Meet the staff! Leah Bevan

What is your name:   Leah Bevan

Where do you work:  I have a desk at Central Library but the seven Neighbourhood Libraries cover a lot of ground so I can be found all over Swindon.  The furthest point between any of my libraries, as the crow flies, is 3.7 miles.  Yes, I checked.  I am that sad.

What do you do:  I’m the manager of the Neighbourhood Libraries which seems to be a broad, all-encompassing role at times!


“The wheels on the bus go round and round…” (at Pinetrees Library)

How long have you worked for Swindon Libraries:  This time around I’ve been here for 14 months.  I previously worked as a Library Assistant in the old Central Library portacabins and in the temporary library in Paramount from 2005-2006.

When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?  What didn’t I want to be?!  I changed my mind like the wind but one of my enduring childhood games was playing libraries.  I usually wanted to be a writer or journalist of some kind and then worked in book selling for a few years so all my jobs have played to my natural interest in books, words (and talking).

What did you do before you came here:  I was working in project management in a University trying to win bids for funding for academic research and before that at the Research Councils giving the academics the funding for their research.

What do you most enjoy about your job?  The sheer variety of the role – I never have a moment to be bored.  I go from health and safety inspections to children’s craft sessions and story time.  Then from meetings about our new IT system to trying to help a Friends Group write a murder mystery set in a library! I am able to spend time talking to my lovely colleagues about how to encourage new people to join the library, what new stock we have, what interesting events we could run etc.  I also have the opportunity to go out and work in my libraries alongside staff and customers and talk to people about the books they’ve enjoyed and what improvements we could make to the library service.  I even like the odd bit of shelving and tidying.

What’s the most exciting thing you have ever done?  This is the point where I realise just how boring I am…I can’t think of anything exciting, I’m not a daredevil or adrenaline junkie.  I get excited about book signings at literature festivals and the fact that Jeremy Paxman once called me a menace and Marian Keyes sent me a letter and said I was hilarious.  Not sure either are entirely accurate descriptions.

Strangest request while working?  A little girl asked me to bark like a dog once but that was in the context of reading a story.  I have been asked to help people on the computers who have been looking at purchasing some pretty interesting things but I couldn’t possibly comment on that.

Favourite book?  That’s impossible to answer – there are far too many!  My favourite book when I was a child was Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and I’ve re-read that many times.

Favourite film?  That’s an easy one – Back to the Future.  I am obsessed with the idea of time travel and I also love the 80s and Michael J. Fox – perfect combination.

Favourite album?  My music taste has changed and mellowed as I’ve got older – as a teenager I would have said Foo Fighters ‘The Colour and the Shape’ or maybe something by Less Than Jake.  My more recent favourites have been Johnny Cash and the Mogwai soundtrack ‘Les Revenants’.