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Tamara77

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Hi my not real name is Tamara77, I am a children's librarian in South East England, in a large public library. As you can tell from the pseudonym, I also happen to love Unshelved

Libraries have always been part of my life, and although to my older friends and family my career choice was unsurprising and almost a foregone conclusion in retrospect at least. I never really saw it that way myself. These days people who get to know me first and then find out what I do are often surprised because I am so loud. I don't really see the contradiction.

As a child our family visited the local library at least once a week and everyone in our house read avidly. In middle school my best friend and me were "librarians" for the school's tiny one room non fiction collection, mostly organised by dewey as I recall with the old brownian ticket system of issuing.

I used libraries after this, and indeed spent most of my teenage years hiding away from people who were bullying me in secondary school in one, but nothing of note happened to make me think of it as a career. When it came time to do work experience at the age of 16, I chose to do it at my local library more with a sense that as a shy person I knew I could cope with the quiet atmosphere there.

The route from there to libraries as a career was more of a meander than a direct route. I went and did a degree in humanities and came out the other side with no clearer idea of what to do than when I'd started the degree. I came home and after faffing with the typical temporary office work that used to be so readily available to anyone who could organise things in a filing system and could use the basics of a computer. Then I caved in to a sort of gentle peer pressure. People had been telling me for years I was great with kids and muttering about teaching and it even made sense to me as I was good at academic stuff. So I went and tried PGCE (post grad teacher training). This went south quite drastically two months in when I left exhausted and emotionally distressed that I was not able to work hard. Having recuperated from the emotional trauma of quitting something I looked around for a career and suddenly thought - love books, love a wide variety of subjects, love people and kids, love helping people, love libraries - "Bing" light bulb moment.

From then on it was relatively straightforward. Needing some months experience in order to apply for a Library and Info Studies MA, I applied for graudate trainee jobs, but the one I actually got was a library assistant job in a public library. I took to it like a duck to water, and shortly after applied to library school in a London uni college and did the MA full time at my own expense. As I'd been working at the public library on Saturdays while training, when a children's job came up I applied, and although I didn't get it they offered me a temp job as a librarian, which I did for 9 months in the Info ('Reference') team. I felt a little overawed having to be quiet all the time but it all went fine. After that I got a job as a children' librarian in London, but that really didn't take and when a new children's post came up back in the original library I had worked for I jumped at the chance and got it!

Five years later I'm solidly ensconced in my job barring the effects of whatever new Tory government cuts do to local funds. I may be very lively and loud but this suits my job perfectly, and I accept no stereotypes.

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