I abandoned this blog last February, leaving the draft of a very bitter post about my then experience of trying to find a job after finishing my librarianship MA. I was working an evening job that did not bring in enough money to pay the bills so I was dependent on my partner’s and my parents’ financial support to stay afloat and I was doing voluntary work in the library sector I am most interested in, Special Collections, but it had no likelihood of turning into a paid position. I was very very bitter and angry about what I perceived as attacks on the profession and on the nature of public sector work and very disillusioned and anxious about my future.
I have been really really lucky since then. At Easter last year I got a three month temporary contract as a Reading List Assistant working on uploading reading lists on to Talis Aspire for a north London University. The job also involved a lot of acquisitions work to improve the library collection. As interviewers had identified acquisition and collection development as an area of weakness in my skill set, I was very grateful to take a job that meant more money, less dependence and a chance to round out my skill set. Since then, my employer twice extended my contract and my direct line manager, one of the best managers I have ever encountered, encouraged me to apply for a three month secondment as a subject librarian. My confidence, after over a year of rejections from qualified job, was still pretty low. But my manager was extremely supportive and gave me a much needed boost of confidence. In September last year, I got the three month cover position as a business liaison librarian and was thrown in the deep end of teaching intensive course of information literacy, inductions and one-to-one appointments. It was a shattering and exhilarating three months (So shattering I actually came down with flu at the end of term and was sick for three and half weeks). I learned a huge amount, including how much I enjoy teaching and interacting with students, even some of the more turbulent and tricky students that study at my university. I also did a lot of work with pre-sessional students who are here to improve their English before undertaking academic study. This also stretched and challenged me in new ways. In fact, I do think that insufficient consideration has been given to the student experience that overseas students get at British Universities but also the experience they give staff. Helping students when they are struggling with English and suffering culture shock is a challenge indeed.
I was made a permanent appointment to my post in december. In fact, I was interviewed while still suffering from flu – I do not recommend this as an interview technique – and I am finally able to return to this blog, less angry and bitter. I always wanted to use it to blog about my thoughts and feelings about libraries and libraries and about my career and professional development but for a long time I was too anxious and bitter to post anything that wasn’t extremely negative and then for the last 6 months I was too busy and overwhelmed by my new role and hugely expanded responsibilities to blog. But now I hope to start again. I am considering undertaking chartership and a teaching qualification and I want to try and share my thoughts about both. I also no longer feel too angry to blog about the issues and challenges facing libraries, though there is still a lot to be angry about as libraries are devalued and face cuts. There is also a lot to be excited about both professionally and personally so hopefully take two of this blog will run more smoothly than take one. Happy Easter.