Sylvia Cowling describes how she joined Granada

I joined in June 1970. It was my first proper job. I’d had vacation jobs before as a student and they’d been mainly, in fact wholly, in academic libraries over in Leeds, where I come from. Because we had a friend at our church who ran the art college library in Leeds, and she just offered me. Said, “Do you fancy a vacation job?” I worked in several of the different libraries that were associated with what became Leeds Polytechnic. And so, when I became a student, I sort of had this at the back of my mind. I wasn’t close to anything else, but I thought, “I think I enjoy that. That’d be okay.” 

So after I graduated, I did a postgraduate librarianship qualification. And then, the issue was that I had to find a job over in the Manchester area because I was about to marry my now-husband, who was a PhD student at Salford University. And I saw this job at Granada, in Granada Film Library, ‘Film Librarian required’, and I thought I’d speak to my tutor at library school about it. And he said, “Well, yes,” he said, “I don’t think it would be much of a job. You’ll just be humping film cans around all day. So they won’t have a proper system or anything.” So I thought, “Well, I need the job.” So I applied for it and I got an interview, and I was told at that interview that there will be a second round of interviews. And I thought, “For goodness sake. For what isn’t going to be a proper job.” Anyway, I was invited to a second interview. 

And the real thing that I remember about is that, going up to the sixth floor to be interviewed by Bob Connell and various other people – he was head of a personnel at the time. I got in a lift with Michael Parkinson, and that was wonderful. I thought, “Oh, if it’s like this, this is great.” And they also showed me around the library at my second interview. It was a proper library. They catalogued and they classified their films. So I proudly went back to my tutor and said, “Look, they do it properly there. They’ve got a system. They use a UDC classification system!”

And then I was offered the job and that was fine. And it was a question of how soon could I start. And because my course was coming to an end, I actually left before the end of term because money would be useful. My husband was a student, my husband-to-be, and I got three weeks in work before I got married. And that’s how I came to work at Granada. I needed the job – and I have loved it. I have never got up in the morning and thought, “I really don’t want to go into work today.” For me, I’ve just loved it. Absolutely.

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