Hi, I’m Elena and I’ll be taking over the @VoicesLibrary Twitter account this week.
I started working in libraries at the age of seventeen, as a Library Assistant in Brighton & Hove Library Service. I kept on there with casual work while I went to the University of Winchester to study Performance Management, and kept up the book theme while at uni as a bookshop assistant at P&G Wells university bookshop.
I met two people while at uni who would change the way I approached my career forever. Number one was a woman called Jenni Morley while working at Mile Oak library during the summer holidays, who took me under her wing and taught me how to create displays, cover new books and take pride in my work by taking on as many responsibilities as I could. Number two was my manager at P&G Wells, David Simpkin, who also wrote, directed and starred in a community pantomime every December. He asked me to stage manage the production two years running, and that is where I discovered my love of working with children and young people.
During my third year of university, I realised that while I wanted to work in theatre, I only wanted to work on community projects. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly difficult to earn a living wage if you only work unpaid, so I needed another option.
I moved around in the library service after finishing uni, working as a Baby Boogie session leader, Study Support worker, Library Officer and Children’s Centre Administrator, and found that the aspect of my work I enjoyed the most was my work with children and young people. I applied for a Secondary PGCE in English but got turned away due to my lack of English degree, but there was still no doubt in my mind that I wanted to work in an environment that had both children and young people and literature. So when a job came up at Bourne Community College for a School Library Manager post, I desperately wanted it. It was like a switch flicked in my mind, and I realised that English Teacher wouldn’t have suited me, it was School Librarian that was my ideal job.
I got the job and started here in April of this year and I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed a job more. Every day is different and brings up different challenges. I get to decide my own day-to-day schedule so I can mix in the admin and tidying with more exciting jobs like implementing our Accelerated Reader scheme, or designing an induction process for the new Year 7s. But consistently the part of my job I enjoy the most is the interaction with the students – recommending books to read, watching intense chess matches, working with student librarians, and teaching students how they can use the library to become more successful independent learners. It fills me with joy to see them becoming more curious about the world around them every day.
I’m going to use the Twitter account this week to discuss key issues in school libraries, think about the transition from public to school library worker, meet some interesting people and have some good debates!
My personal Twitter account is @BookForts and I also have just started a blog at http://BookForts.wordpress.com where I would love to continue the discussions started on the Twitter account, and I will also use it as a dumping ground for resources I’ve found useful or things I’ve created to help school librarians.