Marion Milroy, Learning Resource & Study Support Manager, Sheffield

My name is Marion Milroy and I’ve been a chartered librarian since 1981 but if I’d followed my ideal career path I would be an English teacher coming up to retirement!

Luckily for the library profession a disastrous work-experience in a primary school when I was 17 put me off working in a school for ever…well nearly as here I am as a school librarian of ten years standing after working as a cat/class Assistant Librarian for Sheffield City Libraries, ten years working for Blackwell’s in Hallam University and as an Assistant LRC Manager for a Sheffield FE college.

I absolutely love my job – I love the autonomy, the staff and the students and the comforting rhythm of the school day and year.

‘And the seasons they go round and round…’

I could never have worked in a ‘Shhh!’ library environment as I talk far too much, but it’s my loquaciousness which has helped me get to know everyone in school and has stopped me feeling too morose and isolated as a lone worker.

I work in a BSF funded school in a library which I helped to design that’s not perfect but at least I got a wall and a lockable door facing into the main corridor which, if the architect had his way, would have been an open-plan space into the reception area! It is a well-used resource throughout the day and is open from 8-4 for lessons and as a social space at break and lunch and for Extended-Learning activities after-school

Because of my background the non-fiction is in (a simplified) Dewey order as I realise that, if those going on to FE and HE, have grounding in the basics they will not be fazed by the real-thing.  The fiction is shelved alphabetically in genres and is a cross between a bookshop and Amazon as I keep as much stock as I can face-out (the covers are enticing for a reason) in Suffolk display boxes from Gresswells with stickers saying, ‘If you loved….you’ll love…’

We are lucky in Sheffield to have a very supportive School’s Library Service who is very pro-active and innovative.

They are my only source of CPD and will be guided by the needs and ideas of the 18 secondary school librarians and regularly book ‘premier league’ authors (Andy Mulligan, Darren Shan, Michael Morpurgo, and Pete Johnson) in the course of a year so our pupils can meet and question their ‘heroes’ . They have organised a children’s book awards for the last 25 years which (with the school librarians input) remains fresh and dare I say it, cutting edge! Because of their reputation the November ceremony is a celebration of all those who make children’s writing and illustration so brilliant.

I have just started doing some voluntary work for Hallam University ‘Read Sheffield’ project which is an amazingly simple idea of recording interviews with the older generation about their reading habits and use of public libraries. My role is to transcribe the interviews, which is not as easy as it sounds as people never speak fluidly in whole sentences but stop and start and forget what….

I’m tweeting over the school’s Easter break but, as I am helping to run a holiday club for Y5/6s from our feeder primaries, there should be plenty of excitement and drama to keep you all gripped.

Marion can usually tweets as @S13Librarian

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