These have been a turbulent few months at my library which have made me reflect a lot on my profession and my future as a librarian but in a week a new dawn is coming which we hope will bring calmer waters.
I love being a librarian. I believe libraries are the key to any successful university and should be valued but I do get frustrated sometimes that change can be stilted. I’m sure I’ll reflect on this more in the coming weeks but I have been a subject librarian at the University of Brighton for 7 1/2 years. In many ways I love the job, the contact with students, the involvement with courses and the chance to be innovative. However that brings me to my major frustration – I want to innovate and do with great success in my own subject areas but there are people who seem to want to block any innovation and change.
I don’t think this is a unique problem, I encounter it in conversations everywhere with other librarians but it is a huge problem for the profession.
Other professional careers have a clearly defined CPD requirement, an expectation of development and also clear possible career pathways so every job provides people with the skills to move on to the next rung of the career ladder. Why don’t we? Why do the naysayers often get to dictate what is going on?
I understand in many cases the jobs have changed a lot from the jobs people signed up for but how do we balance that with the needs of younger eager professionals who I see countlessly becoming demotivated and frustrated.
I feel at a stage where I need to move forward but when I apply for jobs I am told I don’t have the relevant experience, management often. I do have management experience from running my own business but because it isn’t from inside libraries it appears it isn’t enough. How can I get the experience when my peers say adding management will take the job away from the one they applied to. My colleagues in assistant positions see that I am getting frustrated and wonder if I can’t move on how will they?
I’ve always seen two potential avenues for my career, management or academia. I’ll continue plugging away at the management path, I’ll take courses and continue applying for jobs. I know I am a good manager, I have respect of colleagues, I try and listen, I can see the bigger picture and the experience I have from running my own business is unique.
The academia plan is now my real focus, I am resurrecting research ideas from previous bids which I was perhaps not experienced enough to progress. I’m networking and hoping that I will have two super mentors to help me. I’m going to look at the National Teaching Fellowship as my ultimate goal.
I am eligible for the National Teaching Fellowship because I was lucky enough to win an award for Teaching Excellence in 2005. (The only Information Services member of staff to do so – yet it is strangely unrecognised in the department).
So onwards and upwards! Hopefully this blog will record my adventures in the world on Brighton University libraries.