Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Former Librarian #25

We have finally made it to 25 Former Librarians, just in time for the end of the year!  If you were planning to help us out - there is still time, please contact us now!  Tara is in the process of making a career as a Freelance Researcher having been a subject librarian for some years.

Name: Tara

Current role: Freelance Researcher

Former role: Researcher/Subject Librarian

What led you to move on from libraries? I’d been working in academic libraries for some time in subject librarian roles and whilst I enjoyed the teaching and collection management side of the roles I was aware of a tension between what I felt students needed to equip them in HE study and the emphasis university senior leadership was putting on the “student experience” in the light of fees. I really felt that the subject librarian’s role was being devalued because core/traditional skills were not view as important by the student body. I felt, and do feel that many students know what they want but not what they need, and university leadership feels compelled to pander to these ’wants’ because of the high financial commitments students are bound to. After academia, I briefly worked in a corporate information and research service as a researcher but found the environment very risk-averse and my workload very uneven. It was also becoming apparent to me that I no longer wanted to work full-time in Central London for large organisations as it was having a detrimental effect on my health. I have always enjoyed the desk research aspects of my roles so I decided to see if there was a way I could combine my expertise in that area, with my wish to work in a less pressurised environment.

What do you do in your current role? I provide a bespoke internet research service for individuals and businesses. I’m still finding my feet and working out the best way to take the business forward, but I’ve has some interesting projects so far. My first project (which came about through Twitter!) was with David Quantick, the screenwriter and journalist, who needed some research on a specific industry and its processes to inform the novel he is working on. For this I needed to do extensive internet research as well as contacting and interviewing industry experts. I’ve undertaken legal research looking at drone regulations across the world, as well trying to identify a foreign language film that was broadcast on ITV Yorkshire in 1997 - it’s amazing what people will pay you to do! The freelancing website People Per Hour has been useful on occasion, although the quality of jobs really varies – lots of students wanting essays written! 

What library skills do you use in your current role? Search skills are paramount to what I do, as is being able to critically evaluate sources for credibility. Maintaining professional awareness is also key, as a freelancer it’s easy to lose touch as you don’t have colleagues to bounce ideas off and learn from, so it’s really important to keep up to speed with technical and professional news. In many ways working in libraries gives you a really good skill set for working for yourself; as librarians, we have to market our services, negotiate with suppliers, manage budgets, provide and obtain value for money, all of which you must do as a freelancer.

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? As I’ve only been doing this for a few months, I’m still figuring out where I need to develop skills, but getting better as self-promoting is definitely one of them! I also need to learn more about SEO and other online marketing tools. There are also technical skills in data science and statistics I’d like to develop so I can increase my offering to include data mining and analysis.

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? I don’t at the moment, although I am considering re-joining CILIP after a 10-year hiatus. I’m also looking into eligibility for the Social Research Association.

 Do you have any future plans/aspirations? I would like to build a regular client base rather than doing one-off, adhoc projects - I think this is the dream for all freelancers! My plan for 2017 is to develop relationships with professional service firms in my area (Herts/Bedfordshire).

Anything else that you’d like to tell us? Leaving the world of “proper” employment is scary and challenging – I had to move out of London to reduce my living costs in order to be able to do it – but getting great feedback from a client on something you have done completely by yourself, using your own particular skill set is hugely exciting and rewarding! @TLP_Research Facebook/TLPResearch

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Former Librarian #24

This week we welcome Carrie as the 24th Former Librarian to the blog.  I'm particularly excited about this interview as her role as a Funeral Director is not one of the more obvious routes out of librarianship!

Name: Carrie Weekes

Current role: Independent undertaker at A Natural Undertaking

Former roles: I started at Birmingham University library, moved to Further Education and ended up at Birmingham Central Reference Library as a Business Information Specialist. Before taking up my current role, I was working in the voluntary sector as a communications and information specialist, helping businesses and organisations.

What led you to move on from libraries? I worked for a local council and felt there was no opportunity for movement. I wanted to develop new services around IT and the Internet, and this proved impossible. It was impossible to get decisions made. There was a lack of imagination and they did not take advantage of the brilliant resources known as librarians. Librarianship is a creative job at heart, although no one thinks it is. I thought, “I can take these skills and put them to work in a different way”.

