‘♪ Getting to know you… ♪’

Continuing the series, and in celebration of International Women’s Day, next up are Jane & Lucy…

If you’d like to submit your answers to the Q+A, fill out the template and send it to library.innovation@sussex.ac.uk, or get in touch with the Blog admins – Kate, Kerry & Sam…

Jane Harvell by Chris Riddell
Jane Harvell by Chris Riddell

We’d like to include a brief biography before the Q+A.  To help with this, could you tell us, in a couple of sentences, where you’re from, where you live now, and a little bit about your working life so far…

Born in Nottingham (affectionately referred to as Snot by my children – its original name – look it up) and lived in Newcastle, Lowestoft and London in that order. Moved to Brighton in 2003 to upset my mother – no seriously I just wanted to get out of crazy London to bring up my boys. I never ever intended to be a librarian, really fell into it as they paid me to do a postgraduate and I had a career in music librarianship until music librarians became surplus to requirements. After starting work at The Barbican I worked in the Sound Archive at the British Library for many years before jumping to the LSE and then to Sussex where I’ve been for years but not as long as Fiona and Sean.

What’s your favourite part of the library?

I love the views from the windows especially on the first floor and the view up to the Downs past the computers.

Tell us about your journey into work.

I cycle down the Lewes Road and sometimes through Stanmer – have I not bored on about it enough?

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or heard in the library?

Dave helped me deal with a couple in the basement one evening – you can ask him about it 😉

Which book/film/album changed your life?

Let’s go album and let’s go Blue Lines, Massive Attack – no kids, low rent in Brixton, nice job looking after records, hot summers etc.

What is the worst job you’ve ever done? (Careful…)

Pork-pie factory – I’m saying no more…

What do you feel most proud of, in your work here?

The SAGE donation and the support for Scholars schemes– it’s still unique for a library to work with a publisher like this and it was really hard to get it up and running.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

It probably says something about my personality profile that I’m really not interested in going back in time.

How do you relax?

Master-chef, making cakes, GCSE revision and drinking.

What keeps you awake at night?

Work + not usually in a bad way. Lots of crazy ideas and working out solutions to problems.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Oh I don’t know –Chewbacca?


We’d like to include a brief biography before the Q+A.  To help with this, could you tell us, in a couple of sentences, where you’re from, where you live now, and a little bit about your working life so far…

I grew up on Mersea Island, which is not far from Colchester in Essex. If the tides are high, the causeway on to the island gets cut off from the mainland, so you have to make sure you have a tide table with you (it catches many a holidaymaker out!).
I then went to University in London and ended up staying until 2007 when I moved down to Brighton with my partner (the sea was calling me!). 
Work wise, I have worked in a few different libraries and been at Sussex since 2011.

What’s your favourite part of the library?

I love the large window at the front of the building on the 1st floor which looks out over Library Square.

Tell us about your journey into work.

I drive in. I passed my test just under three years ago and the shortness of the journey is still a novelty after many years of long commutes on buses and trains. Plus, whoever invented heated seats and air-con is a genius!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or heard in the library?

Not this library, but at a previous one I worked in…I was asked ‘do you get many squirrels in the library?’ by a man carrying a roll of chicken wire (apparently to be used to make a squirrel trap)…I dutifully informed him there were no squirrels in the library and he was most disappointed.

Which book/film/album changed your life?

Not life changing, but I love The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold in equal measure.

What is the worst job you’ve ever done? (Careful…)

A trial day prepping lunches at a cafe when I was a teenager – it wasn’t for me.

What do you feel most proud of, in your work here?

Our outstanding ILR service! We received an amazing hand-made thank you card last week from a very happy library we lent one of our books to, come and check it out when you have a minute.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I would go back to the Admiral Duncan pub on 30th April 1999 and warn everyone there was a bomb. It was somewhere I regularly went and I remember the shock of hearing the awful news.

How do you relax?

Dog walks on the South Downs…this is relaxing until he does a Houdini, steals food or rolls in something unmentionable… / holidays (anywhere and everywhere, but preferably by the sea) / fun and laughter with friends.

What keeps you awake at night?

Nothing.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

A (youngish) Celia Imrie.


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