This week we welcome Former Librarian Liz to the blog. Liz went part-time in her library role whilst she built up her own business as a self-employed editor. This work initially seemed to me to be quite a logical progression from libraries, but although Liz says that she uses plenty of skills acquired in libraries in her day to day work, she doesn't feel that her library skills directly contributed to this career move. She has written several books on how she did this - see the links at the end!
Current role: Freelance editor, proofreader, transcriber, localiser and writer
Former role: Library Assistant, Acquisitions and Metadata / project work on a rare books project at a large University library.
What led you to move on from libraries? Two reasons: first of all, I built up my freelance business while working in the library (I was able to do this because I was in a fairly administrative role, not a Qualified role, even though I have my post-grad diploma in LIS). After going part time for a year, it was clear that I had to make the jump, and, well, second reason coming up ... The second reason is that the University was not a particularly pleasant place to work in general, and my job role also changed so I lost touch with the parts of the job I most enjoyed doing.
What is your current role? Editor proofreader, transcriber, localiser, writer.
What do you do in this role? I edit and proofread texts for students, self-publishers, translators and clients via translation agencies; transcribe interviews for journalists and interviews, focus groups and conferences for corporate clients; localise texts from US to UK English and write books on running a small business and particular aspects of my work.
What library skills do you use in this current role? The most useful thing I picked up from my library work was the actual people in my office; many of them were PhD students working part time buying and cataloguing foreign language materials. I learned a lot about non-native English working with them. Right from my very first library job back in 1992 after graduating with my first degree, I learned to be a good administrator, methodical and reliable, and this has helped a great deal in my freelance career.
One specific contract I had involved making very quick choices on pairs of search results for a client - I am fairly sure that my work looking up books, deciding what was the right one, etc. helped with that.
I spent my secondment on a rare books project sequestered underground in a locked store, and that helped to reassure me that I'd be OK working on my own (not underground, not locked in, with an actual window).
And my work at a library supplier after library school helped with my writing, US/UK localisation and business sense.
Very bizarrely, my course in Advanced Computing (in 1995 - can you imagine!) at Library School helped me understand writing websites and html, which has helped in constructing my own website and ensuring it gets lots of hits. Also, going to Library School a few years after University helped give me a kick in terms of reminding me I could go on learning - and fairly technical stuff - which has helped me.
Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? Not directly, but a) working flexitime with understanding employers helped me to build my business while working (all legitimately and in my own time, I hasten to add!) and b) my library qualification, alongside my English degree, has impressed various prospective clients over the years.
What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? I've been lucky enough to use the skills I've gained in my career as a whole (customer services; at the library supplier; at the library) in my new job. I have had to learn how to work with various software for translators and localisers as well as transcription software and website design, Search Engine Optimisation, etc. But the basic skills to do my work were all there already.
Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? I maintain an interest in library matters, but no memberships. I hold membership of one job portal website for finding work in my current fields.
Do you have any future plans/aspirations? I'd like to continue as I am, write a few more books and continue to help people express their words in whatever form they are expressing them. I have no desire to go back into libraries, but wouldn't swap my experience there and value my qualification, even though I never used it to work in a professional role!
Anything else that you’d like to tell us? If you'd like links, http://www.libroediting.com http://www.librofulltime.wordpress.com and http://www.lizbroomfieldbooks.com are my three websites.