Better Late Than Never

By Lisa Pritchard, Lifelong learning librarian.

Much to my mother’s despair I always had my nose in a book.  I’d walk to and from school reading; hide a book under my desk when I was supposed to be listening to the teacher….  If I couldn’t get my hands on a book or it was taken off me to “Go play outside and get some fresh air” I was reading signs on shop windows, cereal packets, anything.

We moved on a boat when I was young and to cut a long story short I came back to New Zealand a couple of months before my family to sit my UE.  In my parents absence my aunty discussed my future with me.  Should I go to school for year 13? Should I do further study?  I had no idea.  She asked what my best marks were.  Actually Accounting and maths at 57 and 60 %.  Hmmm. So it was decided I would go to the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and study one of the only degree courses there at the time, ACA, Accountancy.

That set the tone for the next 15 years or so.  I  studied part time and worked full time in chartered accountants’ offices.  I felt like a square peg in a round hole.  Not that I didn’t enjoy the accounting part, I just didn’t fit into the accountant mould.  I also wasn’t very motivated to finish the study.  I knew for sure I didn’t want to be an accountant when I grew up but what did I want to do? So I slacked around and did a paper here, a paper there, all through correspendence.

I took a break from study when I went travelling, and again when I had children.  The time came when I wanted to go back to work part time.  I answered an ad in a supermarket for a part time circulation assistant in a small library.  7 hours a week.  That fitted in nicely with the children so I jumped at it.  That changed my life.  I cross credited all my papers and started up the study again. I waited for someone to leave so I could go full time.   7 years I waited, at some stages I had three part time jobs but didn’t want to give up my library job.  Eventually I got a full time job in Hamilton City Libraries just over 3 years ago.  It meant a long commute, but it’s worth it. I have found my niche. I love my job, and I love Hamilton City Libraries and now can’t imagine working anywhere else.  I now fit in with the weird and wacky people in the profession, and own plenty of cats. 🙂

Looking back librarianship as a career for me should have been obvious.  However, it took me many years to see what was in front of my face all along.

Share your path to librarianship.