I’m Charlotte, a student at York St. John University, doing work experience in the Henry Watson Music Library. I really is a one of a kind space where musicians can practice on shared instruments, borrow any number of scores for free, join music workshops, use mixing decks and compose scores using Sibelies notation software – all for free.
My first day was quite nerve-wracking but it proved to be the beginning of something extremely special for me. Touring the building in the morning left my head reeling at the number of places and spaces I had visited.
Working on different Central Library information desks gave me the chance to interact with different environments and people and I soon find myself answering questions readily left and right; from book recommendations to advice on joining the library. Whether it’s observing a ‘Rhyme Time’ session for children or dealing with reservations, there is always something new to be getting on with; it’s left me with a profound respect for libraries.
One of the main reasons I wanted to work in a library is because I spend so much time in them. I can remember quite vividly my first library books and the patchwork chairs where I would curl up to get through the first few chapters before heading back home after school. Libraries are still incredibly important
When you step inside the library, it is like stepping inside another world. A world in which animals can talk, Mars is just a page away and time travel is always possible. The latter of those is even more visible than you might think if you head down to the archives section of the library. I was amazed by the sheer number and variety of texts preserved there. I discovered playbills from every Manchester theatre to ever exist as well as Elizabeth Gaskell’s original, annotated letters and manuscripts. I even got to hold a second Shakespeare folio! Those stacks are piled high with the books students can only dream of. It’s possibly the place I will miss most now that my placement is coming to an end.
In summary? During my time at Manchester Central Library, I have learnt just how varied, complex and important this space is. If you’re looking for something new to read or simply want to pop along to an event to learn something new, see what’s going on here that sounds interesting; I can highly recommend the current exhibition and digital skills workshops.
If you’d like to hear more about literary life and my work experience you can do so via my blog on YSJLife: https://ysjlife.yorksj.ac.uk/christmas-carols-books/