Let’s rewind to yesterday, Wednesday 12th September…..
It’s 7am and with two and a half hours until the library opens to members and the public, our three cleaners and caretaker arrive to prepare the building for the busy day ahead. So there’s cleaning and some general maintenance to be done, as well as setting out the Loftus and Lecture Rooms for the first meetings of the day. And vitally, the first pot of coffee is put on!
As the cleaners depart, other staff arrive and soon after members and visitors come in, and the building comes to life….
This morning The North East Postgraduate Research Group for the Long Nineteenth Century is meeting in the Lecture Room, and November Club is rehearsing for its Wallington project Teacups, Zebras and Dancing Kaisers in the Loftus. The production will be taking place at the National Trust property in November, but the company like to use the Lit & Phil from time to time because of its central location.
Sheree Mack is in the coffee hatch today and at one point she is seen careering down the stairs clutching flasks to replenish supplies of coffee for the NEPRG. As the morning becomes afternoon, the first of Kathleen Kenny’s Creative Writing sessions begins, in the small meeting room.
It’s turning into a typically busy day with members and visitors keeping everyone fully occupied!
Paul Gailiunas, the Chairman of the Board, and Chris Calver, Vice Chairman, have been around for most of the day – it’s good to have a Board presence in the library, to chat to visitors and give impromptu tours, for example, as well helping with this, that and the next thing.
Now it’s 5 o’clock and our caretaker arrives for the second part of his working day. There’s plenty to do preparing for the evening’s activities: Durham University has booked the Loftus Room for a lecture, there’s a meeting of the newly formed Newcastle Speakers’ Club in the Lecture Room, Kathleen Kenny is back for the evening Creative Wring Class in the Committee Room, and there’s also setting out to do (with the help of a volunteer) for an evening of readings and discussion in the main library with writers Zoe Lambert, Christine Poulson and Sara Maitland. They have all been inspired by Eureka moments in science to write short stories, recently published in the Litmus anthology.
Donna-Lisa Healy is here, too – she, of course, is the photographer behind the Creative Passions exhibition that took place in February – now we want to continue to keep a record of speakers and writers in the Lit & Phil. Happily, Zoe, Christine and Sara were more than willing to be photographed (we’ll post them on the blog in due course.)
By 9pm or so all the meetings are over and everyone has left the building apart from staff. By 9.10pm the lights are off and the door is locked. Another day over.
The building sighs, the ghosts stretch and yawn, waking up from their slumbers, knowing that at last they have the building to themselves for a few hours. But only a few.