Thing 10 – routes into librarianship

As may be obvious I’ve been slightly slipping with CPD23, I choose to blame this on job hunting, I had been writing blog posts in my lunch break, now I write job applications instead, but I’m going to try really hard to at least come close to catching up. Sadly, this weeks thing feels just a little close to home.

I did a degree in English, came out of university and had no idea what I wanted to do next, only knowing I hadn’t got myself in gear about doing an MA due to a fun mix of personal issues and no money. So, I worked a minimum wage retail job for a while, and quickly worked out that wasn’t what I wanted to do, in fact I ended up having to move home because I could only just afford to pay rent. People have always been saying to me I should be a librarian, I even did my school work experience in a library, but it took a while to click ,and then to work out there was no way I’d get a job without experience, so I emailed all the libraries in Sussex asking to volunteer, and the University of Sussex let me. This totally changed things, I worked there for nearly a year, learning so much, and becoming certain that librarianship was for me. I also stumbled upon information about graduate traineeships and started applying, just when I’d started to give up on getting in that year’s round I got an interview at the National Art Library, and then got the job.

This year has been amazing, I’ve learnt loads, met lots of other lovely trainees, been to both my first conference and my first unconference (unconferences are much, much better), and become perhaps worryingly single-minded in my pursuit of a library career. However, money is still an issue, though I want to do the masters I’ve had to accept I’m not in the position to do so without putting myself into lots of debt, so with just over 5 weeks left at work I have no idea what I’ll be doing once I leave.

I’ve been applying for jobs since May, I have two years good experience in two different types of library, so far I’ve has two unsuccessful interviews and I’m seriously looking at going back to a minimum wage retail job so I’m not made homeless. The chartership and certification sections of this thing are too depressing to even look at, all I can so far tell about my route to librarianship is that it may be traditional but it is also going to be slow, possibly another two years before I even start the MA part-time. I’m sure I’m not the first person to have had issues with the MA’s cost, or to have struggled to get a job despite good experience, in fact I know I’m not, but at the moment I can’t think about wanting to be a librarian,. I have to focus on trying to be a library assistant rather than working in a shop.

Next time – a less depressing post. Have an adorable baby lizard picture:

Image from

Things 8 and 9: Google calender and Evernote

I’ve been  really looking forward  to thing 8, I’ve been considering  Google calender anway but it made sense to wait had have someone guide me gently through it, thank you CPD23! So far, though I’ve only sorted out my setting and  added one event (an interview, very exciting!) I like it, it’s really  easy to add an event and being able to change the view easily is useful.  I do quite like the fact that it displays the weather, and that it’s easily linked to my email and reader.  I do think it won’t be at it’s most usefuluntil I’ve been using it a few weeks and have added more stuff to it. So far though, so good.

Evernote  is also something I’ve been looking forward to, I  don’t have a note tool at the moment, though  I do use Delicious and find it fairly useful for storing webpages and so on.  I don’t know how useful saving images will be, I already use Pinterest for that,  and I really like  it’s visual aspect, arranging things by  themed boards, but it’s not so good for written stuff, which is what I expect to be using Evernote for. I’m not sure how useful the synching ability will be to me, I don’t have  a smart phone   or tablet, and being able to access stuff at work  and  at home is nothing special,the problem here could just be my lack of money of course, I’m  sure synching would be useful but it only works if you  have the gadgets to synch to in the first place. So far I’m finding Evernote kind of confusing, not the best start, though hopefully like Google calender it’s the kind of thing that will naturally become useful over a couple of weeks, and if not I’ll just carry on with Delicious.

This weeks cute picture is something perhaps just I will appreciate:

Thing 7: real-life networks

Real-life networks are an interesting case for me, I’m chronically shy socially, but fine as long as I can convince myself whatever I’m doing is work related, this seems to involve CPD as I have been to a few events, such as Library Camp Brunel and this year’s CILIP New Professionals Day, and been fine. That said, I did chicken out of going to a CPD 23 meet-up, which is not very good form. It’s not unusual to be working in a library environment and be shy, which is one the things that makes library events a bit better than most for me, I know for certain I’m not the only person a bit nervous. Having the shared bond of being a graduate trainee has been really good too, as a conversation-starter and as a way of feeling included. The graduate trainee’s visit to Oxford was brilliant, and the fact I keep meeting people I know from that or LISPN has helped at other events.

