Well this blog entry was inspired by CPD23. I was looking at thing 13 and it pointed out the Library Routes Project. I read a lot of the entries and decided to make a contribution and write about my route in to Libraries.
I was 28 years old when I decided what I wanted to do with my future. At the time I was working in a clerical assistant role within UCLAN. My contract was fixed term and was due to end in the Summer. After many years of drifting between jobs and never really finding something I enjoyed I had finally narrowed down my vision to Library and Information work. Since graduating in 2001 with a BA (Hons) History I had done various jobs in retail, administration and education. I had even done a MA Popular Music Studies. I enjoyed research and spent a lot of my time as an Undergraduate and Postgraduate in Libraries and Archives. I had flirted with the idea of being a teacher, mental health nurse and social worker. I never really got that far in those plans although I did volunteer at a hospital for a while and also signed up to a teaching taster course but pulled out.
I desperately wanted to find something I would enjoy, something that would suit my skills and personality. I had enjoyed working at Waterstones to an extent. Providing excellent customer service was something I took pride in. I enjoyed being around books and liked it when I was a returns and customer order manager. I had my own office and planned my days but I didn’t enjoy the retail environment and pay did not reflect the responsibility. I knew several people doing data entry getting more money than me and ended up leaving the role in frustration. After temping in numerous roles intermingled with the odd guest appearance as a Christmas temp at Waterstones I ended up settling in to University administrative work.
I liked working in higher education it was a refreshing change after being in retail and finance. Working in a place where people were intent on bettering themselves and learning was something that inspired me and my role at Salford University was interesting and I was allowed a lot of creative freedom in designing my role. I really enjoyed giving great customer service and also liked to disseminate information to students by email, in person, via blackboard and posters. After one and a half years though I felt it was time to move on. I wanted to do some travelling and go maybe teach English as a Foreign Language. I did the travelling bit but then ended up back in another University administrative role. Working in administrative roles I had gained a lot of valuable IT skills I had used Elearning technologies, edited websites, took advanced courses in Microsoft office and had supervisory experience.
The things I enjoyed in my working career were the things that Library and Information work represented to me. The parts I have highlighted are the areas I feel help make my decision to go in to Library and Information Management. I had the skills that were transferable to this sector and also more importantly enjoyed using and improving these skills. So here I was 28 years old and I had finally made a decision and I was going for it. I started applying for Library jobs. Disappointment followed as I was turned down on five occasions in less that four months. However, one of these jobs I was turned down for at the Guardian Graduate Library Trainee, ended up helping me no end as I got a weeks work experience with them which I think contributed a lot to me breaking into my first library role at Burnley Library .
Each time I failed I just picked myself up and went again. I offered my services as a volunteer at my local libraries but had no luck. I decided to offer myself to the local Record Office, archivist work was related and was also something which I thought I would enjoy. I got in to contact with the Archivist and before I knew it I had a casual role as an Archive assistant. I had to combine this with my role as a Senior Administrative Assistant and often had to run across Preston after late running meetings to make my late night shift on production, it was worth it!! I think the combination of the experience I gained at Lancashire Record Office and the weeks work experience I got at the Guardian Newspaper resulted in me getting offered the job at Burnley Library.
I started at Burnley Library early January 2011, I was 31 years old and I wanted to make up for lost time. I had already decided I was going to try and get on a Graduate Traineeship in September 2011. So I started applying straight away. By the end of March 2011 I had been offered the role of Graduate Library Trainee at Aberystwyth University. I had been rejected by several University traineeships without an interview but was delighted to have secured a place at Aberystwyth University.
It took me a while to make my decision about what I was going to do with my life and I am going to try my very best to make up for what I now perceive as lost time. I am very much looking forward to my career in Library and Information Management and have never been happier. I am sure that I have made the right decision and can’t wait to get my Library course started in September. My new job at INTO Manchester Learning Resource Centre is going really well, tomorrow I am running the Learning Centre on my own. I still have a casual contract at Burnley Library and will be working there over the summer, I owe them so much for giving me my first break and the place has happy memories for me as a result. It took me a while to get where I am and I still have a plenty of hard work a head of me but I don’t fear it and will not shy away from any challenges that I face. I am proud to be entering a sector whose members are friendly, progressive and always looking to learn and develop.