Posted: 29 June, 2022

End of a Chapter for Putney Librarian

Achievements, Alumnae, Blog, Celebration, General, Interview, News, Senior School, Sixth Form

After an outstanding 32 years of service, Geraldine Dyos, our much loved librarian, hangs up her Putney purple and retires. After more than three decades at the school, she is our second longest standing member of staff.

Geraldine Dyos, (formerly Lambe) arrived at Putney in April 1990 – when Madonna held the UK number one with her single Vogue, and just two months after Nelson Mandela was released from prison. “I thought it would be a good job for a few years,” she said. In fact, it turned out to be 32.

Geraldine was raised in the North East, studying Librarianship in Birmingham, before heading down to London to start working life. She had been brought up on books, visiting the library frequently as a child. Reading was a central part of her family life, in a time before Tiktok and Instagram, and the library was an inspiring place to go.

Once in London, Dyos began work as a Librarian, and, before coming to Putney, she worked at both Hampton Library and the Medical Library at Kingston Hospital. She enjoyed her time at both, but a difficult home life along with her young sons objecting to attending Kingston Hospital’s holiday play scheme, meant that it was time to look for a role which would better fit her family life; the job at Putney came along at just the right time.
At the hospital she had an Apple computer and access to an online dial up computer in Switzerland, “When I arrived at Putney the only electrical device in the library was the plug on the cleaner’s hoover,” she said.

Geraldine’s sons, Martin and Simon (a Librarian too) are now 40 and 38 and have since been joined by Alice, 31, who was born just a year after Geraldine started at Putney.
“I actually nearly left when I fell pregnant with Alice. I told Mrs Penny, who was the Head at the time, that I had to go. When she asked me why, I explained that in my contract it said I had to be in the role for two years to qualify for maternity leave, she was shocked and told me to leave it with her. She rang the Trust and agreed that I could have seven weeks off, and so, I never left Putney after all.” Luckily her ex-colleague from Hampton had since become a nanny who could take care of Alice while she returned to work.

Life at Putney has changed a lot since Geraldine (pictured left) joined and the library has certainly expanded (and has since upgraded its technology to more than just plug sockets). “When I joined it felt more like a Sixth Form Common Room, it had a few old shelves of books. Nowadays it is used a lot, as both a reading and study space. But one thing that has remained constant is that ‘It is the place in the school where you will find silence’.”

When looking back, Geraldine said that she loved seeing the time capsules buried, “They keep having to be dug up and re-buried when new buildings are built.” Another highlight was when a former Head Girl, Alice Newton, whose father was a publisher at Bloomsbury Publishing, brought in a manuscript to read, from her father. Alice loved the book so much that she told her father how brilliant it was, and that he must publish it. That book turned out to be Harry Potter. Mr Nigel Newton re-opened our library after its renovation in 2009, accompanied by his two daughters, former Putney Head Girls, Catherine and Alice (pictured right).

Geraldine leaves Putney as the second longest standing member of the staff body, the first being Senior School Art Technician, Karen Howard, although, as Geraldine jokily explained, “Karen came before me, but she only works two days a week, so if you add up our service days, I pip her to the post.”

Putney is very much part of the Dyos family, Geraldine’s husband Patrick being Putney boy born and bred (he was educated at the Elliott school). The pair now live in Staines-Upon-Thames, but Putney remains close to their hearts.

Geraldine will be greatly missed, but her legacy will live on in the meticulous archives and records of the school, which she has spent many years collating. She looks forward to spending her newfound time gardening… and reading? “No, you see, I only read on public transport, and I’ll have no need for that anymore.”
Maybe she will take a bus ride or two just to get her book fix…

School Magazine Staff List 1990-91 - Showing Geraldine Lambe, Librarian

School Magazine Staff List 1990-91 - Showing Geraldine Lambe, Librarian

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