Thursday, 6 June 2013

"My first library job"

Considering my last post was so brief, I have decided to start a meme with a post I have been considering for a while.

 "My first library job"

My first library job was when I was quite young and was a choice in a small country town between bank teller and library clerk at the small public library. No choice really, for a reader.

This was my first real job and coincided with a lot, moving out of home, meeting JB and considering life choices.

The job was to run the local Public Library and help in the Shire Office if needed. I thought I had been given a gift. This was my area!

The library was small, in one large room in the shire office, the secretary worked in the next room and as it was a joint Shire Office with another town, the other officers, including the Health Inspector and Shire Clerk divided their time between the two major towns and had offices at both sites.

This was a busy office and the library serviced a population of approx. 5000 people.

The stock was partly sourced by the Shire and also serviced by an exchange collection from the Library Service of Western Australia on a regular basis.

I still remember receiving the exchange and the excitement at the unpacking and shelving new items (not always 'new' but new to town) the hardest thing was choosing items to send back, from a very small collection of approx. 6000 items.

I had some training with LISWA in Perth - my first solo trip for work purposes and exciting to see how the circulation section worked. I believe that 'circulation' was in Murray Street at that time.
I even got to choose my exchange for that month, this was generally done for the smaller libraries, but we could request subject areas, and I had fun with that selection process.
I remember choosing a 'book of symptoms' as I had a number of requests for this kind of self diagnosis tool. Aiding, possibly, a small rise in hypochondria in the town as it was much borrowed. Many of my choices revolved around the town's children as they were the biggest users of the collection.

Amongst my papers I have a thank you note from the Grade Seven Class in the town for helping them and a photo of me and the Shire Secretary, from the local paper, on the hunt for some of our "missing items". It contains a very naïve quote from me, I blush at my youth and lack of knowledge, about all things life related, but I was eager and happy in my work.

I was sad to leave this job, when the time came and amongst other things, set myself on the road to working in another library as soon as I could. I still have and treasure, a hand written (fountain pen and ink) reference from the Health Inspector, Mr. Walter R. Saltmarsh, a true gentleman. He told wonderful stories and scared me by saying the most unsanitary thing he could think of was a door handle. I have been a bit paranoid ever since. *smile*

The best thing was the people and the worst thing was the horrid photocopier, a very early model and prone to breakdown. I learnt a lot. Funny thing is, many things have changed, but photocopiers remain the same annoying and useful things they have always been.

What was your "first library job"? student casual or shelf stacker or straight to Librarian?

Blog every day for June


  1. Nice post about your first library job! I got my first job at the university library where I did my student practicum - I was offered a library tech 3 month contract position while I finished my studies. Then my first Librarian job, scored just as I was finishing my post-grad course, was a campus librarian role in a small academic library. 6 months later I'm still there and I love it :)

  2. Really enjoy this entry and I wrote one for my blog =) (thanks for the idea)