By Chris Roberts, working in public libraries since I left school at 16, with the exception of just over 1 year at NL, Palmerston North, I’ve gradually worked my way up the North Island from Porirua to Orewa. I may yet get further north.
I was reading reasonably fluently from the age of three and my recreation of choice was reading. I went on to volunteer in the library at every secondary school I attended (4 ) – they were good places to avoid having to be the last Four-eyes picked for games at lunchtime. However, ‘libraries’ were not my career goal – medicine was. The fatal flaw to that idea was being useless at maths, and following on from that, physics and chemistry. This required a new direction, so my sixth form careers master set me up with a day’s work experience at a primary school. I applied for a job at Porirua Library as a (the) junior the following day.
I never looked back and, since then, I have worked in nearly every area of public library work, including stints specialising in children’s and youth librarianship and currently cataloguing. I’ve never regretted my change of tack into library work – it allows me to indulge my ‘satiable curiosity and learn all sorts of odd and quirky things. It’s fun ferreting out facts for clients/users/borrowers or whatever the nom du jour may be at the moment and I think I get as much satisfaction from a successful search, if not more, than the seeker. And the discussions that you can indulge in on favourite authors…. (Got into a Discworld discussion the other day with someone who, learning what I do, immediately started talking about orangutans. I appreciated the thought – I am very proud of my badge that says “Librarians Rule – Ok!”; still my personal favourite is Mistress Weatherwax.) Wouldn’t swap my job for quids*!
Chris (for those tracking my progress northwards, previously Houlihan and Garmonsway, before reclaiming my patronym).
*ancient monetary unit believed to be far easier to understand than this new-fangled decimal nonsense.