Careers Talks: Libraries, by Victoria Madden

One of my aunts is a librarian, and she’s always talking about how library science is an under-appreciated discipline. As a book lover (even the smell of old books makes me happy) looking to expand my career options, this careers talk, put on by Library Resources, seemed like a logical choice for my ILW.

Three different library staff members each gave mini presentations on how they got into the business, which was probably the most helpful thing they could have done for those of us who are thinking about library sciences without actually knowing what that really entails. The best thing was that these three women had each taken extremely different paths to get to where they are today, which just goes to show that there’s never just one way to achieve your goals.

The first speaker talked about taking the “academic route” to becoming a librarian – training with the Oxford SCONUL scheme and then completing an MA in Information Studies – while the third speaker told us about how she started working for the National Library of Scotland when she was just seventeen, racking up loads of practical and managerial experience before landing herself a job at the University of Edinburgh.

It was, however, the second speaker that I found most inspiring of all: Anne Donnelly, who became a librarian as a “mid-life crisis career change option” after years of working in different sectors.

Anne’s top tips for career success? Don’t stick with something you don’t like, be open to things happening, to exploring new possibilities, and think about how you can harness your own skills and experiences.

Now, regardless of what career path you choose, I believe that is solid advice.


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