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My lifelong love of libraries – Brian’s Story

I was seven years old when I began my lifelong love of libraries. I loved reading and there just weren’t enough books around to satisfy my appetite. I’d got through the school reading programme and was able to choose which book I wanted but the choice was limited. Lots of ‘easy’ versions of classic books such as ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Kidnapped’ – books that had been written a hundred years or so ago, but I wanted books that were about children in today’s world, books I could identify with and engage with.

I read and read and read, beside the fire on cold winter evenings and under the bedclothes at night when I should have been going to sleep. Books hooked me, I always had my nose in a book. However boring life was, a book could lead me away from everyday life and into fantasy worlds that would excite and inspire me. To my mind, a book was a ticket to an adventure, and that’s something I’m always speaking about to the children I meet. One day my Mum took me along to the library and showed me the children’s section. There were shelves full of books by Enid Blyton that I’d never read. I joined Ramsgate library at that point and I’ve been a library member somewhere or other ever since. I carried home two books that day and two days later I’d read them both. Back we went for two more. At least twice a week I took books out of the library. Once I’d finished with Enid Blyton, there was Jennings, and his friend Darbishire, in a series of books by another wonderful writer called Anthony Buckeridge. They were set in a boys’ prep school and I was captured from the first one.The books were funny and Jennings was always in trouble, particularly with his form teacher Mr. Wilkins who was a man with little patience and a fiery temper.
I roamed the woods and built camps with ‘Just William’ and the Outlaws, Henry, Ginger & Douglas. The books by Richmal Crompton were wonderful. It was a boy’s world that she described although the gang were often bothered by Violet Elizabeth Bott who demanded that she played with them otherwise she would, “Thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick”.
 ( No, that’s not spelling mistakes, it’s how Crompton wrote it in the books!)

I then read the Billy Bunter stories written by Frank Richards.These were set at Greyfriars School where Bunter was a pupil. Bunter was an unlikely hero in that he was ‘stout’ deceitful, lazy and a glutton for food. He would do anything he could to find food even if it meant helping himself to his classmates’ cakes and sweets. Often this would result in him receiving ‘a good kicking’ once his crimes were discovered.
After I’d devoured all the Billy Bunter books that the library had to offer, I discovered the Biggles books by Capt. W.E.Johns. These were originally written for an older audience but appealed very much to young boys. Biggles was a fictional pilot who had flown in World War 1 and in the years that followed the war. Longing for such adventures ourselves, we would imagine ourselves sitting alongside Biggles in the cockpit of his plane while he shot down German air aces in the war, or battled criminals around the world.
In the late 1950s, there was also a library in Boots the Chemist, and I joined this too as they seemed to have different Biggles books to the ones I found in the Public Library. Odd to think that once Boots had a library when we think about the shop today.

There were very few ‘Young Adult’ books around when I became a teenager and by the age of 14 I was reading books from the adult library. I think I should have been 16 to enroll but the library staff knew me from my regular visits, and with my Mum’s permission, I was able to start a whole new reading adventure. There was a little guidance from the librarians but very quickly I was out on my own and the library became a treasure chest for me to explore and sometimes find a gem. I read all the Sherlock Holmes books, and later, on James Bond, although my Dad rather disapproved of the Bond books!

It dismays me these days to hear of so many libraries all across the country being closed down by councils. Do they have any idea how important libraries have been and still are? Ramsgate library suffered a fire a few years ago but has now been rebuilt and looks stunning. Sometimes I go back to Ramsgate to tend my parents’ grave and I always call in at the library to take a look around and to remember that it made me a reader for life. I owe that library a huge debt of gratitude.

(Originally posted on Brian’s blog. Shared with permission of the author.)

Speak Up For Libraries Conference booking open

This year’s Speak Up For Libraries conference will be held on 22nd November at CILIP headquarters in central London. It will bring together local campaigners, union members, library users and library workers and give them the opportunity to talk to decision makers at national level. The line-up for the conference includes Helen Goodman MP (Labour shadow minister); Justin Tomlinson MP (Conservative); Sue Charteris (panel member of the Sieghart Review in England) and Claire Creaser (chair of the Welsh Review of the Public Library Service).

Full details of the conference including speakers, programme and how to book can be found on the Speak Up For Libraries site.

