A good thing about doing this course alongside a colleague [Taken for binding] who is always that little bit further ahead is that in this case she has already written the majority of what I wanted to say! I too have never had an official mentor but the Assistant Librarian [who is also my Line Manager] is very supportive and I have no qualms about asking her just about anything [and there have been some really daft things but she’s far too nice to say]. The Librarian too is always ready to listen and lend a helping hand and I can honestly say I don’t think I would have got my thesis finished without his helpful advice and expert editor’s eye.
My route to librarianship has been a rather quiet path and I certainly didn’t always want to do it. From the very begining I loved anything to do with art history and therefore my first degree was in the History and Theory of Art and Design [Post 1850] which I completed at University of Wales Cardiff [HowardGardens Campus]. I chose to do my dissertation on the Welsh sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, and the story of their ownprivate printing pressset up during the 1920s in Newtown, Powys only because we had covered the subject on the course but I have been fascinated with them ever since. It is odd therefore that I have ended up working in the very Museum to which they donated such an amazing collection of Impressionist Art. However, here we are focusing on their books and I came to the Library here for research as it holds [on extented loan]Gwendoline's own personal collection of special bindings produced by the Press.
After I graduated I came to work in the Museum as a Gallery Assistant; my plan being to wait until a plum job came up in the ArtDepartment and just after two years a job did come up but I didn’t get it. However, after a few dark months I was lucky enough to get an administration job in the Visitor Services department which I did for another year until a job came up in the Museum Library as a six month maternity cover. From the minute I started I knew that this was the job for me [as luck would have it the person I was covering chose not to return] and when I was given the opportunity of doing an MSc inLibrary and Information Studiesvia distance learning at Aberystwyth, I jumped at the chance. I started the course in April 2003 but didn’t finish it until Sept 2009 [I had to take a year out during 2007]. In all honesty, starting back on the course in 2008 was one of the hardest things I have had to do as it was, quite simply, the last thing I actually wanted to do [I had been through a very tough 2007]. However, both my Line manager [the Assistant Librarian] and the Librarian gave me lots of support [and the odd gentle shove] so that week by week I chipped away until it was finally done. Appropriately enough, my thesis this time was a case study on how we manage the Davies Sisters' Gregynog Press books here in the Library, the very subject that first brought me here all those years ago.
Before posting this I looked at some of the other blogs and am now feeling rather self conscious that my story is somewhat uninspiring. For good or bad, I am one of those people who, when they find something they enjoy, stick to it. I know this is not the right attitude to get ahead and friends of mine who are now in high powered and well paid jobs are those who hop skipped from job to job briskly moving up the ladder. I found something I enjoyed and stayed. That said, this course has made me think seriously about taking on another challenge and Chartership is something I might consider in the future. Although, as I have mentioned before; I do have a tendency to put things off…