Where did it go?

Well I thought I had already posted something here but it seems to have vanished into the black hole of what we called the World Wide Web when it first burst, or rather crept, into my consciousness. As a librarian, I and my colleagues were the first professionals to embrace computers although not all with equal enthusiasm. In my first professional post, staff resigned rather than work with the devilish Plessey. But this was the 70s and soon we were all resigned to the loss of our lovely ticket carousel, catalogues drawers and sundry additions that were so satisfying to my librarianly orderly mind. It seems amazing to realise that my training involved nary a sniff of a byte or sight of JavaScript but so It was. At my polytechnic in the days when librarianship meant the five laws of Ranganathan, AAARC cataloguing rules and the delights of Dewey (still to my mind unsurpassed as a way of ordering knowledge) we wore humunguous flares on our jeans, maxi coats and solemn expressions. I met my first husband here and we subsisted, it now seems to me, on half pints of beer shared, benson & hedges and jacket potatoes with occasional cheese on toast as a treat. My rent cost £3 a week for a bedsit with a Baby Belling & my grant was £700 a year. All our lecturers smoked and the mezzanine common room was a grey fug with full ashtrays for ornament on each coffee stained table. There was a tiny car park for staff but not for students; cars were not part of our lives. We walked or hitchhiked or got a bus or train. As I write, I get that realisation that I, by no means elderly, am a walking modern history lesson.

2 thoughts on “Where did it go?

  1. jenifruitbat

    It’s those little details that bring History – and our history – to life. Lovely, Sarah! Last summer when I was in the science park in Granada with two of my grandchildren we spent some time in the kids’ room where it was compulsory to touch, feel, turn, push, wobble, shake, fiddle with and otherwise closely examine every exhibit. Three manual typewriters of varying vintages were included amongst the artefacts in the room. Of course, I sat down and demonstrated how to use them. Freddie (“I’m 6 now. I was 5 and will be 7. But not for a long time!”) and Hannah (9) were – unusually – silenced for a while as they watched me type on these alien machines. “Wow, Grannie Jelly, we didn’t know you were THAT old!” Yes, I’m a historical object too, it seems!


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