Thing 20 – Library Routes: Falling, stumbling and getting lucky

Posted: October 14, 2012 in CPD23

Having read some other exciting posts about how people have ended up in librarianship, my post is going to seem bloody boring by comparison. I might have to add in some dinosaur attacks to spice things up a bit.

I did my undergrad degree in History. I loved the subject (still do) and got a first, but having had a few brief chats about a masters I couldn’t see the point. Another year doing something I’d probably enjoy, but at the end of it just be another year older with no clue what to actually do for work. So I walked home (literally – it was 160 miles), hung around my Dad’s house, applied for a series of random jobs which took my fancy (Army postroom, Argos warehouse – that sort of classy thing) and generally mooched around for months sulking that life hadn’t handed me golden opportunities on a plate.

Then my little sister, who was 6 or 7 at the time, asked over dinner one night “when are you going to get a job”. She got told off, which is a bit unfair as it was a fair question. I entirely credit that moment with helping me get over myself, get an xmas job at Woolworths, and ask if I could volunteer in a nearby College library with a vague idea that maybe heading back towards an academic/research type area might be an idea. There was no real lightbulb moment, it was just something that took my fancy for a few minutes when a friend talked about libraries, and I thought to myself “yeah, I like libraries, why not try it and see what happens”.
What happened was that I loved it. I had no idea what I was getting into – no plan for it to lead to the graduate trainee year, my masters, and my completely fulfilling job. I got lucky to be honest – completely stumbled into the profession and luckily it was so much more than stamping books, which was my view of libraries for most of my childhood. There was research and teaching and training and sharing knowledge and exploring new technologies – and so much information in so many forms.

I can’t imagine how I lived a life where I didn’t realise libraries and me were made for each other. But I did for over twenty years, and then one day by fluke or chance or fate I fell into the career that has been so fulfilling and fun. It was like the blind date that actually works out, ends in marriage and life-long happiness and joy. If I had to win with a million to one shot at something there’s no doubt that this is the best game I could have won – screw the lottery and golf and finding a pot of gold – finding this career was the best lucky break I ever got.

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