In one of my posts for last year’s #blogjune, I wrote about my first library job. Today I want to write about how I ended up with that job.
Firstly, I’m not one of those people who always knew they wanted to be a librarian. Sure, as a kid growing up I played “libraries”, but everyone does that (don’t they?) At high school my focus was on science, and I ended up going on to do a chemistry degree at Macquarie University. One of my third-year units was on “Chemical Information Retrieval and Processing”, and for one class we went to the library and a librarian showed us how to use the print version of Chemical Abstracts (this was in the mid-90’s, so CD-ROMs were the cutting edge of online information access). The Internet was in its infancy at that time, and we didn’t use it for any of our classes.
Once I finished my degree, I got a job in an environmental laboratory as a Client Services Officer. I spent nearly five years in that role (with a short stint “at the bench” doing some analysis of water samples). At about the four-year mark, I started thinking about a change in career. The company I was working for was taken over, and although my job was safe, I thought I’d look for a change of scene.
I’d developed an interest in OH&S while working at the lab, so considered getting my Masters in this field. During my chemistry degree I did enjoy visiting the library and finding information, so I was also considering studying the Graduate Diploma in Applied Science (Library and Information Management) through Charles Sturt University. In the end the Grad Dip from Charles Sturt won out, because it was only two years and OH&S Masters was three. I began the course in the middle of 2002, while still employed at the lab. I resigned at the end of that year, and was lucky enough to start as a Shelver at Macquarie University Library (MUL) in March 2003. Since then I’ve held a variety of roles at MUL, and really enjoyed working here. I think I was very lucky to start my library career here.
Looking back, I definitely made the right move in switching careers. I’ve had some amazing opportunities as a librarian, and have met some great people along the way. There’s always new things to learn, and I think I’ll be a librarian for a little while yet.