CPD23: Things 10 and 11, Qualifications and Mentoring

Routes into ‘librarianship’ (information management), qualifications and mentoring. Huge, huge, great big subject! And anyway, on a personal level it should probably be ‘routes in and back out of librarianship’!

Firstly here is how the land lies:

  • I started volunteering in the local Community college LRC about 10 years ago and decided that it was THE ‘thing’ for me
  • I have worked part time term-time as a Shelver, again as a Counter Assistant (both library roles), full-time as an Acquisitions Assistant (I loved that job!), Senior Information Assistant (non-library), back to part-time as an Information Assistant (took a grade/pay cut to get back in the library), and Metadata Administrator
  • Currently (still) doing the MSc Library and Information Studies courtesy of Aberystwyth University (its a funding thing……)
  • My new job role (due to restructure) is team Development and Support Administrator
  • I have had mentoring and will at some point bang on about the benefits of a good mentor and mentoring relationship
  • I am an advocate of mentoring and have a gateway for anyone considering finding a good mentor

So on reflection I think my aims are:

  • To find a good mentor again and reap the benefits
  • To remind myself that I work as part of a Content team in an academic library, even if my role is somewhat less than ‘librarian’ orientated
  • Complete the MSc so that I have that achievement even though I think the personal use for it – well, that ship has sailed
  • Build on Professionalism

Nobody wants to hear about my route in and out of librarianship. It terribly tragic and is just one of those stories about life *gulp*. In a brief summary, it hasn’t been easy. As a single parent, working and building a career and qualifications has been arduous, and I have found myself working in the face of adversity for most of the last 10 years. I have to add, that if I had the ability to clone myself, or the power of teleportation (I wish), things may have been somewhat easier. If I hadn’t had a renegade ex husband who tried to sabotage every chance I had, or a woebetide employer (past) who saw the loss of one evening shift’s childcare as ‘breach of contract’, things may have been somewhat easier.   Along the way, I have built personal resilience, perseverance, and professionalism. I have had to side step a couple of times, but I have hung in there. Why did I go to so much trouble?…….the rewards have been enormous.


6 thoughts on “CPD23: Things 10 and 11, Qualifications and Mentoring

  1. Good on you Scarlettlibrarian! I hope more CPD23 participants will touch on some of the issues you raise (like family responsibilities!) when writing about this week’s things. Congratulations on your achievements: resilience, perseverance, and professionalism.

    • Thank you for this – I was surprised and delighted to receive your comment. I never intended my post to sound like a moan about being a single parent or a mature student, or late comer to the profession, but I think it is important to make the point that we haven’t all gone straight to full time Library school and then found a Professional post, or indeed, worked our way up (an antiquated notion but it did happen) within the same institution. Despite it being illegal, I have been penalised for being a parent, and I have quite rightly put my childrens welfare first. That does mean that I have had to make choices that I haven’t been happy with – I have had to move into roles that were on the periphery of information management, and have had to marginalise my own career. I suppose if I wasn’t so passionate about what I wanted none of this would have mattered!

  2. Sadly I think we can expect to see more not less of that sort of attitude from employers. The pressure to provide services all day & all night is not family friendly, and although I’m not in your position of being a single parent my husband commutes and couldn’t share the picking up from nursery/school, so I had to leave my job in the public library as it would never have worked. You’re often made to feel as if you are asking for special treatment by not being available all the time. We will all depend on other people’s children at some point! I hope you are wrong about having missed the boat, good luck with finishing the MSc and who knows what may turn up one day?

    • Thanks Helen, you’re completely right. On the whole parents are thought to receive extra benefits at work but in truth we always feel torn. I wanted to work full time and have the career I wanted but as a mother I have to put my children first. Therefore, it has been as far from easy as it can possibly get, but I remain passionate about information management. That said, I am less than passionate about Vogon bureaurcracy and feel that I may have had enough! Fighting the good fight for many a year ultimately isn’t good for your health. I also dislike immensely the idea that one person in the workplace can decide my destiny depending on whether they ‘get’ me or not. In theory this shouldn’t happen, but in practice it definitely does. Beware of the wolf in sheeps clothing etc etc. This is one reason why books are so important to me! 🙂

  3. It is somewhat of a relief to read that I am not the only person in this situation. When my children were young I too left library work due to the hours. I have recently qualified however and am now working as an LA both in FE and the public likbrary (for half the salary of previous non library post), library work being a vocation . Sadly I often feel it maybe years before I find a professional post which doesn’t require me to a) move my family b) work after 5.30 (after school club finishes at 6). Like Helen my husband commutes so childcare is down to me. I don’t mind working at weekends as my husband is home then but I have yet to see a public library job ad which doesn’t specify evening working too. I sometimes wonder if this breaches equality laws in some way as it discriminates against parents.

    • Hi Louise

      So good to hear from you – I have always thought I’m the only one! I feel that I have made the sacrifice of a having professional post. The struggle to be committed to a role that may go beyond 6pm (like you say childcare closes) and ask for greater flexibility is not for parents. And that is if I even wanted my children to do an 8am til 6pm day every day of the week, which I really don’t. Keep at it, and please stay in touch :0)

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