I generally claim that I got into Library work fairly late, but that isn’t actually true. I volunteered at my School Library from Year 9 (aged 13ish) until I finished Sixth Form (aged 18). It never occurred to me while applying to University that I could do a Librarianship course and I kind of wish I had (not that I regret the path I’ve taken, however long!)
After finishing my degree in Literature and Philosophy I was unemployed for nearly 12 months, during which time I applied for a Library Assistant job at a local library. I was turned down for the job as I didn’t have enough experience, so I started volunteering at my local branch library. It was one afternoon a week and I spent most of it shelving and shelf tidying, but I enjoyed it and it got me out of the house regularly! I stopped when I was offered a full time job – it was telemarketing but it was full time, permanent and was a ridiculously short “commute” of 5 miles.
I enjoyed quite a few aspects of the job, even if sales wasn’t my thing. I liked talking to a variety of people and because it was a (very) small company, when I volunteered to do odd jobs for the IT guy I was usually taken up on it. This combined with skills learned about various client’s databases I decided to study towards my MSc Information Technology.
In March 2009 I was made redundant – I actually consider myself quite lucky. I was still living with my parents at the time so I didn’t have to worry about Mortgage payments and a month later I had found work in a shop (it wasn’t even that long as I spent a week in Spain with my sister! I’d already paid for the holiday when I was made redundant so I decided I might as well go, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get my money back!!). I liked working in the shop, I loved dealing with people and I got to help with training new staff, preparing window displays and promoting stock. The hours were flexible enough to let me focus on my Masters and I made some good friends.
In December 2009 a part time temporary Library Assistant vacancy came up in Shrewsbury Health Library. This is another lucky break in my career – I would never have left a full time or permanent post for this, but it was a good move for me. My voluntary work meant I had enough experience to get the job and I loved it! Just as the temporary post came to an end one of the full time Library Assistants left for new pastures – I applied for, and got, the full time permanent post. My Line Manager started asking me about NVQ’s or other Library qualifications, but I was still working on my MSc so I put it off for a few months!
Last September I graduated my MSc and a few weeks later I started working towards my CILIP Certification. For those not familiar, it is a Library Assistant’s Qualification, but for people with a non-library degree it can be used as an alternative step towards CILIP Chartership.
In March this year I was promoted to Senior Library Assistant. I have taken on additional roles such as Information Literacy training and contributing towards our Library’s Social Media presence online. I love my job more every day and I honestly can’t imagine what I could possibly be doing instead!
Last week I posted off my Portfolio for my Certification application… I’m just waiting on my results, but it may be a few weeks yet. My Library Route is still in progress, but I know I’m on the right path.