Failure is always an option (Mythbusters)

Earlier this year I put in an application for Assistant Librarian with my local Council, I thought this is a great opportunity to start gaining hands on experience in a library environment and although I haven’t completed my studies I met the other criteria for the role. I didn’t hear back for a few months and had thought I had missed out all together, then out of the blue I received an email stating that I’d been short listed for the first round of checks. The following week I received an email invitation to attend a workshop with other candidates in order to observe us and narrow down the field for interviews. Two workshops were organised as there were over 1035 people applied for the roles and approximately 160 people were invited to workshops and split into two groups. I had no idea what the workshop would involve however I thought it a great learning experience and took it on as a fun activity. I arrived at the library early and checked out the other candidates as we all nervously waited for the workshop to begin. None of us knew what to expect but the eager and hopeful faces and nervous chatter revealed everyone was as keen as I was to be successful. Some of the candidates seemed to already know each other and others like me stood alone and quietly observed, all too soon a large group of library staff turned up to open the conference room and we all surged in. There were lots of large tables set up with 7 chairs to a table. One staff member sat at the end of each table and candidates were asked to sit at any table and this would be where we would complete our group workshop tasks.

We each introduced ourselves and then there was a brief talk on what to expect and how the workshop would be run. We also had an introduction to the local libraries and how they interacted with one another and each of the staff introduced themselves, they were from many different roles within Council and from various branch libraries. We were given three group tasks to complete, two of which involved a scenario where we found ourselves alone in the library and how we would handle multiple requests/tasks. We were also asked to discuss how we might handle the situation of needing to prepare for story time which would start in the next 10 minutes at the same time needing to attend to customers at the front desk and noticing the books on the shelves needed tidying. For the first two tasks our group had lots of great ideas on how to deal with each situation and drew on our own personal experiences. We also had to create a poster for our branch library advertising what services the library offers to the community before completing a final individual task on our hopes for the role and our preferences for working in the industry. Whilst we completed our tasks the staff member on our table observed our interactions and made notes and there were also staff wandering around the room taking notes. I was nervous about what to expect and I had a wonderfully fun afternoon, regardless of whether I was lucky enough to get an interview I was grateful for the learning experience and the opportunity to meet other people entering the industry who I may indeed end up working with later on.

A few days after the workshop I was invited to attend an interview with a panel of 3 people, I was so excited to be asked. I was quite nervous attending the interview as it was my first for a role with Council and my first for a role in the industry I wish to make my career in. I have to admit my nerves got the better of me and I waffled off topic a few times. I knew in my heart I had dropped the ball when it came to the interview and kicked myself for not answering the questions better. A couple of days later I received a call from the Human Resources representative who was also in attendance at the interview and he was really positive about what I had to offer them in regard to my previous experience and knowledge. As I was only able to apply for the permanent full-time role I had on this occasion missed out, they would have considered me for the permanent part-time role however my current circumstances mean I need full-time hours. Though disappointed I had missed out I gave myself a pat on the back as I had been picked to attend an interview out of the 1035 people who applied and that is a great achievement.

I’m more confident now in my ability to apply for these types of roles and I’m keeping a keen eye out for full-time opportunities. This week in our professional development unit we were asked to think of and suggests quotes to inspire each other to achieve success in our careers and I thought of this one by the Mythbusters, “Failure is always an option”. It’s true, we learn from our experiences and success is earned by learning from our mistakes.

Lisa Schofield

ALIA Crafty Catch Up – One Million Stars to End Violence

Last night I went along to my first networking night with ALIA Queensland (Australian Library and Information Association). I was drawn to this event because it was a casual meet up and it involved a craft activity and I’m always keen to participate in craft activities whenever I can. The event was held at Communal Bar and Eat House, located at 266 George Street Brisbane, I hadn’t been here before but had passed it many times on my way to Brisbane Square Library. We sat at a couple of long tables near the back of the restaurant and they had great meals on offer for a reasonable price, I just had a drink though as I wasn’t able to stay more than an hour. The ladies and one gent were very welcoming and we all started chatting and making ribbon stars for the One Million Stars to End Violence campaign, an installation of the stars will be on display at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, people from across Australia and the world are all contributing to this great cause.

It was wonderful to meet new people and they invited me along to the next Trivia night which If I’m available then I might go along. Networking for me is usually a scary experience as I find it difficult to make small talk; however having a craft activity made it easier to chat and meet new people. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, it also didn’t cost me anything except my time and a drink.

