Monday, 17 October 2011

Thing 23: Reflection - What Next?

6 word story - A rollercoaster ride to professional development.

For the most part I kept up, I didn't want to fall behind for fear of being overwhelmed when trying to catch up. Over the summer this worked well, then September came and the new term, not a good time to try to get anything done other than the immediate and pressing inductions and then have a lazy evening trying to recover ready for the next day. I have struggled to keep up since September and I've finally now got to the finishing line. Yay!

So what next? Well my Chartership PDP is still current, therefore that has the priority on any other development plans right now. I would like to look into management skills and identify what I'm good at and what needs to be improved. This will link into where I'm going next in my career. At the moment, in this economic climate, I am glad I have a job. I don't want to stay in this job forever and will be looking to upskill and / or diversify, ready for my next challenge.

I'm glad I particpated in 23 Things, it has given me lots to think about.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thing 22. Volunteering to get experience

OK - I haven't volunteered to get experience but I have given up a paid post to free up my time to do potential extra work.

I was working as library assistant part time and secured a part time professional post. I could've worked both jobs in permanent capacity but I wanted to be able to say yes to any overtime at the professional post. I had been promised any overtime as there were 3 professional people (including me) and our combined contract hours didn't meet the hours we needed. The other librarians, thankfully for me, had young families and didn't want to do anymore than their contracted hours on a regular basis. I was very lucky, my contract hours were 20 hours, I rarely did less than 25 hours and I was able to continue to work as a library assistant for a maximum of 12 hours a week. My employers were in the same town and only about 20 minutes drive apart.

When I secured my first full time post I technically took a pay cut as I was moving from public to FE libraries. In fact given that the new post was 10 minutes from home rather than a 45 minutes drive like my other posts, I probably came out with about the same wage. Even if I didn't though, it was worth it, as this is when my career really started to move.

I can see both sides of the volunteer argument but I would volunteer to get experience.

Thing 21: Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

For this we are asked to think about our likes, dislikes and achievements.


  • Cataloguing and classification
  • Stock management - I like doing the relegation and removing the old unused stuff, sprucing up old books that are well used and ordering new books.
  • I like things well ordered and organised
  • Technology - I love being able to incorporate technology into my work and the service, sometimes I find that my staff and the students are resistant, I however want to get on and will continue to embrace new technology
  • A tidy desk - amazingly it often is. This morning I was irritated as the desk had been cleaned and stuff was out of position (I know i'm bordering on OCD here)
  • Doing displays - sadly i'm not the most creative of people and I do like things symmetrical (the OCD is kicking in again)
  • Going to Conferences and external training sessions. I like the opportunity to network and see what other people are doing. I should warn you though (and I have mentioned this before), i'm an introvert, so I do need my own space and time to recover from networking.


  • Doing inductions and information literacy sessions - basically teaching of any kind to a group. One to one is fine, i'm comfortable with that.
  • Being interrupted - not much can be done about that as I share an office and I don't think anyone would take any notice of a sign saying do not disturb or currently unavailable etc. I've learned to live with it and appreciate more any time I get uninterrupted.
  • Conflict - I don't mind people disagreeing with me but please do it in a civilised manner, listen to my point of view and don't shout or spit your dummy out
  • Lateness especially when I'm on a tight schedule.


Over the last 3 years there has been:
  • The move - helping move 4 buildings into 1, as well as the physical move itself I was involved with planning how it was to be achieved
  • Rearranging the LRC, having moved in, we lost a floor the following summer and had to rearrange and fit into 3 floors. This was an immense opportunity to address all the parts that didn't work at the same time and make the LRC a better space for both staff and students.
  • Changing the LMS to Heritage. Changing the LMS is a daunting task, it was important that we moved to a system that was fit for purpose though.

I think that these 3 achievements have all been initally overwhelming because of the timescale involved and the amount of work needed for it to be successful. The pessimist in me told me I couldn't do it, well it was wrong - I could and have done these things successfully.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Thing 20: the Library Routes Project

I like many seem to have happened upon librarianship. I started with a temporary library asssistant post straight from University. This experience led me to more library assistants posts and after working in libraries for a few years I decided that I wanted to know more about the professional side of librarianship. I enrolled on a MA Information and Library Management course at the University of Northumbria and discovered that organising information was one of the most exciting things you can do.

After graduating I got a casual post as an Assistant Librarian with Durham County Council working in their prison libraries. A few months after this I got a permanent part time post in the same area. I have always been interested in computers and technologies and this was something that was becoming more and more important in libraries. However with the restrictions in the prisons, I was stating to think I was falling behind a little bit. It was at this time that I really discovered my passion for stock maintenance too.

My first full time librarian post was at Hartlepool College of Further Education and this is where I got the opportunity to start playing with new technologies. I had an absolutely fantastic manager, Jane, who was very encouraging and supportive of me. The support I got here has helped immensely in where I am now.

In 2006 after a year of hell due to changes at Hartlepool, I moved to Middlesbrough College as the Deputy LRC Manager with an emphasis on supporting and moving the technology forward and to help prepare for the move to our purpose built site. In 2008, we moved, the LRC was restructured and I successfully applied for my current post of Library Services Manager. Since then, my manager has been Claire who has an e-learning background and again I have expanded my knowldge and use of new technologies.

I enjoy the range of work I do, I love doing cataloguing and classification - a very traditional aspect to my job and I also get to experiment with technology which never ceases to amaze me. The buzz surrounding the LRC and the continual changes that have to be dealt with are both challenging and invigorating.

Making better use of e-resources

At the beginning of the year, or possibly late last year, an e-mail came through from Credo Reference informing me that some e-books had bee...