Librarian records bookbug video on nightshift driving an Edinburgh gritter

A dedicated librarian has shown she has true grit, after recording a bookbug video for tots at 4am while out driving a gritter.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 12:38 pm
True grit: Susannah Leake, Learning Development leader at Moredun Library

Susannah Leake recorded a song and story on her phone while finishing up a tough twelve hour shift out gritting the city pavements in minus temperatures.

When she is not leading on learning development at Edinburgh’s Moredun library the 29-year-old is also serving her local community as an emergency seasonal worker for the council.

Ms Leake knew she couldn’t make it to the live session of bookbug on Tuesday morning due to working the nightshift beat this week.

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But she was determined that her bookbug group wouldn’t miss out on the free songs and stories session, which she has posted every week online since last March even while working two jobs.

She recorded a version of ‘wheels on the bus’ with lyrics about gritters while her NT74 spreader vehicle flashed in the background.

Ms Leake said: "It gets so cold between 5pm and 5am but I have a little heater and adrenaline keeps me going. It was a very quick rendition of ‘A big red bus’ but I managed to get words in there about gritters. A child I know has officially named the gritter ‘Green Tractor’ so I go with that.

“So it was a bookbug with a bit of a twist. I read a story too. A snowy day seemed like the perfect choice. It was so cold I couldn’t hold my phone for too long. I didn’t realise how bad the snow would get. By the time I finished after 4.30am it was still coming down. But it looked lovely for the video.

Susannah Leake drives at council gritter NT74 vehicle

"It turns out gritters are a big hit with the under 5s population. Kids get really excited when I pass them in the vehicle so I always give them a wee wave. They just love it. Parents like it too. I’ve been getting great responses from gritter fans since I posted the video. I think a lot of folk have been a bit bogged down with the snow. Taking a break and doing the song made me feel less stressed and tired. I felt happy knowing kids wouldn’t miss out. I hoped it would give others a wee smile.”

"It’s a shame kids are missing out on the live bookbug experience just now with libraries closed. Parents singing with and reading to their little ones is proven to really help early development. I think the videos and live sessions we do online are so important just now, to keep things going.”

Ms Leake’s has worked three winters on-call for road services. But she says at heart, she will always be a librarian.

"I’m a a geek about gritters and tractors. I used to do lots of my own snow clearing, then after the previous Beast from the East struck back in 2018 I saw a call out for emergency seasonal workers I decided to go for it. I love it. But I’m definitely a librarian through and through.

Ms Leake with the Bookbug mascot

"I’ve worked in libraries since I was 17, after helping my mum out when I was a teen still at school in Falkirk. I’ve worked all over Scotland. It sucked me in. I just love it and wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

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