Posts Tagged librarianship

23 Things – 20/23 Library Roots and Library Routes

This Thing is about Library careers and the story behind how we find ourselves in them.  And there quite often is a story!  As Laura Woods said in the Thing 20 Blog post very few people seem to grow up wanting to be a librarian, simply because they don’t really know that it’s an option.

I was one of those people.  The first time I remember someone talking about Librarianship as a career was when I was an Undergraduate and another student told me they were planning to go into the profession after their course.  To be honest I thought it sounded like a bit of a dull move – much like everyone else who knows very little about the profession, I misjudged it and had no idea about the opportunities available.  At the time I was pretty much decided on a career in teaching anyway and it wasn’t until four years into life as a primary school teacher that I realised I was on the wrong career path and needed to try something else.

I decided to look at careers that took me back to my roots in classical history, so I considered things like museum curator, archaeologist and even academic , I tried out Counselling too by attending a short introductory course – but none of them felt right either.  In the end I turned to the Prospectus careers advice page, filled in their career questionnaire and up popped librarianship!  I did a lot of research into the career, looking at CILIP pages, the National Careers Service job profiles and Graduate Trainee blogs and eventually did some volunteering at my local university library.  It was only really after volunteering for four months that I felt sure this was the right career for me as I finally got to see what librarianship was really all about!

The next step was trying to figure out how to actually get into Librarianship.  While I applied for jobs as a library assistant, I had no library experience to speak of so was unable to really access the career through that path.  Thankfully, Graduate Traineeships exist exactly for this reason!  The fact that so many people come to librarianship as a second or later career means that there are these avenues available to help get people the experience they need to access the workplace.  I was lucky enough to be accepted as the Graduate Trainee at St Hugh’s College in Oxford, which provided me with the opportunity to develop key skills and gain invaluable experience working in a busy academic library, while also partaking in the Bodleian Library Trainee Scheme, which gave me a greater insight to the scope of library work.

Currently, I am a library assistant at St Hugh’s and also a part-time student, working toward an MSc in Information and Library Management at UWE.

My route into libraries has been anything but direct but it does seem to be quite a well-used road and hopefully, having other experiences behind me can only ultimately increase what I have to offer to the profession.

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Welcome Aboard!

As I embark on the road to library school and librarianship I thought it would be fun and useful to begin a reflective blog to record the journey and any interesting discoveries along the way!

With Library Day In The Life Project  – round 8  just around the corner, I’ll be starting my blog by sharing a little about my experience in the library as a Graduate Trainee.

Before that – a little about how I actually became a Library Trainee:

In a past life I worked as a primary school teacher but after four years, I decided the teaching profession wasn’t right for me and began thinking about diversifying into another area.  Librarianship appealed as a match to my interests and skills so I decided to gain some experience as a volunteer and see if it worked as well in practice as in theory.  I volunteered at the University of Sunderland library for four months and had a fantastic introduction to library life – meeting with different departments, shadowing various library roles and taking part in a marketing project to promote library e-books!  I learned a lot in a short time and happily confirmed my interest in the profession.

After a little research I decided on the traineeship route into Librarianship as I believe it provides a solid grounding in core library activities, professional support and training and a great way to meet and learn from others in the profession.

CILIP website is a great place to learn more about librarianship and Graduate Traineeships in the UK.  I also follow them on Twitter and it was through there that I saw my current post advertised!

I also found the blog post:  ‘You Want to Work in Libraries?’  by thewikiman very useful!

Although I have only been a trainee for three weeks, I’m thoroughly enjoying it and  hope I’ll be able to give an interesting and useful insight into the role and expectations of trainees in the early stage of a traineeship, for those who may be considering applying in the future!

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