Dr Michael Hopkins (1945-2023)

It is with sadness that we share news of the death of Dr Michael Hopkins, former Director of Information Services at Aberystwyth University, on 30 December 2023.

A native of Pontypridd, Dr Hopkins graduated with a BA in History from the University of Leicester in 1967. He studied for a year at the former College of Librarianship Wales at Aberystwyth to gain his ALA. He was awarded a PhD by Loughborough University in 1981.

He began his career at Leicester University in 1969 where he was appointed Senior Library Assistant. He was promoted to Assistant Librarian in 1971. Five years later he moved to Loughborough as Sub-Librarian and was appointed Deputy Librarian in 1988.

Throughout his career Dr Hopkins was active in the wider librarianship profession, serving on local and national committees of the Library Association (now CILIP – the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and a number of other professional bodies. Internationally, in the early 1990’s, he was involved in an Overseas Development Agency (now Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)) project to establish a new Library at Moi University in Kenya. He maintained regular contact with Moi University, returning in 2007 to review developments.

Following his PhD, he maintained a strong research interest. His main area of specialist interest was European Community information and the role of technology in improving access to information. He established himself as a leading authority in this area and was often consulted by the European Commission on matters relating to information policy. He authored numerous books, book chapters, research reports, and journal articles. Furthermore, he presented papers at over 60 conferences.

In 1995 Dr Hopkins was appointed as the first post holder to the newly established role of Director of Information Services at Aberystwyth University. Information Services was created to respond to the many changes taking place in the increasingly convergent worlds of information, communication, and technology. The new department consisted of the Library, Computer Unit and Audio-Visual services. Dr Hopkins successfully led the department through a period of tremendous change and growth from 1995 to his retirement in 2009.

While in his Director role at Aberystwyth University, Dr Hopkins was very active with the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF), improving critical collaboration between Welsh HE library and National Library of Wales colleagues and working towards a shared systems approach. He was a leading force in the Wales-wide Gathering the Jewels Project which pooled digitised versions of items from Museums, Archives, Libraries and private collections in Wales. This collection is now known as the People's Collection Wales. Furthermore, Mike was Project Director of the Higher Education Libraires Partnership (HELP) Project for WHELF, developing further collaborative and cooperative working, including resource sharing, between Welsh libraries.

Dr Hopkins was an active walker, and enthusiastic golfer and squash player, and testament to the positive relationship he developed with coworkers within Information Services and across libraries in Wales, after his retirement, Dr Hopkins continued to meet with colleagues for social days out and hiking trips.

Our sincere condolences to his family.

Tim Davies and Elizabeth Kensler (Information Services)