Call for worthy recipient to take on professor's library legacy

April 23, 2009

The husband of an academic and broadcaster wants his late wife's legacy to live on by donating her extensive distance and lifelong learning library to a worthy higher education institution.

Naomi Sargant, who died in 2006, was a pro vice-chancellor and professor of applied social research at The Open University, and later a senior commissioning editor for educational programmes at Channel 4.

Over the course of her career, she built up a collection of hundreds of books, journals and pamphlets on the social sciences, distance and lifelong learning, educational broadcasting and social research methodology and findings.

Her husband, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, said he wanted to donate the collection to a college or a new university, which was what she would have wanted.

"I've got my own library, and I just can't bear to think of all those books going to waste," Lord McIntosh told Times Higher Education.

"I wish it to be of use now to researchers, students and staff, preferably in the UK. It is available here to be examined and/or catalogued, and I would contribute to the cost of cataloguing."

The collection, currently based at Lord McIntosh's home in north London, focuses mainly on US and European material.

He estimated that it filled about 15m of shelving and included 300 to 400 books.

"The collection is to go to the receiving institution, but can stay here until it is ready.

"I can provide a desk - but not a PC - for cataloguing if required, for someone to work here in the mornings," he said.

A selection of Professor Sargant's writings has just been published as Lifelong Learning: A Brave and Proper Vision by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. NIACE also holds an online archive of her work.

Any higher education institution that is interested in taking on the collection should email

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