So while the rest of those doing CPD23 have finished here I am back at Thing 10. It’s October week this week so you can expect a few of these Things to be ticked off this week.
So this Thing is snappily titled ‘Graduate traineeships, Masters Degrees, Chartership, Accreditation.’ The idea being that I share my experiences of Librarianship so far.
Part I or why I became a librarian
I used to play at being a librarian as a kid, issuing books to my toys. My school work experience was at the local college library and my first job as a Saturday library assistant at my local library. I could claim that being a librarian was always a dream but I’d be lying. I became a librarian for a very simple reason – I could gain lawful employment doing it.
I wanted to be an archaeologist. Heck I trained for five years to be an archaeologist, I’ve two degrees in archaeology, I married an archaeologist and for one year I actually tried to gain employment as one. I failed for a range of reasons but ultimately back in 2001 it became clear that me and archaeology were never going to be more than friends.
So I defaulted onto my Saturday job – library assistant. I got extra hours, worked for a year as a library assistant and decided to become a librarian. I applied to Strathclyde to do the Information and Library Studies postgrad. At the interview (where I learned lots of people wanted to do the degree which remains a surprise) I said I wanted to do it for the money and job security much to the amusement of the interviewers. Compared to what I was going for in archaeology or could make as a library assistant, Librarianship with it’s £25,000 a year and relative job security really was a vast improvement.
After graduation I got a job as a Learning Assistant, at the same local college I had done my school work experience at for a year. I was lucky enough to get the support of the librarian to work on my Chartership for CILIP. While I didn’t pass that first submission (they wanted more proof of me working as a manager something I couldn’t show in that role) within a year I’d be a librarian, complete with chartership.
Part II or how I got to where I am
A lot of job interviews had led me to the college post so as I came to end of my time there I started applying again and after a few rejections I got a job offer. It was a school librarian post. It was an unusual interview compared to all the others I’d attended. I was asked more about my youth work than my library skills (I guess I can thank Girlguiding for the job offer).
School Librarianship was not what I had wanted to do initially. I thought I’d work in the public libraries – inspire local communities, change the world. After all school librarianship has a limited career ladder. By limited I mean I am already at the peak of my career in terms of job level and pay grade after a mere 6 years in post. Plus my folks are teachers and I didn’t choose to become a teacher because I didn’t want their job. Still they were willing to pay me and I needed a job so I could pay rent and eat food.
Part III or where I see myself in the future
It turned out I was actually good at being a school librarian and it’s a job I love, so where can I go next? Another school? Right now I’m doing well to be in an authority and a school who believe in the importance of a school librarian. The reality is if I leave I am unlikely to get a full term post. Most are being made term time only if not being cut entirely. This isn’t the post to discuss this but it does limit my future options.
I can’t go up the ladder without leaving school libraries and the freedom that offers. Not that there is much of a ladder left to climb in public libraries. So I guess that my vision for the future is the same as it is now. Maybe I’ll be more involved with CILIP or SLA or similar but right now I can’t see me staying in libraries and it not being in a school.