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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

My route to a library career

When I was younger I never thought about becoming a librarian, a princess or an astronaut, yes, but a librarian, no. Once I had grew out of the astronaut phase (still holding out on the princess dream though) I started thinking about what I would like to do with my life. Looking back, it was obvious I would become a librarian. I was always at my local library, begging to help out, I even enjoyed putting books back on the shelf (something I try my best to avoid now). I was lucky to have a great local library and the librarian was always happy to help me and encouraged me to read as much as I could. At home my books were always in order and I used to make up tickets and have my dolls and bears borrow them. However I never once made the connection with my favourite past time and becoming a librarian. This was until one night when I was looking through university prospectuses with my dad, trying to decide what postgraduate course I wanted to do. I showed him the course for Library and Information Studies at Strathclyde and his exact words were, "I always thought you would become a librarian", Now this information would of been useful to me a lot earlier but better late than never I guess.

So fast forward to 2007 and I have graduated with my PGDip and I was ready to start job hunting. I was lucky enough to find a temporary position but it meant giving up my part time job that I had at the time. Best decision I have ever made, the temporary job ended up lasting 6 months and gave me some great experience of library work which has helped me ever since.

Assistant Librarian/Cataloguer - HarperCollins - Database Project

This was my first full time position and although it was only temporary it was a really enjoyable and valuable start to my library career.

My main role was to catalogue the archive editorial files that we had in storage. I think this was about 200 boxes full of interesting information. There were boxes from Agatha Christie, with letters from the author herself, boxes relating to Boris Pasternak, Lord Mountbatten and lots of other famous authors. I had to catalogue the contents of these boxes and input the information onto the HarperCollins database so that my colleagues would be able to see what information we had in the archive. The other part of the project consisted of creating a database of all the works that HarperCollins had published over the years.

As the post was only temporary I had to move on after 6 months so it was back to the job hunting.

Document Controller - Interlink

My next position was as a document controller on the new M74 Motorway project in Glasgow. There was nothing advertised for jobs in a library so I ad to think outside the box and take a job that although not in the library sector would still let me use the skills I had gained.

I was mainly responsible for using the Electronic Document Management System to create design packages for Glasgow City Council. I had to use EDMS to input data, create packages, handle queries and basic administrative tasks.

It wasn't exactly what I wanted to be doing but after I year I had managed to find an actual job in an actual library.

School Librarian

So after a year and a half I now had a job as a school librarian. I am now in my second year and doing my chartership so everything seems to be going well.

I would never of thought of myself as a school librarian, it was never the career I had envisioned for myself but now that I am here I couldn't be happier.Yes my job can be tough, Yes I often feel undervalued, Yes I could do with a much better budget but for all the low points there are a great number of high points. every day I get to help shape young minds, hopefully help them develop a life long love of reading and help to equip them to handle life after school.

Each day is different and most of the time I love this. I get to organise events, make up displays, promote the library to the whole school, take part in school committees. take library introduction lessons, recommend books to both pupils and staff - the list could go on forever.

So that is my route from a young girl who wanted to be a princess to an adult working in a school library.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny, I did some very similar things as a child but I didn't make the connection either. I wanted to be a lawyer or a rock star :) I was a few years out of undergraduate before I decided to get my MLS. I wonder why it takes some of us so long to figure it out?