Growth of a Librarian

Where I am and who helped me get there
August 9, 2011, 10:21 am
Filed under: CPD | Tags: , ,

As I have mentioned before, I am currently finishing off a Masters in Information Studies and looking forward to starting work in a law library in about a month.  How I got here is a bit more complicated.  I did my undergraduate degree in Education, but by my last year working on that was already wondering if this was really the field for me.  The program I was on required a Masters in order to be fully qualified to teach, and although I fully intended to complete this step, at the last moment I pulled out and decided not to pursue the degree.  I was living in Australia at the time, decided to stay, and after a series of temp jobs found full-time employment in a library.  I had considered working in libraries before (I have always loved books, reading, and libraries) and had even discussed the profession with an older friend of the family who was a librarian, so when the job opportunity came along I was thrilled to give it a try.  After my first day of work I came home and told my partner: “I found my people!”  It wasn’t long before I knew for sure that libraries were a much better fit for me than high schools.  This first library job may be the best library job I will ever have – I was working for an affluent council in a library where the staff were encouraged to get involved in all aspects of providing the library service, so I got a huge range of experience as well as a solid base in cataloguing.  All the staff I worked with were friendly, helpful, and informative.  Quite honestly I learned as much, if not more, in my year at that library as I did in my Master’s course.

Somewhat unfortunately my parter was unhappy in Australia, I was aware of being very far away from my family at a time when they needed me, and we made the decision to make an international move.  Things did not go as planned in the move, and I ended up at home in the US longer than I had expected.  Once it was clear I would be there for a while I got a part-time job at another public library for six months or so, and although I was doing the most basic entry-level work, it gave me a chance to experience a different style of library.  Once again I had some amazing colleagues who took the time to share their knowledge with me, so that I picked up more information and skills than were strictly in the job description.  The ultimate goal, however, was always to move to England to rejoin my partner and attend ‘library school’.  The same family friend had introduced me to CILIP and the list of accredited schools in the UK, so that I was able to compare from overseas and choose a programme that suited my needs.

Last year I finally made it to England and started my MA, which, as I mentioned in the beginning I am now completing.  Although my dream library job was one attached to a museum, I assumed that I would end up in a public or school library which I knew I would enjoy.  My dissertation happens to be set in a law library, however, (although it focuses on user training, which is why I picked it) and in the end another law library was so taken by this experience that they hired me.  Just one more unexpected twist, but I am looking forward to the new challenge, and know that I can always switch sectors in the future, if it turns out that law libraries are not quite my cup of tea.


4 Comments so far
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“I found my people!” << This is exactly how I felt about it too, when I first started working in libraries 🙂

Comment by woodsiegirl

how are you finding England? you’ve been on quite a tour already…

Comment by Lauren

I am enjoying living in England – except for the weather which is a bit cold and rainy for my taste. Working in a law library has turned out to be great so far, however, and London is such an amazing city that it makes up for the endless drizzly days!

Comment by Erin

[…] previous post about how I got into librarianship pretty much covers the basics of this Thing, but I did have a […]

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