Tony is Head of Culture, Libraries and Lifelong Learning for Newcastle City Council. He first joined the Council as Head of Libraries and Information in 2002; taking over responsibility for Lifelong Learning in 2004, for Culture in 2006, and Tourism in 2008.
Tony began his career in a variety of roles with Derbyshire Library Service, from trainee to district librarian. He then worked for Gateshead Library and Arts Service as Assistant Director, moving up to Deputy Director and latterly as Head of Libraries, Arts and Information.
His priorities for Newcastle public priorities have been to work with colleagues to modernise services, to win acknowledgement for delivering quality services and to create a positive profile for the library service within the Council. The service is now held in high regard by both the Council and external stakeholders. One of Newcastle’s major projects has been the development of a new city library through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Tony is the director of this exciting project, and the Council opened its new city library to a very positive public response, in June 2009.
Tony was President of the Society of Chief Librarians from 2007 until 2009. The role was challenging, but he says it was an opportunity, and a privilege, to represent public libraries at a national level. He is also a member of the Advisory Council on Libraries, and a Board member for the Public Libraries Modernisation Review.
John Shipley OBE
Leader of Newcastle City Council, John Shipley OBE spent his early years in Whitby, North Yorkshire. After graduating from University College London in 1969 with a degree in history, John moved to Newcastle and has lived and worked there ever since.
John is the Liberal Democrat representative for Parklands ward. He was first elected as a Councillor in May 1975. From 1978 to 1998 John was leader of the Liberal and then Liberal Democrat group on the Council and leader of the opposition for ten years from 1988 to1998.
Since the local elections in May 2004 when the Liberal Democrats became the majority party, John was a member of the Executive as the portfolio holder for policy co-ordination and development. He now chairs the Executive, following his appointment as Leader of the Council in May 2006.
He stood as a Parliamentary Candidate for the Liberal Party in 1974 (Blyth twice), Hexham 1979, Newcastle North 1983 and 1987.
John also chairs the Newcastle Partnership (LSP); he is a member of the Northern Way Steering Group and the Northern Way Transport Compact. He was appointed a board member of One North East in December 2005 and is a board member of both the Newcastle Gateshead City Development Company (1NG) and the Newcastle Science City Company Ltd.
As a keen supporter of the performing arts, John is board member of the Theatre Royal Trust. He was regional director of The Open University until his retirement in 2005 and he was awarded an OBE in the 1995 New Year’s Honours List.