Picture copyright: Claire Fuller
Roger Compton, the County’s Digital Archivist, started work on Monday thinking the Librarian would be a big help.
She even made him tea.
But thereafter she sat behind her desk. Watching. Like a scientist observing a new species.
Which in a sense I am, thought Roger, as he set up the equipment which would digitise the entire collection. The place was a museum. Archaic. Even the air conditioning didn’t work.
“Could we open a window?” he asked, as sweat prickled through the back of his shirt.
“It’s bad for the books.”
Her voice was as dry as the air in here. That cup of herbal tea seemed a long time ago.
The sooner they’re all digitised the better, Roger thought, imagining dust from a hundred crumbling books spiralling into his lungs.
Climbing the ladder once more, he reached for ‘Life of Josiah Winscott – A History in Ale Houses’.
And he felt the ladder move.
A jolt of panic.
His fingers scrabbled for purchase, but grasped instead Josiah‘s leather-bound volume.
And Roger fell.
Titles blurred before him; their leather spines jostling like commuters on a train.
“Help me….” he gasped, as darkness suffused his vision.
The Librarian stared.
Such a noisy man, she thought, and waited as the tea took full effect.
Later, she placed ‘Josiah Winscott’ back on his shelf, leather binding a little battered from the fall, before flicking through ‘Roger Compton – My Life in Books’.
Not a bad read, the Librarian admitted.
Then filed him in ‘New Arrivals’.