I ended up interviewing well and got my first proper, respectable, job at the library, as a Customer Services Team Member (I know - very descriptive job description) and found I enjoyed it. My job was to learn the ropes of lots of departments and branch libraries across Wellington, while covering for various people while they got training in the new library management software the library was implementing. Here I gained some invaluable library experience.
I have always wanted to learn, and that’s what I found I liked about library work, especially reference. You never knew what the day could bring, what you were going to asked to look up, and what you were going to learn yourself about the topic your patron was researching. After all a librarian’s great skill is not knowing lots of stuff, though that’s an occupational hazard. No, a librarians’ skill lies in knowing where to find stuff out.
So with this taste for library work, I thought I might like to do this for a living. But I needed qualifications to get the best jobs. My options for an undergraduate degree in library studies were pretty slim. I believe most overseas librarians study a masters in librarianship after doing a bachelor’s degree; perhaps in history, arts or languages, but their initial degree could be in anything. You can do that here, and many people do, but as I’ve found it’s not only option in New Zealand.
After discovering that the only undergraduate library qualifications in New Zealand were by distance, I enrolled in my first papers at the Open Polytechnic in 2003. This was a distance degree, which suited me financially, and still does, as I can work and study at the same time. I've worked and studied part-time ever since.
It has been really good to ask practicing librarians for their options and advice to help me write papers, but I have missed being surrounded by other students on a physical campus.
So here’s me 8 years later, and only three courses to go out of 18, before getting my degree. But the last ones are non-library topics so I’m really struggling. I haven’t studied this year, July 1st, the deadline for enrolling in trimester 2, is fast approaching and I’m not yet ready to look at Statistical analysis, one of my last 3 courses I have to do to complete my degree.
Yet I’ve learned so much since finishing my last paper I completed a year ago. All from the Internet. Blogs, twitter, wikis, these have kept me entertained, challenged and learning the whole time. I love them, and would love to get them integrated with formal learning; maybe learning analytics will be the answer?
What have you studied, and how do you integrate that in with your work? Were you able to study full-time, or study part-time and work full-time, like I had to? And for those studying and working who have kids -I don't know how you do it!