I first discovered library work while out of work and struggling after my original career idea fell through. The local library was the only place in my hometown that allowed me to do work experience. I simply loved my six weeks there and when told about the qualification I decided to do everything in my power to apply for the course at University College Dublin. I took the graduate diploma in Library and Information Studies as the Masters was too expensive at the time. From there I did a year’s more experience in a small private college library doing one evening a week. This was the clincher in securing my first real job as a part-time library assistant in a college library. I was in this job for around 9 months when my superior left and offered me the Librarian position. My job involves looking after patrons’ circulation and printing needs at the main desk while dealing with invoices, journal subscriptions, Moodle, OpenAthens and general administration. For one hour a day, I can retreat into my office to finish up administration stuff. My favourite part of the job would have to be helping students find what they are looking for particularly when they are stressed about their course.
It was quite a shift from library assistant to librarian and it has been non-stop since I started a month ago. Some of the projects I have undertaken included advocating for the renewal of our inter-library loan arrangement with a bigger library, updating the outdated MA in Dispute Resolution reading list and the inclusion of some reference self-study materials for the English language students. With the role of the librarian changing rapidly it is important to keep on our toes about our skills and knowledge of trends. Above all willingness to be flexible is incredibly important. Staff at our college often require help with something I may not have encountered before so being good at sourcing information is also relevant in that respect. Therefore I am involved in many groups on LinkedIn, a member of the Library Association of Ireland and am undertaking any related MOOC I can find. I am currently involved in a MOOC on advocacy and it teaches the importance of staying in tune with your patrons needs and adapting to these needs. This is a very important part of being an information professional. This is something I feel strongly about and along with my belief in the power of teaching digital literacy skills to students, is my primary advice for those entering the sector. Other advice for those thinking of the career would be to get as much experience in different sectors as you can before you decide to specialise and as I have said, stay updated on the trends in libraries today and involved in your chosen community whether online or elsewhere. The particular trends I like to follow while still advocating for print and the traditional roles of the librarian, is areas such as Open Access, Digital Literacy, conquering the digital divide and makerspace rooms.