Training complete, our little group of Sarum College volunteers met up, for the first time, in Sarum College Library.
The training had included lectures open to the public and I had looked around the diverse audiences and speculated wildly about who I might eventually be working with. It was great to finally meet them.
We are a diverse bunch and were eager to make a start before our new and fragile knowledge became lost in the busyness of life.
The library, small but accessible, looks particularly splendid at this time of year. Sunlight and the abundance of green plants lifts it into a category all of its own.
We introduced ourselves and Jayne gave us a tour of the ‘ancient book’ storage facilities.
Sarum College has a lift, a wonderful accessible, proper lift. I can move around inside the College, travel it’s corridors and access much of its space, including a tiny room which we viewed as a possible workroom.
Some of the rooms do have a steep step at the threshold and one of the book storage rooms is accessed through such a room. It is also down a further flight of steps, something I noticed as I sat in the corridor and watched the other volunteers apparently sinking to their waists below floor level.
Back in the library we identified our workspace; we do need more room than that offered by the tiny room we’d viewed earlier. We looked at leg-risers that will enable me to tuck my knees (and wheels) under the tables and minimise back strain.
Jayne had prepared boxes with tools: brushes, measures, tapes and aprons. We would need to work our way into the tasks to discover which ones best suited our talents and our ability to work together as a team; there would be coffee breaks and lunch in the college dining room for those able to stay.
We synchronised our calendars and identified, with perhaps just a hint of trepidation, a date on which to make a start on the real job of cleaning and documenting the College’s older books.
by Gini Churchill