Ch-ch-changes: January 2016

I spent a lot of time last year reading about adventure, taking brave steps, leaping off into the unknown, following your heart. “Aw, wouldn’t a new adventure be fun,” I thought. “But…” …there’s always a ‘but’, I find. And in Brighton, this glorious city of sunshine and creativity and vibrancy, there’s always a reason to stay.

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Brighton, from Kemptown, 2015

The start of 2016 brought a quiet resolution to continue looking for work a bit more solidly than last year. I’ve been in my current role for six years and desperately need a new challenge. I love what I do, I love the people, I love the buzz of showing people the really cool material I get to work with. But it’s been my first job out of university; staying in one place forever is quite unlikely, much as I’d love to stay.

It’s the first week of Februaryย and I’ve just handed in my resignation from the first place I’ve ever worked full time. I’m moving to Canterbury for (at least) a year, having accepted a job offer at the wonderful Templeman Library, University of Kent! It’s my dream role, and exactly the one I needed to progress in my field of work.

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Canterbury Cathedral

I am ridiculously excited for this change – I never feel more alive when planning the future – but I’m also terrified. This is probably a sign that it’s the right point to go; change is healthy, it’s good for you. And I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.

And, oh, I have so much to learn! I’ve got to plan a move for two people across counties, find somewhere to live, continue my MA, make new friends and keep seeing the people I love, discover somewhere new. I’m going to write more here and document the year too.

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It wouldn’t be a Brighton post without a West Pier photo…

One thing I do know: just as Oxford defined me a lot in Brighton, so Brighton will define me a lot in Canterbury. You wear your cities with you, carry them in your heart. And you can always return.

So, 2016, what’s next?

 

 

2013 in review

The end of the year is always a good time for reflection – ‘best of’ posts fill social media and news sites – and with the long Christmas break, I’ve been having a ponder on how 2013 was in regards to my career.

Library-land is an interesting place to be at the moment, particularly for us early careerists. Although I’ve not had any significant promotions, I’ve been developing skills and making the most of professional training to ensure that when the ideal role does arise for me, I’ll be well-equipped to leap for it!

Librarian badge from when I was at secondary school - clearly a hint of things to come!
Librarian badge from when I was at secondary school – clearly a hint of things to come!

This blog has been somewhat neglected this year, but my career has been much busier. So, this year I:

* Finished my secondment in Special Collections and, after a brief return to my original department, successfully applied for a transfer to Research Support! I now work in Collection Development and am really enjoying getting to know a different side of library work; the role also means I support Special Collections in their gorgeous new home when needed.
* Joined CILIP as an Affiliate Member and became a member of the brilliant LIHG and RBSCG special interest groups
* Attended numerous conferences and workshops, including the LIHG conference, ‘Libraries in the Public Sphere: How the past informs the present and the future’ and the GLAM symposium, ‘Cataloguing Creativity’.
* Wrote a review of an excellent historical bookbindings workshop which was published in the Summer RBSCG newsletter
* Learnt a great deal about cataloguing rare books, thanks to fantastic training by Renae Satterleyย and Lucy Evans
* Spent a Saturday learning about special collections held in public libraries – and tried food made from recipes found in early modern notebooks!
* Engaged with many more librarians and archivists via the magical medium that is Twitter
* Began studying a part time distance learning postgraduate course on Rare Books Librarianship at the University of Aberystwyth, giving me much needed theory behind the practice
* Attended some beautiful manuscript, archival and rare book exhibitions, notably the fantastic ‘Putting Scotland on the Map: The world of John Bartholomew and Son’ at the NLS and the wonderful ‘Magical Books: From the Middle Ages to Middle-Earth’ย at the Bodleian Library

In short, it’s been a tremendously fun year – I’ve become even more convinced that Special Collections librarianship is where I want to be, gained a lot of technical skills and theory needed to progress and met some brilliant people along the way.

Exploring Manchester after the LIHG Conference
Postcard from an exhibition at the NLS
Postcard from an exhibition at the NLS
Early morning start at Lambeth Palace Library for a historical bookbindings workshop
Early morning start at Lambeth Palace Library for a historical bookbindings workshop

 

Outside of work, I managed to move house (books first, of course) and begin the GirlGuiding Leadership Qualification to become a full and proper Brown Owl! I’m really hoping to be able to introduce my Brownies to the wonderful world of archives and rare books next year, too.

Looking forward to the next year, I hope to be as busy and engaged as I have been in 2013. I would really like to update this blog more often as well, so if you see more posts here then consider that my resolution completed! Realistically, though, by the end of next year I hope to have begun my MA in Information and Library Studies at the University of Aberystwyth – a much needed step in any librarian’s career. I can’t wait to get started!

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The future is books (and pencils, and many notes…)

What about you? Have you got any particular goals for your career next year? Any thoughts on how 2013 went? Get in touch!