So I sit here a library manager, basically re-designed the service, hopefully liked and respected by my peers, good at my job, 2/3 way through my masters and in the process of chartering. But how did I get here? What made me choose librarian? Let’s start from the beginning…
I started working in Libraries in January 2004. Three weeks prior to that I had been interviewed for the position of library assistant (Friday 12th December) which had been mid-way through the worst 10 days of my life. Without going into too much detail I worked 150 hours (I can do the maths and have witnesses!!) in 9 and a bit days and ended the 10th day having my appendix removed. The reason I started work in libraries was because I had to find something better. I had no experience of working in a library or even an office, the only thing I had was my degree which was health related. It had never been a career I had considered or something I was really aware. I used libraries a lot in my youth and whilst studying, but it never crossed my mind.
It was originally intended to be a placeholder position, and most probably a stepping-stone into something else within the NHS. But I grew to love it. Within my 1st year at the library they agreed to fund me a place at Manchester Met to do the library masters (more on that later) but I felt, probably correctly that it was too soon. Those four years in brief – I initially learned the library basics to compliment my health knowledge, got to know a lot of people and develop a lot of skills and in four years took on more roles and responsibilities until finding the glass ceiling. On reflection those four years were not always pleasant but enjoyable on the whole and I learnt a lot. I could also write another 10,000 words on them at least!
I decided that in order develop my library career I needed to move on. I started to look for work elsewhere, mainly in North West NHS, but sometimes further afield. However, my increased responsibility had meant that 1) the then library manager had been able to develop their NHS career further, library not being their first love and 2) in many aspects I had become THE library. So as part of a departmental reshuffle, I was assigned a new position that added more managerial responsibility to the position, and really moved me from ‘library assistant’ (despite doing some high-level work) to the realm of ‘librarian’ or library manager.
It has been since then that I have truly found my way and consider myself a librarian. I have done many things, of which I shall not speak here, but am more than happy to share! I am 2 years through the 3 year part time masters, and despite the underwhelming nature of the course as a whole, it has it uses. I am in no doubt that if I had started in 2005, I would have found it very useful, and probably been taught mostly the same things. I am in the process of chartering, and you can view my reasons why here . My immediate professional goals moving forward are completing both of these, whilst ensuring there is still a library service.
So in conclusion – the reason I became a librarian was because I needed a job (& heaven knows I not-miserable now!)