Coronavirus

Condolences for Will Simpson

Words by Helen Buhler

The University was very sorry to hear of the death of Will Simpson on 7 July 2021.

Sadly, and unexpectedly, Will Simpson, the University of Kent’s second Librarian, died on 7 July  at home. Since succeeding Stephen Darlow, Kent’s Founding Librarian, after four years as his Deputy Librarian, Will’s time in the best office on campus was characterised by forward-thinking and efficient management, together with a deep dislike of red tape and paperwork. He was a major figure in the development of KLACS, Kent’s online circulation system, written by the Computing Lab’s Rod Saunders, which came into use in October 1976, and was the first in a British university library. This was eventually replaced by Cambridge’s cataloguing and circulation systems.

Will was also instrumental in fostering a relationship with the Cathedral Library, and was (together with Naomi Linnell and David Shaw) involved in the Cathedral’s online catalogue of pre-1801 printed books. The Templeman’s extension on its eastern side owed its initial planning to Will, aided by Margaret Smyth.

Always approachable and helpful, Will made the Templeman a very pleasant place to work. I have happy memories of those years. Needless to say, his retirement was marked by the Templeman’s best and biggest party!

Our condolences and thoughts go out to June and to their children, Harold, Lucy, and Victoria.

May Will rest in peace.