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about 2 years ago by Shelley King

Libraries Week - My top 5 reflections on the library sector as an outsider

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Being the Marketing Assistant at Sue Hill and TFPL Recruitment I wanted to show our support for libraries week. So before the week is out I decided I wanted to share some of my knowledge and passion for working in the Information and Knowledge Management sector as an outsider working with the experts.

Like others in the sector it is something I fell into, by a chance meeting with Sue Hill in a book shop while I was handing out my CV that lead to me working at Sue Hill Recruitment over 7 years ago.  

In the beginning, I was one of those people whose idea of libraries was a memory of the school librarian telling me off for talking. I had no idea how extensive the sector was or even that there was a library and information qualification and interesting and varied career paths.

So over the 7 years I’ve been working with this sector – what have I learned?

These are my top 5 reflections on the library sector which I hope you will find provides you a great insight into this diverse and evolving sector:

1. Libraries come in all shapes and sizes
Libraries are pretty much everywhere and nearly every industry has a need for one. From your local library with a wide range of fiction to non-fiction with access to online sources, and key sources for local information to the many specialised libraries around the world covering every subject of medicine through to science the arts, fashion and legal and museums. If there is knowledge to be housed and information to be managed there is a need for some form of a library.

2. It takes an expert
Managing information to ensure it is easily retrievable and returnable is a highly tuned skill.  Libraries can offer diverse reference services and it requires a high level of detail and knowledge of your resources to understand how a person is likely to search for a certain piece of information, or how an organisation may classify and then cataloguing the information so it can be retrieved in the most efficient way. This process takes knowledge, time and care.

3. The People
Speaking of care, the library and information world is kind, friendly and social. No matter if you are dealing with the Director of the Library or the Library Assistant who is in their first week of a placement, all are focused and ready to help. Librarianship is a career that is normally chosen for the love or joy of it. Helping people is at its core and therefore the industry is full of people wanting and willing to help.

4. Adaptable and ever-changing
Libraries are adaptable creatures. It is often heard that with the internet taking over and the emergence of more and more digital books, that libraries will soon be obsolete as everyone has the world at their finger tips. This idea is obviously ill-informed with the foremost question of how do people think these sources get online in the first place?!

The digitisation of libraries is nothing new. You can find entire collections online of papers, rare books and object, to digital exhibition why you can vertical walk around the exhibition space and experience it how it was indented to be as if you were there in person.

Sources like open access continue to do what libraries have always intended to do but in the digital space. Store and make knowledge accessible.

Yes, things are changing and will continue to change for libraries but this hasn’t made them disappear yet.

5. Information is a big thing!
My last point is that we must never underestimate the importance of libraries. Information is quite literally a big thing. As dramatic as it sounds society as we know it couldn’t run without it. We are taught from our earlier years that if you want to figure something out, have a question that you can’t find the answer to, you must find the answers – and where does it start? – THE LIBRARY. Can’t find what you're looking for, ask the librarian they’ll be able to find and guide you.

This doesn’t change as you go through life. Whether it's your local library or the Information Manager at your organisation you know that there is a library of the knowledge that can aid you which is managed by trusted and knowledgeable individuals.

As you can see I’m passionate about this industry and am keen to educate people how much goes into managing the information that we, as outsiders, could take for granted. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this wonderful sector with me but please remember I’m not an expert I’m just fortunate enough to work with and learn from them.  

If you are interested in starting or pursuing your career in this field, then I can put you in touch with a team of experienced consultants who are equally passionate about the industry and are ready to help you. Why not give us a call today and speak to one of our team on 0207 378 7068.