“You Can’t Always Get What You Want…”

A strange few weeks recently: a rollercoaster which has caused me to question my commitment to the (public) library sector. It’s not really possible to go into much detail about specifically why, but I suppose I can say that for the last 18-months or so I have been working just about as hard as I can (maybe 99% of my capacity) to get involved in as many work projects and initiatives as possible. The medium-to-long-term aim of this effort was to put myself in a position to realistically apply for Librarian positions within my current service. All this was going reasonably OK recently and there were some institutional changes afoot that could have, at the very least, created the space for me to feel the time for advancement was close at hand; but recent news – concerning those institutional changes and the sudden, unexpected, ending of a few projects I was closely involved and identified with; projects that I hoped would bolster my case in future applications – has caused a setback and left me feeling no closer to moving beyond library assistant-dom. And, at my age, I can’t really continue doing that job “for the love of it” for much longer; if opportunities are lacking for the foreseeable future, I may have to re-think and move on to somewhere – maybe even something – different. That thought filled me with some trepidation, as I didn’t really consider my skills and experience to be such that they would easily translate to another context than the one I’m currently situated within.

Those considerations are still ‘live’, but I’ve realised that there is still plenty I can be getting involved in, even with the ending of those two aforementioned projects – and the sort of ‘plenty’ that could translate outside this current environment. I’m still an active member of the regional CILIP group and am continuing my efforts to curate events and activities for libraries around the Yorkshire and Humber region via Storify – exactly the kind of interesting, even innovative, project that I would be able to display on a future CV or application form.  I’m due to attend a CILIP Professional Registration Mentoring workshop tomorrow – again, the kind of activity that will translate well when I’m considering future employment options. I’m also meeting my ACLIP mentor to discuss starting the Chartership portfolio.

 Even within my workplace there are still several opportunities to get involved with those kinds of projects that go slightly further than the ‘bread and butter’ day-to-day work in a public library and which will aid my case if and when I can apply for slightly more senior positions – whether that is here or elsewhere. I’ve been involved with writing some blog entries around stock in our stack holdings in the past; now that those other activities have ended I have the time to do even more. There are always events to get involved with, if you’re willing (I am) and there are also opportunities for self-directed learning here – online tutorials in software packages that it would be advantageous to have knowledge of if I’m looking outside my current role: Excel, in particular. Plus I’ve considered why those other projects came to an end and thought about how and what I could do differently next time (putting what I learnt about reflective practice to good use).

In short, I’ve tried to look at the ending of those other projects as an opportunity to spend time doing new things – and who knows where they will lead? In fact, it might be that I’ve finally understood the meaning of that cliché about one door closing and another opening: “…but if you try some time/you just might find/you get what you need.”

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