One book closes

ruthgillingamLong-time library manager, Ruth Gillingham, retired at the end of March. Here she looks back on many good years at our library and looks ahead to a rather more relaxed future.

Simon and I arrived into Milton under Wychwood at the end of 1983 with two young children and another on the way, moving into the High Street and to join Peter Gilbert in the Paper Merchant business. This working village had many amenities including a library which was a definite bonus.

Originally from New Zealand, I met Simon on my third day in London having arrived overland by bus from Nepal. It was time to stop travelling and get a job. I worked as a PA then, as an assistant editor on the Hawker Siddeley Group magazine for six years before starting our family.

I have always enjoyed reading, so I was very excited when Beryl Brown suggested that I join her at Wychwood Library at the beginning of 1998 to be a relief worker. Standards have always been high at Wychwood Library. The books are well looked after and orderly, and of course it was a pleasure to work in the community and with Beryl. When Beryl retired, I applied for the job as manager and although not successful in the first instance, I did finally achieve my dream of becoming Library Manager of Wychwood Library. I have just loved my ten years working in the community. It has been a joy to go to work every day.

Wychwood Library has faced several challenges over the years. To close or not, reduce staff and add volunteers and to be increased in size. The community always rallied around whole-heartedly and we now have a wonderful working facility in the village open not only to borrow books but as a community space. Activities include a coffee morning on Wednesdays with brownies and macaroons, a great place to make new friends. Tai Chi, two reading groups, Poetry Club, Late Spring – for recently bereaved people with Age UK, knitting and The Wychwood Circle; the list will surely go on. We also started off the Wychwood Singers, IKNIT and the Wine Tasting Group before they outgrew the space, and there are the most delightful bunches of flowers for sale during the summer!

The introduction of volunteers to help has been an excellent move. New ideas, enthusiasm and skills are always forthcoming.

Simon and I begin our next adventure to circumnavigate the UK in our boat ‘Kate Too’. We set off westward in fair weather we trust to investigate the West Country, onto the Scillies and southern Ireland this summer. Next year Scotland!

On behalf of the whole community and of this magazine, we thank Ruth for all that she has done and we wish her and Simon a happy retirement with the wind in their sails.

June – July 2018