Monday 20 June 2022

Blogjune Day 20 - Funny how time flies...

So, on Saturday I packed away my desktop computer for the move, and have been without one for a number of days. I considered blogging from my phone, but it's not the same as being able to sit down with a keyboard. All of my stuff is still in boxes - including my computer - but then I remembered that there is another place, where you can use a computer for free...

(Yes, of course, it's a library)

So, the latest three June Questions are all library-related, so I'll launch straight into them.

Did you decide that you wanted to be a librarian? When?

Yes I did, and it was a conscious decision. There comes a time for every Bachelor of Arts student, when they are about to graduate, and they have to decide what they're going to do next. For me, I'd already been working at a university library as a casual for a few years, so it was definitely an option. I'd actually arrived at a short list of three potential career paths: teaching, librarianship and arts administration. A teaching qualification felt like too much work with no way to support myself, arts admin seemed like a very competitive field and very niche - as did librarianship, but less so, and there were government-subsidised places to study it. So, librarianship, it was. Within six months of starting the course, I got a full-time job as a library officer at a public library, and within 2 years, I was working as a professional librarian.

Do you still consider yourself to be a librarian?

From a professional standpoint, yes. I am a member of my professional association which has accredited my qualification, and through which I continue to maintain my professional status through professional development.

In terms of my recent and current employment - no, I don't. I currently work as a Marketing Coordinator for an Arts Organisation, but it's important to acknowledge that everything I do in my current work uses skills that I gained from professional librarianship work.

From an existential perspective - no, absolutely not. I see so many librarians who have unhealthy attitudes to their identity, seeing librarianship as this thing that they are 24/7, tied to the core of their very being. It's toxic, grounded in vocational awe, and will lead to burn out. It's just a job. so stop it already.

What other careers did you consider beside being a librarian?

As I mentioned, teaching and arts admin were initially on the cards. I've worked in roles adjacent to these... I've worked long enough in high schools to know that they are not for me (but I am in eternal appreciation of the work that teachers do!). I've also seen what arts administrators do, and it's not all cultural festivals and hobnobbing - there are so many reports, budgets and grant applications involved that I'm not sure if I could do that for the long term... but I'd still be willing to give it a go.

My current career trajectory in Arts Communications seem to be serving me well for the time being. It's a nice balance between being creative, managing operations, and engaging with people in the community.

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