Crafty Library

I really enjoy craft, I love trying something new or re-kindling a love for something I haven’t done for a long time. I also love sitting and reading the craft magazines and books on offer at my local library. Another reason I love to visit the library apart from my love of books is to meet up with the talented ladies in my knitting and crochet group. Recently I have re-kindled my love of sewing and have enjoyed getting to know my sewing machine better. This weekend I finished making library bags for a family friend to gift to her grandchildren. These were so much fun to make, I really love the choice of fabric on offer these days. For the bags I chose two Batman themed and one woodland. You can find the pattern from the Freshly Handmade blog, it’s simple and fast to sew. I love it so much that I will be making more for sure.

Libraries are great for not just providing access to information but also a place to connect with like minded individuals, learn and share new skills. Libraries are changing and evolving into community hubs, meeting places and centres for learning. As technology has become part of everyday life librarians are learning to embrace technology and work with it to provide patrons with access to information and learning. So what brings you to your local library?


“You need a degree to be a librarian?!”

Hello there, my name is Lisa, I’m in my 2nd semester of the Master of Info Science (Library and Information Practice) at QUT in Brisbane, full-time study. I currently work full time as a Document Controller .

“You have to have a degree to be a librarian?!” is the common question I get when people ask me what I’m studying and my response is “ummmm, yes”, well not just yes but then I start telling them about Librarians and explain that we do a lot more than shelve books. Have you had a similar response when you tell people what you are studying? A lot of people I find have a very stereotypical view of Librarians and what it is we do. It doesn’t help that the media portray us as an owl like, conservative spinster who wears a drab suit, big glasses and has no sense of humor there is also the opposite of this when Noah Wiley starred in the franchise “The Librarian” portraying an Indiana Jones style librarian off to save the worlds treasures. Well I guess I have the big glasses but I don’t like wearing drab suits, I’m not that conservative and I have a fun sense of humor. What defines you as a librarian? What views or ideas did you have of librarians before you decided to become one? How would you describe what it is a librarian does?

I guess we can’t be too harsh on people when they don’t understand what it is a librarian does or why it might be that we need a degree to carry out our work. When I think about my perceptions of a librarian before embarking on this journey I originally thought of the local library I visited in my youth and the school library. When I visited my local library there was a library assistant/technician but to me she was simply a librarian. Managing the front desk, answering enquiries, taking fines, helping people join the library, providing basic training in how to search the catalog to find what you are looking for and helping you if you couldn’t find something on your own and also shelving books. When I reached my adult years, I was looking in the catalog for information on a particular subject, I can’t remember now what it was but I noted the number and then went looking, after a while I gave up and asked the staff for help and was directed to the door at the back of the family history section in the room adjoining the main library. I was intrigued as I hadn’t thought of the library being beyond the main room. I was uncertain what it was I would actually find beyond the door but I discovered the room of forgotten books. The room was small with a row of compactus shelving, it took some muscle but I managed to get the shelving moving and started searching the dusty shelves for the book I was looking for. I was intrigued because there was an open door at the end of the room with desks and librarians working away, I had no idea all that was located at the back of my local library and it was the first time I really thought about the mechanics of running a library.

My other experience with a librarian growing up was in senior high school. Our librarian was the stereotypical picture of a librarian, if she caught us quietly talking to each other she would yell at us to be quiet which I thought was more disruptive than our quiet whispering. I used to learn the flute and often would have my flute in my bag with me and it would always set the alarm off at the front door of the library, our librarian would descend upon me in a great flap demanding me to open my flute case, I’m not sure if she though I could squeeze a book in there to smuggle out or if she thought I was carrying a loaded weapon, she reacted as though I was carrying a machine gun in there like some Mafioso out of the ‘Godfather’ movie. I’m surprised with the example she gave me of a librarian that I want to be one at all, luckily I had many other positive experiences after school.

Today libraries are more than places to borrow books but community hubs providing access to the internet, meeting rooms and centres for learning. You can access your library by visiting, via the mobile library, postal library and via overdrive, an app that allows you to borrow digital books with no more worry of overdue fines. Brisbane City Library has lots of events on for people of all ages and backgrounds, it’s not an elite club, everyone is welcome and that’s why I love it.

Lisa Schofield