I do want to join CILIP, but now it seems sensible to wait until I’m at my new job, whatever that is, and I’m hoping to go to Library Camp this year. Generally my experience with real-life networks has been positive, but I need to push myself more, to talk to more people, and hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy myself at events that don’t feel like their totally work-related.

Thing 6: Online Networks

I seem to have a mixed relationship with social networks. I utterly love Twitter, as I have said before, but don’t like Facebook at all. I used to use it a lot, a few years ago, but it has become more and more pointless for me, I have essentially left it though I haven’t tried to delete my profile, I just very rarely check it. I now have a LinkedIn profile, started recently, and it’s fairly full, but I find LinkedIn very confusing and haven’t actually made any connections on it. However, I do really like the groups feature so may use it for that, and have joined a few interesting groups, and I would be perfectly happy for someone looking to employ me to see my profile.

I’ve actually been a member of LISNPN longer than I have Twitter, and it was the reason for my first meet-up with other graduate trainees and so that start of forming some pretty important links, the informal forum format is something I really like, especially good for those just starting to use social media professionally but experienced with forums. CILIP communities looks good but I’m not a member of CILIP and  money is a barrier, I will probably use the communities when I get around to joining though.

All in all I have a mixed success rate with online networks, but I think the usefulness of Twitter makes up for the fact I don’t use any others that much, because I have have found so many useful things and people through it, and I’m certainly happy at where I am with them, which I suppose is the important thing.

Thing 5 – reflective practice

The timing of this week’s thing is very apt, it’s post says that the most common barrier to reflective practice seems to be time, this coming in a week where I’ve had a job interview I found out 36 hours before, so have spent most of my free time preparing, at the interview or chilling out afterwards, with that and it being my birthday  I’ve had less  free time than usual, so this post may not be that detailed.

I haven’t consciously done reflective practice before, but I think I may have started doing it unconsciously. I’m an obsessive note-taker, and have a whole notebook of notes from various things I’ve done for my graduate traineeship, including all the conferences and so on I have been to. These notes haven’t been the most reflective, but they are useful, and I do go and reread them,  it’s like I’m almost there, I just need to push myself a little bit extra and write an extra paragraph or two on not only what I plan to do after attending an awesome event or learning something new, but why I intend to do it and how I think it will help me.

My blog should really be more reflective than it is, but I think 23 Things will help me with that. I like the look of the ‘what, so what? now what?’ precess of reflective practice, nice and simple, and easy to remember steps so that following the process itself isn’t hard even if the reflection isn’t too easy. With hunting for a job it is especially important for me to be able to analyse myself and my work at the moment, yet again the timing of 23 Things is very good.


What? I’ve completed four of the 23 Things programme.

So what? The most important thing I’ve learned so far is that I’m pretty happy with where I am, my personal branding wasn’t bad and is getting better, I use several very useful tools, I’ve joined another couple that should be useful. I’m definitely enjoying it so far, but I am also beginning to find it hard to keep up, though maybe that is just with this week being especially busy. I do feel that I will get more out of some of the upcoming activities about tools I haven’t used before, but that’s not a bad thing, just something to look forward to. Certainly this thing isn’t something I have done consciously before, so I’m off to a good start.

Now what? Carry on with 23 Things and learn as much as I can, obviously. But also I think I need to try and manage my time better, maybe set aside one evening a week to it as well as during my lunch breaks.  Also I need to not just open accounts and then abandon them, I need to keep using the tools I find useful.

Image credit: praziquantel via Flikr

Thing 4 – current awareness

This week is pretty easy for me as I already use Twitter and Google Reader. I love twitter, I joined a few months ago because I was feeling left out and I haven’t looked back, the only thing I dislike is that I don’t have a smart phone, but this will soon be changing and then I will be able to post even more library stuff, I love the idea of live-tweeting something. I have found it slightly odd meeting people in real-life that I only know from twitter or reading their blogs, but less intimidating that just going up to someone random and talking to them, it’s nice to think that a online tool is also helping me offline too.

