Hard to imagine now: but when I was at university we had a record library.
It was a large and dusty cupboard in the corner of the Senior Common Room and LPs were free to borrow, with harsh fines threatened for anyone who scratched a disc. When I put my head around the door one lunchtime in my first term I found that the chief librarian was none other than the outside centre in the College 2nd XV; I knew him, he recognised me, and before a week had gone by I found myself third assistant junior librarian, charged once a week with recording loans in a battered notebook and extracting harsh fines from disc scratchers.
The record collection was a sorry affair and at the same time a treasure trove. The society had always had limited budget and the collection had been built up over twenty years (since LPs had been invented I suppose) and anything remotely cool had been stolen long ago, but I was happy enough foraging through the shelves finding country and folk music, and also jazz, trad and modern and psychadelic seventies pop. I found and taped an obscure Genesis album and every Wednesday I did my forty minute slot as per the rota and never once forgot to record a loan, and never once collected a fine.
At the end of my first year I was surprised to presented with a fifty pound record voucher and invited to buy some records for the collection, on behalf of the Society. we had been granted more funds and the power of selection was the assistant librarians' reward for service rendered.
I must have been a complete idiot in 1983. The record library was a collection of old, obscure and unfashionable music, but I never imagined that it wasn't supposed to be like that. It never occurred to me that the annual record buying budget was intended for purchasing new and fashionable music.
I used my £50 to buy more of the same. Including - on a whim - The Carpenters' Greatest Hits, because my parents had it, and I liked their version of Desperado. It was only when I saw the expression on the senior librarian's face when I catalogued my prizes that I began to suspect I had done something wrong. It was a Monday.
When the following term started I found I had been accidentally left off the rota.