Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Thing 20 - Library routes

How did I end up working in a Library? It wasn't something I particularly planned although I have always loved libraries and books. I never thought about actually working in one though, it just wasn't one of those professions that even entered my mind.

I was working in a customer service role in a job I really didn't enjoy, spent most of my time bored and didn't feel like I was getting anything out of it or was valued. A Library Assistant post was advertised at the local College where my husband worked in IT and he praised the environemtn, the people and loved his job. I loved my local public library and was always borrowing books and the more I thought about it the more working in a Library seemed like a good idea. I applied and managed to get an interview and haven't looked back since.

When I got to the interview there were about 16 candidates for 3 posts and as most people seemed to have experience of working in a Library I didn't think I stood a chance! Luckily the selection panel must have seen some potential in me as they gave me a job. I have now worked for the College for 6 years and although I am in exactly the same role, that role has adapted, changed and varied and is so different to what I was doing 6 years ago. My job title is 'Library and Learning Resource Centre Assistant' and involves far more than the book stamping and shelving that I originally thought a Libraian did.

My role now involves journals management, overseeing the day to day running of an LRC (Learning Resource Centre), subject lisaison, inductions and Library education lessons, displays as well as queries, stock selection and many other things. I love working in a College Library as it is a smaller scale to that of a university Library which gives me chance to experience lots of different areas of the Library. Ideally I would like to move forward to a more senior role, either within the College or for another organisation although at the moment I am trying to gain as much experience as possible.

After a couple of years I decided to go to night classes and complete an NVQ Level 2 in Library and Information Services. This was definitely worthwhile in terms of meeting with other Library services staff and having scope for professional discussion. I can't say that I learnt anything new on the course itself, my portfolio was more a portfolio of what I had already been doing in my job but it was great to meet new people and get a certificate that said I could do my job!

The next stage I decided on was to join CILIP as by that point I had decided that Libraries were the right career for me to be in and I wanted to know more about the wider Library community. I contacted a mentor and began to work towards my ACLIP (certification). Having a mentor was a fantastic experience as I have already commeneted on in a previos blog. Reflcetive practice was something that was new to me but it was interesting to look at where I was and what I wanted to do in the future.

Currently I have decided to take my education and career a step further and I am working towards the Post Graduate Diploma (maybe even the MA/MSc) in Library and Information Management via a distance learning course at Northumbria university. I am finding it quite a challenge due to the amount of reading and work involved but I am also enjoying it. I am looking at areas of information management that are completely new to me and hopefully this qualification will open up doors in the future.

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