Speak Up For Libraries

Labour Party Consultation on Public Library Policy

Helen Goodman MP, Shadow Minister for Culture, the Creative Industries and Communications, is calling for comments to help inform Labour’s future policy towards public libraries. Helen sets out a series of questions that she sees as crucial to informing their policy as they move towards writing the Labour Party manifesto for the general election in 2015. Comments to the following questions are requested to be sent by 30th June to her office via

  1. Do you have any examples of good practice where libraries have taught digital skills?
  2. What are your thoughts on using libraries as centres through which we can tackle digital exclusion?
  3. Do you have any examples of good practice in co-location? What services might be co-located?
  4. Is this something with which you agree, and what would you like an amended framework to look like?
  5. Is Arts Council England the right body to carry out this work? Have your local libraries had support from ACE and in what capacity?
  6. Do you feel there needs to be an independent professional leadership body? What form would this take?
  7. What do you feel is the role of the British Library in supporting public libraries?
  8. The Welsh Government recently released an updated public library standards document.  What are your views on the document and do you believe adopting a library standards framework is desirable in England?
  9. What are your views on this?
  10. What do you think the right specification for volunteers might be? Should there be a code/codes of practice for unpaid work?
  11. How can library workers be given a say in the running of the service?
  12. What functions do you think could be shared? What potential savings could there be?
  13. Do you have any examples of good practice?

Please do send in your views by 30th June and let Helen know your thoughts on how the public library service should be delivered. This is a real opportunity to try to influence party policy on the issue and the more people who engage with the consultation the better.

The full briefing document can be found here (with thanks to Public Libraries News).

Local Elections – Speak Up For Libraries!

The Speak Up for Libraries alliance* is urging people everywhere to make public libraries a central issue in local elections.

This is a once-in-four-years chance to make sure local councils understand that libraries are a low-cost, essential resource for their work – and deeply valued by local residents.

Already, many library services are threatened by deep cuts, widespread closures of vital local branches – or the damaging policy of turning branches over to be run by volunteers

Yet the unprecedented cuts to government grant that local authorities are facing mean that libraries, despite being a statutory service that councils must provide, are once more in danger of being seen as soft targets for savings. Such cuts often save little but do great damage.

If people wait another four years, their own library could go. Nationally a postcode lottery will become a reality with only some communities benefiting from the presence of a professionally run library.

Libraries remain the lynchpin of communities, offering access to learning, reading, information and enjoyment.

Libraries are a trusted public space, a place for everyone.

They play a crucial role in improving literacy standards and in combating the digital divide.

Speak up for Libraries believes that libraries, far from being obsolete, are more important than ever. That is why we are asking local politicians, and the government, to make a public commitment to their survival and development.

Speak up for Libraries is asking local councillors to sign up to the following manifesto when standing for election;

  • Acknowledge that libraries are important to people – especially when times are hard for individuals and communities
  • Give a commitment to engage with communities to design services that meet their needs and aspirations.
  • Ensure library services are properly resourced and staffed. A commitment to a service that is publicly funded, managed and run by paid professional staff.
  • Recognise that properly funded library services contribute to the health and well-being of communities and so complement the work of other public services.

And lobby the Government to:

  • Give libraries a long-term future, with a vision for their future development and clear standards of service
  • Enforce the commitment in law to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” library service. This commitment should also include digital, ICT and e-book services.


Speak Up For Libraries is an alliance of individual campaigners and national organisations: Elizabeth Ash, Campaign for the Book, CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals), The Library Campaign, Unison, Voices for the Library.

Local Elections – This year there will be Council elections on 22 May for the London Boroughs (32), all Metropolitan Boroughs (36) and a number of unitary authorities (20). There are no local elections in Scotland or Wales or for County Councils in England. The local elections in District Councils are not relevant as they are not responsible for public library services.

Library closures:

  • Public Library Statistics produced by CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy) show that there was a net loss of 212 libraries or mobile libraries in the UK in 2011/12 and 71 libraries (including mobile libraries) in 2012/13.
  • Public Library News estimate that in 2013/14 493 libraries (including mobile libraries) in the UK were closed, or planned to be closed, or became community managed libraries managed by volunteers.
  • Since April 2014, Public Library News report that 78 libraries (including mobile libraries) are threatened with closure and 5 libraries to become community managed libraries run by volunteers

Local government funding and expenditure:

  • There was a 33% real term cut to government funding of local government in England between 2011-2015 (Comprehensive Spending Review 20112-2015)
  • A further 10% cut to Government’s Core Funding of local government in England planned in 2015/2016 (Spending Review 2016-2016)
  • Additional funding cuts are widely expected in 2016-2018

