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Thursday, 4 August 2011

“You’re all individuals! ... You’re all different!”

“I’m not!” 

Well its true, I’m not.  For CDP23 Thing 10 we are meant to think about routes into librarianship, CILIP Chartership, and the rest. Sadly, in my case, this is not going to make interesting reading because I followed the route well traveled.  I came to librarianship after completing an English Lit degree and not knowing what to do with my life.  I worked for the civil service, which I hated mainly because there was not enough work for me to do. The only good thing about it was that I had enough time during my working day to plan my trip around the world.  Apparently there is not any dead wood in the public sector... humm (hold on! I do not include state employed librarians in my rotting forest analogy; they all work their socks off). I went on the aforementioned trip, then got a job at a local council in the benefit fraud department (which I liked and most people worked pretty hard) but I didn't feel very satisfied.  I sat down and had a long hard think about what I REALLY wanted to do every day for the rest of my working life and decided I wanted to work with old things and be a bit creative. So I looked into a career in museum curating.

Now, I don’t think I’m alone in this situation: I cannot afford to work for free. I also absolutely cannot afford to work for free until someone either takes a shine to me or pops their clogs, especially as the latter would probably come first.  Is it only wealthy people who manage to get into museum work? After a bit of research I discovered that I could get into rare books with a masters degree in librarianship. My first love was (is) literature, my newest passion was old things, does anyone else see where this is going? I got some weekend work experience in an academic library and then went to library school in Aberdeen.  I chose the RGU Library and Information Studies course as it is CILIP accredited by the virtue that it offers a month’s work placement and I completed mine working with the paper archive at the National Library of Scotland (which I LOVED, despite its civil service culture).  In just over a year I re-emerged from the swirling Scottish mists clutching my MSc and walked straight into my current job.  I had seen the job advertised via an email that was circulated around all the library schools and advertised in the CILIP Gazette and just got very lucky!

Now I am working towards my CILIP Chartership and hope to submit this autumn.  I had always intended to get chartered but ‘umm’-ed and ‘ahh’-ed a bit after I landed a gig in rare books straight out of library school, as until recently the rare books world did not seem to require it in job applicants.  I am beginning to see more and more posts advertised now that do want a chartered someone, so aside from the obvious returns of professional development, I have even more motivation to complete my portfolio - 2011 will be my year! Oh and if you are looking for Things 8 and 9, you won’t find them yet. Non-work internet access has been scant due to the prolonged house move so I have not had time to play!


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