A personal history
After Easter, someone remembered I was meant to be experiencing other library departments and I had a last-minute tour of Central Lending, Central Ref, Admin and Accessions, spending two weeks in each.
Central lending library was located in a Victorian building which also housed the Town Hall. Administrative departments had overflowed into a pair of Victorian semis next door.
In the borough’s Central Reference Library, I spent two weeks cutting out entries from sheets of amendments and pasting them into the relevant pages of large red volumes of UK Acts and Amendments.
In Accessions, I filed catalogue cards for a fortnight. This was where new books arrived to be classified and catalogued. Charge cards and catalogue cards were typed out (including any extras required for cross-referencing) and those for the master catalogue were filed before books were despatched to the branches that ordered them.
My desk was in the front bay window of the ground floor Accessions office. My social life at the time was lively, and after a late night I might find myself dozing off next morning, even as my fingers continued to flick through cards in the catalogue drawer. My boyfriend, coming to meet me for lunch one day, woke me by tapping on the window and didn’t let me forget it for weeks.
For my final two weeks, in Admin, I sat in the office of the Deputy Borough Librarian while he chatted. I’m still not sure what I was there to learn. The working day never seemed so long, before or since.