The continuing saga of life in an academic library
Dedicated to those who did, those who do, those who don’t, those who will
And those who are destined too…
is purely fiction (the result of my sick and twisted mind)., and any resemblance to
persons living or deadis purely unintentional...Even though the characters
work, may have been inspired by those I’ve met over the years
The sun rises slowly over the hills
bursting its warming rays through the window Mildred Mansaw’s room.She stretches and thinks to herself, “Another day of Shelving and disgruntled clients”.But what could she do.She loved her
job in the University of Wattle Grange in the Library.It was the only job she
had ever dreamt of having apart from a short time when she thought she might like
to be an Architect, all that knowledge and helping to mould the lives of up and coming Doctors and Engineers alike.
Wattle Grange was a medium sized city,
that had expanded with the establishment of the university, which had attracted
a number of prominent professors and students
in the area of research and development, in Medicine, Agriculture and Animal Sciences, and more recently Engineering.These were the main areas that the university wished to develop, but they also had smaller schools to include,
Library studies, child health, psychology and a arts related areas.Their Psychology
and Architecture schools were expanding rapidly.Years agoUWG and been considered a back water university, but thanks to several medical and agricultural break throughs
more and more students and academics had chosen to come to study there.In the
last 50 years the size of the town had trebled, creating many jobs for the towns folk.
After a good hearty breakfast and
dressing in her comfortable clothing.She made her Lunch and headed for her door
after making sure her cat Ruffles, was properly taken care of for food and water
for the day.She Fed her fish, Hubert and Walter, and her Budgie , Penelope.
Having always been
into fitness Mildred rode her bike daily to work, except in the midst of winter when
it was bucketing with rain.It was a leisurely ride through her favourite parkland
area.She always bumped into several of her friends
from work, who also rode there on their way to work also at the University.
This morning she knew would start
as every day did, clearing the after hours return chutes, making sure all the computers were logged on and functioning.Chatting with the General assistance who
came in daily to shelve the thousands of books and journals that were used and dumped by the clients.
It was when
she was half way through the park that she heard her name being called by a familiar voice.
Came a huffed call as though someone had been running.“ At last I finally caught you “It was Errol
Finshin.“Ive been chasing you
for the last 5 minutes, didn’t you hear me calling you”
“Errol!!! “ She cried
with delight, “Its been years since we last saw each other.My but it is good to see you.I’m dreadfully sorry Errol”
she replied, “I was just thinking of a problem we are trying to solve with the new Library set up.”It had been a number of years since Mildred and Errol had last
met, It was at their graduation 15 years ago.
“Are you still living in the
same place?”Asked Errol.
“No, Ive moved into my own apartment, Im now the Librarian in charge of one of the smaller sections of the ‘Super Library’.
Its has the theses, and rare books and special collections”She informed
him.“ I have a staff of 3, 2 part timers and Tiffany.She is a treasure, works hard and parties hard.
“Super Library??”Queried Errol.
“Yes 5 years ago they closed
all the old libraries that use to be there, and build a new massive library.
It houses all the departmental libraries in one large area.Well its 4 buildings,
2has 8 floors and 2 has 4 floors, and they are all connected by several walkways.”She then went
to explain how everything had changed at the University.Supposedly for the good
of all.They had yet to name the buildings and they were currently running a competition on campus to give each of the 4 a name.so currently they were referred to by color.Red, Blue, Yellow and Green.Due
to the color of the plants planted at the base of each of the buildings.In the
middle of this all was a statue of the Universities founder set in the middle of a shallow lake that had rivers flowing off
towards each of the 4 buildings.Out of the edge of the wall of the retaining
wall of the lake were fine sprays of water that went off at intervals during the
day.Koi fish were seen swimming amongst
the lily pads.As well as some rare
and endangered frogs.
“I’ve just been given a lecturing position in the Department of Agriculture Farm management.”Errol informed her.
“Congratulations,That’s wonderful news”she quickly wrote down
her contact details for him, and arranged to have lunch with him the following week.“There’s the new library over there…”
“Quite impressive looking”
Errol commented with a raised eyebrow.
The building they were looking at,
or series of buildings was a mixture of white and chocolate brown.
The two tallest buildings were at
the back and the two smaller ones were in the front,there were a series of walk
ways joining all towers.One on the 2nd level, joining the two smaller
ones together.One on the 4th floors of both small buildings , joining
one of the smaller ones to each of the larger ones.And then
the two larger buildings were joined by walkways at the 1st, 4th and 7th level.
