Thing 20: The Library Routes Project
I came to libraries as a new graduate in early 2002. I left university and realised I had given no thought to anything beyond having a couple of months off after graduation. I loved everything to do with books so started looking at jobs in publishing. I can’t remember exactly how I ended up apply for a job in a local public library, but I am glad I did!
I started working as a Library Assistant for Kent County Council at Tonbridge Library. I gained a lot of experience and understanding of the profession from the 15 months I spent in this job. I was able to attend a wide variety of training courses from the ECDL to health and safety. The course that sticks in my mind was visiting the central department dealing with the behind the scenes work. I found out about a whole world of library jobs I never knew existed.
At this time I considered studying for a masters and making a career from the profession, but it wasn’t to be. I met my future husband on a weekend away visiting friends and before I knew it we were living together and I had moved to the Midlands. I got a job at the main Nottingham University library, it was a strange job and I never really enjoyed working there. Luckily we moved to Coventry so I could leave without feeling like I was giving up.
I had a few months without a job during which time I applied for all the Library Assistant jobs I could find. I also again considered starting a masters. At the end of 2003 I was offered a Library Assistant job at the University of Central England (now Birmingham City University). I started working in the Inter Library Loans Office. I am still doing more or less the same job, but the tasks are more varied and the nature of the work has changed a lot since I started working here.
In 2006 I finally started a masters in Information and Library Management. I studied via distance learning with Northumbria University and gained my MSc in 2008. Unfortunately I have not been able to take the next step and get a professional job. I have got as far as the interview stage for a number of Librarian positions, but not managed to be successful. In one case I was offered the job, but after attending the interview and finding out more about the role and location I realised there was no way I could cope with the demands of the job and would hate it, so I turned it down.
Most of the time I really enjoy being a Library Assistant and other times I wish I could be making more use of my qualifications.
This picture is of a Chevrolet truck, well part of it!