Charles Toase interview: Family life

When did you get married and can you tell me about your children?

I was married in 1953 to Mary Hodges who was also a librarian and was at one time the branch librarian at Wimbledon Park from where she went on to special medical libraries. We have one daughter, Alison, who always vowed when asked what she would do when she grew up that she would not become a librarian because it was bad enough having both parents in the profession. She went into the business world and worked in the City as a PA running a group of accountants, Price Waterhouse Cooper. But she eventually realised she didn’t like that.

At one time Alison came to us and decided she didn’t like the City work – all about money, money, money – and wondered whether she might become a librarian after all. So I tried to put her off and told her all the dreadful things that were happening then – no jobs and so on. But she did take it up and went to work at Croydon Library in the reference library, went to library school, got her library degree, went to Aberdeen and then had a career in libraries in the oil industry initially. Then she had children. By the time she had three children she found it difficult to have a regular job so she moved to working in a school library which had the advantage of school holidays and she’s now running a library in a school attached to Robert Gordon University. They have a primary and a secondary school there. [She is the librarian of the primary school.]

And are your grandchildren heading for a library career too? 

One of them looked at it and found that these days it wasn’t about books, it was all about computers. They were all very much into books, I’m glad to say, but when they found that librarianship nowadays doesn’t revolve around books they lost interest. Two of them are at university, one of them has completed a course and two are there now. So we don’t know exactly where they are going except that two of them are very much into writing and it is quite likely they will end up as journalists or authors or something of that sort.