Wednesday, 3 August 2011

23 Things for Professional Development: Thing #10

Like so many other librarians, I didn't really intend to end up being a librarian. I guess I should have seen it coming, as my very first job was as a Saturday Assistant at a small public library in Exeter. I really enjoyed the two years I spent there, but decided to go to university because I needed a degree (I studied Media anc Cultural Studies and English) in order to get a job in publishing. I don't know that I ever truly knew what a job in publishing would entail - I think it was more a case of having to make some sort of choice about my future because careers advisors told me I should.

Either way, I had a number of jobs doing a myriad of different things (post woman, office worker, shop assistant...), but I always seemed to end up back in a library. Whilst I was at university I worked as a shelver in my uni library, and then in 2004 I started working as a Library Assistant at a university library in London. It was a small campus, so although I never followed the traditional grauate trainee route, I did gain a wide variety of experiences while I was there.

Being a Library Assistant was meant to be something of a stop gap whilst I broke into publishing (yes, I was still hopeful at this point). But I enjoyed the job so much I started to wonder why I was planning on doing something totally different. I stayed there for 3 years in the end, and only moved away in order to complete an MSc in Library and Information Studies at RGU. This was where my career started to take the slightly more traditional route, as I'd finally realised I was happiest working in a library!

I did my MSc full time at RGU (and, yes, moved to Aberdeen to do it). I can't recommmend the course highly enough - I really feel as if it prepared me for working in libraries. At the time it felt like a lot of reflective writing, but now I'm very, very glad there was such a focus on it! And, although less of an issue for me as I'd spent three years working in a library, you get the chance to do a 4-week placement. Mine was in a college library so I got to see how that operated differently to a university library, but if you don't have any practical work experience it's a great place to start.

Great as RGU was, Aberdeen was a long way from home for me. So after the course finished I moved back down to Bristol, much closer to all my friends and family. I spent a year working part time as an Information Co-ordinator, but didn't find the work especially challenging. Working part time was a result of having to fight hard to find a job at all, so I was keen to find something full time and a little more taxing.

Which brings me to my job as a Repository Manager at the university library I now work in. Another benefit of changing jobs was that I was encouraged to start Chartering - something I had been keen to do ever since I moved down to Bristol. That all happened a year and a half ago, and I've just submitted my Chartership portfolio. I'm not sure what will happen next; hopefully I'll Charter, but for the moment I'm happy in my current role - there's loads more to learn and I certainly feel challenged most days!


  1. Hi Anna, I wish you luck in your chartership. I am just starting mine.

  2. Thanks Josephine - good luck with yours too! I hope it goes well!