How is it that librarians came to have a reputation for peering over their horn-rimmed spectacles and frowning at readers who turn book pages too noisily? The severe librarian has somehow come to be a cliche of comic fiction.
But from what I've seen over the last couple of days in libraries in the East Midlands, our typical librarian is more likely to be eating chips, making a lot of noise laughing, or discussing the best place to buy a sexy nurses uniform.
Seeing how I've been spending a fair bit of time in libraries recently (I always turn up hideously early for any event where I'm speaking) I thought it might give me an opportunity to read a chapter of Pompeii. It's always worth looking at Robert Harris's work - the man is such a wonderful writer and I'm always trying to work out how he does what he does.
So I started in one library on Wednesday and went on to try and finish the chapter on Thursday in another library. But in each case, the librarians were chatting with such exuberance, that I couldn't concentrate. Their conversations were just too interesting! Still - perhaps I can incorporate some of the dialogue I overheard into my next novel.