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Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.

CPD23 Thing 20: Library Careers

September 29th, 2011

Summer flower

Okay, I need to come up with some more photos. And some more puns. Have a pretty flower photo.

This blog is part of 23 Things for Professional Development, a course encouraging information professionals to explore online tools.

Thing 20 covers library careers, specifically the library routes project, a wiki detailing the origin stories of those working in libraries in all sectors. I’ve already blogged about my library roots / routes in the past, so I’ll focus more on my conclusions, having read the my way round the wiki a little.

What leapt out most at me, from the stories I read, is that I’m not at all unusual in having been around the houses a little, career-wise. When I took my Librarianship course there was a wide range of ages and levels of experience on the course, but I very aware that I’d done a similar Masters course 5 years previously at the same age as many of my fellow students!

Taken from others on the wiki with previous stories, I think there are some shared points to tease out, gleaned from us ‘late’ entrants to librarianship.

  1. Try it to see if you like it. I’ve not really read any entry which claims extensive foreknowledge of libraries before working in them. The best way to find out if you’d like a job in libraries is to try one. (I guess this applies to most careers.)
  2. Librarianship is a great career to get into late. Having done something else before working in libraries is incredibly useful. It’s verging on a truism to say that libraries change all the time, and new, or unusual, skills and ideas are seen as a boon in the field.
  3. There’s no need to hurry. This is almost a combination of the two above points, but I think it deserves its own! Trying out an entry level job in libraries, or going and doing something else, doesn’t really slow down your career. It can do quite the opposite, and in a sense, it IS your career! In an eclectic field, there’s no need to hurry to the next ‘logical’ stage, be it a degree, a job or Chartership.

I think these points would have been useful for me to know earlier in my career (and that last one is also an interesting way to think about some of the challenges I’ll face in the future). I don’t think knowing them would changed my trajectory, but it might well have changed the way I thought about it! I’ve always been concerned my career looks quite purposeless, but all along I’ve been gathering all the skills I need to do a job that fits my preferences. Librarianship really is a career where learning-for-fun is almost guaranteed to be career-relevant!

2 Responses to “CPD23 Thing 20: Library Careers”

  1. Laura Steel (@PalelyLaura) says:

    That’s some really good advice. I agree it’s good to have different skills to bring to librarianship – personally I’m glad I tried a few different things before I knew what I wanted to do!

  2. Katie says:

    Thanks Laura. I know a lot of the skills I have that interest others are the ones I gained outside librarianship. I hope people will be impressed by some of the ones I gained inside too (I’m still excited I can use Cutter tables!)

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