In my first year out of university, I worked in high school libraries. And for the last two years, I’ve been working in an academic library. For those who are just starting their career journey, and are interested in this type of library work, I thought I would write about what its like working in each of these environments.
The American Library Association – Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) has published this interesting article in their eNewsletter ‘Library Worklife’ (October 2015 issue), titled ‘A Job Readiness Strategy for MLIS Students and Recent Graduates’.
It is of especial interest to students and new graduates, and while written by an American organisation, is very relevant to us here in Australia as well.
I’m glad to see that the knowledge and advice I have written about in my previous blog posts for students and new grads touches on very similar strategies.
The job readiness strategy in this article focuses on two pillars: first, building experience through “temporary” positions. Temporary positions are defined in this strategy as jobs that are short term and help develop a career. These jobs should increment the knowledge and skills needed for a particular type of professional librarian position. The second pillar is to form a network. As a person works through these temporary positions a professional network begins to take shape; hence, creating new opportunities for collaboration and professional development.
Have a read of the full article and good luck with your developing career!
Michelle De Aizpurua
It is really very important to keep up to date with new developments, innovations, ideas, issues and so forth in our field. You need to be a life-long learner if you are going to succeed in Libraryland 😉 Things are constantly changing; the way we utilise space, new technologies, what is expected of us, how we are viewed and how we must justify ourselves. There is a lot to learn. Not only this, it is important to network and get to know other professionals. You need to create relationships. These are especially helpful if you have a question or need some guidance, or more employment. So where to start? There are a few things you can do:
I’m going to try to make this post a bit shorter than the last few.
When I graduated, I had no idea what to do. I applied for lots of work, but most things required experience I did not have. Lots of the jobs advertised either didn’t require my qualifications at all, or were very high level. I rarely see any job advertised in between, even now.
I had to get work experience somehow. So I kept applying, for everything. Eventually, I was lucky enough for a high school to give me chance. I don’t know what it was, but they were willing to give me a go. Bless them. Finally a break. And what a good one, a great school and wonderful team. But, this was a Library Technician position, not really what I had been hoping for, but I was thrilled none the less. I was there for 6months covering someone on leave. Then I got offered the same job at an even better school, one of the best in the State (a select entry school), for a year. Then I got offered casual work as a Library Tech at another amazing school, and then more casual work finally as a Librarian at a university. Slowly, slowly, I have climbed.
Here are some lessons I have learnt from the last year (from working in only one particular area of libraries mind you!):
I just recently started at a new job. Due to short contracts and part-time work being a large factor in getting employment as a graduate, this is the 3rd ‘first day’ in the last year! (I’m now working two part-time jobs, one of which is causal and the other a one year contract)
In any case, I’m really excited about the opportunities this new workplace will provide. I’ll be expanding from high school libraries to a specialist university (law) library. Learning new programs, taking research classes with university students, developing their e-learning modules, there’s a lot to learn and do!
So I thought I would share my experience (there was a really amazing art exhibit involved!), and provide some tips for that sometimes stressful ‘first day’.Read More »
There are a few things I wish I had known back when I was studying. Or things that people mentioned that I didn’t heed enough! People would give advice, and sometimes I’d think – “but I don’t have time for that”. Well I would have if I’d prioritised better. So, some of my tips for students (in no particular order):Read More »
When I wrote the title for this post, I instantly thought of a superhero. Someone ‘becoming’ a librarian – by a toxic waste spill, by changing themselves in someway, to come out the other side with a shining light and and a book in hand! ‘aaaaaaaaaah’ the angels sing as the light cascades through the clouds…
Clearly it’s not as magical as that, it really is just getting a qualification I suppose. But to me, there is something about being ‘a librarian’. Something that sets you apart. It’s like a special secret world that you know all about, and outsiders view with all these misconceptions. Read More »
I am Michelle De Aizpurua, and I am a new librarian. I’ve been working in High School Libraries for a year now.
Have a look at my ‘about’ page to get a bit of an idea about who I am personally 🙂
Qualifications wise – I have a double degree in Law and Behavioral Science (La Trobe University), as well as graduating in 2014 from post-graduate qualifications in Information and Knowledge Management (Librarianship) from Monash University.
Having recently started my career, and learning so much in such a short time, I know making this blog can achieve many things. Not only can I collate all my thoughts and lessons learnt, but hopefully I can also help anyone thinking about getting into the field, or just starting out. I want to share my knowledge and experiences (and questions!) with you all, including those who are more experienced in the field. I hope those more seasoned librarians will enjoy reading about a new librarian’s journey, and contribute some of their lessons learnt too.
Read More »