Goodbye 2018. Hello 2019!

And here I am. I’ve finished my first semester of second year with one more semester to go.

Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

2018 was rough! And for a lot of people by the sounds of it.
Let’s not dwell. I’m gonna flip my usual standard of blog posting and tell you all about work stuff first then uni stuff.

Work Stuff
I got myself a new job! Well some (very plural) new jobs.

1. Subscriptions and E-Resources Coordinator
I landed myself a part time job as a Subs and Eres coordinator at a university in the city that I live in (so no more commuting!) So far it’s going well. There’s been a lot of mega invoices to pay that have been….interesting…. haha and I’ll be helping with access queries soon too. It’s the biggest university I’ve worked at so there’s lots more people and lots more resources! And, shallow I know, but I do have to say walking to and from work has improved my life 10 fold.

2. Editorial Assistant
For the past few months I’ve been working for an information journal as an editorial assistant 7 hours per week from home. This has been so much fun and I’ve had to learn a lot in a small space of time, which has been good for me. Briefly, my role means I answer queries that come into the mail box and I use a site called ScholarOne to review all the articles that come in, using a check list to check that they’re not over the word count for example and that they’ve included a certain kind of abstract. There’s so much about this role I like. I get to work from home and it’s something I maybe felt apprehensive about, but after you’ve done a BA and I’ve done my PGDip for long enough now, all of that is self motivated work you mainly do alone and often from home. I was way more prepared than I thought I’d be. There’s also a lot of freedom to manage things how I want, including the inbox and how I keep on top of incoming articles and what stage an article is at. And again shallow reasons, but it’s nice being able to work from home in clothes that are about 2 steps away from being pyjamas and make nice lunches and listen to music while I work.

3. Impact Internship
This is a paid internship working for Sheffield University. Kathryn Aylward was on my course in my first year and she told me about the internship and it sounded great. When I was looking for jobs quite a few in Impact came up, but I have no experience of this side of the REF so I waited for these roles to come up and applied. The programme had actually changed a lot from the previous year and I’d assumed things that ended up not being true (like the flexibility of the role). So I’ve moved from doing a role that had lots of meeting up with academics (which is hard when you don’t live in the same city and are working a number of other jobs!) to more data collation and analysis, which suits me down to the ground and is another skill I’d like to work on more.

4. Repository Assistant
I’ve been helping an institution with their repository over the past few months one day a week. It’s mainly been validating research outputs, checking copyright and licensing, contacting academics for accepted dates and author accepted manuscripts. More recently I’ve been helping re-write the university’s OA policy document and there might be an opportunity for me to get involved in a few other things. This role is only temporary and I’ll finish up when a new librarian starts and takes over the repository amongst other things.

5. Casual Library Assistant and 6. Casual Education Assistant
Finally, (it will end I promise) I’ve still got my casual 0 hours jobs. One in a university library where I work on the help desk, shelving, weeding, all sorts and my 0 hours job working in the education department of a museum delivering family activities. There’s a lot of understandable negativity towards 0 hours job, but these have definitely pulled me through the two months I had when I’d left my full time job and was looking for work closer to home. I would have struggled (more than I already was) without these. I love my casual library job mainly because it’s so varied and the days go so quick. One hour you’re on the help desk, the next you’re shelving, the next you might be weeding or doing project work.

 All of this probably sounds like a lot. And it is!

Favourite meme right now – DW from Arthur


But whilst I was job searching I found veeeery few full time jobs that would take me on with my PGDip commitment. It was expected, but still disappointing. I’m loving the variety though of all my roles. It is tricky to balance at times, but I’m not bored. I get to experience and learn lots of different things and so far it’s working for me. Obviously, the majority of these will end at different times too as most of them are contracts. The Repository Assistant job and the internship aren’t long commitments. I might need to pick something else up depending when these end if I can find anything!

Also I will just list the jobs I applied for and didn’t get if any of you are thinking I’m some job-getting-wonder-person. Jobs I applied for and either didn’t get an interview for or didn’t get the job at interview: 3 jobs as a visual merchandiser (always wanted to do this on its own, done it in previous retail roles, never got even one interview), a knowledge officer at a law firm, a library admin officer, a weekend customer service assistant, learning and development coordinator, library services assistant, admin government job. And probably too many jobs on Indeed that were library jobs where I just sent a CV off into the void.

 University! 
Okay onto my PGDip Librarianship course. A quick-ish review of the modules I completed last term.

Information Organisation
This module was INTENSE and there was a lot of work. Our method of assessment was an eportfolio using Google Sites where we covered a range of topics relating to information organisation. I feel like it’s really built upon the knowledge I gained from my overall work experience and kind of gave me a bit of background to why things are done in certain ways. We covered so much. Everything from how information is organised in different areas, putting this into practice organising a LEGO sample, how museums and archives organise things, metadata, cataloguing, taxonomies, faceted classification… I could go on.

