Career paths

Things 10 and 11 on the CPD23 programme are all about paths into librarianship and progression once you’re there. Two years ago I blogged about my route into librarianship – please go and read that post before continuing here, if only because it’s got my best ever opening line.

So now you’ll know that I fell into the profession. When I set out I didn’t know about the graduate trainee scheme, but I sure wish I had. I first heard about it when I started working at the University of Oxford; each year they have a cohort of around 20 trainees. From the outside it seems like a really valuable experience and a great way to learn some new skills and work out if librarianship is the career for you. While I was at Oxford Laura Wilkinson was responsible for the trainee programme and she set up the graduate trainee blog. In its second year it’s still going strong and is worth a read for an insight into what the trainees get up to.

A Path Through Darkness Often Leads to a by bbsc30, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  bbsc30 

I did a full-time Masters in Information and Library Management at the University of Northumbria. In the last few weeks I’ve learnt that this course is no longer running in this format and can only be done now by distance learning. On the whole I think that this is a good thing. While there were some great benefits of doing the course full-time – it only took a year and had face-to-face lectures through which a community was built up – I feel that I would have got much more out of it had I been working in a library at the same time. Some people on the course did work throughout but I think they would admit that managing the two was often a stretch. By far and away the best part of the course therefore was the placement where we actually got to put into prtactice the theory we had learnt.

Since taking on my first professional post I have toyed with the idea of Chartership. However I just can’t see the benefit for me. It’s a lot of work and these days I rarely see it as a prerequisite for jobs I might apply for. If I were to do any additional qualifications I think it would be in something more practical and useful to my career progression such as teaching or marketing.

Throughout my career I have had what I would consider to be two informal mentors; Andy Priestner and the aforementioned Laura Wilkinson. Whether they are aware of this I’m not sure. I respect both of them professionally and have sought advice from them on a variety of different topics. Where I feel they have helped me most though is as sounding boards. I will often go to them just to bounce ideas around and inevitably come away clear in my mind about how I will progress.