In a press release issued by the Local Government Association on announcement of the 2015/2016 Spending review, Sir Merrick Cockell, Local Government Association Chairman is quoted as saying:,

“,,,the fact remains that some councils will simply not have enough money to meet all their statutory responsibilities. Services such as culture and leisure facilities, school support, road maintenance and growth-related programmes will bear the brunt of these cuts”


Twitter @SpeakUp4Libs


James Beaton, Librarian at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow

James Beaton, Librarian at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow

James Beaton, Librarian at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow

Hello Everyone

About Me

My name is James Beaton, and I am Librarian at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. The Centre exists to promote the study of the music and history of the Highland bagpipe. The Highland bagpipe is probably the most familiar one to most people, and is associated with Scotland. It is however, merely one of about 130 different kinds of bagpipes from around the world.

The Centre teaches students at all levels, from absolute beginner to those who play at the very highest/virtuoso level. Also, the Centre partners with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to deliver tuition plus courses in history and repertoire of the bagpipe to students of the Conservatoire taking the instrument as their first study on the BA Scottish Music degree.

Students on their year abroad from overseas universities, mainly in the United States, but also mainland Europe, Australasia and South America, come to us for a semester long course called The Bagpipes: History and Repertoire.

What I do

I run the Centre’s Library, which is a small specialist library focusing on printed collections of music for the Highland bagpipe, but also on works relating to the history and culture of the instrument. We also have strong sound collections going back to the 1920s (all digitised and awaiting editing before going on to our elearning portal) and some archival collections of manuscripts and photographs. We provide support to teaching staff and students of the Centre, in terms of scores, as well as background material.

I also teach. I teach the history part of the semester course, and I occasionally teach basic piping (I play) to semester students, and I also step in to help with teaching on the BA Scottish Music course at the Conservatoire when needed, and this has involved me in teaching Gaelic to 1st and 2nd years, as well as doing an overview of the bagpipes music and history to 1st years.


I have a degree in Celtic Studies from Edinburgh University, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship and Information Studies from Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology (yes, it was that long ago!) and an MSc(Econ) from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. I am a fluent Gaelic speaker (although not native), and I am also a piper. I previously worked in health libraries, having developed an interest in health information. I have been at the Centre since 2010, and during my time there, as well as running the Library, I have overseen an oral history project called “Noting the Tradition”, which interviewed people involved in the piping world. The website is here

Why Tweet?

I tweet under my own account @jjb362 and for me, tweeting is a way of using language to communicate succinctly, and I find the challenges of that fascinating. I also see it as a means of forming e-communities, not only for social purposes, but for personal and professional development. My only personal account, I use socially, but also use it for being part of wider communities of fellow professionals, both bibliothecal and academic, and fellow Gaels on both sides of the Irish Sea. Tweeting pipers are more of a rarity!

What I will be tweeting about

I will be tweeting about what’s going on in the Library, and will also try to give you some idea of the variety of the job. We are a small operation, so if things need to be picked up, then they need to be picked up. I will also be going to Inverness on Thursday of this coming week, to put up a Noting the Tradition display at one of the major piping competitions, as well as interview a retired professional player for Noting the Tradition. I also compete as a Grade 1 amateur player, and will be doing that this week as well, when in Inverness, so there may well be a nervous tweet or two!

Want to Contact Me?

This is best done through my personal Twitter account @jjb362 – I look forward to hearing from you.

Aurélie Gandour, Paris University Institute for Teachers Training, France

Aurélie Gandour, Paris University Institute for Teachers Training

Aurélie Gandour, Paris University Institute for Teachers Training

Hello, everyone!

I’m Aurélie, a French librarian with dreams of Great-Britain, and I’ll be tweeting on @VoicesLibrary beginning on Monday 26th August.

What do I do?

I’m a librarian for Paris University Institute for Teachers Training, thus more on the Higher Education side of libraries (but with textbooks and picture books on the inside!). I guess you could say that I’m a subject librarian or a liaison librarian since I’m responsible for various domain areas, from computing and PE to youth literature. I also co-manage our university’s libraries blog, give training sessions to new students and do a lot of other little tasks. And I’m loving it.

What’s my background?

I’ve got a Bsc in paleontology and an Msc in hydrogeology so I’m quite a defector actually! After working as a student help at my university’s library, I went for a technical degree in librarianship (which is still the most common way to become a librarian in France) and passed a competitive test to become a Higher Education librarian. I now have been a librarian for four years.

