This past week saw us say a fond farewell to Sue Peach, Local Studies Librarian here at the Record Office. With a career in libraries stretching over 40 years Sue has now said goodbye to spend more time with her family, friends and to enjoy the hobbies she loves – walking and bell ringing to name just two. Although Sue had insisted she didn’t want a fuss, we couldn’t let her go without a proper goodbye, so friends and colleagues joined together on her last day to see her off in style.
I asked Sue for a few details about her library career and so typical of her, she did the job for me and wrote a complete biography! So here in her own words is Sue’s life in libraries:
“I started as a trainee with Derby Borough Libraries in the autumn of 1973, but we rapidly became part of Derbyshire County Council in 1974, and I then followed a training programme which brought me to Matlock for the summer.
I did a postgrad Librarianship course at Leeds which ran for the whole of 1975, then was based at Derby Central and Belper libraries. I remember I was considered lucky at library school, as I had a job to go back to.
I left in 1979 to have my son Adam, but was back again in 1983 because they needed librarians in the Reference Library, which was then in the Strand in Derby. This was really interesting detective work, as you could be asked anything, and you had to look everything up; no Internet. We also had Tourist Information for a while.
I had my second son Christopher in 1985, and in 1987 the Reference Library was amalgamated with the main Lending section. The work became even more interesting, as we now needed to know about popular authors and take requests. But this was still only Saturday work, and when in 1994 I saw a job advertised for a librarian at Swadlincote I applied and got the job. The team were great; everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Their theme song was “Simply the Best”, and they were. No fuddle or do was complete without “turns”, songs, sketches and dressing up; part of the Swad tradition.
In 2001 an internal job ad finally ended its journey in my tray (I’d been on holiday).The closing date was the following day, but it was for a Local Studies job, something I’d always been interested in, but the jobs were few and far between. There was a temporary post on offer because of maternity leave so I rang the Local Studies Development Officer Ruth Gordon, who said it wasn’t too late to apply. So began a most happy time, and when Lisa decided to come back on a 3-day basis, I was quite happy to drop a scale, and drop hours, just to be able to work in Local. This was definitely a golden time, working with Ruth, Lisa, Sues B and H, Julie, Norma, Barbara, Paul D and John T. I also got up to speed as a relief cataloguer. In 2006-7 I covered temporarily as Special Services Librarian at Chesterfield. This was useful because in 2007 I obtained hours as a Local Studies librarian there, working alongside Lesley Phillips.
Things were changing rapidly again though; Ruth was retiring and we were to amalgamate with the Record Office, under the new leadership of Sarah Chubb as Record Office and Local Studies Manager. Lisa and I took over most of Ruth’s jobs, including Local Studies book selection, binding and microfilming, all new skills for us. We acquired the Parish Register microfilms, plus Helen and Vicky to help us out, started getting to know our new colleagues in The Creche, and were involved in everything from choosing images for the new décor to visiting other history centres, measuring everything and learning how to pack, carry and unpack enormous crates of books…
My hours were transferred from Chesterfield to the Record Office in 2011, and I have ended my career with four very interesting years there and a lot of lovely new colleagues. You never stop learning: there were CALM and EDRM to get to grips with, not to mention the procedures by which documents are retrieved.
So thank you to everyone I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and for all the help and support which has always been there. Love, Sue.”
And thank you Sue, we will all miss you and wish you a very happy retirement.