Twenty-five years ago, studying for a diploma in library and information studies at University College London, Lynne Brindley won the Sir John MacAlister award for best student on the course.
Now she has made it to the top job at the British Library, succeeding Brian Lang as chief executive in July and beating departing Radio 4 controller James Boyle.
In between, she has worked in the universities of Leeds and Aston and the London School of Economics, been a senior management consultant for KPMG and played a leading role in modernising library provision in higher education generally.
Educated at the University of Reading, where she achieved a first-class degree in music, with subsidiary German and philosophy, she landed a traineeship at the Bodleian Library in Oxford as soon as she graduated.
Jobs in libraries at the University of Reading and a Bath secondary school followed.
In 1979, she joined the British Library for the first time as head of the marketing and support group in the bibliographic services division. Within four years she was heading the chief executive's office.
She left to join Aston University as director of library and information services and pro vice-chancellor for information technology.
After a couple of years with KPMG, she joined the LSE as librarian of the British Library of Political and Economic Science, then moved to Leeds as dean of information strategy, university librarian and later pro vice-chancellor.
She has been active in the Joint Information Systems Committee, responsible for universities' IT strategy, and has stressed the importance of putting digital library developments centre-stage in her new role.
On her appointment, John Ashworth, the British Library's chairman, said: "I am delighted that for the first time in its history the library has a chief executive who is also a professional librarian."