The Filing Cabinet of Joy

Today was my training day for the Library Relocation Project at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Coincidentally, it was also my first day working at the Library Relocation Project at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The trip down was largely uneventful. I have to say, though, that it’s wonderful travelling against the commute. When I was at the Science Museum, the likelihood of not getting a seat was always frightfully high. Going in the opposite direction means that the likelihood of finding someone else in your carriage is pretty minimal. And, for the bulk of the journey, I was in 444 stock which is always comfortable.

To relieve me of any sense of loneliness in the largely empty train, I had an unexpected bout of Messaging with Mirinda’s cousin Rebecca as the train glided down through the Hampshire countryside.

Arriving at Portsmouth I walked to the entrance and was allowed through ahead of the paying public and wound up at the security office at the same time as Heather (my boss and the librarian) and Stephen, another volunteer. We wandered over to the library generally talking about the weather which, for a change, was not actually raining.

The weather, apparently, is blowing north so should be dry for the foreseeable. I’ll believe that when I see it.

Once in the library Heather took us to the shelves and indicated which books will be ours to work on which we carried out to the room where we’ll be working on them.

The books I’ll be working on are down that long hall to the door in the distance

She then gave us a laptop each and took us through how to create a copy and what to do with it with regards the relocation needs and requirements.

I’m not going to bother going through everything because it would be exceedingly dull for most people reading this…I mean for anyone reading this. However, I found it delightful. The Adlib database is fantastic. I’m fairly certain we looked at it during my Masters because it sort of looks familiar although many versions later.

Anyway, chiefly what I have to do is create a copy of the book if one doesn’t exist and enter all the information I can. This includes the more mundane like Size and Condition as well as more esoteric things like an Abstract which I’m to compose if there isn’t one extant with the book.

For my first session I had a couple of very rare books from the 1760’s as well as a centennial history of the Society for Nautical Research of which, of course, I’m a member. (By the by, Librarian Heather has submitted articles for the SNR journal, The Mariner’s Mirror. I’ll have to have a look. She said she’s managed to avoid becoming a member but is often asked to submit pieces.)

And so the morning passed by far too quickly. Normally I’ll be working through the day but this week, because of various things, that wasn’t possible so I left at 1:30pm.

Walking back through the dockyard in the early afternoon is a lot different to doing it before 10am. The minor number of employees in the morning is replaced by the tourist hordes vying for triumph in the volume stakes.

I managed to get a train within five minutes of reaching the station and was soon on my way to Guildford, then Aldershot. Then, my longest wait.

I was at possibly the worst Bus Interchange in the Universe. The whole thing works as efficiently as breathing on the moon. After the wonderful Hard Interchange which I’d walked by earlier, this is just the pits.

Pick a bus, any bus, nothing makes it easy

Eventually I made it home to two insane puppies who I immediately took to the park for a much needed rain free runaround. Except that eventually it rained. Freya, naturally blamed me while Emma didn’t notice the drops at all. They were quite muddy when we returned home as were my jeans, thanks to Emma and her over expressive paws.

I’m so looking forward to going back to work next week. Talking to Mirinda later she asked which one I preferred (Science Museum, Surrey History Centre or Portsmouth Historic Dockyard) and I had to admit that there was no favourite simply because each one has different requirements. All of them keep my mind active and I have a strong sense of doing something helpful.

Even so, I love actually working in a library with books and a library database. It is, after all, what my Masters was supposed to prepare me for.

Expect a fair number of photos of my favourite ship from now on…

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