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The archives

New Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library announced

The English Folk Dance and Song Society is delighted to announce that Laura Smyth has been appointed as the new Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML).

The VWML is the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s (EFDSS) national folk music and dance library and archive at our London home, Cecil Sharp House, Camden, London.

Laura takes over as Library and Archive Director on 1 August from Malcolm Taylor OBE, who has stepped down after almost 35 years in the role.

Laura Smyth

The VWML was founded in 1930 as the Cecil Sharp Library and originally housed Cecil Sharp’s personal book collection. It is now a multi-media library of distinction, containing books, pamphlets, periodicals, press cuttings, broadsides, paintings, photographs, slides, artefacts, records, reel-to-reel tapes, phonograph cylinders, videos, cine films, compact discs, audio cassettes and more.


About Laura 

Laura holds a first class degree with honours in Business Enterprise, and a Postgraduate Diploma with distinction in Library and Information Management. She joined EFDSS as Librarian in 2011 from Stockport Libraries.

She has a keen interest in traditional music and performs regularly at folk clubs in a duo with her partner Ted Kemp. They are releasing their first EP The Charcoal Black and The Bonny Grey, this September.

Laura also dances and plays for a female rapper team, Tower Ravens, and plays with ceilidh band, The Spring Heeled Jacks.


Laura said: “To be able to marry my passion for traditional music and dance with my job is a dream come true. I am excited to be taking the position of Library and Archives Director and intend to continue Malcolm’s good work making the library resources accessible to users across the world and helping people to engage with their heritage and culture.”


Katy Spicer, Chief Executive of EFDSS, said: “Laura has been an excellent member of the Library and Archive team for the past three years and instrumental in developing policy and practice at what has been a pivotal time for the VWML.

“We know she will build on Malcolm’s legacy and implement her own exciting ideas to ensure the library and archive remains as accessible as possible and keep folk traditions and the history within the collections alive for future generations.”