Mercian Collaboration History

The Mercian Collaboration originated following initial meetings and workshops held between the Directors of the East and West Midlands university libraries in 2013-2014. The original twenty-two members expanded in October 2017, to include Cranfield University.

Steering Group

While the current Steering Group Officers and members are shown elsewhere, contributions to the Mercian's operations and strategic direction have been made by a number of individuals who have since stepped down from these leadership roles. The role of Secretary was dissolved in 2015, following the Mercian Collaboration Officer's appointment. The role of Vice-Chair reconfigured in 2017 to progress to Chair, following the previous incumbent’s departure, making the role effectively a four year commitment.

Currently, the outgoing Steering Group hands over biennially following the March Directors board

Steering Group (2023-2025)

  • Chair: Emma Walton (Loughborough)
  • Vice-Chair: Sue Ackermann (Nottingham)
  • Treasurer: Pete Maggs (NTU)
  • Member: Jo-Anne Watts (Wolverhampton)
  • Member: Judith Keene (Worcester)
  • Member: Sarah Pittaway (BCU)
  • Ex Officio: Officer - Ruth Jenkins (Mercian Collaboration)

Steering Group (2021-2023)

  • Chair: Chris Porter (Newman)
  • Vice-Chair: Laura Pilsel (Harper Adams)
  • Treasurer: Helen Curtis (Aston)
  • Member: Chris Powis (Northampton)
  • Member: Jo-Anne Watts (Wolverhampton)
  • Member: Judith Keene (Worcester)
  • Ex Officio: Officer - Gareth J Johnson (Mercian Collaboration) [until mid-July '22]

Note: In office, 26th March 2021 onward

Steering Group (2019-2021)

  • Chair: Diane Job (Birmingham)
  • Vice-Chair: Chris Porter (Newman)
  • Treasurer: Mark Toole (NTU) [stood down, March/2020]
  • Member: Sue Ackermann (Nottingham)
  • Member: Simon Bevan (Cranfield)
  • Member: Emma Walton (Loughborough)
  • Ex Officio: Officer - Gareth J Johnson (Mercian Collaboration)

Note. Stood down, 25th March 2021

Steering Group (2017-2019)

  • Chair: Dave Parkes (DMU)
  • Vice-Chair: Diane Job (Birmingham)
  • Treasurer: Paul Reynolds (Keele)
  • Member: Fiona Parsons (Wolverhampton)
  • Member: Emma Walton (Loughborough)
  • Member: Phil Brabban (Coventry)
  • Ex Officio: Officer - Gareth J Johnson (Mercian Collaboration)

Note: Stood down, 26th March 2019

Steering Group (2014-17)

  • Chair: Caroline Taylor (Leicester)
  • Vice-Chair: Nicky Whitsed (Open University) [2014 - March 2016, post vacant to March 2017]
  • Treasurer: Robin Green (Warwick)
  • Secretary: Jo Webb (DMU) [2014 - mid.2015, post subsequently dissolved]
  • Ex Officio: Officer - Gareth J Johnson (Mercian Collaboration) [Nov 2015 onward]

Note: Chair and Treasurer stood down, 13th March 2017


As the Collaboration’s activities have matured, so too have the events organised. Prior to 2016 the only events held were meetings between directors, and an emerging programme of events from the Mercian Staff Development Group. However, a calendar of all events, meetings and conferences organised by the Collaboration and her constituent special interest groups from 2016 onward is available.

Key Events: Year by Year


  • Midlands Libraries group meets for formative discussions
  • Caroline Taylor becomes founding Collaboration Chair
  • Staff Development Group (MSDG) established [1]
  • Organisation renamed initially as Mercia Collaboration, before standardising as Mercian Collaboration


  • First Development Officer appointed to manage Collaboration operations








  • Development Officer role renamed Executive Officer
  • Strategic Plan updated in light of COVID-19 operational experiences
  • Original Officer departs Collaboration
  • Fifth annual conference hosted online


  • Emma Walton (Loughborough) takes on Collaboration Chair role
  • Ruth Jenkins commences in post as Executive Officer

[1] Formed from amalgamating two pre-existing regional groups
[2] Formed from a pre-existing unaffiliated regional group