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Naomi House’s interview with success story Freya.
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Freya: My current job was advertised on seek.com.au, and also on the website of the organization I now work for.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Freya: The State Library of New South Wales – I have vivid memories of visiting the library with my father and looking at newspapers from the day I was born using microfiche. An amazing place of history and hush, and one which is forever etched in my librarian psyche.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Freya: Asking me to pick my favourite child would be easier (boys, if you’re reading this in the future, that’s Mummy attempting to be funny. Of course YOU’RE my favourite…unless it’s the other one reading, in which case, it’s you)
My most recent favourite would have to be Cupcakes And Kalashnikovs by Eleanor Mills. It’s an anthology of 100 years of the best of female journalism. It was interesting to see that some of the struggles we equate with the world of the modern woman -work or stay home, for example – have been fought long before we were even thought of by our mothers.
Viewing certain moments in history through the eyes of these female journalists was also interesting, as was hearing all their individual stories. There’s something, to me, about hearing the voices of women speaking of what is now history that makes me wonder about the gender balance in today’s media and who’s voices are not being heard.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Freya: I love that libraries can be so many things to so many people, even before the advent of digital technologies. Libraries have always been, to my mind at least, about 2 things. Storing information and helping people. That “helping” looks different to every person who walks in the door.
Some people will be helped through the books they choose, which will help them fill time, or learn something new. Some people will be helped to access the Internet, and everything that comes along with that, such as applying for jobs and looking for housing. Some people will be helped to escape – either physically or mentally – from things which are just too hard.
The library can do and be all those things, simply by being a building with people and books inside, and I honestly think that’s kind of magical.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Freya: Well, aside from my blog, which is a little neglected right now (http://liberamoris.edublogs.org/) I think that Alisa Howlett writes a lot on topics which would be of interest to new grads/ people currently studying. (http://acrystelle.com/) I also love reading Ruth Kneale’s blog – mainly because after seeing her speak at NLS6, I am a bit of a fan girl. You can read Ruth’s blog at http://desertlibrarian.blogspot.com
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Freya: I wouldn’t be a very good Early Childhood consultant here if I didn’t throw in a reference to something from my sector, so here goes (with a tip of the hat to @KatrinaMac17 for the inspiration)
I offer you the following pieces of Seussian wisdom
On the job seeking process:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – You’re not a tree. Many people (not all, but many) seeking librarianship positions are in the position where they can move to where the work is. Other people have family commitments, but even then, if it’s a good opportunity, consider moving to where the work is. Yes, moving is scary and expensive. Yes, sometimes it can be lonely. Yes, in theory, you shouldn’t “have” to move, your dream job should just land in your lap where you are – but the real world doesn’t work like that.
If you can’t (or won’t) move physically, you can move in the direction of what you want to do. If you have a passion for children’s librarianship for example, consider what adjacent experience you can gather while waiting for your dream position. Many children’s services organizations will consider taking on volunteers. You might approach local scout groups, and support the troupe in working towards a merit badge for example. You may also consider what upskiling you can do that is adjacent to your library qualification – perhaps a community college course in art, drama, face painting, macramé…What can you learn or do which will make you unique to an employer?
While these examples won’t give you direct experience in a Children’s Librarian position, they WILL give you experience with children, prove that you’re reliable, can work with others, have good community spirit, display initiative etc.
Ultimately, as Dr Seuss said, you are the one who is in charge here. You write the resume, you build the personal brand, you choose the networking events you attend (or otherwise), you are the one that chooses if you will use this job seeking time to your advantage or detriment – even though sometimes you might feel powerless, you have more power than you know.
No-one is more of an expert on you than you. No-one has more invested in your future than you, and no-one, ultimately, cares about you as much as you care about you! So take care of you, do the best you can for you, and nurture your own unique strengths, talents and abilities – you are your biggest asset! You CAN get a job. You WILL get a job, you ARE worthy – but it might not be easy.
Once you’ve gotten your job:
“It is better to know how to learn than to know” – You’ve been around, you’ve got the piece of paper, so you’re a librarian right? Wrong. Many employers will hire not just for aptitude, but for attitude. If you’re serious about your career, you need to embrace the concept of being a life long learner, and be open and humble to the learning journey. Don’t be arrogant while you celebrate you – you’re awesome, but there’s always someone you can learn from (a person’s a person, no matter how small)
Freya has been working in the education and care sector for over 15 years, with a focus and passion for literacy development. Her current role as an Early Childhood Consultant with Gowrie SA allows her to marry this prior experience with her skills and qualifications in Library and Information Management to provide quality information and service delivery to the South Australian sector, working with educators to support their service delivery and skill development. Her particular interests centre on digital curration and the role and potential of social media within the sector. To learn more, visit www.about.me/liberamoris or follow Freya on Twitter @liber_amoris