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Stella Butler

Areas of responsbility

Stella Butler has been University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection Since April 2011. She has led the development two strategic plans, Library Futures, 2011-2015 and Powering Knowledge and Opportunity 2016-2021. Both emphasize innovation and the importance of working with students, academic colleagues and key cultural partners to create a library service of the highest quality possible. The new £27M Laidlaw Library and the newly refurbished Edward Boyle Library provide exceptional study spaces while our Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery showcases our rich Special Collections to a wide public audience.


Between 2008 and 2011 Stella was Deputy University Librarian at the John Rylands University Library, University of Manchester. Between 2000 and 2009 she was Head of Special Collections at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate. She led a £17M capital project to extend and redevelop that building, securing grants of over £12M from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Union and further donations from charitable trusts and individuals.

Stella Butler has a PhD in the history of science and maintains research interests in the development of medicine in the nineteenth and twentieth century. She has written on the development of hospital services in Manchester, the history of professional training and the history of microscopy.

Stella Butler is Chair of the Designation Panel of Arts Council England. She was Chair of Research Libraries UK (RLUK) between 2013 and 2015. She is a Chair of the management committee and Feoffee of Chetham's Hospital and Library in Manchester.

Selected publications

'A model for the country': letters of Florence Nightingale to the architect, Thomas Worthington, on hospitals and other matters 1865-1868, Med Humanit Published Online First 17 December 2012 doi:10.1136/medhum-2012-010248

Histories of Healing: Celebrating 175 years of the Manchester Medical Society, booklet to accompany exhibition January-June 2009, John Rylands Library, Manchester.

Exploiting Special Collections: using digital methods to enhance research and learning potential, SCONUL Focus no. 45, 2009.

Academic medicine in Manchester: the careers of Geoffrey Jefferson, Harry Platt, and John Stopford, 1914-39, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 87, i, 2005: 133-154.

Editor with John V Pickstone, Medical History in Manchester: Health and Healing in an Industrial City, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 87,i, 2005.

Articles in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004 including Arthur Milnes Marshall (1852-1893) and Sir Herbert Atkinson Barker (1869-1950).

Articles in Dictionary of British Scientists, Thoemmes Press, 2004 on Philip Carpenter, John Everett Dutton and William Carmichael M'Intosh.

'Votes for Women': celebrating the Suffragette Centenary, Manchester Memoirs, 143, 2004/5, 7-20.