Carmel Maguire Interview

Carmel Maguire started as HR director at the British Library on 4 January
after 26 years in personnel roles in local government. She moves from the post
of assistant chief executive with responsibility for personnel at Nottingham
City Council, a post which she held for eight years.

What will you miss about Nottingham?

The Lace Market, Wilford Meadows Comprehensive School, where I was a
governor, and working in an office above Karen Millen, particularly at sale
time.

What are you looking forward to in London?

Joining Friends of the Tate.

The best thing about working in local government?

The opportunity to make a real difference where it matters most.

And the worst?

Politicians

Why the change of sector?

I was attracted by the British Library’s bold claim that it is the best
research establishment in the world. I wanted to be part of that.

Your greatest challenge in your new job?

Digitisation is on the horizon. Changes in working practices, skills
requirements and pay and reward systems will all come out of that. Getting
people to buy in to the need for change is the greatest challenge.

The strangest situation you have dealt with?

I have a few gems from my days at Liverpool City Council during the Hatton
era. My employer telling me that it was in my best interest to go out on strike
"or else" was weird.

What’s your greatest strength?

I’m a "glass is half full" type.

Your least appealing characteristic?

Impatience.

Your Myers Briggs type?

ENTP (Extrovert, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceptive).

What do you do when you are not working?

I love to be with friends, even if it’s just for a pizza or a glass of wine.

What would you like more time to do?

Look up my family roots in Ireland.

Who do you admire?

Test-tube baby pioneer Dr Steptoe.

Describe your idea of a perfect Sunday

A sleep-in snuggled up with the baby. A Sunday roast with my three sons and
the usual fun things parents get to do at the weekend – ferrying children
about, homework, refereeing disputes.

What would you rescue if your house was on fire?

My framed photo-shoot of a Paul and Linda McCartney jamming session.

What are your three top books of the 20th century?

Sons and Lovers by D * Lawrence, The Loved Ones by Evelyn Waugh and The
Diary of Anne Frank.

Jan 2000 HR director, The British Library

1992-1999 Assistant chief executive, personnel, Nottingham City Council

July-Nov 1999 Seconded to the Local Government Association

1987-1992 Principal personnel officer, employee relations, then lead for
the authority on industrial relations and employment law, Hereford and
Worcester County Council

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