Library Routes – How I became a librarian

October 5, 2009

This post is my contribution to the Library Routes wiki, whose purpose is to gather together the stories of current librarians: how they entered the profession and what paths they’ve taken since.

My library roots stretch back deep into my family tree: my maternal grandmother and my mother are also librarians!  However I did not begin my professional life as a librarian: after my B.Sc. (Hons) in Physiological Sciences at Newcastle, I braved the physical and psychological divide and crossed the road to do a PGCE at Northumbria.

And so it was that I became a science teacher and I then spent five loooong years telling kids in four different schools to straighten their ties and marking a LOT of coursework.

Finally I had had enough and began considering my career alternatives.  At this point my genes exerted their influence and I returned to Northumbria University in 2005-06 to do the 1-year, full-time MA in Information and Library Management.  During this year I also worked 20 hours per week in the university library doing the evening shift on the issue desk.

My first post-qualification job was Assistant Librarian at St Clare’s, Oxford.  This was a great starting point for me, as I gained a lot of experience of enquiries, cataloguing and classification and took my first steps into user education.  I teamed up with some of the science teachers and we planned a course of lessons which combined elements of the science curriculum with developing information literacy skills.

In 2007 I moved into a very different type of information work when I became the Electronic Resources Senior Assistant at Oxford University Library Services (OULS).  I very much enjoyed doing more work with computers.  Over the summer of 2008, our small team implemented a new databases portal, OxLIP+, which was a great tool for our users.

Earlier this year I changed jobs again, and took up my current post, Deputy Manager of Staff Development, still within OULS.  This is a very different job, and covers many aspects: co-ordinating the Graduate Trainee programme, running the Staff Library, overseeing Staff Development and Training and managing a team.

If you’re starting out in the library & information world, or thinking about changing jobs, I would recommend that you give anything a go and make sure you get as much experience as you can – paid or not!


How I learned to stop worrying and love the internet

September 29, 2009

I really enjoyed reading this article by Douglas Adams – even more so knowing it was written 10 years ago!

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

I’m relieved to be over 30 and still excited by new iPhone apps.

100 ways to use Twitter in your library

September 29, 2009

This post from Mobile Libraries is a great launch pad for getting started with Twitter in your library.

The very first step in learning is simply exposure

September 29, 2009

The title of this post comes from a recent post by Helene Blowers.

Helene is the architect of the original 23 Things program, which first ran in 2006.  I am currently exploring how we might run our own version of 23 Things here at Oxford.   Helene writes about learning through self-discovery, and how children are encouraged to do this, but seldom are adults.

As I continue to develop my ideas about an Oxford 23 Things scheme, I am keeping self-discovery at the heart of the project.

Read her complete post here, and a post by Richard Wiseman about the importance of curiosity here.

What is cataloguing?

September 22, 2009
The new cohort of Graduate Trainees have just started their year in Oxford, and I thought of them when I saw this slideshow about cataloguing.
A great introduction for them – and a useful refresher for the rest of us!

You can find out more about the trainees on the Oxford Trainees Blog.

My online persona

September 9, 2009

The result of a web scrape for my name:

My persona

I can’t take any credit for the sports results – these belong to an Olympic diver with the same name as me!

Discover yours at the MIT Personas site

Twitter guide

September 9, 2009

Lowrider Librarian has written this excellent guide to Twitter for organisations.  It includes sections on the following:

  • Why use Twitter at all?
  • Twitter Cheat Sheet
  • Some Considerations on Following Individuals and Organizations
  • Follow Friday
  • Trending topics
  • Searching
  • Links for Further investigation

I’d also like to mention What The Hashtag? which I use for finding out what different hashtags mean.

I need my teachers to learn

September 8, 2009

As learners change, so do teaching methods – this goes for adults as well as kids!

12 words you can never say in the office…

September 8, 2009

… unless you want to sound like a n00b!

1. Intranet
2. Extranet
3. Web surfing
4. Push Technology
5. Application Service Provider (ASP)
6. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
7. Internet Telephony
8. Weblog
9. Thin client
10. RBOC
11. Long Distance Call
12. World Wide Web

Read the article in full!

Use of mobile phones in libraries

September 8, 2009

Message to library users with mobile phones