Favourite parts: Getting real hands on cataloguing experience from a Sheffield Uni library cataloguer (thank you Emily!) and using Alma for this.
Getting to look at museums, archives and other libraries and their organisation systems. Linked to this you could do self directed tasks. I looked at the M&S Archive and their gallery space. I also looked at Leeds Uni’s classification system for books. The freedom to investigate what interested you was great. I also thought that the method of assessment, the eportfolio, was such a nice change. I still wrote a lot, but lots of parts, not full on essays. And we still had to credit sources, but there was no great emphasis on using APA or anything, which really helped keep it enjoyable. I think I mainly did stick to APA, but not having to worry about this so much let me concentrate on my portfolio content more.

Least favourite parts: There’s a lot of work for this module. I have no idea how the full time students managed it. My controversial idea is make the management module 1 term instead of 2 and Information Organisation can take up 2 terms. And maybe just spread the work out more? I could have definitely looked at a cataloguing more and we covered what I felt like were Computer Science-y things, which were the bits I was worst at; RDFs and how the web is organised and how every URL has to be different or obviously you’d end up on the same web page…. I could have definitely done with more on this as I felt a little lost!

Below are a couple of small screen shots of a draft version pages of my eportfolio.


Libraries, Information and Society
This was a nice change from Info Org. A much more relaxed pace and much less work, which was appreciated! Also thank you again to whoever took out the group work aspect of this module. I’m forever in your debt.

Favourite parts: There are so many visits for this module! And sadly I couldn’t go on about 99% of them due to working 0 hours for most of the first semester (any time I’m not working I’m not getting paid). But it really seems like the staff/lecturers go to a lot of trouble to arrange some amazing visits at university and public libraries. There’s a lot of variety in what’s covered, which keeps it interesting. Two sessions I found really great: the session on Copyright and Equality and Diversity where the guest speaker was Shirley Yearwood-Jackman. She told us all about her career and all the different jobs she’d had and how the path to librarianship isn’t a smooth journey.

Least favourite parts: At times I did feel a little like ‘What is this module?’ Like a lot of modules on the librarianship course each week covers a different area and I think I just got a bit lost. Obviously if I’d been able to make more of the visits this would have been beneficial and probably tied more of the themes together for me.

Overall I think I’m gonna be judge-y and say last semester has been my favourite semester so far. Though I am biased. Last year was my first year. There was a lot to get my head around. My first semester of first year was probably my least favourite overall. I came back this year knowing the staff, knowing how things work, assignments, etc.

Word to anyone considering the part time option though, you won’t get any email inviting you to intro week or anything welcoming you back to the uni for your second year. I don’t know anyone on my course really or what experiences anyone has. In some ways this is good just because I’m never around long enough to really chat to anyone running from one thing to another. But I would say if you’re wanting this sort of I don’t know…. bond…. with other students since you’ve bothered to take the time to attend the course again fails to take into account the differences between FT and PT students.

Anyway last semester was great. This semester I’m finally doing modules I’ve chosen! The modules I’ve taken are Archives and Records Management and Business Intelligence. Luckily I wanted to do both of these and they’re both on a Thursday! So only back in Sheffield one day per week again, which is great for my bank balance.

Then once this semester is over I’ll be (I don’t want to jinx it) a qualified librarian!

4 thoughts on “Goodbye 2018. Hello 2019!

  1. Wow this is so exciting, all of your jobs sound great! I personally love the variety of not having one fulltime job though it can sometimes feel a bit like your brain is splitting into a million pieces. Really excited to hear what the Archives and Records Management module is like though I am a bit sad that you can’t really be an Archivist without an Archives MA. So confused about what I want to do!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I am enjoying the variety of everything… let’s see how adapt I am at booking time off between all these when it comes to it! Haha. I’ll let you know about Archives and Records Management… I know this COMPLETE division between libraries and archives definitely makes future planning difficult. I’m hoping this module will come in to play if I ever see a museums/gallery something like that job that wants some kind of ‘records/information qual’ (but not specifically an archivist) that I can use this module to the max!

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  2. 3 things: 1. Enjoying being able to walk to work is not shallow, it’s a massive improvement in your quality of life! Commuting to a different city is exhausting as you well know. 2. I’m impressed that you’re 2 stages above pyjamas when working from home, I’m not convinced I’d manage the same! 3. You’re doing amazing and I’m so excited that you’re so close to the end! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thanks! Jeans, slippers and random t-shirts are my go to working from home wardrobe! It’s very very comfy. And I don’t do my hair or make up … LIBERATING! So close to being done!

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