Sunday, June 13, 2021

A Shush of librarians


French Village Diaries a shush of librarians
Ed and I in our village library

Those of you who have been following our life here in France for a while, will remember how much I enjoyed working at the library in Chef-Boutonne in 2018, on a four-month maternity replacement contract. I have good news; way back in January I received a phone call from them to say a second baby was on its way and would I be interested in covering the maternity leave this summer. No surprises, I said yes please. 


This time, however, things weren’t quite as straightforward. Firstly, they had to ensure I was happy to commit to working all of July to October, without taking a holiday, something many French people would struggle to accept. I was also made aware that the other librarian had already booked her three-week annual leave during this period, so I would be in sole charge for those weeks. 


Then we had to navigate the bureaucratic uncertainties caused by Brexit. As a third country national I no longer have the right to hold a full public service post in France (to be a fonctionnaire), and it took quite a bit of toing and froing before it was clear that a temporary contract, for a local authority, would be allowed.  

The next issue was that they wanted a copy of my residence card, and my old (still in date) EU card wasn’t good enough, they needed proof of my Withdrawal Agreement status. We had already applied for this in January, but it was March before we had our file completed and were called in for finger printing, and then the end of April before the card itself arrived. Much as I was hopeful all would be OK; I didn’t dare get too excited.


On the morning of 1st June, as we were preparing to leave our holiday apartment in the Corréze, my phone rang. It was official, the council had met the night before and agreed my appointment. From 1stJuly, I will be back at the library for the summer, yippee.


In a bizarre coincidence, at the same time, on the same day, Ed was at an interview for a three-month summer job, to keep him busy before returning to Poitiers in September. The stars must have been aligned for us, as he too got the job. He started his work this week, as … wait for it … a part-time librarian in Sauze-Vaussais and I’m delighted to say my little bookworm is loving it almost as much as I do. There is something quite nice, and reassuringly positive, that his first real taste of paid employment is something he is enjoying, rather than it just being a means to an end financially.


I am sure there must be a ‘how many librarians’ joke out there somewhere, but what I did go looking for was the collective noun for librarians. Google gave me three options; a stack of librarians (which I find a bit dull), a catalogue of librarians (which I quite like) and my favourite, a shush of librarians.


Well done Ed we are both so proud of you and it seems sharing my love of books with you from a very young age was one of my better ideas. 


As there will be no holidaying for us from July, we decadently set off on another adventure a week after our Corréze holiday, so my next post will be brought to you from the Lot Valley. Happy days!!!

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  1. Congratulations to both of you!

  2. This is really terrific. Congratulations to you both. I'll look forward to the next post and more about the library, too!


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