Meet…Meg Webb

What has your road to librarianship been?

I’ve wanted to be a collections specialist since my first year of undergrad, whether that was manuscripts, early printed books or music. I’m hopefully taking up a PhD in medieval musicology this autumn and I’m sure I’ll garner a lot of helpful specialist knowledge during my studies, but I’ve also done a Master’s in Library & Information Studies and spent a lot of time working in libraries to gain really valuable practical and vocational experience.

Before working at the Pendlebury, where have you been?

All over the place – I’ve been in Legal Deposit, Reader Services and Exhibitions at the University Library, the Architecture and History of Art Library, the Old Library at Queens’ College, and the Parker Library at Corpus Christi. Up until October of last year I was completing my MA in Library & Information Studies at UCL, and before that I studied music here at Cambridge.

What do you like most about the music collections?

I love the early music facsimiles in the Dent Room. Although it’s not quite the same as working with the real thing, some of them are incredible replicas of the original manuscripts, from the shimmering gold leaf to the feel of the parchment-imitation leaves.

Do you speak any foreign languages?

I’m currently studying hard on a German course specifically designed for academic research, and slowly working on my Latin as well. Sadly I’m not fluent in anything yet!

Best day at work?

Need I say more?

Worst day at work?

When nobody brought in a packet of biscuits to replenish the biscuit tin.

Favourite composers/types of work?

An incredibly difficult question! As a singer and an early music fanatic I adore early sacred choral music (Palestrina Canticum Canticorum, Tallis Lamentations of Jeremiah, anything for double choir by Victoria, Monteverdi Vespers, Schutz’s Musikalische Exequien to name but a few….), but I also can’t enough of the early 20th century chamber music by Debussy and Ravel – Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor is one of my absolute favourites. The final movement is just marvelous.

That being said, I think if I really did have to choose my one, desert island composer, it would always, always be Bach.

Do you play any instruments?

I’ve played a little bit of double bass here and there, but I’m a choral singer through and through really!

What do you like about working in Cambridge most?

Cambridge has been my home since I started studying here in 2017, so it’s nice to be working somewhere that’s very familiar to me. It’s a wonderful place to be as a musician as well, there’s always great opportunities to get involved with.

Any hidden talents?

I make the best roast chicken in the entire world.

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