Okay, so I am continuing on from my previous post with some more shameful library confessions!
3) I’ve made a huge mistake I am going to have to explain this one a bit. My first library job was in a public library in Dagenham and I worked with some seriously cool dudes. We’re talking male models, ninja super-mums, vampire loving cataloguers, raging drunks, radical teens…you name it. It was fantastic fun and we all went out often and got very merry. This is the job that led me to want to get professionally qualified in librarianship after years and years of admin (hey, at least I can type fast). So, I turn up at uni to start my post grad course and oh, okay, it’s not all about riding around on the shelving trolley, staging full-on battles with under 5s, rolling your eyes at customers who don’t know the alphabet. This is serious stuff. I’m no idiot and I’ve had a pretty reasonable time in education to this point, but I honestly turned up and thought I would know everything and I was so, so wrong. People were talking about things they did at work that I don’t even understand, and I still don’t. Someone posted a link to a completed chartership portfolio just last week and I nearly cried. I couldn’t make head nor tail of a lot of the stuff she’d written and I had that same feeling at uni. I started to panic. Cracks were starting to show on my unflappable confidence in my chosen profession. I was a fraud. And, yes, I still don’t have a clue most of the time what people are banging on about but I have decided I probably don’t need to know that stuff right now. I’m good at what I’m doing now so I probably haven’t made such a huge mistake after all…I hope! What the experience of being on that course taught me most of all was the sheer breadth of, well, stuff that librarians know and how different people have different skills. Okay, I don’t know how to metadata the whatsit in the mainframe but I can forge relationships with teenagers which transcend the functional. And not everyone can do that.
4) I am the WORST at returning library books
It’s pretty obvious I like reading and I have a tendency of going a bit mental when I visit a library. Just so many books! But I have a terrible confession – I am the WORST for returning books on time, so much so I wasn’t allowed to graduate from my undergrad degree for ages because I owed library fines. How shameful is that?!
On my last day at Dagenham Library I had to return all my loans because I was moving ooop North so I packed all the books into a large bag. My (very generous) loan limit there was 45 and I’d totally maxed it out. Why I did this I have no idea, because there wasn’t a hope in hell I was ever going to finish them all. Anyway, the bus was just about to arrive when the bag, when faced with a frankly gargantuan task, bucked under the weight of 45 books and they spilled all out on the street. That was a low point for me.
I also had terrible nightmares when I was younger of being taken to court by Kent Libraries because of the astronomical fees I owed (a fiver is a lot of money when you’re 14) and my mum impounded my library card. I didn’t even attempt to get another one until I was 19. I still have books out on it now…
Recently I have become a reformed character due to the fabulous renewal app provided by Manchester Libraries and I would like to take this opportunity to ensure them that their stock is safe with me!
I do try and be lenient with my students at work – I don’t want them having scary dreams about me chasing them round the school for their overdues. As long as it’s for the love of books.