Sidmouth librarian’s tea party send-off

Sidmouth Library “such a fun place to work” says Gill after 17 years in charge

THERE was no way popular Sidmouth librarian Gill Spence was going to leave her post without saying goodbye to all of Sidmouth Library’s borrowers.

So on Friday, she and staff laid on tea and home-made cakes in the reference section as a thank you for their support over the 17 years she has been in charge.

Gill applied for voluntary redundancy after Devon County Council’s recent restructuring of senior posts, because she didn’t want to work behind the scenes.

“I am a front-line member of staff, I enjoy working with the public, so I chose not to go for one of the jobs working on a computer at headquarters,” she said.

“It is good libraries are not going to close, but savings had to be made. I looked at the options and decided to opt for voluntary redundancy.

“I don’t think the public realised quite the extent of the cuts and they haven’t ended yet.

Most Read

Philosophical about her situation, Gill was determined to leave on a high note and told those at the party: “Sidmouth Library has been such a fun place to work and I’ve had a marvellous team to work with. Everything we’ve done we have enjoyed doing.”

Describing her as “fantastic”, borrower Christine Wiliman remembered how Gill encouraged her daughter’s love of English, adding: “She always shows enthusiasm and care for the need to enrich enjoyment of English.”

During her time as librarian-in-charge, Gill introduced popular literary lunches, featuring such authors as Julian Stockwin, Freda Lightfoot and local novelist Sophie King for talks and buffet lunch.

Bounce and Rhyme for toddlers is another achievement under Gill’s watch, instituted 10 years ago. As a direct result junior readership numbers have increased.

“We have been a very happy team. Everyone has different strengths but we all came together to form a professional team for the public,” she said.

“We deliver a good service and have got back so much appreciation and affection from the public that we just love our jobs.”

Gill, who is looking at work options, introduced her successor, library supervisor Liz Runnalls, who has moved from Exmouth, after 30 years at its library, to take up the post.