I love barriers – they make the goal on the other side so much more desirable. I’ve never been one to take the easy path, I set pretty big goals for myself and sitting here, 26 years into my career, I can’t think of any regrets.
As a senior library assistant in a university library I discovered that I wasn’t qualified enough to work on the information desk. I could issue reserves at the circulation desk but not do serious library enquiries. You reckon? I didn’t. 🙂 I was close to completing my degree, I’d been working in libraries for 8 years and I had a supervisor who believed I was up to the job.
I became the first library assistant to be allowed to sit at that library desk and help students and academic staff with their reference enquiries. I was a student myself so I could empathise with the students and I already researched the staff requests in my job in the interloans department. I must have done OK on the reference desk – my privileges were left intact and I even got to work on my own without a degree-qualified librarian as backup.
Also in that job I applied for the Edith Jessie Carnell Traveling Scholarhip worth $7000. I didn’t let my library assistant status hold me back – I was a fully paid member of LIANZA and I met all of the criteria so I put together an application. I also won that scholarship in 2000 and later headed off to Denver, CO and Bozeman, MT in the USA; Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Vancouver in Canada and York in the UK. I visited Interlibrary Loan and Distance Services teams in University Libraries and attended the biggest library conference I’ve ever seen – ACRL 10th National Conference and spent a day with the team at the British Library Document Supply Centre and it was all paid for by a bequest made to LIANZA.
I’ve run a $14,000 school holiday programme without a cent and took a busload of teenagers to the biggest film production company in New Zealand. We met the guy who created Gollum’s mask among other things and we sat in Sir Peter Jackson’s personal cinema.
I’m sure there are going to be plenty more barriers along my career path – I can’t wait to knock them all down.