What do you do in your current role? I’m an undertaker, so I look after the dead and help the living arrange funerals which are personal and meaningful. I set up my own business with a friend two years ago, because the funeral business itself had become formulaic, dominated by big, inflexible companies that were often not giving people the funerals they deserved. People are more interesting than the funerals they’re allowed to buy, and we wanted to offer more choices. But underpinning it all is good quality information – giving the consumer good quality information.

What library skills do you use in your current role? If someone says, “Can I do this?” I find out for them. I find that people say, “Is this a stupid idea?” – but it’s the same thing as the old library adage that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. I go all out to find the answer, as I did as a reference librarian. I know where to find out whether something is legal, or good practice. I know where to find good quality suppliers. I know which networks and professional organisations will give me the information I need. People skills learned in libraries are also important. There’s no question anyone can ask me that I’m scared of, because I’ve worked in a public library!

Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? I had helped people to do business plans (in my last library position and in my interstitial position before I set up on my own), but you still rely there on knowing what the best quality documents are for the task. Even on the Internet, I look for their provenance and background. My business partner, Fran, had also run her own business before. In general terms, although we overlap, too, I’m a reader and researcher and she’s task-orientated. I also don’t rely just on social networks: I still have subscriptions to trade journals and academic, peer-reviewed journals, and know how to search and refer to government regulations. In our strategic planning, it’s important to read and keep up to date, giving ourselves continuous professional development. We are a member of the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, which included a rigorous application process, and we have access to their materials. We had to provide full policies and procedures for that. If my policies are up to date and I remain aware and understand the sources and what’s recommended, then I can be creative within that framework.

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? I trained with a funeral director to acquire the specific skills to do the work. I had to brush up my driving skills for negotiating tricky situations like attending the local coroner’s office, involving reversing in a straight line. I have developed my abilities in community development (these grew out of my work outside libraries, but I also did study community librarianship at Library School) and have set up Brumyodo (Brum You Only Die Once), a voluntary collective forming a loose network run by a committee which is all about helping people in Birmingham talk about death and dying. I’ve learned how to run pop-up shops, death discos, and we’ve made a film which we’re piloting into GP surgeries, all done to help people be aware of the choices they have.

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? I’m no longer a member of any library associations. I’m a member of the Society for Allied and Independent Funeral Directors and the Good Funeral Guild, as well as being a member of several networks.

Do you have any future plans/aspirations? We’re looking at moving into premises, which will require lots of good research and gathering information. I also look forward to continuing my public education work, teaming up with the Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries for some exciting new projects.

Anything else that you’d like to tell us? I’ve recently done a panel talk at the Cheltenham Literary Festival with Barbra Chalmers called It’s Your Funeral. We also recently won the Modern Funeral Director of the Year 2016 award.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Former Librarians #23

This week's Former Librarian is a Continuous Improvement Advisor who works on projects to improve processes alongside writing guidance documentation.  She feels that she uses many of the skills that she acquired as a librarian and mentions some advice given to her from another former librarian which certainly rings true with me: ‘Your library skills are valued outside of the libraries more than they are within libraries right now’

Name: Anon

Current role: Continuous Improvement Advisor

Former role: Information Officer in a specialist library. I was responsible for managing small-scale digitisation projects. I’ve had a range of roles in libraries, starting off as a library assistant in a public library, moving to academic, medical and specialist libraries.

What led you to move on from libraries: Ten years ago, the library I worked in had 30 FTE dedicated library and information staff. When I left, it was just 1FTE. The service had gradually been cut, merged, moved around and changed names so often that it were no longer recognised as a library service. All previous progression routes ceased to exist or moved outside of the library. I got to the point where I accepted that I’d gone as far as I could in my current role. I wanted to continue working for the same organisation, so started looking around for opportunities to move sideways in to a role that would still make use of my skills.

What do you do in your current role? I work in a Continuous Improvement team. We support the organisation to get better at what it does. The role is quite broad, so as well as managing projects to improve processes, I also support colleagues to plan, write and publish accessible guidance documentation.

What library skills do you use in your current role? My working knowledge of records management, knowledge management and information management have all helped. I’m currently supporting a project to create new ways of managing and sharing organisational knowledge. An understanding of metadata, taxonomies, information architecture and user experience have all proved to be valuable. I design and lead workshops to teach people how to write accessible documentation and usually manage to sneak some knowledge of metadata in there as well (No point writing a document if no one can find it afterwards). Working on Continuous Improvement projects needs an understanding of research, information gathering, data analysis, data visualisation and facilitation skills. Mostly it’s about bringing people together to share knowledge and using data to work out how to make things better.

Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? Yes, but I don’t think they are necessarily acknowledged as ‘library skills’. I spent most of the job interview talking about metadata. That technical knowledge, combined with my experience in designing and leading practical workshops were what secured the position, along with case studies of how I’d used data to adapt or improve the library service. You only need to scan through the list of knowledge, skills and experience I use in my current role to see how aligned it is with library and information work: enquiry skills, resource description, customer service, data analysis, stakeholder engagement and influencing.

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? Not so much skills as knowledge. I’ve had to learn about Quality Management, ISO 9001 and a few other related British Standards. I’ve also started the journey to become a Lean Six Sigma ‘Green Belt’ practioner.

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? Yes. I’m still a member of Cilip. I’m looking forward to getting involved in their new ‘Knowledge Management’ group - I see links between Quality Management and Knowledge Management. My organisation recognises and pays for CQI membership, and I chose to maintain Cilip membership myself. Cilip have really evolved since Nick Poole became CEO and I’m happy to continue to support them as they advocate for libraries and librarians.

Do you have any future plans/aspirations? I’d like to return to libraries at some point. I miss that sense of doing something that felt like it made a difference. There’s one thing missing from my current role that was central to every role I’ve had in libraries: ethics. Right now, returning to libraries isn’t possible. I live in an area that used to be ripe for library and information positions, but local opportunities are diminishing, especially in the public library sector where it looks like the remaining service is about to be handed over to volunteers. Moving isn’t an option, so I’m remembering advice I heard from another former librarian: ‘Your library skills are valued outside of the libraries more than they are within libraries right now’. There are plenty of jobs available in this organisation, so I’m not going to limit myself to just one role.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Former Librarian #22

Apologies again for the hiatus in posts and welcome to Former Librarian #22, Rachel Smith, this week.  Rachel took on a communications and marketing role in libraries and then moved into project management and communications for a project between Seven Stories and Newcastle University.  Do have a look at the Seven Stories website as it's great!  I'm interested to hear that Rachel is still keen to raise awareness of and encourage people to use collections.

Name: Rachel Smith

Current role:  My current job has the somewhat mysterious title of Vital North Partnership Manager. I like being thought of as ‘Vital’ though! The Vital North Partnership is a strategic partnership between Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books and Newcastle University, which is funded by Arts Council England from 2015 – 2018.

Former role: My first full time job after I graduated was as a Library Assistant in the Academic Support team at Durham University. This was a pretty traditional Library Assistant post; I supported information skills sessions, processed reading lists and did customer service work. The Communications Librarian was also based within the Academic Support team at that time, and I also supported communications and marketing work.

Next, I was promoted to the position of Communications and Marketing Officer for Durham University’s Library and Heritage Collections. In this role, I managed marketing and communications across Durham University’s four contemporary libraries, archives and special collections, Palace Green Library’s exhibition galleries, the two University museums, the Durham Castle tours and other areas of the department’s work. Phew!

What led you to move on from libraries? There were a lot of different factors that led me to leave my last post and I wouldn’t pin it on any one particular reason. But, more than anything, the Vital North Partnership Manager job was an amazing opportunity! In a lot of ways I wouldn’t say I have moved on from libraries in my current role – I’m managing a partnership which centres around children’s literature, and I work closely with colleagues in Newcastle University Library and the Collections Team at Seven Stories.

What do you do in your current role? I provide project management, development, co-ordination and communication functions to facilitate the Vital North Partnership’s work. This includes collaborative research and teaching activities, student employability initiatives, collections and exhibitions projects, public events and engagement – if it’s a joint project, I have a hand in it somewhere!

What library skills do you use in your current role? Thinking about the work I did in libraries and the work I’m doing now, I think most of the skills I’m still using are transferable ones (rather than library-specific): planning and project management, budgeting, strategy, communications, IT, leadership. I’m still very interested in raising awareness of and encouraging people to use collections in my current job.

Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? Yes. I think having an understanding of libraries and collections helps me to work effectively with key stakeholders in both Newcastle University and Seven Stories. Perhaps more important though in terms of getting this post was my experience within both the Higher Education sector and in museums. I think that the work I did in my last job with university colleagues outside my department and external partners was also a significant factor.

