ASCEL announces Interim CEO

Thursday, 9 November, 2023

Sarah Mears MBE, Programme Manager for Libraries Connected joins ASCEL as Interim CEO.


Sarah will support ASCEL with the charity’s exciting new strategic plans as an Arts Council England ISPO, bringing a wealth of experience and energy to the role. Sarah’s background in strong, effective leadership and programming, and extensive knowledge of children’s library services means she is well placed to steer the organisation further forward with our ambitious plans for growth, whilst we recruit a permanent CEO.

As a past Chair and longtime supporter of ASCEL, Sarah has an excellent insight into our members’ needs and our vision and mission.

Annabel Gittins, Chair of ASCEL, says:

“ASCEL is extremely grateful to Sarah and Libraries Connected for providing us with such invaluable support during this interim period. We are excited to have found such an experienced and passionate Interim CEO to work with our Trustees, team, and members who will continue our ambitious plans and support us in our evolution as a new Arts Council England IPSO. Sarah’s expertise and insight are set to enhance our organisation further during this exciting new chapter.”

Sarah Mears MBE says:

“I am so delighted to be given this opportunity to contribute to ASCEL’s development. It is such an exciting time for ASCEL as the organisation grows and I will work hard to support the charity’s strategy working with public libraries to put the voice of the child and young person at the heart of services.”

Isobel Hunter, CEO Libraries Connected says:

“As an expert on children’s librarianship, and a former chair of ASCEL, Sarah is the perfect choice to continue Adam Tulloch’s work in establishing ASCEL as a delivery organisation. It’s so important that children’s and school libraries have a dedicated organisation representing them – that’s why Libraries Connected has been a steadfast supporter of ASCEL from the outset. We’re pleased that we can help ASCEL at this time of transition and are excited to see the organisation grow under Sarah’s stewardship as it recruits its next permanent CEO.”


Sarah Mears MBE is Programme Manager for Libraries Connected, the national network for Librarians across the UK. Formerly, Sarah was Library Services Manager for Essex Libraries, the lead for the Universal Culture Offer and was a member of SCL Executive. She is also a past Chair of ASCEL. Away from work she is one of the founder members and a director of Empathy Lab, a not-for-profit organisation which focuses on developing children’s empathy skills through the power of books and stories in schools and libraries.