Vale Heather Gordon

Dear Colleagues,

It with a heavy heart that I advise you that Ms Heather Gordon passed away last Friday, 9 August.

As many of you will know, Heather joined JCU as Director and University Librarian in 2006 and retired in 2017. During her time with us she made a long-lasting contribution to the University and our student experience. During her eleven years with JCU, Heather spent at least four years as acting Executive Director and DVC of the then University Services Division. She made a difference in all of her roles and pursued an innovative vision for supporting students and staff with her own well considered approach to best practice library and information services.

Heather’s commitment to the student experience saw the refurbishment of the ground floors of the Mabo and Cairns Libraries, turning these into dynamic learning spaces within a traditional library. She also encouraged and oversaw the renaming of the Townsville campus library to the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library in 2008, promoting the connection with Eddie’s legacy and family. Heather continually sought client feedback, both from staff and students, and adapted the service delivery model of our Libraries in response to the University’s ever-changing requirements.

Heather represented JCU professionally, at State level with the Queensland University Libraries Office of Cooperation and at the national level as President of the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) from 2013-2015. Her significant contribution was acknowledged in a statement by the current CAUL President, Ms Margie Jantti:  ‘We will recall Heather’s sharp mind, sharp wit and forensic attention to detail, as well as her firm-held Canadian accent’. There can be no doubt that Heather was a great advocate for her profession, the value of libraries, librarians and JCU’s Directorate of Library and Information Services

Acknowledged by her professional peers, I know Heather’s leadership, vision and focus were acknowledged and admired by many at JCU too, not the least by me. Alongside her deep knowledge and expertise, Heather brought remarkable insight, depth, a sense of purpose and the assurance of a ‘safe pair of hands’ to everything she did. Heather was terrific company too.

Heather is survived by her husband, Don. I am sure you will all join with me in expressing our deep and sincere condolences to him for his great loss.

Don has advised us that Heather did not want any sort of ceremony, gathering, or solemn occasion to mark her passing. He suggests that those of us who want to remember and commemorate Heather’s life do something that will help others, for instance make a donation to ovarian cancer research, or just get together to reminisce about our most memorable ‘Heatherism’.

Vale Heather, you will be sadly missed by all those you touched throughout a life well-lived.

Kind regards,