Magnus John was born in 1937 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He moved to England in 1959 where he trained as a librarian. He worked in the civil service and thereafter at the Open University in Milton Keynes. After early retirement, he went back to work as director and head of the Institute of library, information and communication studies at the University of Sierra Leone until finally retiring in 2004. Magnus is a widower with two daughters and two grandchildren who he loves to spend time with. He enjoys travelling and reading.