Why do I tweet?

I’ve been tweeting and blogging in French for a few years now. There’s a tightly knitted Twitter community of French HE librarians and it’s a pleasure to exchange online. And there’s always someone to answer your cataloguing questions!

I’ve begun tweeting and blogging in English a few months ago -after deciding that I wanted to try and emigrate in Great-Britain- to get a better grip on what it meant to be a British librarian. I’ve been amazed at the warm community that has also sprung up on your side of the Channel and I’m following the discussions avidly.

What will I tweet about?

I’m going to live-tweet our “back-to-school” week, with probably some live-cataloguing inside (you should see the piles of books on my desk… There will definitely be some cataloguing!). I’ll also try to give you some understanding of how libraries work in France (that’s a complex issue, because you basically have to become a civil servant if you want to become a librarian, and the administrative side of it doesn’t make it easy) as well as our Higher Education system.

If you have any questions, send them my way!

Want to contact me? 

In English, I’m tweeting as @Aurelie_Sol and blog on And books will fly… If you’re speaking a bit of French you can also follow me @aurelie_solenne and read my blog Quand les livres auront desdents. If I can help you in any way to get back into your French skills, just ask me, I’m here to help! :) 

Karen McAulay, Music and Academic Services Librarian, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

Karen McAulay, Music and Academic Services Librarian at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Karen McAulay, Music and Academic Services Librarian at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

I’m Karen McAulay, and I’m Music and Academic Services Librarian at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in Glasgow.  I’ve worked there since the present main building was built and opened in 1988, when we were the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.  A couple of years ago, we had a name-change to reflect the fact that we teach far more than music and drama – there’s also ballet, film and TV, theatre production and technical arts, not to mention jazz and Scottish music.  Those last  two are within my remit as subject librarian for music, and as it happens their course leaders are two of the best and most enthusiastic advocates for the library.

How did I get here?  Do you want the long or the short version?!  I’m dual-qualified in music and librarianship.  After doing a BA in Music at Durham then an MA at Exeter (not completing a PhD), and spending a year in Exeter Uni Library as a graduate trainee, I went to Aberystwyth to do a postgraduate librarianship diploma. From there I went to the University of East Anglia as a senior library assistant in cataloguing, and then to South Shields to be borough music librarian for three years.  Acquiring a spouse on the way, we came to Glasgow for my present job, so I effectively went from academic to public and back to academic librarianship.  Perhaps not the most usual pattern, but it has worked for me.  Since then, I’ve always worked full-time, whilst also raising three sons and completing my second attempt at a PhD in music.  Scottish music, to be precise.

I’m currently on a postdoc research secondment two days a week, with a new   professional covering my library duties while I’m researching – an arrangement which is working very well indeed.

I’ve always been a keen public library user, as well as visiting any academic library I could gain access to.  My father took me to the library in Thorpe St Andrew well before I was five, and once I could read, I’d visit the local branch library at least twice a week – sometimes twice a day.  Norwich Central Library was my customary after-school haunt when I became a sixth-former.  When we first came to Glasgow, I discovered Springburn Library, which at the time also contained a local history museum.  (I found a black and white postcard showing our first tenement flat halfway up Balgrayhill – it’s now the only building surviving from that era, but I made a fabric collage of the scene, using a blown-up photocopy of that postcard.)  My husband was keen to introduce me to the Mitchell Library, which he had known since his schoolboy holiday visits to his grandparents, and there we started our family tree research.  It won’t surprise you to learn that our sons subsequently got their library cards to Elder Park Library at an early age!  And now, in her retirement, my mother is deriving great enjoyment from attending her local library book-club, reading about local history, and just having more time to borrow and read a wider range of books than she’d ever buy.  Is it any wonder that I’m totally committed to keeping public libraries open and professionally run?

What makes me tick as a librarian?  For me, the job satisfaction is in uniting readers with the information or reading-matter that they require, whatever the format.  That means getting the cataloguing accurate so that they can find things – bear in mind that our clientele gets through a lot of sheet music and recordings, too – and also teaching our users how to find what they need.  That also extends to information literacy (not all information is equally good!), research skills, or teaching a student how to format a bibliography at the end of an essay or dissertation.  After my own doctoral studies, I also have a particular affection for sharing my love of historic Scottish music collections, too – I’ll give talks to undergrads, postgrads or indeed visitors at the first whiff of an invitation!

