“Much to learn, you still have” Yoda, Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones

First of all, a couple of home truths:

  1. I am not an activist
  2. I am not going to run CILIP

I am, however, keen on helping (enabling?) other people to reach their potential. Oh…that reminds me of a third one:

  1. I don’t really like management and coaching theory. I prefer practical action.

I have always considered myself to be quite selfish professionally. This was helped in no small part by being a lone worker for so long. I got used to being utterly self-sufficient and, because I had no-one to rely on I found that I didn’t need anyone to rely on. And so it goes.

Although I don’t feel able to make a difference on a grand scale, I’d like to think that I have something to offer to people by way of personal support and professional development. I really enjoyed a post by Michael in which he spoke about the mentor-mentee relationship and the notion of ‘paying it forward’. I had a fab mentor when I did Chartership and I’d like to give someone else that level of encouragement and support.

Nearly eight years into my library career I am not arrogant enough to assume that I know everything there is to know about the profession (who does, really?) but, having been round the block a bit (so to speak) and working my way up through the ranks, from graduate trainee to running a library, I reckon I might have something by way of experience to offer to the young (and maybe slightly more mature) bucks that want to do some career development. I’ve done everything from dusting bookshelves to speaking at conferences, via cataloguing, financial management, line management and dealing with the general public. I’ve worked in an academic(ish) library, a museum library, a charity library and, currently, a government library.

I did a distance learning library course whilst working full-time. I completed my Chartership whilst on maternity leave. I juggle a full-time job with two extremely demanding (but lovely) pre-schoolers and what’s left of that thing I used to call ‘a life’. I’ve had good managers and crap managers. I’ve made some enormous mistakes in my (brief) career and had some big successes. I’ve experienced air-punching triumph and sobbing desperately on the loo because I cared about my job and – by extension – about this bloody thing we call a profession so much. I love what I do but I’m not po-faced about it.

Bearing all of this in mind I have decided to try and become a Chartership mentor. I’m going to be doing the training at HQ on Monday 5th September and will be putting in my application straight afterwards. Hopefully I’ll be added to the illustrious list of mentors on the CILIP website at some point in the future.


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