Posts Tagged ‘Librarians’

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!

Who is responsible for my CPD?

June 14, 2009

Thanks to Em (Digitalist) for her post about who is responsible for my CPD? [continuing professional development].

Here’s an extract:

It would be easy to say that the responsibility lies with staff development and leave it at that but I think it’s more complicated than this. For me there are at least two elements to continuing professional development.

The first is firmly in my own hands: it’s about engaging with the wider community, sharing and learning from each other’s experience. I do this by reading library blogs, following librarians on Twitter and keeping up to date with what seems to be an endless stream of literature on developments in education and the future of libraries.

The second relies much more on the efforts of the staff development team at my institution. They have a role to play in making my CPD possible by organising training in-house and providing funding for me to attend external events.

So ultimately I think the responsibility to engage and participate is my own and that my employer simply has a responsibility to act as a facilitator.

Read the whole post at Digitalist!

Eternal September

May 29, 2009

First day at school 1984

… or in the case of Oxford University, Eternal October!

I found out about this idea from Bobbi Newman’s recent post.  She describes Eternal September as “the idea that every fall new freshmen show up and you need to teach them the ropes, rules, guidelines, etiquette all over again”.  I would like to expand this idea to the context of staff development: we need to provide for new staff throughout the year, as people join and change roles in an organisation.

I think OULS already do a good job on this!  I am starting to think about what we can do for those who are ready to be stretched further.

The photo is of me on my first day at school, aged 6. The excitement is obvious!  I’m going to keep that flame burning well beyond library school, which brings me to another interesting post, this time from Michael Stephens.  He has just finished teaching a module called Library 2.0 and Social Networking Technologies (fantastic!) and I particularly liked his comment: never stop learningthe master’s degree is just that, not an end point for librarians’ learning.