I’ve always been a member of CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), and I got my CILIP Fellowship – FCLIP – a few years ago.  I’m also a member of IAML (the International Association of Music Libraries), and I am Convenor of the Scottish Academic Libraries Training Group.  Now, in what I have to admit are the mature years of my career, I’ve recently become a CILIP mentor for young professionals just embarking on their librarianship careers.  I see it as a way of giving something back to the profession, and also ensuring that knowledge I’ve gained is passed on.   I’m enthusiastic about social media because it allows us to share insights, continue professional discussion, and network in a more informal way.  As you’ll find out in due course, I’m also a compulsive writer and blogger, and Whittaker Live* – our performing arts blog at the Whittaker Library – has now been running for well over a decade.  I run that blog on behalf of the Library, so I try to ensure that every posting will have relevance to some part of the Conservatoire community.  Having said that, my own interests do – unashamedly – come through.  It’s useful to have a place where I can write about old Scottish music books, little-known names who were instrumental in establishing the Scottish music repertoire, or intriguing details of our history that wouldn’t otherwise be known to anyone but the odd researcher.


During my week blogging and tweeting for Voices for the Library, I shall be on vacation for the first three days and then back at my library desk for the last two.  This’ll give me a bit more time to make my contribution here, after which you’ll witness me opening my work Inbox after two and a half weeks away.  (I’m quaking already – it’s going to be huge!)

I’ll try to give you a glimpse into what it’s like being a music librarian in a conservatoire, but I’ll also be tweeting about any more general professional issues that arise during the week.

Phoebe Harkins, Communications Co-ordinator, Wellcome Library

Phoebe Harkins, Communications Co-ordinator, Wellcome Library

Phoebe Harkins, Communications Co-ordinator, Wellcome Library


I’m Phoebe Harkins and I’m the Communications Co-ordinator at the Wellcome Library in London. Part of Wellcome Collection, we’re the free library for the incurably curious.  The first thing I’m going to say is that the Wellcome Library is an amazing place: come in and see us if you can. We’re one of the world’s major resources for the study of medical history, and we also offer a growing collection of material relating to contemporary medicine and biomedical science in society. We’re open to everyone with an interest our in collections. If you can’t visit in person, have a look at our website and blog.  There you go, shameless plug over.

How did I get here?

My first library job was at the University of Glasgow where I tried valiantly to learn everything I possibly could about libraries. It gave me a brilliant grounding in how this library stuff all fits together. Then I moved to the British Medical Association in London, Imperial College and then here to the Wellcome Library. My first degree is in history (a big chunk of it very handily medical history) and I did my PG at UCL Dept of Information Studies.

What do I do?

Last year I took on a new role and the ‘librarian’ bit fell off my job title, but my job is still all about the Library, its collections and our users. I plan and promote Library public events, including  ‘Medicine & Literature’ author talks  and  academic lectures. I work closely with our comms and marketing,  design and media teams, and I also work on audience engagement and social media. I still do a stint on the enquiry desk. It’s one of the most important and enjoyable bits of my job: I need to know our users, both online and in person and it’s also one of the best ways to discover more about our vast collections. You never know what the next reader is going to ask and given the breadth of our collections is could be absolutely anything.

Why am I tweeting?

Well I’m a huge fan of the concept of public libraries. I grew up in a house where we had to borrow books from the public library: there just wasn’t room to keep hold of very many given its size. But that never seemed a problem: I just nipped in and out of the local library maxing out my borrowing allocation. It seemed like a win-win situation: I got to read, listen to and watch an endless supply of brilliant things and the only problem was constantly underestimating how heavy my bag would be on the way home. This is still an issue. I couldn’t have got through school, uni and life in general without them. They’ve been a constant presence in my life since I was able to get a card for Glasgow’s libraries, and I visit my local library as often as I possibly can. In fact I’ll be going there after work this evening to pay the fine on my overdue books. Well, nobody’s perfect.

This week I’ll try to give you an idea of what my working life here at the Wellcome Library is like this week. We’re undergoing major development works over the next year or so , and it’s all rather hectic, but  hugely exciting.  I’ll also share some hopefully interesting things from the outside library world that I think you might be interested in.

