Elaine Blair is one of the dedicated librarians at the A.K. Bell Library. “There’s never a dull moment at the A.K. Bell!”, she laughs. This is true – her days can involve anything from planning family fun days, to book groups, digital skills workshops and craft activities. Prior to pursuing a career as a librarian, describes herself as “a bit of a wanderer”. She worked at the B&Q – “I was amazing at using the paint mixing machine!”.
While days working are a hotchpotch blend of activities, on her days off Elaine loves nothing more than sitting in her garden, enjoying the sun with a good library book. And when she wants to get away for a bit? “There’s nothing better than going down to Moncrieffe Island – or as we call it, Stone Island – and just throwing stones into the Tay”.
Sink into this read with Elaine – and on your next trip down to pick up some books, make sure to say hi!
Tell us the weirdest / funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?
We had a lot of laughs on our first Dog Friendly Friday; the photographers had quite a job arranging seven dogs and their humans for the photo shoot. It was a proud day though, as we are the first library in Scotland to welcome dogs. To be honest, working in the library is full of weird and funny moments. Next time you are in the library, ask any member of staff and they will have a plethora of examples!
What signals the start of your days off?
Locking the front door and getting cosy jammies on. Work and school is over for the week. When tea is done and tidied away we love to snuggle down as a family and watch films - the last film we watched was “The Sound of Music”. However, if I hear “I am Sixteen going on 17” one more time…ahhhhhhhh!!!
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I know every word to the rap “Guns and Ships” from the Broadway/West End musical Hamilton. In the words of the Marquis de Layafette “No one has more resilience or matches my practical tactical brilliance” I think Lin-Manuel Miranda is a total genius and I look forward to seeing him in the new Mary Poppins film. What can I say? I love a good musical.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
I think as I am getting older, I am getting braver. I have embraced the “I’ll give it a go” motto. The march towards middle age is allowing me to shake off the “what will people think of me” shackles. It’s quite liberating in a weird sort of way. I recently completed my first – and probably last - fire walk and raised over £200 for Culture Perth and Kinross. Who knows what I’ll try next……………answers on a postcard!
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
My first job out of school was on a Youth Training Scheme (YTS). I was paid £28 a week to work full time hours in Nationwide Anglia Estate Agents. I was the dogsbody in charge of getting the teas/coffee/bacon rolls, going to the post office and typing up house schedules. The photographs of the houses had to be added by hand, so I spent most of my time peeling off sticky labels on the back and trying to place them on the schedule straight(ish). I realised then that no matter my career path, I didn’t want a job with an in tray and an out tray.
I enjoy being part of a service that enables people to educate, empower and entertain themselves - for free.
Who or what inspires you?
Words inspire me.
From the simple “Thank You” to the heartfelt “I Love You”. Words can be a powerful tool in which to convey feelings, get a point across or inspire others. On the flip side, words can be hurtful or spiteful or cruel. Words can wound as well as heal. Using inspiring words I am trying to teach my daughter to always strive to do her best, to be strong, to be free. To treat others well, to appreciate differences but see equality. To love, be loved and to project love. Society is moving and changing and diversifying, through well-chosen words we can move forward together. Words inspire me to be better, see better and do better.
Tell us about the day you’d love to live again?
My 8 year old daughter, Georgia, is Harry Potter daft. Seriously daft. We surprised her during the October holidays with a trip to the Warner Bothers Studio Tour. She had no idea! She thought we had just driven all that way to go to the Roman Museum in St Albans but really we were there to see Harry Potter. Her face was a picture when she found out where we were going. She only had fifteen minutes notice and for those fifteen minutes she was lost for words. It’s those moments that I would like to bottle up and remember forever.
What’s the best part about your job?
There is nothing better coming to work and knowing that no matter what happens, you have a fantastic team that surrounds you. I love my staff on the lending floor at the AK Bell. I also enjoy being part of a service that enables people to entertain, educate and empower themselves – all for free. Libraries are still very much relevant in 2018 and beyond. Librarians are the original Google search engine and our findings are factual, honest and truthful.
Complete this sentence; the best things in life are….
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