Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bonus Library Day in the Life

This is a bonus post for the Library Day in the Life project Round 6 where librarians across the world record their daily activities. On January 26th, our hero travelled down to London to meet his fellow Voices for the Library campaigners...

Yesterday was the first ever face-to-face meeting of the Voices for the Library team. I made the epic journey down to London – centre of arts, culture and, apparently, librarianship – to meet the team I’ve been working with for the past three months.

The day before was filled with nervousness. ‘What if they don’t like me?’ ‘What if they decide to chuck me out?’ ‘What if I miss my train?’ ‘What if my elaborately detailed travel plans go wrong?’ And – because my northern prejudice told me that London is a hotbed of crime and debauchery – ‘what if someone steals my laptop / Kindle / wallet / keys / train tickets / etc.’ Eventually after an evening of backing up my important documents – just in case! – I experienced that sort of pre-Christmas excited anxiety that prevents one from sleeping.

The British Library. Shame I didn't get chance to go in.



My worries were all in vain. The trains were on time and I made it to London with time to spare. Though I felt like such a tourist wandering London’s streets with my mouth agape, I was very excited to see such landmarks as The British Library, King’s Cross Station, and a Waterstones which actually had a good selection of Alberto Manguel’s essay collections.

My crazy punctuality meant that I arrived first, pacing nervously and trying to get Twitter up on my Kindle to vent my anxiety. But when the other Voices arrived, we fell into the routine of people who’ve known each other forever. The meeting was fabulously productive – kept in check by the wonderful Chairperson Bethan – with a mountainous pile of treats brought by my colleagues. The minutes will be publicly available on our website soon.

Overall, it meant a lot to know that these people are working this hard: that we’re all on the same page; that we all want the same thing; and that we’re willing to work together for as long as it takes and as long as we’re able. It really is amazing that this group of librarians – not even public librarians – has come together to defend these institutions and provide a voice for the people who care about libraries. I’ve said before that the next few months will be the most difficult but now I know that the Voices team will be more than able to face it and hopefully save a good many libraries.

The day was a huge success. Right up until the point I fainted…

Apparently even when meeting some of the top library campaigners in the country and doing exciting things, it’s important to keep your body hydrated. I can now say that not only will the Voices team work to help libraries, they’ll also help an idiot who forgets to drink all day and then keels over in the pub. And apparently, rather than being a hotbed of crime, London is populated by rather nice people who will provide food and aid to the aforementioned idiot.

So it was a wonderful day. I feel so privileged to be part of this team and I’m not sure why I deserve the opportunity to work with these great people. There’s exciting things coming up on the Voices for the Library website and in library campaigns across the country especially on Saturday 5th February – the scheduled Save Libraries Day! Please get involved if you haven’t done so, keep fighting for your libraries if you have, and feel free to contact any of the Voices for the Library team for more information – I can guarantee that every single one of them cares what you have to say.

6 comments:

thingblogging said...

The work you've all done is brilliant and it's funny reading you all admit a certain anxiety about meeting in person, but that it was all fine.

But I can't help thinking you poor thing for fainting, hope you're all hydrated and feeling better now!

Simon Barron said...

I'd only met Bethan and Lauren in person before so the rest were completely new to me.

It is weird that there should be this anxiety: we email and tweet one another every single day. But there's still this unspoken barrier between the digital world and the physical world.

And I'm feeling much better, thank you :)

Tom Roper said...

And another lesson, should you wish to faint in a pub, be sure to choose one near one of London's leading teaching hospitals. You may not have been are of it, but you were assisted not only by the barman, but a couple of ambulancemen and some nurses from UCH.
It was an excellent, indeed inspiring day.

Tom Roper said...

And another lesson, should you wish to faint in a pub, be sure to choose one near one of London's leading teaching hospitals. You may not have been are of it, but you were assisted not only by the barman, but a couple of ambulancemen and some nurses from UCH.
It was an excellent, indeed inspiring day.

Ian said...

Great post Simon...and I'm right with you there! Also, as someone who has wondered the streets of London late at night several times before, I'm glad your 'northern prejudice' was put straight! We may be an aloof bunch down souf (as we say!), but when it comes down it we ain't bad ;)

Ian said...

...and glad to hear you made a full recovery! You freaked us out a bit back there :)