Saturday, 28 April 2012

Me and how I become a librarian

One day while mooching about The Library Association library I found a collection of novels about librarians; I then spent many happy hours reading them rather than writing essays.  My favourite was a 1960s Mills and Boon about a butch, stern yet sensitive, Chief Librarian who ruled his library with a rod of iron.  The local Mayor (or some such), using nefarious means,  persuades Butch to employ his niece (the Mayor's niece I mean).  Said niece is young, innocent, pretty and good; the Chief Lib does not approve of nepotism (he is a man of honour) and thinks Girly is a light-weight (she is, but it doesn't matter - she is our heroine).  After numerous trials and tribulations true love/lust wins out in the cataloguing room; they get together and she decides to go to library school - a star is born.  I'd like to say my introduction to the career of Librarianship was as thrilling/sexually charged - but that would be a lie.

It starts when I am at University.  I am a regular in the library with my friend Landa - we have our regular table (like two old blokes in the pub) and follow a strict timetable.
9.30: Arrive in library and have a chat (so many things have happened since we saw each other 15 hours ago)
10.00: Do some work.
10.30: Go for a coffee and more chat.
11.00: Come back extremely hyper from too much caffeine and talk for 30 minutes.
11.30: Work for 30 minutes.
12.00: Wander round the library - don't want to get DVT.
12.30: Off to lunch.
This continues until 5pm when we go home.

We had a great time - unfortunately the Librarian didn't.  He was a nice guy (apart from his beard - stubble and nice beards are fine, but wire wool versions not good in MHO) who would instruct and/or implore us not to talk in the library.  We being a couple of cheeky young hussies would point out that we were the only people in the library and no one else was being disturbed.  He would then say we disturbed him and go back to his office in a sad and defeated way.  This war of attrition (I am ashamed to admit) continued for three years.  Each year he had a different young women working for him  who were all very lively and liked to join in our chats - to his despair.

One day in the summer term of my final year he asked me my birth sign, my thoughts on golf, if I ever stopped talking and what I planned to do when I graduated.  Having replied - Capricorn, bit boring, no and don't know - he suggested I come and work for him because he'd got used to me and his latest 'girl assistant' was leaving.   I took him up on his offer and spent the next year telling students not to talk with the enthusiasm of the poacher turned gamekeeper.  I wasn't quite so keen on being introduced to people as his 'girl assistant' - perhaps I should have embraced it and been the Emma Peel to his Stead.  Actually he bore more of a resemblance to how I think Merlin would have looked - if I'd be a Goth I could have released my inner Morgan Le Fay -  missed a turn there me thinks.

No romance ensued, although we became good friends. He said I was too tall for him (I am 5'6" on a tall day) and I could not imagine caressing a long goatee beard (a la Brad).


  1. A librarian who didn't ask you who your favourite author was? He sounds like an impostor to me. The beard must have been part of the disguise.

  2. Interesting thought, not sure why he'd pretend to be a librarian - unless he enjoyed being the subject of stereotypical comments and people saying 'shush' at him and then laughing like loons - you can tell I'm bitter.
    While I'm about it - who is your favourite author?

  3. P.G. Wodehouse. I am loosely based on one of his characters, Lord Reggie Havershot.

  4. Nothing wrong with being a little hirsute