I didn't always know I wanted to work in a library. During primary school I wanted to be a writer and, for a long while, an archaeologist (thanks Time Team!). However, once I reached middle school I knew I wanted to work in a library. At middle school the work I loved the most was when we were given a research project to do - we'd be given a topic, for example rainforests or the Tudors, and be expected to research it (I would use the school and public libraries as well as Encarta on our PC at home) and write it up. Mine usually consisted of pages of writing (mostly plagiarised at that age!) and hand-drawn pictures held together with treasury tags and I loved it. Also during my time at middle school I was one of a few students who were allowed to help out in the library at lunch times and oh, the excitement one day when we were allowed the afternoon off lessons to tidy up the shelves from beginning to end!
My love of libraries continued. I would regularly borrow fiction from our public library. At high school when we had to complete 2 weeks work experience I chose to work in Ipswich Public Library -the main one for the county. During Sixth Form I volunteered in my local public library in Stowmarket on Wednesday afternoons. My first job was running the Summer Reading Challenge on those afternoons then, when that came to an end, I worked on the help desk and shelving. When the time came for my meeting with the Careers Advisor at school there was only one career option on my mind.
I applied to three universities: Brighton, UCE Birmingham and Manchester Metropolitan. Brighton got the large seal of approval and I graduated in 2006 with a 2:1 BA degree in Library and Information Studies. I then settled down into my first professional job. Chartership was always at the back of my mind but it wasn't until 2009 that I decided to begin my application. I have been a chartered librarian for a year and am not sure what to do now. A couple of my colleagues have completed a PTTLS (teaching course) and a CMI (management) course and I am interested in the latter. However, it would be interesting to know if there is anything else library-related that is recommended.