Big 50 Volume 9: My Current Job

I love my job.  I really do.  Sometimes little things drive me up the wall, but I wouldn’t be a human being if that didn’t happen.  But at the crux of it all, I love my job and am passionate about what I do.

I am an IT librarian.  When I tell people I’m an IT librarian, they instantly assume I work in a library, but I actually work in an office.  I do get to visit libraries though.  I work in a support team for 32 libraries (soon to be 33), one mobile library, one city archive and of course our own office.  Many people assume that librarian is a very generalised role, but not in many cases.  While most of us are good Jack/Jill-of-all-trades types, we often have very definite areas of specialisation that we are passionate about.  It never ceases to amaze me when I realise that someone is surprised that I or my librarian colleagues are very knowledgeable about things that are way outside of the librarian stereotype.

Initially I wanted to work in libraries because of my passion for reading and books.  But over the years, while those passions have never left me, my passion for libraries is about so much more.  Reading, particularly recreational reading, is still at the core of why my job is important to me, but that core has expanded to include literacy, critical thinking, access to information, education (especially life-long learning), community, social inclusion and equity.  Add that to a healthy passion for my home city, and I’m in a career I always feel like I can really get my teeth into and be challenged by.

When I first started in the job I am in now, 9 years ago, I mostly catalogued photographs of Brisbane all day.  I did have some support role in IT, but predominantly I spent my time working on digitising and cataloguing the photographic collection.  Over time my role has evolved (and I’ve been promoted within the same position) to a much more varied scope.  Nowdays my areas of specialty are library IT asset procurement and management,  AV in libraries, social media in libraries and special equipment in libraries.  So from sourcing and purchasing computers, printers, projectors, LCD/Plasma screens, audio equipment, AV system management equipment, cameras, iPads, eBook readers, game consoles, DVD players, television/Pay-TV resources, and any other doohicky or gadget that crops up as relevant/useful/required by libraries, to managing the installation of all of that, staff training for it all, and then asset management so that we know where all of that equipment is at any given time, what it’s worth, whether or not it’s working, if it needs repairs, when it’s time to replace it and what to do with it when it needs disposing of through to training staff in how to deliver all of that stuff to our customers, I’m kept pretty damn busy and challenged all of my working life.

At the moment we’re at the pointy end of building one new library (due to open in December) and relocating one rather large library to a temporary location (for 18 months or so) so that a fancy pants new version can be built for them to go to in the long term.  We don’t do projects this big very often, but when we do… boy, do they take over your life.  And now more than ever, are we, the librarians, being called on to do so much of the planning, research, project management, implementations, installations, trouble-shooting, crisis averting, shiny-making, and overall nitty-grittying of these big projects.  It’s AWESOME that we’re so much part of the creation of our own libraries, but it’s damn hard work and you have to learn so much, and think on your feet all the time.

ALL the time.  Two nights ago I woke at 3am shouting the name of the relocating library into the darkness.  That’s how much it takes over your life.

But I love it.  It means a lot to me.  It’s far more than a job.  It’s a vocation, a calling.  It matters.  And my contribution makes a difference.

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November 10, 2010. Big 50, librarians, libraries, work.

6 Comments

  1. mimbles replied:

    How wonderful to have found work that you can feel so passionate about 🙂 I know a few librarians, it does seem to inspire passion!

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      We do it because it matters to us Mim, rather than for a paypacket.

  2. Kerri replied:

    and I am so glad you are at the pointy end with me, dear friend!

    • sleepydumpling replied:

      That point is getting a bit sharp and jabby. And I have two of them!

  3. Emma @ Down to Girth replied:

    I always wanted to be a librarian so that I could be surrounded by books all day!

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