Dr Alice Prochaska appointed Chair of Book Aid International 

31st January 2022 | News

Book Aid International today announced that its trustees have appointed Dr Alice Prochaska as the charity’s new Chair of the Board of Trustees. The charity’s current Chair, Lord Paul Boateng, will now become the charity’s Vice Patron.

Dr Prochaska spoke of her excitement about joining Book Aid International as chair, saying:

“I am thrilled and honoured to be appointed to this role, in succession to Lord Boateng who has served with such distinction since 2014. My own career has focused on higher education and on international libraries and archives and I have an abiding interest in extending the life-changing benefits of reading and learning. It will be a privilege to support Book Aid International in its important work providing books where they are needed most. I am looking forward keenly to working with Book Aid International’s brilliant and dedicated staff and supporters.”

Dr Prochaska brings to the role many years of experience leading some of the world’s most important libraries and archives, including at the British Library and Yale University Library. Throughout her career, she has advocated for the importance of books and access to information.

For nearly twenty years she served on and at one time chaired the Rare Books and Manuscripts Standing Committee of the International Federation of Library Associations where she joined the fight against the destruction and despoliation of libraries in conflict and was involved in plans for digitising international heritage.

In 2001, she was appointed as University Librarian at Yale, leading one of the largest research libraries in the world. While at Yale, she chaired various North American library organisations including the Center for Research Libraries and served on the board of Yale University Press. She remained in that role until 2010 when she became Principal of Somerville College Oxford, serving also as a pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford and as board member of the Bodleian Library until 2017.

Dr Prochaska has also worked at the UK National Archives, the University of London Institute of Historical Research and as Director of Special Collections at the British Library. She is a fellow and former vice-president of the Royal Historical Society and has also chaired, among others, the National Council on Archives and the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust.

An alumna of Somerville College, she holds the degrees of MA and Doctor of Philosophy in Modern History from the University of Oxford, and she has published books and articles, curated exhibitions and broadcast on topics dealing with archives and libraries.

Book Aid International is also delighted that Lord Paul Boateng will remain involved as the charity’s Vice Patron. He spoke of his hopes for the charity’s future, saying:

“It is wonderful to have Alice as Book Aid International’s new Chair. She has a love of books and brings to the Board a lifetimes achievement in the management of libraries and archives, and she is well equipped to help take this wonderful charity into its next exciting stage. I am also very glad to stay on as Vice Patron. Book Aid International helped me as child and I am looking forward to assisting it in reaching out to yet more people in need the world over.”

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