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

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.


It’s back to blog post with song titles! Play spot-the-obscure-song with me, actually, this is not so obscure, but I was listening to Operation Ivy this morning and it seems appropriate to my mood.

I’ve been being very good recently and have been reading more non-fiction. I find it far too easy to just read Warhammer novels and other light stuff, but I’ve been trying to challenge myself a bit more. I’ve recently been really enjoying Fringe, and I’ve just started watching Dollhouse, they both have a lot more obvious science elements than my usual TV fare does so I’ve been supporting them by starting to read science books, an odd thing for a literature graduate. I’m struggling through The Science of Discworld, which I am enjoying when I can understand it. I like the bits about space a lot though, that was always my favourite bit in physics at school. The chemistry bits are less good. I will try to read the follow-up books, but slowly. My next thing is to try to read A Brief History of Time, intimidating as that is.

Other good things happening are me keeping up with my resolutions, I’ve been updating my blog and spending time thinking about new posts.  I have more or less finished my personal statement, it just needs checking and then I’ll be ready to start applications. I have also discovered that I should be eligible for a career Development Loan, not that I really want to take out a loan for my MA, but library school is beckoning. Lastly, I have a meetup of people from the LIS New Professional forum next week, basically people who work in libraries are going to sit in a pub and chat. With my limited social life this sounds like the best thing ever, I’m very excited and hope to get to drink gin and talk about books.


“Spring Forward”

I’ve been neglecting this blog again, for a lot of reasons, mostly my personal life again, but I’ve decided to make things being not so great be a starting point for me. I’ve recently had to move back home to Brighton, I’m at a point where I’ve lost touch with everyone from uni but I haven’t made any new friends yet, and I’m working a part time minimum wage job because it’s all I can get while I desperatly try to save.
However. I am going to try to focus on the good points, and I am going to try to use this blog to give me something to think about that does not involve clothes, customers, or if I’ve made lunch for tomorrow yet. Part of that is that I want to write about music more often, I think I’m appreciating music a lot at the moment, simply because we listen to commercial radio at work. I hate commercial radio. I hate the annoying adverts and the lack of range of music, I hate the dj saying the next song will be something ‘punky’ and then My Chemical Romance comes on.
So, I’ve been savouring the hour of my own music I get on my lunch break, and though I had sort of been trying to broaden my music taste, even listening to stuff that can only be described as indie and liking it, I’ve given up on that and am mostly appreciating stuff like Tiger Army, Against All Authority and Big D and the Kids Table. I’ve also been wanting to write about music again, so I’m going to try to bring my big essay on women in psychobilly music back from the dead, write lots more reviews, and generally try to interest myself with this, and maybe even some other people.

The joy of job-hunting

It’s been ages since I’ve written anything in here, mostly I think because of work, which continues, I now get up at 5 in the morning four days a week, and for the last four Saturdays I have finished late by varying amounts, from half an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. That’s still not a very good reason, nor is having been watching lots of Dexter with my boyfriend, but at the moment they are the things that have been taking up my time.

The only other thing that is really happening is that I’m looking for a new job, mostly because of the horrible hours of my current one, combined with the poor level of pay. I don’t hate it, and I can stick it out until I get a new job, but I don’t love it. It would be fine if I was only part-time, but being so tired that a couple of times I’ve fallen asleep at  o’clock is not fun, and not going to change. I’m looking to get out of retail, but this is all I’ve ever done, that combined with an English Lit degree means I’m not really qualified for anything else, I’m applying for assistant librarian jobs but not  really getting anywhere, probably because I don’t have any experience. Any ideas of what else I can look at would be really welcome.

None of this is helped by listening to my friends talk about their awesome jobs or seeing them getting ready to start their MAs, especially as I’ve worked out that if I get a job paying a decent amount I might be able to do an MA in 5 years time. Great. So at the moment I am generally jealous, tired and poor. This means lots or reading comfort books and watching comfort tv, and trawling job sites. I am going to start updating this blog again though, even if just to give myself something intelligent to thing about rather than just ‘do the socks need filling up?’ or ‘we don’t have any jersey boxers, maybe I should put some patterned ones there instead’.

The end of an era

I’ve finally finished my dissertation, I handed it in on monday. It’s ok, it’s not as good as it should have been, but it’ll do, I don’t think I’ll get an awful mark, and I did work really hard on it.  I should be much more pleased than I am, now all I feel is relief, but to be honest I don’t want to finish uni, I never have. All I have now is one more essay to give in, which I’m actually struggling with simply because the effort to do anything other than sit in my room reading is enormous, and of course the books I’m reading aren’t the ones I need to write about. But once that’s in on monday it will all be over, three years of uni, and I’ll have a mediocre degree and no job, and no prospects.

Everyone else seems to be going on to some sort of MA or something, or at least fine with working, and having an idea of what they want to do. I didn’t get accepted for any PGCE courses, then decided I don’t want to be a teacher anyway, but it was far too late to apply for anything else, even if I knew what else I want to apply for anyway, which I don’t. I’d love to do an MA, all I want to do is study Victorian literature forever, but I don’t want to be a lecturer, so an MA would just be another year putting off the real world, and another £5000 debt, or whatever it is.

I’m looking for a job, it’s not going very well. I’ve got lots of experience, but only in retail, and only as a sales assistant, and there just aren’t any sales assistant jobs out there, without even adding in the fact I have green hair and a tendency to be unable to control my moods, no ‘high end luxury fashion retailer’ is going to want me. I applied for a job in Harrod’s, god knows why because if I get as far as an interview they’ll have made up their minds not to offer me the job as soon as they see me. To be honest the whole idea of working is terrifying, I have enough trouble making myself get dressed in the morning, working 8 hours a day, every day, is something I can’t even comprehend. I can see I’m going to end up on the dole, but then I won’t be able to afford to go home and see my family. All of this is very miserable, but there’s nothing I can do to avoid working for at least a year, and all the time I’ll be hearing about how much my friends are enjoying their MA’s, great. Growing up is rubbish.

My expanding family

I haven’t been very active for a little while, because I have been super busy. Firstly, my essays are all starting to be due in, I’m just about to give one in today, and I have another due in on Friday plus my dissertation is due next week. It’s all going well, though it is also fairly stressful. I’ve very much looking forward to knowing they’re all ok and given in.

The other thing is that my personal life has been hectic, not least because my mum gave birth on Friday. My little sister was born at 6:45, Friday May 1st, after an incredibly short labour, weighing 7 pounds 3. She’s called Keturah Ellie Violet, though she’ll mostly get called Kitty, and is absolutely lovely, with masses of amazing dark hair. I’m thrilled with her, she’s really well behaved and very cuddly. Of course I spent four days at my mums to help look after the other children and see her, I’m quite sad to be back because I had a really lovely time, and I can’t wait  to go back in a couple of weeks to see her again.

Here she is just after she was born:


I’ve got a lot of work to do on essays over the next few days, but I’m hoping to get a proper post done within the week, until then my personal life will have to do.