Over this past year I was completely wrapped up in my enthusiasm for the Masters in Library and Information Systems, about the potential of being an information professional, and was excited to discover that librarians could fill a diverse range of jobs. It is amazing that librarians can be found in the most unusual of places, not just in Google but Cadbury’s too! And it is great that we can master a whole raft of technical skills. I really enjoyed expanding my knowledge of digital platforms, and surprised myself with how readily I took up coding with HTML and CSS. My bizarre love of cataloguing is not so much of a shock, I love things to be organised so constructing codes to create access to information has obvious appeal.
Recently however, I have been able to take a step back and think about why I decided to pursue a career in librarianship. I wanted to find something that combined my education and experiences in life so far and could offer the challenges of working with young people; the satisfaction of contributing to social issues; the ability to meet people across sections of a community; and to put my natural interpersonal abilities to best use. Ultimately, finding a way to parcel together very different interests in an effective way.
Yes, the possibilities of digitisation and digital humanities are amazing, and knowledge management and information literacy in large corporations is necessary, but is the non-traditional information role for me?
Even at interview stage for my current position, I told the panel that I would be proud to tell friends and family that I had a non-traditional role as a result of my much scoffed at Masters in librarianship. And it’s true that there is a great deal to take from this role to help me with all manner of future Info Pro positions. Despite having trained staff and acted as supervisor in restaurants and shops, it will be good to demonstrate this experience in what some might consider a more “professional” environment. I am gaining experience of the workflows and processes of managing and executing large scale digitisation projects that you could never learn within a lecture hall. I am also learning the corporate lingo and management structure – an SME in this environment is not a Small or Medium Enterprise, but a Subject Matter Expert; I love a good abbreviation but that’s just confusing!
Ultimately though, I miss the opportunities to interact with a diverse range of people or feel that I am contributing to something special. I have to ask myself the question: Do I want to be an advocate and example of what an Information Professional can be, or do I want to be what I want to be?