Thing 20: Library routes and roots

Fulwell Library, Sunderland
Fulwell Library, Sunderland

Hooray! A Thing that can help me catch up because I’ve already done it. I contributed to the Library Routes Project at an early stage, November 2009 – you can read my story here. There’s an anecdote in it about a library staff member being nasty to me because I didn’t get my sixpence for a reservation out fast enough – sixpences are long gone as, I expect, is that library assistant, but, folks, that is the very library where the incident took place in the picture above. It was new in the late 1960s when I used it, but it looked rather shabby a couple of years ago when I happened to be in the area again. It wasn’t open, but I peered through the windows and, yes, it was exactly the same counter that I stood at as a ten-year old – except that you could see lots of holes where cabling for different generations of library automation had been. So there you are – part of my library route / roots preserved for 40 years.

Thing 20 also mentions the Library Day in the Life Project which I blogged about a couple of times in 2010 (I think I also took part in some later rounds, but only via Twitter). Looking back on those posts now, I’m struck by how much of my life was already taken up with planning for the closure of Jordanhill Library this year, after which my library route took a sharp turn towards the exit, before making an unexpected detour through the Agriculture Library I am in now. So from a personal point of view, these projects have allowed me to keep tabs on my progress – in 2009, I documented my library route, in 2010 I added a couple of snapshots through Day in the Life, and this year I’m bringing everything up-to-date via this blog and cpd23!

Taking a wider view, I think Library Routes and Day in the Life are incredibly useful to the profession. I’ve read other people’s contributions over the years and they are so varied that it should encourage anyone to think that they can find a way into library and information work. I’ve used them several times for that very purpose, recommending them to people considering librarianship as a career option, most recently just a couple of weeks ago. It’s great that Thing 20 is encouraging more people to take part.

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Anabel Marsh

I'm a proud Glaswegian who loves to go gallivanting both at home and abroad. Join me in my travels, both historic and current. Credit where credit's due: photography mostly by my more talented other half, John.

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