“Looks like something old Tinkles
would design”commented Errol.
“He did”replied Mildred with a knowingsmile…
Tinkles was the name they had given to Mildred’s cousin Rupert Mansaw who had shared a house with them for a few years while
they were all finishing their studies.He had been
given that nick name by his class mates due to a series of unfortunate pants wetting
episodes at primary school.Since then
Rupert had won numerous Architectural awards.He had a very strange view on how
the world should look.As attested the new library.
“How is Tinkles these days”
“Rich” came Mildred’s
reply with a hint of jealousy in her voice.For she had thought of doing Architecture
at one stage, but her love of books and an unfortunate romance took her into the path of Librarianship…
“Well must dash off to work,have great day, ill see you for lunch next week”Errol called over his shoulder as he headed off the path pointing to the Agricultural building towards the other side
of the campus.
“Great seeing you again.”Mildred called after him.
Mildred parked her bike in her usual
bike rack, and waved hello to Joelle.“good morning Joelle.Your bright and early as always”..
“Morning Mildred”.Sang Joelle Zoloski as she finished chaining her bike to the rack.“Say who was that dish you were riding with”.
“Dish?” commented Mildred, “ Oh you mean Errol Finshin, I’ve never thought of him as a dish..”
she had a smile on her face at the thought of anyone thinking Errol was a dish.But
then she had known him all her life since childhood and had never really thought
of him as anything but dependable Errol.“ You should see his boyfriend,now there is a Dish with a capital ‘D’.”She fiddled
with the pendent she was wearing.It contained a lock of her hair and a lock
of Errol’s.He had given it to her not long after they first met.She was being bullied in the 2nd year at school, and Errol was a large
child for his age.He had rescued her, ever since they had been best of friends.He had given her the locket for her 9th birthday.She wore it all the time, except in the shower.. His father had been a jeweller by trade, so Errol was
able to get nice things like that for presents at low cost, in exchange for work in his fathers store.It was not until Errol, who was named after his mothers favourite actor Errol Flynn, was 20 that he found
out he was adopted.
He was wanting to find his birth mother,
she must make a point of asking him later if he ever did.!
Errol and her had always had a special
connection for some reason.It was as though she had known him all her life,
they thought the same, liked the same things…
“You mean he is Gay”,
the disappointment in Joelle’s voice was obvious.“What a waste!Are you ready for today’s show
Joelle and Mildred had known each
other since their days at university.Joelle was now a User Education Specialist,formerly referred to as a Reference librarian.The Current Director preferred the term
User Educator to Reference librarian, as he thought it sounded more appropriate
and more to the point.She was very intelligent
and had completed a PhD in Medicines from Ancient History to Present days..Where as Mildred had preferred to work
with the rare and valuable books.Where Joelle was vivacious beautiful and good
with people, good at teaching and dealing with anyone.Mildred was quiet, studious
and very knowledgeable when it came to the old books.She loved their dusty smell, the feel of the old materials, and the way they bound the books in elaborately
decorated covers.Even though she
had to deal with people in her job, Mildred had a quieter more studious clientele
who were more independent and only really
needed help with very tough questions.
I almost forgot he was going to be here for todays meeting.”The thought
of Mr Urgent being there was way beyond her.Mr Urgent was what everyone called the managing director, Anthony Bigell.Everything was Urgent.Joelle had worked as his assistant for a few months while his usual secretary had gone off on long service
“I Guess he will have his Red
file with him.” Sighed Joelle “and we all know how urgent things in
that file are.I wish someone would lose that file.”
“Me too” agreed Mildred.
The headed on into their lockers and
stored their things.Then popped down
to Marge and Hilda who ran the staff canteen.The canteen had been an added
extra when they had merged all the libraries into the Super Library.And it was very nicely decorated in a soft pastel peach, and lemon colours.With an open terrace surrounded by a lovely lake which was inhabited by
100 gold fish and numerous water foul. There was a medium sized waterfall at
the far end, very soothing..The food
had improved greatly since Marge and Hilda took charge.They were retired from
the Army where they cooked for the Generals and high ranking officers.Everything was ship shape and above board.They stood for
no nonsense form staff, and only expected the highest quality in supples and service.
The only way you could tell them apart
was one had a blue pair of glasses and the other had green.
