As my time is ending at the Glasgow Women’s Library I have been reflecting about my amazing time here.
I came to the GWL as part of the Mobility I+D Program, which offers newly graduated Information and Documentation specialist (librarian/archivist) the chance to gain work experience in a foreign library. I first heard about this programme when I started my apprenticeship and I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it. In my last year, Britta Biedermann, an amazing woman who started this programme, visited our school to tell us more about it and the different libraries you can apply for. The libraries in the UK were all over the country, in Oxford, Bath, Wales and Glasgow. That was the first time I heard about the Women’s Library and I just had to apply for it. I had an interview with Wendy and Gaby and they offered me the internship position. I was extremely delighted!
Being newly graduated and alone for the first time in a foreign country was terrifying. I spent hours thinking about what could go wrong. What if they don’t like me? What if I break something or worse?! I was a ball of anxiety and ready to burst. But as I entered GWL for the first time all my worries and anxiety disappeared. GWL prides themselves with their warm welcome, and after having experienced this amazing institution for several months, I can say that their welcome is the warmest I have ever received.
Working here has been fulfilling and I am incredibly proud to have been part of this community, filled with support, love and compassion for everyone who entered the door of the library. Being able to represent the collection and the impact they have filled me with such joy and love, I wanted to tell everyone about it!
My time here was divided between working in the library, the archive and at the front of house. I was able to work with different teams of women who were all incredibly passionate about what they do. Being able to meet them and work alongside them was inspiring. From helping events such as the Story Cafe with Wendy to indexing newspapers from the lesbian archive. I was able to experience so many things and gain more knowledge in a field that I love. Working here encouraged me to learn more about feminism and work harder on myself.
One thing I learned is about the importance of a good working atmosphere. Even if the library is freezing (during the period when the new boiler was being installed) and not the best place to work, having a warm and friendly team to work with will excite you to go to work. The timing of my placement wasn’t the best (there was not heating for most of it!) but being with everybody warmed me up and filled me with happiness.
But with every amazing start, there will be an end and as Doreen, a volunteer, said: “Endings are a way to appreciate what we have”.
Having to say goodbye fills me with sadness and I find this word quite harsh. In French, you would say “au revoir” or in German “Auf Wiedersehen” both meaning we will see each other again. While the English word is so final and ending.
Filled with appreciation and heartache, I will be leaving this team of inspiring women and have to say Auf Wiedersehen.