Hi, my name is Jo and I'm a newly qualified librarian working in several academic libraries in Cambridge.

I originally created this blog as an electronic learning journal whilst participating in an extended shadowing programme prior to starting the MA in Information Services Management at London Metropolitan University.

The views expressed here are entirely my own.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

And so it begins...

After years of working in admin, a year working as a library assistant and years of deliberation I have decided to finally take the plunge and apply for a Masters in Library and Information Studies.

It's something I've been considering for about five years and now I have done my homework, saved up the money and have the requisite one year's work experience I've run out of reasons why I shouldn't apply.

It's a scary proposition being the wrong side of thirty, not having studied for over ten years and using up a lifetime of savings. However, with the prospect of at least another 30 years of work ahead of me I feel I owe it to myself to rationalise my fears and go for the career that I think I will find satisfying and rewarding.

So why do I want to become a librarian? Now that I am on the brink of making a university application, that is the big question.

It was always one of the options that came back in response to those career questionnaires that you do at school. I suspect this was because I have always loved books and reading. I immediately discounted the idea because, like most people, I thought being a librarian required wearing a tweed suit, specs on a chain and hair in a tight bun and that it involved a lot of shushing people and stamping books. Then a few years ago I realised I wasn't entirely happy with my career in admin and I started to reflect on what I'm good at, what I'm not so good at and what gives me satisfaction.

At that point I had worked mostly providing training administration and secretarial support in personnel and education departments within local government and higher education. I came to the conclusion that my major strengths were organisation, IT skills, networking and customer care. I also realised that what motivated me and gave me the most satisfaction was supporting people by endeavouring to anticipate and meet their needs. Working in a training and education environment, I also found the sense of being instrumental in facilitating other's learning (albeit in an indirect way) extremely appealing and gratifying.

It was this self-reflection that led me to reconsider librarianship as a possible career. After some research and some time spent with real librarians from different sections of the profession, I began to see beyond the sterotypes of twinsets and pearls and shelves of dusty books. I've come to see that this is a very modern, fast-moving and diverse profession which could offer me what I am looking for in a career.

I have therefore set up this blog to organise my thoughts and to record relevant work experience, training, reading and visits which will hopefully form the basis of my university application and maybe one day my chartership portfolio.

So here goes...

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