A Librarian’s Farewell

After an astonishing career of more than thirty years’ service, colleagues from Warwick Hospital and beyond bid a fond farewell to librarian Nick Harden on Thursday 25th April.

Both the NHS and libraries have seen profound changes since Nick started building a library service from scratch in 1993. Nick shared some of that history with us as we marked his retirement at an event in the John Turner building – where the library began life, before moving across to the new Medical Education Centre when it opened in 2005.

Nick recalled that, having arrived with no experience of the Health Service, it was a steep learning curve. As well as Warwick Hospital, he initially oversaw library services for the Warneford in Leamington and Central Hospital, Hatton, until they closed, as acute services were centralised at Warwick and mental health services relocated to St Michael’s. Warwick Hospital became part of the newly created South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust in the year that Nick arrived.

The process of searching for information was revolutionised by the arrival of the internet and Nick recalled the technical problems that plagued the library’s first internet-connected computer. Over the years, library catalogues moved from physical cards to CD-ROMs to online platforms. Suddenly, there was no need to laboriously flick through pages and pages of minuscule print in enormous directories to find that crucial reference. Library work evolved to become considerably less manual-labour-intensive.

Finally, in 2021, the library service at Warwick Hospital merged with that at George Eliot Hospital and Nick’s experience was invaluable in making the process a success. As a relatively new team, we are enormously grateful to Nick for sticking around longer than he strictly needed to, in order to help ensure a smooth transition.

What’s the secret of Nick’s long service? Simply that Warwick Hospital is such a welcoming and friendly place to work. Thank you, Nick, for being a part of making that the case for us. We all wish you a long and happy retirement, and hope we’ll do you proud into the future!