My Google Reader is great, apart from the fact I made it before I had a Google+ account, and they use different account. I think I will be closing my old one and switching everything to my Google+ account, much more streamlined and easy to use. I got Google Reader about six months ago, having started reading a few library blogs but being annoyed at always having to hunt them down, now I don’t, and anything new I find only takes a second to add. I have tried not to follow too much, I didn’t check it for a few days once and ended up with 30 unread posts!

I like the look of Storify a lot, and have read a couple of other people, but at the moment I can’t think of anything I would need to use it for. However, I like knowing it’s there, and it does look easy to use, so as soon as I have a reason to use it I will do. I did love reading about Quiffcomp, I hope it happens next year so I can enter. As should become a tradition with these posts, have a cute animal picture.

Image credit: Daves portfolio, via Flikr

Thing 3 : consider your personal brand

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my personal branding before CPD23, I think because of reading quite a few blogs from last year.  I’ve tried to tie in my various social media accounts, this has worked well with twitter, Pinterest , and Google+ but not so well with my blog, I have tried to change the account name to match but so far I haven’t been able to make it work. I’ll be setting up a LinkedIn account soon, that will also have the same name, though there are a surprising number of Siobhan Thomas’ in the world. This has also affected me when googling myself, but adding ‘library’ brings up my twitter account first, and then my introduction to myself on the LIS New Professionals Network, which includes a link to my blog, so overall I am pleased with that.

I use the same photo of myself for everything, and it’s a very recent one too, though I’m not sure how professional it is.

The most important thing is that you can see my big glasses and red hair, if anyone hates the hair they won’t employ me but also hopefully nobody will be surprised at any interviews I get. My visual brand could be better, though I do love the look of both my twitter and blog they don’t really tie in, I think that will be my goal for this week, along with joining LinkedIn.  Other than not matching I think visually it’s good, colours I love, not too over-the-top and eye-straining, not too stark and professional looking, I’m happy to mix personal and professional online. After all, a lot of the people I follow I like as people as well as being interested in what they have to say about libraries, and I hope it works the other way around.

Because I couldn’t think of a image that goes with the theme of this post I will end instead with a lovely picture of a cat.

Image credit: jzkornbluh from Flikr

Things 1 & 2: library blogs and blogging.

I’ve been blogging for a few years now, initially writng mostly reviews and mini-essays about subjects I’m interested in, and for the last six months or so about library stuff too, my experiences being a graduate trainee and so on. I mostly blog for myself, I like being able to organise my thoughts in writing, so my style of blogging seems perfect for a CPD23 blog, I’ve already made a start on the reflective practise sides of things.

I’m taking part in CPD23 because I’m passionate about forwarding my career and expanding my abilities. As a graduate trainee but unable to move on to a degree this year I feel like I need every advantage I can get entering a job market where I will be competing for jobs against people with more experience and possible more qualifications. I want to be as well-rounded as possible, and personal development is important to me even without wanting a get a really good job. I feel like I’ve been lucky with my graduate traineeship, it’s been brilliant, but I haven’t been resting on my laurels, just in case I don’t luck out again. Also, and probably more importantly, I love working in a library and want to be as good as it as I can. Simple, but I think a good reason.

Thing 1 was easy, my blog is already well-established, though I do want to write more and be more dedicated to it, Thing 2 is pretty easy to as I already regularly read quite a few library blogs, along with others, on my google reader. One of the blogs I really like actually covers mostly my other big area of interest, comics. The author of Bad Librarianship Now! is a librarian but mostly posts about comics, especially comics art and British comics. I’ve been reading comics since I was a child, starting with that stalwart of the British comics scene – 2000AD. It’s nice to know I’m not the only library person interested in comics, in fact I can thing of at least three others, maybe one day there’ll be enough in one place for a special interest group or something.

I off to read some more blogs now, and maybe even leave some comments. I tend to be a lurker when it comes to blogs so I think being more obviously engaged is what I should be taking from this Thing, not a bad thing online or offline.


I’ve been reading a lot of blogs in the last few days, and a couple have caught my eye. I’m intrigued by SoldierMumLibby because I know very little about school librarianship, reading it over the next year or so should be a good way of learning more.  I really like The Victorian Librarian‘s blog because she seems to like a lot of the same things I do, anyone who gives out I Capture the Castle on World Book Night is obviously to be greatly admired. I’d like to find a good solo librarian blog because I can’t comprehend running a library on my own, knowing more about that would be really interesting, and prison librarianship too.