New Chief Librarian appointed at SOAS

We are pleased to announce that Dr Rookaya Bawa has been appointed as the new Chief Librarian at SOAS University of London. 

Rookaya has had a lifelong engagement with the world of books and libraries. Her work has spanned teaching in the Department of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Natal in South Africa, leading the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Information and Library Sciences as Director, during which time she was responsible for the construction and extension of some 80 public libraries across the province. Many of these won architectural awards.  

She then later worked at the Carnegie Corporation of New York as Program Officer for the Corporation’s legacy longstanding funding activities on libraries and information sciences. While she worked across the USA and UK, most of her work at the Carnegie Corporation was in Africa where she worked on building university, national and public libraries. In the case of academic libraries her focus was very much on helping universities, automate, design and establish research commons. She then returned to South Africa and worked at the University of Johannesburg as Executive Director of Libraries where she raised monies to reconfigure the library as an interactive, engaged university 

SOAS Chief Operating Officer, Khadir Meer said:

“Rookaya’s experience in leading the development of public, national and research libraries is extraordinary – from creating new libraries and spaces, enhancing engagement and improving the research function that they offer. Her insights will be invaluable at SOAS  - we very much look forward to welcoming her to the role of Chief Librarian.” 

Speaking about her appointment, Dr Rookaya Bawa said:

“The opportunity to work at SOAS is a wonderful challenge to reimagine the role and place of a research university library in the context of building towards a global commons of scholars and scholarship.” 

Rookaya will join SOAS on 1 February 2023.

Dr Rookaya Bawa