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“We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth”

John Lubbock

About Us

The James Reckitt Library Endowment, known as the James Reckitt Library Trust, was established by Sir James Reckitt in 1892. A registered charity regulated by the Charity Commission (Charity Number 225497), the Endowment was originally intended to support solely the James Reckitt Library, but today helps to develop public library provision throughout the city of Hull.

Charity details, annual reports and accounts are available from the Charity Commission website.

The James Reckitt Library Trust has no connection with The Sir James Reckitt Charity, which was founded by Sir James in 1921 to support more general charitable causes that bring benefit to the people of Hull and East Yorkshire.

The public library service provided by Hull City Council is the primary object of the Trust’s funding.

The Trust is willing to consider funding proposals that involve partnership between the public library service and other organisations or funding bodies. Examples of organisations that have worked with the public library service on projects supported by the Trust include Freedom Festival, The Children’s University, The University of Hull, Hull History Centre, and Arts Council England.

Organisations wishing to express an interest in partnership with the public library service should first contact the Director of Library Services by email using [email protected].

The trust is managed by a board of five independent trustees.

Richard Heseltine is the Chair of the Board of Trustees. For 24 years until his retirement from the post in April 2016 he was University Librarian at the University of Hull, leading the £28 million transformation of the University’s Brynmor Jones Library completed in 2015, and also leading the University contribution to the creation of Hull History Centre in partnership with Hull City Council. Prior to moving to Hull his career was focused mainly on the application of technology to library and information services, working in a variety of public and private sector settings, including University College London and the National Library of Scotland. For eight years prior to coming to Hull he worked at a European level for CLSI, a North American computer company specialising in library automation systems.

Graham Chesters is an Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Hull where he served at one time as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Library Committee. He has been closely involved in promoting the work of Philip Larkin through the Larkin Society and Larkin25, as well as in other cultural activities in the City of Hull, including the Freedom Festival and the UK City of Culture bid.

    Councillor Rilba Jones has been a trustee of the JRLT since February, 2008, having been elected to the Council in 2007. She is committed to the excellent work carried out in Hull's libraries and the moves to modernise the service. As a former health visitor and now a grandmother she is very aware how important reading is for children of all ages, and improving literacy for adults.

    A graduate of the University of Hull, Councillor John Fareham has been a public servant for more than 30 years and currently represents the Bricknell ward on Hull City Council. An author, historian, planning consultant and public sector transformation specialist, he also serves as a trustee of several organisations, including the James Reckitt Library Trust. He is an inveterate library user and has been so since he was five.

    Chloe Frankish joined us in 2018 and is our newest trustee. Chloe is the Finance Director for Europe at Croda, a specialist chemical company committed to corporate social responsibility and with a goal to "inspire the innovators of tomorrow". Chloe grew up in the Hull area and, with 3 young children of her own, is committed to supporting initiatives which benefit the local community.