What happened next? Well I spent a very happy 6 months at the library at Ridge Danyers 6th Form College in Cheadle. Carol, the librarian and Dorothy, the library assistant were fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed re-cataloguing the foreign language materials, answering queries, issuing books, trying out new software (CD-ROMs at the time) and yes even backing books with sticky back plastic. During this time I also quizzed Carol on everything I need to know on becoming a librarian and started applying for graduate traineeships. I managed to secure one at MMU Library in 1998. I learnt a lot in this year and made some great friends, some of whom are still my prime drinking partners. (You know who you are.)
In 1999 I went off to do my Masters in Information Studies at Leeds Met. While I was in Leeds, I worked as a part-time loose leaf filer at the law firm Dibb, Lupton and Allsop. (just DLA now, I think?) I finished my taught course in the June of 2000 and came back to Manchester to write my dissertation and look for a job. I decided that I’d take at least a month to try and break the back of the writing before starting to look for work in earnest. However I decided at the same time to write to Alliance Française in Manchester (Like the British Council) and ask them if they had any volunteer work for an almost qualified librarian! The boss at the time was Jean-Emmanuel Duhaut. He let me volunteer and I ended up cataloguing the books in the Médiathèque. After a few weeks, he gave me a paying job, if only for 1 evening a week, and I also got paid for some translation work as well. All of this gave me a bit of experience which was great stuff for talking about at interviews.
I started my first professional post as an Assistant Librarian back at Manchester Met. in the September of 2000. I had a varied career at MMU. I started in Library Support Services (LSS) cataloguing and dealing with Standing Orders. About 3 months later I started working half-time in Reader Services too. One of things I liked about MMU was being able to work half time in LSS and half time in Reader Services as I wasn’t ready to decide yet between the two and didn’t want to narrow my options. After almost 2 years as an Assistant Librarian, I was promoted to Senior Assistant Librarian for a 2 year project to work on improving the quality of MMU’s information literacy training. I was responsible for creating a generic but customisable WebCT tutorial called InfoSkills. I really enjoyed this project and this where my interest in the techier side of things in libraries began. In January or February of 2004, the funding for the project came to an end and I went for a post as the Senior Assistant Libararian within the Database Management section of LSS. I was successful and spent a happy few months cataloguing and teaching first professionals how to catalogue too. (The role was a lot more complex than this and involved working with the first books to come through as ‘Shelf ready’, but my overwhelming memories are of working with new librarians and MARC.)