Unlikely “Librarians” - Whickham Library

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Why do I do this?

Whickham Library
Published by David Lang in Thoughts of a Volunteer · 1 May 2018
“Why do I do this”?
I often wonder what a young potential librarian puts on their CV when applying for a career as a “Librarian”.

When I applied to be a volunteer librarian back in October of last year, my only thought was what a great opportunity for me this would be to give something back to “Whickham”.

I am 73 years old and not looking to change the world, just wanting to enjoy what years are left of my retirement. Part of that enjoyment, for me anyway, is being able to give something back to a community that I have enjoyed being part of for the last thirty three years.  I have to admit to not being an active member of the village community, and it is that time in my life when I need to put that right.

So I now find myself a very “unlikely Librarian”.

What qualifications could I put on a my CV, if I was applying to be a “Real Librarian” then?

For a start off I was born in York, and I am still proud of being a Yorkshire man, will that count against me I wonder?

My Father in-law once refused to let his daughter marry me, because I did not have a proper job, this was back in the days when you got married at 21 and had to ask permission.  I don’t think they do that now a days.

So I joined the army, it was a proper job to me and eventually he accepted that and let me marry is daughter, but not until we were 21.

I spent twenty five years in that job and it was both good for me and my family, so maybe I can put being loyal down as one of my attributes on that CV.

It was with some trepidation that upon being demobbed I came up North, and to the North East in particular.  I had served in a Scottish Regiment, but learning their language did not really help me adjust to the local accent up here, but you learn to cope, and everyone was so friendly.

So I think I can put “adapts well” to changing circumstances down on my CV as well.

Whilst looking for somewhere to live, not to far away from the Vickers Works on Scotswood Road. Everyone told me to stay away from Whickham, but not why, so we spent several days searching in the ten mile circle we had set ourselves, but no look.  So we decided to take a look at Whickham, and went for some lunch there.

Then we knew why we had been told to stay away from the place, it is a wonderful village in the perfect location for all the local facilities, including the Metro Centre.

So when I went into work and told them that we had bought a house in Whickham, they just laughed at me and said that it was the best place to live, and that I should see the other areas first to really appreciate it.

Maybe I can put persistence down as another attribute on my CV.

I was lucky enough to be able to retire at the grand old age of Fifty Five, but after a bit boredom set in and it was time for a new adventure.  So with my dear wife we set off on a narrow boat, called Take Five, to do the UK by river and canal.  We spent nine years cruising the UK waterways, of which there are over two thousand miles, we decided to live on our boat 24/7, which proved very interesting at times.

Then old war wounds caught up with me and I was unable to pull my weight on the boat, so we sold up and came back to Whickham, and broadband, no more struggling to use the internet.

For the CV I think I can now add can work under difficult circumstances (do you get them in a library?).

All of my family would not move away from this area now even if you paid us to, both my son and daughter live near with their families.  Still struggling with some of the local dialect, but people are so friendly and the North East has just got to stay a secret, so all those south of Yorkshire don’t come any nearer.

Now I can put down on my CV “will go the distance” and can keep his trap shut.

Now I am six months into this “career” I can honestly say that I feel as though I am “putting something back” into my community, thanks mainly to the great support and encouragement we as volunteers get from you, the good people of Whickham.

Now I can put “good brown noser” on my CV as well.

Thank you all for the ongoing support you give us volunteers at the library, and may we keep the library open for many more years, so more old people like me can benefit from the chance to put “something back”.

David Lang
An unlikely Librarian
Oh yes I do the web site as well!!


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Whickham Volunteer Library Association
9 Front Street, Whickham, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE16 4DN, UK
TeL: 0191 433 6424     Fax: 0191 433 6425
website: www.whickhamlibrary.co.uk
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