Sunday, 16 October 2011

Thing 20: Root down

For Thing 20 we are directed to the Library Routes project, in which information professionals document and share their stories of how they came to work in the library and information sphere and the routes they have taken through the profession. I have created an account and have added a link to the post I wrote for Thing 10, about my career in libraries thus far and my plans for the immediate future.

Other people's stories make interesting reading. For some reason, I find it particularly cheering to read about people who had relatives who were librarians and then subsequently went into the profession themselves - it makes me think that there might almost be a "librarian gene" that gets passed on through the generations, although I'm sure the same phenomenon occurs in other professions too.

I don't think my route into and through libraries has been especially unusual; it goes: bookish and library-using as a child, undergraduate degree in a humanities subject followed by a postgraduate qualification in library and information studies, and since then various roles - both part and full-time, temporary and permanent - in several different libraries. The only way in which I diverge significantly from the "traditional" route into librarianship is that I didn't undertake a year-long graduate traineeship before doing my masters qualification. I did apply for several traineeships and even got as far as being offered one, but eventually decided to turn it down - mainly for financial reasons - and go straight to my masters course instead. I do sometimes wonder if I missed out by not doing the traineeship: it obviously can be a valuable source of learning opportunities, practical work experiences, and contacts, and serves as a way to help you "bed into" the profession. Perhaps completing such a traineeship might have got me on to the track towards a professional post a bit sooner. Too late to do anything about it now, but it is interesting, if ultimately fruitless, to consider the paths not taken.

Thing 20 also briefly mentions the Library Day in the Life project, which is a twice-yearly event during which librarians across the world document their daily working lives. I took part in Round 7 of this, which took place in July 2011, and throughout the week I tweeted about what I was doing at work. This was a fascinating activity. In the first place, it made me more active on Twitter, as I was using it to tweet about things that I would not normally think worth mentioning. It is also quite a challenge to describe your daily tasks in such a way that they are pithy enough to be contained within Twitter's 140-character limit while also being comprehensible to people both within and outside of the library profession. Once the week was over, I also wrote about my working week in a very long, boring blog post, which you can read here. I will definitely take part in the next round of the project but I will try to do something a bit more creative - maybe a photo journal - next time.

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