I graduated from university this summer after studying History and Human Geography. In my second and third year it felt as though I had lived in the library, it seems funny that I do now actually live in a library. I had never really thought of a career in a library before university. I had taken a work placement module in my second year and choose to work in the county archive office. This summer I decided to volunteer in my local archive service with the intention of going back to do a postgraduate course in something in the area of information studies.
I’m not sure if I was more nervous or exited, driving up to Hawarden, I wasn’t really sure of what exactly I’d be doing. I knew my duties would not only be in the library, but also helping out with other tasks when needed. I am one of two library interns; Jamie had been here for 3 months already whilst Phil, the marketing intern, started the week before me. Many of the guests to the library seem to be repeat visitors; this is unsurprising given how relaxing it is here without the distractions of everyday life. The library subscribes to quite a few newspapers, but it’s a bit like living I a bubble here, with no real need to leave the building.
People always ask me what exactly it is that I do as a library intern and, basically, it means doing whatever needs doing. Gary, the library assistant, normally organises any priority tasks like any enquiries from readers or getting things ready for an upcoming event, but generally library interns are expected just to get on with what needs doing.
My first week involved helping out on the Timeline project with Jamie, picking out all the books published between 1914 and 1954 and moving them across the road to the Stephen Gladstone Hall. After being here for a while it’s become clear that librarians do a lot of heavy lifting so it’s lucky that we also get the bonus of having all our meals provided for!
Alan and Steve are the chefs here and they are both incredible!! Trying to decide what to have seems to be a daily challenge and usually involves a group discussion with the other interns. Meal times here are really interesting because you never know who you’re going to be talking to, so conversation topics are rarely the same.
As I mentioned before, I live here, the three interns and Jean, the Chaplain, share a flat. One of us is always ‘on duty’ which basically means that if a guest has any problems in the night, we’re the ones that get called. It also means that we have to lock up the building at night which I’m getting used to, but it’s still a scary job, especially when there are marketing interns hiding in the shelves.
I can’t believe I’ve been here 3 weeks already; I’ve met so many different people and had so much fun. I’m getting to know more and more about the collections we have here in the library so I can actually be of some use to readers who visit the library.
Inside Gladstone's Library