This post inspired by Jane Cowell’s post on her first library job.
The blog helpfully reminded me that I have already written about my first library job – during #blogjune in 2013 (of course).
I’m fortunate in that I worked with many skilled library professionals in my first library job. I learned a lot from listening to them, and observing how they served their community. Most of them were very welcoming and supportive, and I think that being a member of the library workforce did a lot to boost my confidence and show me that I could indeed work as a librarian.
Two things that have stuck with me from that first job: a very experienced, expert library technician reminding me: “No one’s going to die” whenever I got flustered or stressed about trying to fix a problem. I have a tendency to be impatient, to want to sort it all out immediately. I learned a lot from watching my colleague’s calm, professional approach. Just think it through, talk about it, work it out. I still hear her voice now, at times when I’m stressing out about something: “Con, we’re in a library, no one’s going to die.”
The other thing was advice from a librarian I greatly admired, who when she retired gave me some advice: “be brave”. She was calm, considered and gracious, with a sense of humour that served her well. She wasn’t afraid to argue her case to the University Librarian – a wonder to me who at the time was in awe of august beings like University Librarians – and she even occasionally got the UL to see her point and change her mind!
The job showed me how different the people who work in a library can be. All the different approaches, attitudes, motivations. The people who just got on with it, the people who didn’t like their jobs, the people for whom it was more than a job. People who did their jobs really well, and people who didn’t – even managers.
The more I work with people the more I learn how little I really know about people 😉