I just left after 31 years. I started in August 1983 and I left on the last day of July 2014. I was born in Firth Park and I got a job in Firth Park, and apart from 6 months when I was sent to another library which was just up the road, I was there the whole time. I job-shared at Firth Park and I did do part time at Limpsfield as well. Cut me in two and I've got Firth Park in the middle of me. I don't know how I managed to get such a local library job! My sister worked in libraries and my best friend did. They left in September. They'd been there 36 years and I'd been there 31. They got rid of 1000 years experience on one day – somebody took the time to add up...
I'd trot up the road onto the safe houses up on the top of Windmill Lane with a bag of books for a couple of hours on an afternoon, to sit beyond bars reading stories to families that couldn't come down to the library very easily, because they couldn't give details of where they lived. It was just something local that I did. Talking to kids that used to come in but not take books out, I realised what the problem was with them joining. There was enough staff to do those kind of things. The kids would all come, it was quite nice in summer sitting outside.
I never thought I'd leave. I will always miss the colleagues, always miss the borrowers as we called them, always miss the job. But I suddenly realised that the job wasn't there. So it was quite a leap of faith. And it's quite different now, I'm doing care work four nights a week.
It was nice to have the option of moving if you want, but I felt a lot of my job was the connection I made over the years. Not only had they seen me grow up, but I saw them as babies, then bringing in their babies. I still go in and know the people there, and they'll put the kettle on. But I'll always miss it... 30 years ago it was different, we had big belly laughs. I think people will remember a lot of laughing, a lot of events.
Name: Sandra (former library worker)
Library: Firth Park