My time as a temp: Agriculture Librarian

Scottish Agricultural College – wall sculpture

Who’d have thought I could “retire” from two jobs within a few months? Now that #cpd23 is over I have vowed to keep this blog going with my “adventures” as a retired librarian – but I need to get it properly up-to-date first by fleshing out the story of those months.

After Jordanhill Library closed in June and I left Strathclyde, I had about two weeks in which I vowed to do absolutely nothing (successfully) then we went on holiday. My official (early – very early) retirement date of 31st July passed while we were away and I expected to come home to make plans for the future. Then came the text! My friend Elaine, Head of Library Services at the Scottish Agricultural College (now SRUC), wondered if I would fancy a temporary job in Edinburgh? The Site Librarian had left and she really needed someone to fill in while they appointed someone permanent. My initial reaction was no – why would I want to drive from Glasgow to Edinburgh every day? However, the text came in just as we were going for breakfast and by the end of that day I had said yes. I’d decided I could put up with the commute for a short time (8 weeks was proposed) because it would help out a friend and I also thought it would be good for me to have something on my CV post-Strathclyde to show that I was still active.

In the end, I spent 3 happy months there and, as expected, the only bad thing was the drive which got slower and slower as it got darker and the weather got worse. So what was good about the experience?

  • The staff – lovely people to work with. There were never more than three of us, so it was a nice, cosy team to be part of.
  • The students – friendly on the whole, and good enough to attend my user education in an unfamiliar (to me) subject and not fall asleep!
  • My office – it had a window! Ok, the window was draughty and leaked when it rained, but a window is a window. My office in Jordanhill was under the balcony so I never saw daylight.
  • The Library overall – though much smaller than I was used to, it was attractive as you can see below – but like every library I have ever worked in, it had two temperatures. Too hot and too cold – and definitely more of the latter.
  • The freedom – I didn’t have to achieve anything so there was no pressure. I was there as a caretaker so I kept the place running and obviously, as a matter of pride, I wanted to do that to the best possible standards. I made decisions when they had to be made, but there was no point in long-term planning or starting projects that would have impinged on the permanent librarian’s freedom of action.
  • The satisfaction – I did a good job, I’ve proved to myself I’m not stagnant after working for over two decades for the same institution – and now I’m ready to plan for the future!
  • My very own window
    Study tables and bookstock
    Serials area
    Rotunda – silent study area

    Looking out from the Rotunda
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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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