Sunday, 9 October 2011

How did I get here?

No, I'm not suffering from temporary memory loss or Alzheimer's - I do know where I am, just musing about what got me into my current career in librarianship.
I came to it fairly late in life, though there's still plenty of life in me yet - I hope! But the point is that It's a career that can be taken up at any stage of life and having travelled down very different paths to get there. So here's my story....

The first sign for me that librarianship was ever an option was during my school years when a neighbour got me a saturday job in the local library. This was a job I really enjoyed despite being in an era when computers hadn't even been thought of and books were issued using little cards that were filed in date order. The main clientele in this small South London library were old ladies who liked to come in for a chat and ask for recommendations on the latest romance novels but there was still plenty of variety and it was a relaxed, friendly atmosphere to work in.

The second thing that should have alerted me to my future career was a rather pointless attempt at a careers interview by one of the teachers at my school who basically asked me what I liked and what I was good at. She picked on my love of reading and suggested librarianship. At 18 I had no idea what I wanted to do other than learn languages and travel the world and so I went on to do a degree in French.

After graduating I still had no idea what I wanted to do but still wanted to travel and with some romantic notion that I'd make a good foreign diplomat I joined the Civil Service where I remained for many years. I never did get to travel further than France in my job - c'est la vie!

After having children I decided to go for a more family-friendly career and took a TEFL course at Brighton. This helped me to get a job as a teacher of EFL and later as a French teacher as well. For a variety of reasons I decided to give this up after 8 years and took a casual job as a tourist information adviser which was great fun. While doing this I saw a job advert fo an academic librarian. This gave me the idea that I could combine my teaching skills and information skills into a career in academic librarianship and I looked into the qualifications needed.

I took the MA Information Studies course at Brighton part time while still working ,and after finishing the taught part of the MA I applied for and got the job of Assistant Information Adviser at the University of Brighton in 2006. This meant that I had to complete my research while getting to grips with a new job. This was difficult and challenging at times but I did make it and got my degree in 2007.

I work part time at Eastbourne, which is a very relaxed campus, and I support the School of Health Professions. My work is incredibly varied and includes managing the library budget for the School, handling enquiries, ordering resources and providing support and training for staff and students, and attending School Boards. I'm also involved in creating and maintaining resources and contributing to various service projects. There's always plenty to do and not enough hours to do all that I'd like to achieve but I enjoy the variety and the challenges.
I'm now working on my Chartership portfolio which I hope to complete soon. I don't know if I'll progress further in my career at this stage, but if an opportunity arises.......

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