“There is your coffees dears”Called Hilda as the girls walked in.
“thanks Hil.”Called the girls,as they handed over a check in payment of their monthly bill.It had been Marges Idea to start running accounts for the staff, and then
on pay day they could settle their accounts.“How was your weekend?”Asked Joelle.
“Marge and I took 1st
place in the bowling tournament on the Saturday night” Hilda said with great
“We creamed the pants off the
opposition” added Marge who had just appeared out of the cool room with a tray of fabulous looking cakes.“You girls want to try one of these, they are new”she
handed each girl a small sample of some cakes they had just arranged to have scored a good deal on.
“Hey these are fabulous”Mildred commented with her mouth covered
in chocolate mouse and cream.
“You have a good day girls see
you at lunch” called Hilda as the girls headed to their table by the lake.
After finishing their coffees and
cakes, they headed up to the war zone, as they liked to refer to it as.It was
only half an hour till the clients were due to come in and they had all the computers
to turn on
And make sure that things were in
readiness for them.Joelle worked on one of the main loans desks in the 2nd
of the smaller towers which dealt with the arts students..She loved some of the prints they had on display.A new pile
of theses had freshly arrived for Mildred and her staff of 3.2 of which were
only part timers, so it was her and Tiffany who took care of the collection and saw to it that the clients
were kept “Happy”.
Tiffany had just arrived as well,“Hi Mil”welcomed Tiffany.
“Had a good weekend!” commented Mildred it was obvious she did,
as she still had bags under her eyes.“looks like you were out all night
Mildred did not know, but Tiffany
worked 2 jobs to support her and her 4 kids.But she was too proud to let on
that she was not coping financially.
“Yeah major party last night”she neglected to tell Mildred that she was one of the waitresses at a convention centre on weekends
and some nights.“you should have seen
who was there, any one who is any one was at the party”Any one being,
all the used car salesmen.“Lechers”she thought to herself.Her posterior
was well and truly bruised by all the grabbing that usually went on at these things.But if it meant her children getting a good education and nice clothes on there backs
then she would make that sacrifice.
“What time is the meeting?”
“9.30, in the meeting room on
the 5th floor Blue tower. We had better get a move on if we are going to get there in time,ah, here is Mary to cover for us”
Mildred left instructions with Mary
as to what needed to be done.She was a Post grad student who was working to
earn extra cash to support her studies.A very reliable girl but rather excentric
or so Mildred and Tiffany thought.
“Ill be glad when they name the buildings rather
than by color… it gets very annoying”commented
Tiffany as they hurried out the door leaving the special collection counter in Mary’s capable hands.
It took them a good 10 minutes to
get from their building to where the meeting was.They were in one of the smaller
buildings the Red tower so had to go via the Green tower to get to the fifth floor, and of course the lifts were not working
in the Blue tower yet, so they had to take the stairs.
They reached the executive meeting
room with plenty of time to spare, most of the others were still ambling on in as well.Mr Urgent was in his Usual seat of power, Tiffany commented that His new secretary was rather pretty.Mildred agreed that she was, and just the type the usually went far.
Everyone settled in the plush new
leather seats, they were oh so comfortable.The 5th floor of the Blue
tower had been designed specifically as a meeting room come training facility.There were 6 Rooms all together, all with computer access and the latest in facilities,
the executive meeting room had room for 20 people, the table could be reduced to fit 10 around if only the Executives were
meeting.There was a coffee facility available with pre arrangement, Hilary and Marge were in charge of that and required 2 weeks notice.They would organise morning and afternoon teas and lunches if necessary for conferences
or day long training sessions.
“Good morning all.” Boomed
Anthony Bigell’s voice “thank you all for coming, now lets get started.This is my new secretary,Emma Sandsfit.She has just recently taken over from June who recently retired just before our big move”
Everyone exchanged welcoming smiles
with Emma secretly thinking.. “hmmmm we know why you got the job”.
“Now down to business.As you all know there was a contest amongst the university staff and students to name
all four of our new buildings, to make it more friendly.Here is a list of the
winners of the competition and the new names for each of the buildings.”He
passed a bundle of papers and everyone too one.“Please place the on each
of your notice boards.The winners will receive their prizes in the next week
On the paper it noted
Red Building Now known as:… WilliamSMurtleBuilding : suggested by Murray Hicks from
register(William Murtle was the founding director of the University in 1889)
BlueBuilding Now known as…. MarthaLMaxellBuildingsuggested by Mark Hington Senior
fromLecturer from the Department Architecture(Martha Maxell was
the first female graduate
of University of Wattle Grange in Architecute in 1930)
Green Building Now known as … L.P. Summerford building.
