1947 – 1998
John Dunne, Assistant County Librarian for Hampshire, writes:
Colleagues in the children’s book world will be saddened to hear of the sudden death of Keith Barker, Resources Development Manager at Orchard Learning Resources Centre, Westhill College, Birmingham.
Keith’s contribution to children’s books was enormous both in the time he devoted to them and the impact he made. As Reviews Editor of the School Library Association’s School Librarian, he ensured that the best books and best reviews reached libraries and classrooms up and down the country.
His work for the Youth Libraries Group was equally tireless and during his years as Publications Officer he was responsible for the production of many highly imaginative posters as well as practical booklets on different aspects of children’s librarianship. In 1994 he was made Chair of YLG and managed a busy and successful year with great skill and elan.
He also wrote a number of authoritative books on a wide range of topics. There were monographs on Dick King-Smith and Gillian Cross, practical guidelines on both graphic novels and teenage books and an invaluable guide, which he edited, to choosing information books for children.
Keith’s most recent book Outstanding Books for Children and Young People was published last year and brought his customary erudition and enthusiasm to one of his favourite subjects, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.
Apart from these many achievements, what colleagues who met and knew Keith will remember is his kindness, his modesty and of course his love of children’s literature.