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Claire Delgal

Should your call to the library at Great George Street be answered by a voice with a delicious French accent, that's Claire Delgal.

She has worked in the library since November 1989, arriving in London from her native France, where she qualified as a librarian, via Scotland where she went to perfect her English.

Her title is assistant librarian, but in addition to the usual library duties she is in charge of the ICE's audio-visual collection.

It's not vast, she explains, consisting of around 350 videos and a collection of slides. The video in most demand, she says, shows the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Second in popularity comes the CPR tape.

August is usually a quiet month in the library although there are always some visitors. The really busy period it seems is Wednesday afternoon in term time when students descend en masse to research their essays.

But no two days are ever the same she says, there's always something different happening whether it's an unusual request for information or working on an exhibition. And in addition to her job in the library she is also the secretary to the Panel for Historical Engineering Works.

Visits to see her family in France occupy much of her spare time and she's a big enthusiast for the Eurostar service.

On her last visit to Paris she made a point of visiting the city's own wobbling bridge, the Passarelle Solferino.

But she's also a long distance traveller. A trip on the Trans-Siberian Express took her initially to Beijing where, thanks to ICE contacts, she was able to meet a number of Chinese families.

Less ambitiously, she confesses a fondness for that very English pursuit of the country walk which has as its destination a welcoming pub.

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