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What on earth are you supposed to do with an English Literature degree? I scratched my head a bit, and, like so many others, started out as a teacher. I endured this for precisely two years before I decided there had to be less traumatic ways of making a living. Flirted briefly with the idea of doing a DPhil, but that plan crashed and burned for want of any real thesis (i.e. I didn't get any funding). So I applied for jobs in both publishing and libraries, and waited to see what would happen...

My first library post was as a Subject Assistant at Oxford Brookes University. I was very happy there and decided to undertake a part-time MA in Information Services Management. I did this by commuting to the University of North London - first from Oxford, then from Birmingham, where we had moved for my husband's next academic contract. While studying, I did a couple of bitty part-time jobs at North Birmingham College and Mander Portman Woodward College. I qualified in 2000.

My first professional post was quite an unusual one: Bibliographic Librarian at Peters Bookselling Services, a library supplier focused on the children's and young people's market. I worked in a small office off a lovely shiny showroom full of the latest children's books. I catalogued, classified, read and reviewed - not as glamorous as it sounds, since the reading had to be done in personal time and there was an awful lot of it - pony stories, rubbish sci-fi and high school romances a-plenty, punctuated by the very occasional 'wow' title. In the end the job started to feel repetitive and I missed direct contact with customers. So it was time to move on...

I moved back to academic libraries, to the post of Subject Librarian for Nursing & Midwifery at what was then University College Worcester. This was a stimulating job with a wonderful team - but alas, I had to leave to relocate for my husband's new permanent academic post at (gulp) the University of St Andrews. Which is surprisingly uncommutable from the Midlands. After a few months of unemployment, I was able to find a temporary post in the public library sector - in the Edinburgh Room of the Central Library. It was quite amusing to be working in local studies when I could barely understand the locals! Sadly the post came to an end and I had to move on again.

Which brings me to the last 5 years, my longest stint ever in a job, as Information Specialist (Academic Librarian) at the University of Abertay Dundee. It's been a challenging role, often an exhausting one, and very varied, as I work with the School of Computing and the School of Contemporary Sciences, which covers everything from engineering to biotechnology to food to natural resources management to forensics..... and beyond. I've been lucky to have a great team of colleagues and very supportive academics who have been keen to work with me.

All good things must come to an end, and my feet have recently started itching once more. I need a new challenge and a change of scene. I also found myself increasingly longing for an improved work-life balance. I'm writing this just before Christmas - in the New Year I start a new job, and in some ways, a new life. I will be working just two days a week as Librarian at Arbroath High School. (Yes, back to the vampire pony romances, and to the maelstrom of youth! I can't quite believe it myself!) I will also be undertaking a part-time Bachelor of Divinity degree, based at the Scottish Baptist College in Paisley (the other side of Scotland - so I'll have plenty of time for reading...) but also studying a large amount at home. It's all very exciting and I'm sure both the job and the course will present major learning curves. Where will it all lead? I don't really know - it's an adventure that is still unfolding...

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