What happens when you no longer work in a library

Vimto Bus

Vimto Bus by Smabs Sputzer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

You know that you’re in a bad place when you look at your web history and see it contains literally hundreds of visits to Reddit, a whole afternoon spent looking up recipes for tinned fish, some videos on how to clean a sofa and suggestions for cocktails using Vimto. Without a full time library job to keep me busy and the only the famously fun library course to look forward to, I have been feeling about as low as Rob.* (And by the way, the only recipe I could find was for a Cheeky Vimto which contains NO ACTUAL VIMTO. My own personal recipe is now add gin to Vimto and mix.)

All my chirpy blog ideas/suggestions suddenly seem irrelevant and obscure; I am quite sure the Past Jen who wrote them was unprepared for how awful it feels to not only leave an amazing job and team but to also see a library closed down.

Screw you Past Jen, I would totally kick you in the face if you were here now (and yeah thanks for eating all that cake btw.)

The original plan was to write a deeply meaningful letter to myself before I embark on this new journey but, apart from that being a totally revolting idea**, I think I would rather document this shitty time and either read it back in a year from a super awesome library job or a mental institution.

So here is my list of observations from when you don’t have libraries in your life. (After a few days of pouting, I did go to my local library to pick up a reservation like a pleb and I had to pay my fine of like 15p before they would let me take it. Is this what has happened in the past few weeks, has the whole system collapsed? )

  1. Don’t actually feel bad for me because I do have a new job working for MMU in residential services. Our office is still being built, so for now we are camped out in a large student study area and without any actual residents to assist, I am doing lots of random admin tasks unrelated to the job I will eventually be doing. But! The team is so lovely and I am excited to actually be helping students again. The issue is that I now have to explain working in a library and doing a library course to a group of non-librarians who definitely think I am super weird. I might just get some cards printed…
  1. I’ve gone from full time to part time work and I am definitely struggling to fill my time. I have become, so very shamefully, addicted to a fake bakery themed Candy Crush game. Not even real name brand Candy Crush for me. When I close my eyes I can see little multi-coloured shapes forming neat rows and I am quite sure I have begun repeating the arbitrary messages of encouragement from the game out loud e.g. “Trés bien Jennifer,” whenever I manage to tie my own shoelaces or get on a bus without falling on any pensioners. Why the game is in cod French I don’t know but then again I also don’t know how you could support a bakery business by relying on the alignment of coloured blobs to ensure your cakes fall into their boxes.
  1. I originally thought I could use this time to get a head start on my course but I took one look at the module list and every description sounded exactly the same. I took this as the ginormous omen of doom it so evidently is – and am just pretending I will innately know how to study a social science without any previous experience. I am sure this will work out fine, I’ll keep you posted. Instead I am taking my last chance for a while to read all of the books. I am doing a year-long reading challenge in an attempt to beat last year’s score.*** Yes, this is my idea of sport and I will never rest until it is recognized as an Olympic event.
  2. I have become a lurker extraordinaire. The library world keeps spinning and lots of the tweets and blog posts I would normally love reading and discussing now seem out of reach. So instead I am sitting in my pants with my fist in a family pack of Quavers and weeping as everyone else discusses radical librarians and the like. I am hoping this will change when it’s Library Camp, or at the very least I manage to get dressed.
  1. Finally, I am mainly moping around because I don’t get to work with the amazing Didsbury team anymore. This was my first full time job that didn’t involve dumping sweaty batches of popcorn on small children and so I might be a bit biased but it was definitely the greatest job ever. If you are thinking about being a Graduate Trainee then DO IT.

To my lovely Didsbury peeps all I can say is HOMER SIMPSON.

To Future Jen, I hope you managed to get something more out of the course than just a piece of paper and I am sorry for the large amount of cheese I plan to consume in the next few weeks.

To everyone else, thanks for reading and hopefully my next post will be less depressing and more library focused.


*Why yes I have binged on four seasons of Parks and Recreation

**please never do this unless you are a seven year old with hopes and dreams

*** if you’re interested, it is on Goodreads and you can add me as a friend yay.