David Arrandale

Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death, on 26 November 2023, of David Arrandale, former Assistant Librarian in the Brotherton Library.

After graduating from Oxford, David joined the Brotherton Library in January 1968. A few years earlier the University Grants Committee had decided that Leeds should be one of the few universities funded to offer courses in Chinese Studies. David was appointed as the Library's Chinese Studies subject specialist meaning he was in charge of all aspects of the Library's Chinese literature collections. As well as selecting the books in consultation with the staff of the Department of Chinese (later East Asian) Studies, he catalogued and classed them, also assisting undergraduates and postgraduates in using the collections. In addition to those duties, which were common to all subject specialists, he often had to take on extra tasks like dealing directly with Chinese booksellers. David was well respected by the staff of the Department, with whom he always had excellent relations. The main focus of the Chinese literature collection was on modern literature, and most of the literary works produced in China at the time were quite small and cheap. There was a prolific output, however, so his office was often crammed with new books awaiting processing.  In later years he was assisted by native Chinese-speakers who helped with the administrative tasks.

In the late 1990s, funding was obtained for the Library's contribution to a national project for the computerised cataloguing of books in Chinese scripts. David enthusiastically joined in this, collaborating with colleagues in Leeds and around the UK and supervising a number of project staff. Excellent progress had been made by the date of David's retirement in 2000, resulting in a joint catalogue of all Chinese script materials in UK academic libraries, including the many thousands at Leeds.

Due to his desk being in a secluded part of the Library, many of his colleagues saw little of him for most of the day, but his quiet dry wit and slightly cynical approach to life was much appreciated by those who got to know him better.

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