Rachel Van Riel
Rachel is responsible for the strategic direction of Opening the Book and leads all its activities. She is much in demand as a speaker and has addressed many national and international conferences over the past 10 years. Sometimes challenging as a 'critical friend' to libraries, Rachel is a passionate advocate for public libraries in the wider cultural and educational sector. In founding Opening the Book, Rachel brought together her experience in university and adult education, where she learned that people have a hunger to be stretched; community arts, where she found that everyone enjoys expressing their own creative views; and libraries, where she discovered the community-based, flexible institutions for the kind of audience development work she wants to do. She loves the creative satisfaction of making change happen, whether in transforming a space, planning a strategy or motivating staff to experiment with new approaches.