Shirley Burnham, Library Campaigner, Old Town Library, Swindon

Shirley Burnham, Library Campaigner, Old Town Library, Swindon

Shirley Burnham, Library Campaigner, Old Town Library, Swindon

Who am I?
My name is Shirley Burnham and I will be the curator for @voiceslibrary for the week beginning 1st July

What am I doing now?
I am retired from paid employment.  You should be aware that I’ve never worked for the Library Service.  I lead a campaign to protect my own library in Swindon, as well as advocating for public libraries in general.

What’s my background?
Secretarial college, SRN nursing training and then an American university – some of these unfinished.  But by using initiative and drawing on these elements of training, I’ve had many and varied jobs – the worst as a chicken-plucker in a Utah processing plant.

Anything else?
Residence in the Republic of Honduras from 1976-83 allowed me to write, illustrate and publish numerous textbooks for children and adults, teach a series of English courses on Honduran national radio and run a correspondence course for workers on banana plantations.

How did I get into Library campaigning?
I became aware when borrowing some books one day in late 2007 that Old Town Library in Swindon was under threat of closure.  I got up a petition, local people and the local media rallied round.  Swindon BC finally had a change of heart, so our library is still open with its paid staff today.

What do I think of public libraries?
That they are a fantastic, unique resource;  that they must remain as *public libraries*;  that their paid staff are essential and that branch libraries, however small, must be recognised by the great and the good as the sole means of making the Service accessible to everyone.

What will I tweet about?
I’d like to share some of the things I have learned whilst campaigning for my own and other libraries and explain how,  over the years, many of my preconceptions about who or what might be helpful in this struggle have been turned on their heads.   The situation for libraries seems impossibly dire at the moment which means I can get awfully cross.  I hope I might also make you smile.

Want to contact me?
It would help me considerably if you can respond to tweets or ask me for specific info – so that I can be fortified to maintain your interest for the whole week.  I am happy to go off on any tangent that might be suggested by you;  in fact I would welcome it.   You can find me on Twitter as @shirleyburnham and I have a website ( .  The latter holds an archive of news articles from 2007 to the present which, I’ve been told, can be a useful resource for bloggers and campaigners.

Please note that any comments I make are my own views only.

Cara Clarke, Systems Librarian, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College

Cara Clarke, Systems Librarian at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College

Cara Clarke, Systems Librarian at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College

Who am I?
My name is Cara Clarke and I’ll be the curator for @voiceslibrary for the week beginning Monday 24th June.

What do I do?
I work as Systems Librarian at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College. Before I started this job, I didn’t know what ‘Systems Librarian’ entailed, and if you too are unsure I hope my week as curator will help answer any questions you may have. In a nutshell, I work mostly behind-the-scenes rather than front-of-house. I manage any systems the library makes use of, including the LMS, OPAC, computer booking software, online authentication, the library’s social media presence, and I’ll soon be responsible for the online video streaming service. I’m also the main classifier of new book stock and one third of the library’s user-education team. Although I am mostly a technical librarian, I do still do the occasional stint on the circulation desk.

Anything else?
I am the committee secretary for CILIP West Midlands branch, and acting marketing officer too. I am currently revalidating my chartership (hoping to submit by August) and taking NVQ level 5 in leadership and management. The library in which I work is preparing for the CoLRiC Peer Assessment Scheme. Which means, in effect, that I am simultaneously working on 3 portfolios… I fear I may go a teeny bit mad!

What’s my background:
I have a BA in history, MSc in information and library management and chartered in 2010. I have worked in libraries for 10 years (4 in FE colleges and 6 as a school librarian).

What do I think of libraries?
Love ‘em, each and every one! I was 24 when I made the conscious decision to get my life in order and find a career, and deciding on libraries was the best decision I’ve ever made. I haven’t regretted it for a second. I believe in libraries and am proud to call myself a librarian.

What will I tweet about?
A little of this, a little of that – wherever the conversation takes me. As I work in a college, tweets will be based around Further Education. I’ll likely tweet about user education, social media, circulation tasks and the systems that keep everything ticking over.

Want to contact me?
Please feel free to pump me for info during my Twitter takeover (AKA sharing good practice, perhaps bad practice too!). You can find me on Twitter as @caraclarke and I maintain a blog called Behind the Bookshelves ( ) which I use for informal self-reflection (AKA random library musings). I am by no means a font of all knowledge, but I’m interested in anything which shares ideas and sparks discussion.

(A necessary evil nowadays I’m afraid…) Please note that any comments I make are my own views and do not represent that of my employer or any other organisation with which I am involved.