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Sue House

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I didn't learn to read until quite late, the reason for this was because when I was little my Mum loved to read to me and I loved being read to, as a consequence of this I had a bit of catching up to do and throughout junior school I received 'commendation cards' for improvement with reading. Not a great start for a librarian you might think! Anyway, I can remember going to the local public library, I read everything in the teenage section more than once, and my Mum was and still is a big fan, accept now she has the mobile library visit her and they mainly bring her audio books.

I can recall being a library monitor in junior school, but that was simply because the teachers thought I was sensible enough to carry out this duty, not because I asked or volunteered. I must've pretty much forgotten about libraries after that and then the time came to leave school - scary! So as I couldn't think of what job I wanted to do and because some of my friends were going I decided to go to a sixth form college and do A-levels, then it came to leave there and I still couldn't think of what job I wanted to do, so I went to University and opted for a Humanities degree, because I still couldn't think of...you get the idea right? So the Humanities degree I did included Literature and Forensic Science - which qualified me to do? Not much apparently. I still didn't know what to do for a living, I went to the careers office, I found out I wanted to help people and that I wasn't much motivated by money.

I thought about social worker (too stressful), probation officer (too scary), I even got a place to study Homeopathy (too expensive/no funding available), then I picked up a leaflet about being a librarian. Lightbulb moment. I loved being a student > I could work with students, I loved reading > I could help students find books/information, I liked being in the library > I could work in a library! Probably more importantly I identified with the ethics and values of being a librarian, I believed in equality, I believed in impartiality, I valued the fact that the library was one of the only places left that provided a service for free and didn't exploit you as a consumer. I valued the fact that people like Malcolm X and loads of other interesting people rated books and libraries highly and I could see that the future would be and is an information society.

I got a job back home in a college library, I loved it. I secured a place to study librarianship full time, but I didn't have the money, I needed to work and study part time. I got a part-time, temporary job as a library assistant at the University of Glamorgan, I got a place at Bristol University to do an MSc in Information and Library Management, I had to put it off a year because I couldn't afford it. I was taken on full time, permanently. Eventually I did it, it wasn't easy working full time and studying part time, but I knew this was what I wanted to do and be. I am now law librarian at Glamorgan. I love it. There are times when it drives me nuts but I remind myself of the following and hope that on most days I manage to help people:

"There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration." Andrew Carnegie

"My alma mater was books, a good library.... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity." Malcolm X

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