Entering my third year studying a BA in Ancient and Modern History at Oxford University, I was unsure what to do next. I was looking through a booklet of graduate career opportunities, when I saw an entry for Graduate Trainees through the Library Association (as it then was – 1998). I had been a volunteer in my school library (Maidstone Grammar School), but before then the idea of a career in libraries hadn’t occurred to me. To be honest, what appealed was the ability to continue to work in a university environment for another year, followed by a Masters. I got the list off the LA website and started applying.
When I started getting interviews, I realised I was on the right track, and eventually I was accepted by the Albert Sloman Library at the University of Essex. My year in Colchester was very interesting. It was divided between Cataloguing, Periodicals and Inter-Library Loans. We had talks on other aspects of academic librarianship by different members of staff, and a few visits.
After Essex, I studied for my Masters at Loughborough University Department of Information Science. This was an excellent course, which gave me a good grounding in Librarianship and Information Science. Six months was the taught course and six months on the dissertation.
On finishing I thought I was set for a career in academic libraries, but after a short -term post at the University of Leicester working on their collection management policy and some temping positions, I ended up as a Library Assistant in the NHS. My big break, through God’s provision, was a six-month maternity leave Assistant Librarian post at Leicester General Hospital. Since then I have undertaken a variety of posts in the NHS and am now Clinical Librarian at George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust. I like working in the NHS, because one is part of a multi-disciplinary team supporting care for sick people. I enjoy helping people find the information they need.
I gained Chartered membership of CILIP in 2005. I found it a helpful process to reflect over my career and future goals. I can’t say whether it has helped my career. I am now thinking about revalidation as it has been set as one of my goals for the year in my Personal Development Review. One of the difficulties here is that although there is a lot of support for Chartership, there is not much for revalidation, probably because fewer people are doing it.