THE first woman to be appointed as assistant librarian at the Bodleian Library in Oxford has died at the age of 95.

Kathleen “Kay” Duparc worked at the Bodleian for 33 years, travelling around the world to learn new skills for the benefit of her career and the library itself.

She spent her time strengthening the department she worked in while also creating new and improved ways of buying books.

Outside of work she was a single parent to her only daughter, Katherine, and also a keen campaigner for human rights, world peace and the environment.

Kay Duparc was born on December 16, 1919, in Oldham, Lancashire.

Her father JB Wood was a coal merchant in Manchester and her mother Ethel continued to run the business after he became ill.

Mrs Duparc had one younger brother, James Brian Wood, who was known as Brian.

The family lived together in Rhos on Sea in North Wales and Mrs Duparc attended Lowther College in North Wales, where she captained the lacrosse, golf and cricket teams, before moving to Girton College in Cambridge to study modern languages.

During the Second World War Mrs Duparc worked on the translation of decoding, and then at the British Council under John Betjeman in Blenheim Palace.

She then joined the Bodleian Library in 1949 and within months was promoted to assistant in charge of foreign accessions.

She worked there for 33 years. In 1955 she was the first woman to be appointed assistant librarian and then principal assistant librarian as head of foreign accessions and deputy to the keeper of printed books in 1978.

Mrs Duparc also visited a number of American universities to learn about the computerisation of records, before retiring from the Bodleian on New Year’s Eve 1982.

She lived in Summertown for 52 years before moving to the Cotswold Home in Burford four years before her death.

Mrs Duparc was an avid campaigner for human rights, Greenpeace and CND. She was also a devoted communicant member of Christ Church Cathedral, and loved the choir. It was at the cathedral that she met her close friend Elizabeth Harrison, with whom her daughter said she spent some of the happiest hours of her life.

Mrs Duparc died peacefully on October 7 at the age of 95, at The Cotswold Home in Burford. She is survived by her daughter Katherine, 57, grand-daughter Francesca, 16, and son-in-law Steve.