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? I’ve only been working in my new role since January, so the last few months have been a huge learning curve! I feel that I’m particularly gaining experience of student employability, teaching and learning and research support within a higher education context. I’m also gaining experience of working for an independent museum, and arts fundraising.

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? I’m a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (ACIM). Even though I’m not working directly in either libraries or marketing at the moment, I’m planning to maintain these memberships during my current job. I’m currently working towards Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I also recently considered joining the Museums Association to work towards Associate status, but the two year programme was just a little bit tight to fit in with my current contract – maybe in my next post, if that’s museum-based.

Do you have any future plans/aspirations? As the Vital North Partnership is a funded project, I’m on a fixed-term contract until July 2018 and I’ll be considering my options as that deadline approaches. What’s clear so far is that I’m really enjoying working with both organisations and I’d love to continue to do so! A research masters in children’s literature is also tempting, but I’d be concerned about taking a career break.

Anything else that you’d like to tell us? If you’d like to connect with me you can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn or via my staff profile.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Former Librarian #21

This week we welcome Former Librarian Fran to the blog.  Fran and I have followed each other on twitter for a number of years so it was interesting when within a couple of months of my move out of libraries, she did the same, moving into a role as a UX Researcher for UCAS.  Fran has included the advertisement that attracted her to the position which I think is interesting from a point of view of looking at transferable skills.

Name: Francesca Redman (Fran)

Current role: UX Researcher at UCAS

Former role: Information Specialist

What led you to move on from libraries? I hadn’t been enjoying my job for a while, as it had changed from being an engagement role to one that involved a lot of project working, and the projects were not being run well. It was incredibly frustrating, as I’ve worked really hard to develop my presenting and networking skills throughout my early career. Had the projects been well managed, I would have probably enjoyed working on them, but despite me raising concerns to my managers throughout the early stages, they carried on with no change, so I felt that I needed to find something different. I couldn’t find any library jobs nearby at all, and didn’t feel like moving elsewhere for a job that wasn’t “the perfect job” I found the UX role advertised and thought that the job description looked like it would fit my skills nicely, and give me a chance to work in a different kind of project based environment.

What do you do in your current role?

My current role is quite varied, and enables me to use things from my first degree (psychology) and my library and information skills.
  • I spend time talking to our users, either face-to- face or on the phone.
  • I develop research based personas which we use to validate and inform designs.
  • I design studies and surveys, put them out to our users and then analyse and feedback the results to the team to help them make decisions about design direction.
  • I engage with groups of users and maintain relationships with them so that we have people available that we know are more likely to take part in testing.
  • I do some design myself, using a program called axure to create wireframes to communicate concepts to users and internal stakeholders.
  • I research different things and feedback to the relevant people in the team so that they know the background before designing, e.g. I recently researched criminal convictions to feed in to the design of a question we ask on the application.

What library skills do you use in your current role? Quite a lot actually - User engagement and presentation skills; Research skills; Information management (I organise the team’s information assets); The “research interview” to uncover the users’ needs rather than their wants;  Displaying information in an engaging way (I have a room that I use wants the walls of as a place to display feedback to the team).

Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? I know they did, my boss said that the analytical, organised research skills that I have were what made them want to interview me in the first place. It probably helps that he’d worked in a library environment so was familiar with our skill set. My experience of working with lots of different types of people also marked me out as someone that would be good in this role.

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? I’ve done some fast learning around how to use our software: prototyping, survey and observation tools. I’m also learning about how to develop research personas. I’m doing lots of on the job learning, but hopefully will be doing something more academic to underpin that too.

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? No, CILIP membership is so expensive that I can’t afford to maintain it as it’s not directly of use to me. I use twitter to keep myself in the loop, as I’d like to re-enter the profession in a few years, if the right job becomes available. UX doesn’t have a professional body, which is something I really miss about being a librarian.

Do you have any future plans/aspirations? I’m not sure really, I enjoy what I’m doing, but I’m not quite sure what I’d like to do next. There are things I miss about being part of the profession; as I said, I wouldn’t count out going back. I have a sort of plan to spend a couple of years figuring out how to be a UX researcher, and then going freelance and doing it on a consultancy basis, but I don’t have firm plans around this yet. I have quite a laid back approach to my career anyway, preferring to work in roles that feel right to me rather than having a plan to follow.

