Dear You

Dear You (and me),

Never ever apologise for who you are.




P.S. Read this. Listen to this. Dance to this or this.

Exhausted, excited and overloaded

It’s week three and I’m simultaneously exhausted, excited and overloaded with information.

Unexpected and delightful library things

  • Small pieces of readers advisory – recommending an Australian themed book to a new arrival to Australia, discussing the merits of iZombie and The Walking Dead.
  • Searching for ALL¬†of “Andy’s treehouse books” with a very enthusiastic young reader.
  • Being invited for a curry after solving some IT issues and having a chat about families.
  • Watching the books that are put through the returns chutes, the most eclectic, random selections, I love it.
  • New books!

Train travel has bonuses

  • Reading time – the variety, writing styles and topics being captured and shared by @AusGLAMBlogs is so wonderful. There are many thoughtful, informative posts, I’ve definitely had my own thoughts and beliefs challenged many times recently.
  • My choice of Netflix shows and uninterrupted viewing. Not the best idea to watch something that makes me giggle in the quiet carriage though. (I’m looking at you Wet Hot American Summer: 10 years later).

Challenges (so far)

  • Uncomfortable shoes!
  • New organisational structure, roles and processes. New everything.
  • Not being 20 minutes down the road when one of the children calls from school saying they are sick or have fallen over and hit their head.
  • Learning how to “Librarian”.

So that’s about it. Well there’s probably more. Perhaps I should make use of the commute to do some more writing . . . just need to resist the siren call of reading/watching/listening!



Fear and choosing a new adventure

I didn’t expect to be writing another chapter to this story quite so soon, but here we are.

The end of June found me reading an email detailing the (early) end of my contract. Yes it was a shock, no it wasn’t anything personal, just a decision. I have been AWOL from blogging since then because it’s been an emotional, challenging time and I wasn’t quite sure what to write about and generally just lost the tiny bit of blogging mojo I found during #blogjune.

Ask for help, be visible, review everything, ask for help again

Whilst I started to wrap up my role and finish all those little annoying tasks that had been in the too hard pile for a few months, I spent my evenings and weekends focusing on finding my next role – here’s what I did:

  1. Spent time thinking about: what I need in a workplace, what kind of role I was looking for and potential organisations that might be the right fit.
  2. Checked all the local councils, universities, SEEK, CareerOne, Linkedin, ALIA employment list for potential roles every few days (who am I kidding…I was checking multiple times a day…)
  3. Consulted INALJ’s list of keywords for library jobs and tweaked my searches accordingly.
  4. Completely rewrote my CV, which was a huge task and also gave me a massive confidence boost – I’ve gained skills and knowledge over the last couple of years that I hadn’t considered until *cough* I wrote them down.
  5. Asked colleagues and friends for advice on: whether to ring the contact person listed on a position to ask some well thought out questions (YES) and questions to ask at an interview.
  6. Prepared an email to send out to professional connections letting them know I was looking for work.
  7. Updated my Linkedin profile.
  8. Contacted colleagues I have worked with over the last three years, thanking them for their support and letting them know I would be leaving the organisation. ( A few years ago this would have seemed really over the top and incredibly awkward, but it was a really good move. I received several tips on roles that were not advertised externally and generally felt like I left on a positive note).
  9. Gathered information via Linkedin and Google about potential organisations and employees (thanks Amy). This helped me decide whether to apply or not. Super useful.
  10. Applied for roles: individual applications for each position, read through the criteria and instructions many many times.
  11. Read my cover letter and selection criteria to myself out loud (discovered dogs like to be read to).
  12. Read through (multiple times) the awesome resource that is Australian Library Interview Questions. (Make sure you add any questions that you come across).
  13. Referred to the notes I made on what I was looking for (point 1) whenever I felt like my job searching was going a little awry.

#Codebrown and other cool stuff

And then . . . an interview and a job offer. Librarian, in a public library. Exactly where I didn’t expect to be working!

Here’s the thing. I’ve written before that working outside of libraries (in research governance) left me feeling like an outsider. I embraced it and felt like it was a great fit for me. However, I never anticipated my job ending early and honestly, that drove me to look on the “inside” and really think about why I was afraid of applying for librarian roles. Short answer: fear.

So tomorrow, I’ll be catching a train, getting to know new systems, patrons, people, all the good stuff. No fear, ok maybe a few nerves, but I’m ready. Articles like Code Brown: Design Thinking & Beyond feat. @jeromical / Part 1 and The Summer of Bathroom Issues by Justin Hoenke plus public library programs like Reading Between the Wines and Pop-Up Libraries have me very excited to be joining the public library world.





5 job search resources

Job searching, resumes and selection criteria have been at the top of my list in the last couple of weeks (change sometimes happens when we are least expecting it!) so here are five resources that have been super useful.

Tell your stories

If you’re currently volunteering or working, make sure your resume is up to date, don’t wait until you “need” it! Give your resume a big clean out and use it to tell some dragon-slaying stories. This article really helped me to figure out what stories I needed to tell to make sure people knew what I can do. It’s harder than some pulling together some tidy bullet points, but it does mean you’re using your own voice to talk about what you can and want to do.

Resume or CV?

The ALIA Students and New Grads blog is full of excellent round ups and tips on resumes. Take a look and keep an eye out for the next resume review session. Speak to the team about finding someone to review your resume too.

Questions, questions

Ah selection criteria. How I wish these didn’t exist. I’d much rather make a video response or even a diorama, but until that day, use this guide to responding to selection criteria. Remember to tailor each application!

Bringing back the wiki

This wiki is a treasure trove of good information. Books, job agencies, job search strategies, cover letters – you will find all this and more. Compiled by the Students and New Grads Group (seriously this team do a HEAP of fantastic work for new professionals!) take a look and use it!

Reach out

If you can, let people know you’re looking for work. Reach out to your personal network online or IRL and ask for advice.

Sometimes you might just need to bounce some ideas off a person who doesn’t know you really really well – a different perspective can help. It will help if you are really clear about what you’re looking for e.g think about what you enjoy doing, the direction you want to head in, the kind of people you want to work with. These questions will help you narrow your focus so you don’t just say to colleagues “I want a job!”.

That’s it, I’m off to write some more job applications!

What’s your top tip for job hunting?

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