Explanation of title: Through the Looking Glass / Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. My dress! Using the stories as a basis. Some libraries have revolving doors: New York Public Library. In and out of library profession over the years: through the revolving door...
Explanation of why I'm here as a New Professional: 'reborn professional'. Potted history: trained in 1993-4 but left profession after couple of years as wasn't sure it was right for me. Had other skills I wanted to develop, e.g. writing/editing. Found job as editorial assistant in med comms agency. Gained skills and confidence. Went back into lib profession as clin lib at NRAC. Temp contract. Then took sideways move into web editing and stayed there for a number of years (LA, vol, HE).
Realised, after many years out of the lib profession, that I was a librarian at heart. The skills I've gravitated towards using even in non-librarian jobs are fundamental parts of the librarian identity. (and not just eating cake and drinking mind-altering liquids…) Web editor: organising information; keeping it up to date; making it easily accessible to users. Editorial assistant: ensuring information is accurate; communicating a clear message; assisting the learning process. So - down the rabbit hole I went, back into librarianship.
The experiences of an info professional bear striking similarities to Wonderland. Even within the 'traditional' boundaries of the profession it's a constantly changing environment: new technologies etc. Also confusion over names/titles: librarians called different things! &quot;The name of the song is called 'Haddock's Eyes'.&quot; &quot;Oh, that's the name of the song, is it?&quot; Alice said, trying to feel interested. &quot;No, you don't understand,&quot; the Knight said, looking a little vexed. &quot;That's what the name is called. The name really is 'The Aged Aged Man'.&quot; &quot;Then I ought to have said 'That's what the song is called?'&quot; Alice corrected herself. &quot;No, you oughtn't: that's quite another thing! The song is called 'Ways and Means': but that's only what it's called, you know!&quot; &quot;Well, what is the song, then?&quot; said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered. &quot;I was coming to that,&quot; the Knight said. &quot;The song really is 'A-sitting on a Gate': and the tune's my own invention.&quot; So I think if you're a librarian you're a librarian, even if that's not what you're called. and even if you're not within a 'traditional' library job. Librarianship is an identity, a vocation and a way of behaving. Even if the tune is your own invention.
But before my vision of a ‘librarian without a library’… Things that have thrown me off course. Pool of Tears: crisis of confidence. A Mad Tea Party: public sector committee meetings. Cards: card catalogues: old/new technologies – story re. final year at uni / card catalogue in library. Twitter: Caucus Race: various birds, running round, telling random stories. Keeping up with the profession. An introvert in an extrovert network. Queen of Hearts - &quot;Off with his head!&quot; Lack of logic. You just have to learn to recognise what is and is not important, to have faith in yourself, and to be able to say ‘you’re just a pack of cards!’
My personal mission: connecting people with the information they need to live their lives or run their businesses. I now identify as a freelance information consultant, which is who I &quot;am&quot; and always will be, whatever the job title. It's taken some time balancing out the different sides of &quot;me&quot; (as Alice does in her encounter with the Caterpillar), but I have finally worked out who I am. And, as Alice realises, once you know who you are then you can start finding your way through the madness and getting on with reality.
Random cat pictures Librarians have a role to play in all spheres of life, even if people do not realise who you are from your job title. We still have valuable skills to use, so get out there and start exercising them!
Gregynog 2011 gm
Through the Revolving Door… Gwyneth’s Adventures in Libraryland
Potted career history University 1988-92 Library school 1993-94 Academic liaison librarian -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> Writing/editing Health information The wonderful web…
Down the Rabbit Hole ‘ Librarianship skills’ Organising information Keeping it up to date Making it easily accessible Ensuring accuracy Communicating clearly Assisting with learning
Libraryland… Wonderland! books learning discovery knowledge independence identity power librarian information officer information consultant library manager information specialist