Gladstone's Library, Hawarden

The Reading Rooms might be the first thing people think about when they picture Gladstone's Library, but much of the building is given over to the residential bedrooms. The guests who stay with us help keep the Library thriving: as a charity, every penny helps toward upkeep.

Lucy is the head housekeeper at Gladstone's Library. As an experienced hospitality worker, she has a unique perspective on what makes a residential library a very different place to work...

Just before the start of my shift, I say "hi" to everyone and see if there's any goss. Then I head upstairs to get things set up for the day.

I make sure we have enough linen and items from the toiletries range (Awel y Môr by Myddfai) and also check the cups and glasses for the rooms are all clean. I ensure the bedclothes and blankets are all washed, and the rest of the shift depends on what rooms need doing.

Our shifts are a mixture of times, but they generally start around 8am or 8.30am. We have one housekeeper who likes to stay up past midnight, so she starts a bit later!

I have worked in housekeeping in other places, and there you tend to fade into the background. You have front-facing staff, and people in big hotels don't interact much with housekeeping staff.

But the guests at Gladstone's Library are cool. I found it surprising when I started the amount you end up talking with the guests. You feel like you are cleaning their personal bedroom, not an anonymous hotel room. It feels very comfortable here.

You get used to seeing the same faces. We had one lady who stayed for about a month after we reopened, and she was in a specific room, so after she left we still thought of it as 'her bedroom' for a while.

It's just lovely and you feel you can do your job a bit better because you can anticipate what people might need – if they used up all the milk yesterday I'll slip a few extra servings in today. It feels nice to be able to do that. Guests might not think about it much, but we think about it a lot.

People tend to be super respectful, too. A lot of our residents leave the rooms so tidy – they fold the towels and make the beds before they leave.

Because of this, the other day I managed to turn two rooms around in the time it would normally take to do one. It just shows they respect us – and the Library.