Suggested by 1st year Arts Student
P Summerford was the winner of the Nobel prize for art 10 years ago and a
Former resident of Wattle Grange.
Yellow building now known as…Henry Manford Wallington
building.Suggested by Maurie Hill
One of the Care takers
/ grounds keepers.(Henry Wallington was the Killed in the construction of the
4 buildings in an unfortunate cementing accident).
that the name for the Yellow building was very appropriate, Mr Wallington (or Mr Wally as everyone called him) had been known
to most of the staff and students at the university for years.He had a hand
in building most of the departmental buildings for the last 15 years..a very
likable man and always a kind word to those he passed.One year he had saved
the life of a student who was in distress, and considering suicide.He sat and
talked with her for some time until an ambulance could reach them.He then visited
her and became a father figure for the girl, who never knew the love of a father.Mr
Wally had 12 kids… and could not bear the thought of seeing this lovely girl suffer.The girl was now Maurie Hills Daughter in law.
The meeting continued
with its usual dullness and lasted 3 hours
“Whew Im glad that is over with….”Sighed Mildred “he does tend to prattle on”
They all went back to their desks
and offices to take action on the meetings findings, or to resume
Their rostered places.Mildred had been given the responsibility of ensuring that an appropriate
New letter head was designed for the
stationery.Which was a job she enjoyed as it allowed her
To let her creative juices flow..
Before she knew it it was time to
go home, it had been a fairly quiet day for a change as the students were on study break and were due back next week.They all relished the break from the normally hectic schedule f the day.Although Mrs Fudswalling was there every Monday as usual looking at the Microform collection and getting
herself in a pickle.All the staff had lost count on the number of times
They had explained to her the usageof the machines and not to shelve things herself.It took weeks
To get things in proper order every
time Mrs “F”, as she insisted on being called, had tried to be of help.
They would leave enough work for the
night student to do as well as finding these misplaced items.They packed up
Their desks,Mildred was heading home to her pets and a good movie.Tiffany was heading off to pick her children up from her Aunties place and drop Michael the eldest at Base
Ball Practice, June the Next at Gymnastics, and Lizzy and Johnny at their art class.Then she would go home for a few hours until they were dropped off by the mothers of some of the other kids.
It would be before Michael would be home, as they usually went to the coaches place for dinner.
Mildred put her bike in the garage
and locked it, entered her home and tended to her animals.Her mind was the happy
thought of catching up with Errol early next week for lunch, and finding out all that had been going on in his life.He always managed to have some exiting adventure to talk of in his letters.She was a little surprised he did not mention it to here that he was going to be working at Her University.But then that was him full of surprises. The
movie she wanted was due to start at 8.30 so she had plenty of time to have a nice relaxing bubble bath andreheat the roast she had left from last nights dinner.
She saw that the animals were taken
care off.Penelope was let out of her cage for a fly around while Ruffles was
let out into his outdoor enclosure for a few hours each day to get fresh air and to give poor Penelope some peace.If the weather was nice she would put Ruffles out for the day while she was at work, but if the weather
was not good during the day he would go out when there was a break in the weather,the
enclosure was well covered so there was no worry about him getting wet or anything.There had been a smart cat door attached to the window in the laundry, which allowed him to come and go as he liked,
but when the bird was having her exercise, the flap was closed so he had to stay out in the out door enclosure.
“I do wish you would leave the
bird and fish alone Ruffles”she said in exasperation as she put a very
reluctant cat in his enclosure.
She set Penelope out of her cage and
then stepped into her bath that had just finished running.
While relaxing, she started to think
of letter head designs for the new Super library.She really relished
The opportunity to do this, she would
use the 4 colours that the buildings had been called for the last 8 months… maybe a picture of the native flower from
the area, so much to think about.She would worry about it all tomorrow.
After she had finished her bath she
put on her cozy Kimono she had bought from Japan
when she went over on holidays a few
years earlier.Collected her dinner from the oven
which had heated up nicely and got comfy in her favourite lounge chair.Turned
on the TV and settled in for a good cry at her favourite movie.