The ad I saw: Embark on a tour of mastery in UCAS to develop and sharpen your skills – be it problem solving, advancing your information architecture skills, or facilitating workshops. Joining the ranks of our close-knit UX troupe, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with cross-disciplinary teams, and can expect personal development supported by training, mentoring and industry conferences. As a User Experience Designer, your mission will be to help craft a better experience for our users by identifying needs and barriers in their journey, as well as maximising their emotional engagement through our services. You will relish the challenge posed by meeting the needs of a broad range of users – from the future generations of students finding their next steps in life, to the teachers supporting their students using UCAS and other online tools. With user research and an inquisitive nature at the heart of our design process, you will need a good grasp of research methodologies, and the ability to adapt and develop testing strategies for a range of situations. A natural curiosity and empathy with others will impel you to reach out to our users, using discoveries and insight to inform our designs and services. The right attitude, as well as heaps of compassion, will put you ahead of the game – even if you’re not the most experienced on paper. If you feel you’re up to the test, and fancy the chance to grow and thrive in a challenging but rewarding environment, get in touch to let us know why you’d make the best new addition to our UX family.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Former Librarian #20

This week we welcome Former Librarian #20, a University equality professional, to the blog.  There's plenty of food for thought here, but I especially like her concluding remarks that:

In retrospect I could have investigated earlier opportunities to move out of libraries into other administrative/professional roles in my university. At the time I didn’t realise how transferable my skills were. It is definitely something that I would encourage other librarians to explore.

That is something that I, as a newbie former librarian, would have liked to have heard much earlier!

Name: Anonymous

Current role: University equality professional

Former role: Cataloguer at a university library

What led you to move on from libraries? Although I could do my previous role adequately, I felt that I wasn’t using all my skills. I’d become more involved in a group of colleagues involved in looking at the needs of disabled library users, and also got involved with a regional network of librarians interested in disability issues (I later became chair). Through the librarians in the network I learned about different ways of providing services to disabled students, and I pressed for the development of assistive technology facilities within the library. When these were introduced my work on assistive technology brought me into closer contact with the dyslexia advisers who supported students, and contributed to my increased understanding of dyslexia.

My university was awarded some money through HEFCE for innovative 3 year fixed term contracts for Equal Opportunity and Diversity Co-ordinators across the institution. This seemed a good opportunity to build on my interest in disability and other diversity areas. Initially I was offered the role of EODC to three of the support services directorates (including Library Services) as secondment, doing 0.5 fte of the new role, and retaining one day a week of my cataloguing role. I remained physically based in the library, but doing this non- traditional role.

It was a steep learning curve, but I really enjoyed the opportunity to develop new skills and to work closely with colleagues from across the university who were passionate about equality issues. I ended up contributing heavily to the development of my university’s first disability equality scheme. As part of that work we asked disabled staff what they would find useful, and they all said that they would welcome a single point of advice and information. I was offered this role, initially as an additional one day a week. In my new role I worked with individuals, helping to find ways to support them at work. I found this immensely rewarding and developed my own role from scratch. I am grateful to the library’s director, who allowed me to remain seconded from my substantive role for a very long time, while I took my equality roles continued through a succession of fixed-term contracts.

Initially I felt quite tentative about my abilities, but my confidence was built up by finding that I could make a difference to people. During a maternity cover role as a Disabled Student Adviser, I found that the skills and knowledge I had developed in my role were readily transferable to a student-facing role, and that I also brought a broader knowledge of the whole institution. When my current role was advertised at a nearby university, it seemed my ideal job, and I was happy to be appointed.

In retrospect I was stuck in a part-time cataloguing role for too long, but this had been a good option for combining with having children. Before working for a university library, I worked for a government department library, but this involved commuting to London, which was not viable after I’d had children. I didn’t work while my children were small.

I am still annoyed at the outcome of the introduction of the HERA job evaluation scheme at my previous organisation, which in my view failed to recognise and adequately reward the skills of librarians. The scheme awards credit for managing people or money, and little credit for specialist professional skills – something which disadvantages librarians and others in specialist roles.

What do you do in your current role? I work with disabled staff and their managers at a large research-intensive university, ensuring that they get the support they need at work. I am also working more broadly on policy development in equality areas, and on changing the whole organisation’s culture. I liaise with members of staff across the whole university. I am based in the university’s equality office, where I am the disability expert for staff issues (student support is based elsewhere). I have also been asked to lead on developing policy and guidance to support transgender staff and students at the university.

