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Felicity Cross

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I met Ned at a New Professional Support Officers event and he asked if I would contribute to this Wiki so here I am.

Like a lot of the other Routes blog posts I've read I did an undergraduate degree (In English Studies - loved it but sadly there are not a lot of jobs in critiquing Shakespeare) and then did not have any clue as to what to do next. I met my now husband at Stirling Uni and decided to stay in Scotland with him rather than go back to my hometown of Reading (he refuses to go anywhere south of Berwick!). I ended up temping for a year before a friend asked if I wanted to go to a careers fair at the Uni with him, I didn't have anything better to do so rocked up - best thing I ever did because there was a stand of people talking about libraries and archives jobs - why did I never think of this before?!! I wanted to work with people, was very nosy and liked doing research - library or archive work sounded perfect. Did some research into it and thought I should probably try and get a graduate trainee post first. Applied for Glasgow Uni and Reading Uni and after an agonising 2 month wait - I got the job in Reading - looked like I was going back to live with my parents for a year. To be honest this was a pretty tough decision for me as it meant living apart (and quite a long way apart) from my lovely husband - I knew there was no way I could put him through living with my parents for a year and there was also no way we could afford to live by ourselves in Reading. So that was it - I moved back home and thankfully our relationship survived. And it was definately the right decision, I absolutely loved working at Reading Uni - I worked half the time in the Acquisitions dept, so I learnt a bit about cataloguing and the ordering and recieving process and the other half of the time on the Arts and Humanities enquiry desk - I became an ace at telling people where the toilets were! Actually my favourite memory is of a student who asked me for books on some crazy latin word, me telling him I had not a clue what he was talking about and him then confessing that neither did he - students, you've gotta love em! Anyway I then went to Strathclyde Uni to do the MSc and also loved that - met some fab people who all seem to have become school librarians - leaving me feeling very left out!! I worked part time at Strathclyde's law library whilst I was doing the Masters and again loved it - loose-leaf filing, you can't beat it.

I took out a bank loan to fund the course and that left me desperately seeking work at the end of the taught period - I fully intended to do the Masters dissertation bit but at that time finding paid employment was the top priority (I did end up finishing my dissertation in the end - it just took quite a long time!). A couple of jobs came up and I often wonder what would have happened had I got those instead - one was a temp job at Caledonian Uni and the other was as a mobile librarian (I would have got my own van - how cool would that be!). But instead I got the job as Librarian / Archivist at HarperCollins publishers. This may sound like a dream job to a lot of people but believe me it was tough - I was a solo librarian in a department that didn't give two hoots about me and I was actually mostly expected to do Archive work arghhhhh what did I know about document management? - not a lot at the time, quite a bit now. But there was also a lot of training people and enquiry work which I really enjoyed. Thankfully all my service promotion and networking paid off in the end as the big-wigs got to hear what I was doing and moved me out of the 'bad' department, promoted me and gave me a lot of money to create a new database for them - hurray!! After three fairly amazing years there (amazing after the initial tough bit) I decided it was time to move on mostly because there were no promotion prospects and I was getting a bit bored.

Since working at Strathclyde Law Library I'd wanted to go back to working in the Legal sector but I also loved academic library work. Helpfully a great job for me came up and I am now working at The WS Society, which is a membership organisation that supports lawyers, so we have a law library that I manage and an education programme that I support which means working with trainee lawyers and our student members. I can honestly say that I love it and I love being a Librarian in every sense of the word - managing information, managing budgets, helping people, training people, recommending books, cataloguing and negotiating with suppliers - I enjoy every bit and I don't think there's any other job that would give me this much variety and all in a building that's filled with my favourite thing - books.

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