former colleagues in London how highly respected and well-liked Liz was across the London health libraries network.  She worked at several NHS sites in the capital and was an active member of several professional networks - establishing many friendships that continued after she left that environment.  After her appointment more than one colleague from London mentioned how lucky we were to have her at Oxford and of course they were right.
I asked some of our team if they had any thoughts or memories that they would like to share and I’d like to include just a few lines from one of them, Judith Ames.  “Liz was such a warm, friendly person and I knew right from when she started at the Cairn's Library that we would get on. She was really supportive and encouraging of my career development and encouraged Jane and I, as library assistants, to attend the CILIP Health Care Libraries Conference, which I really enjoyed.”
“I just remember Liz's sense of humour throughout it all. I remember us giggling at her chocolate fridge in her hospital ward...regularly topped up with supplies...and how we joked she would have to enter some fastest puzzle completing championship, after all the ones she was doing in hospital. I also remember, with all she was going through, how interested she would be to hear what was going on at work and in my life those times I spoke to her or visited.”
I think that that really encapsulates how lucky we were to have Liz with us and she will be very greatly missed by us all. 

Donald M Mackay
Head of Health Care Libraries
The Bodleian Health Care Libraries


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