I’ve set up a network for disabled staff, and an advisory group on disability. During the Research Excellent Framework 2014, which assessed the quality of research across the country, I was heavily involved in my university’s confidential process for managing disclosures of complex personal circumstances affecting research capacity.

I’ve been awarded some funding for a research project to investigate good practice in supporting disabled staff at my institution, so I am now working with academic researchers on the project.

I am the first person to hold my role, (and few universities have such a role). I’ve been in post for four years and am continuing to develop the role. I work in a large, complex university where change often happens very slowly. I hope I am becoming more influential as I develop my contacts and knowledge of the organisation, and try to raise awareness of good practice. The challenges are huge, but it is very rewarding to be able to make a small difference to people’s lives … and it is wonderful to see people flourishing after very bad times.

What library skills do you use in your current role? The essential skills is listening carefully to people, and probing to find what they want – that bit is similar to traditional enquiry desk work. However what happens next isn’t simply a matter of pointing someone to existing resources, and may be about helping someone think about their current situation, or their behaviours, or what they really want. I sometimes feel like a mix of coach, careers expert, counsellor and parenting adviser!

I need really good interpersonal skills – more advanced than I needed as a librarian. I’m communicating with people at all levels of my organisation, and need to be able to establish rapport and trust.

I need very good writing skills – both for policy writing and for very carefully nuanced emails. I think that comes more from my English degree than my librarian background.

I developed some technical skills in using assistive technology when I was a librarian, which means that I can give informed advice about this area, although I am no longer doing individual training.

I need to be able to investigate unfamiliar topics, and find relevant literature, so the research skills I developed as a librarian continue to be used.

Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? Not directly, but it was a cumulative process.

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? I needed to develop some of the skilled used by counsellors, including listening skills; coaching skills; ability to explain legislative concepts in plain English; investigatory skills; understanding internal politics; change management; policy writing; ability to discuss sensitive subjects with people who may be very distressed, or who may be very unwell (including mental ill-health); being able to hear distressing information and still being able to work effectively. Often there are no easy answers, so I need to be able to exercise my judgement, and be able to justify my advice.

I need to be able to influence people and bring about cultural change. I did an NVQ level 4 in Management and Leadership: I don’t manage anyone directly (although I did in my second job as a librarian, 18 months after qualifying) but I advise managers on how to manage disabled members of staff.

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? I no longer maintain professional librarian memberships, and there aren’t any comparable professional organisations for equality professionals, who are far fewer in number. Many universities only have one or two equality practitioners.

Do you have any future plans/aspirations? My current role will continue to develop and change. There is more than enough to keep me going for the foreseeable future.

Anything else that you’d like to tell us? In retrospect I could have investigated earlier opportunities to move out of libraries into other administrative/professional roles in my university. At the time I didn’t realise how transferable my skills were. It is definitely something that I would encourage other librarians to explore.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Former Librarian #19

This week we welcome an anonymous Former Librarian to the blog who sadly left her Assistant Librarian position due to the work situation she found herself in.  General transferable skills have been important here to enable her success in her new position.

Name: Anonymous

Current role: Administrator in a HE institution

Former role: Assistant Librarian in a University library

What led you to move on from libraries?  The library service merged with computing services and the management team from computing services was put in charge. They had no interest in libraries and, in my opinion, didn’t like libraries, didn’t like females (especially the clever ones), and were misogynists. I was also badly over-worked and by the end was doing the work of three people. It was soul-destroying to work so hard to try to deliver a good service to staff and students and be so unappreciated by your managers and to have your ideas for service improvement rejected (although some were implemented after I left)! To believe that you are discriminated against in the 21 st century because you are a clever female is a dreadful feeling. However my other library jobs were fantastic!

What do you do in your current role? Administration, report writing, minute taking, event management

What library skills do you use in your current role? Nothing library specific just general transferable skills like written and oral communication, accuracy, customer services. However I am heading up a project to digitise our paperwork as a result of skills I learnt in the library profession.

Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? not really

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? Not so much skills, more knowledge of the wider HE sector

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? Still a member of CILIP

Do you have any future plans/aspirations? to enjoy life and to do the things I didn’t do before because I was exhausted and on the brink of a breakdown!