Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Former Librarian #11

This week, Former Librarian 12 has done two very different things since leaving libraries. The first was a manager with responsibility for disability in student support services; the second and current occupation is as a full-time Mum!

Name: Anonymous

Current role: Full time stay at home mum, but my last paid job was as a manager in student support services (specifically disability) within a University setting

Former role: Disability Librarian in a University

What led you to move on from libraries? I was promoted from an assistant librarian's post in a small library within a large University into the newly formed disability librarian because I wanted a challenge, and also the pay was better. After a few years of setting up a new service, and working with a lot of assistive technology and supporting disabled students in libraries, I wanted to move on from where I was and back into a more traditional librarian's post. I found, however, because of the disability in my title, and what I had been doing with assistive technology and access, myself a bit pigeon holed and struggled to get back into traditional reader services. As I wanted to leave the institution I was in, I applied for several jobs in disability support and found myself as a support manager in a large academic insitution, as it involved helping to set up a new service, which is what I had done previously. I gave up the job at the start of my maternity leave for my second child because I found it very hard to do a stressful job and also be a mum. I wasn't happy in the role at all, and I found the stress of knowing I was going to back to work again at the end of the maternity leave was too much. It had been hard going back after my first child was born and I didn't want the same situation again.

Current role: Full time Mum, but before that Disability Team Manager

What do you do in your current role? In my role as Full time Mum I manage two small children and all that entails. It is definitely 24 hours a day and you don't get paid! I get children up, sort them out for school, pick them up from school, do the majority of the household chores and organise the food for the week, day trips at the weekend, buying all they need, organising children's parties. It is full on and extremely rewarding.
When I was in my previous paid job in disability support, it involved managing 6 people in their roles working and supporting disabled students. I had to: organise making sure they all worked efficiently, and get involved in disciplinary issues; manage service rotas; plan for new services, and improve the ones we had; liaise with a lot of staff in different faculties and advise on whether what they were doing regarding access and support for students was legal and correct. It was more of a managerial post than supporting disabled students.

What library skills do you use in your current role? I certainly use my library skills in my role as a mum. It involves major organisation on a daily basis! Timing is everything, and I have to schedule in tasks for every day - food shopping, cleaning, washing etc. I'm also constantly tidying up - it's like a never ending reshelving task. As we've been having a lot of work done on our house, I've had to liaise a lot with different workmen and having set up a service in a library, I know all that involves. I also had a bit of budgetary responsibility and that comes in very handy with monthly budgeting.
As Disability Team Manager, I definitely found my skills from librarianship were hugely helpful. All of the organisation; working towards deadlines; dealing with people from all areas of the University and at all levels; budgeting.

Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? Certainly for my last paid role all my experience in libraries helped me get it. For my role as a Mum, given my husband is also a librarian, that's a definite yes :-)

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? I definitely think I didn't have as many skills in general management as I needed, particularly when working with difficult people. I was lucky in that the situations I came across in librarianship were not as severe as those I walked into. I've definitely improved on those since my last paid job, and they have improved tenfold since becoming a mum - I've learnt to say No a great deal now, and give reasons why, and deal with subsequent tantrums - something you think you never would have to do with adults in the work place, but in higher level management, you do.

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? None.

Do you have any future plans/aspirations? Not at the moment, until my second is at school and I have a little more time to myself.

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