Like many other librarians, I can fondly recall enjoying my visits to libraries from a young age. Even then, I can remember feeling a sense of happiness in library buildings that I did not experience in other places of learning (I detested school until I was well into my mid-teens!). As I grew up, libraries increasingly started to have more of a role to play in my life whilst (looking back) it was becoming clear from my education that my skills were suited to an information environment.
My first work experience, as a student at Manchester University, was in an Employment Resource Centre - a charity helping to assist those at various stages of their careers with job searching. This did not relate to my course at all (I studied Economics & Social Sciences) but I soon came to like the work and the fact there was a place like this for people to go. Our clients were often in a vulnerable and/or desolate state and helping them to get back on their feet (even in a small way) was immensely rewarding. After leaving university I found myself working in a coffee shop in the less than illustriuous surrounds of a B&Q on an industrial estate outside Exeter. The busy nature of the site meant the work was a constant test of my Customer Services skills. I also had a strict boss with an extremely demanding work ethic and although we got on well (...most of the time, at least!) she made it clear she was not going to tolerate any of my daydreaming! I feel this front-line experience has served me in good stead since.
After returning from the South West of England, I spent several months dabbling - a process which included a stint working for an exhibitions company whilst also gaining a Sound Engineering qualification. The most rewarding work I undertook during this time was with an organisation called North West London Online. This involved teaching users with learning difficulties to use PCs up to ECDL standard. It was this voluntary work, above all, which set me on my career path I have chosen now.
I was temping as a Postman and still considering what I wanted to do with my life, when a job came up in the Collections Team at Kingston University which I felt fitted my skills and experience up to that point. That was in 2004 and I have continued to enjoy the work I do since and feel I have been able to make the most of the opportunities available to me in my current role. I successfully completed an MSc in Library and Information Science at City University in 2010 and am now pursuing Chartership.
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