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#blogjune - Guest post by Kym Andrews - Culture Shock

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When I started my Librarianship degree, I had a dream of working in a special library.  Research was my favourite thing and I truly thought that is where my future was.  However, as with everyone else getting out of University with no money, my first wish was to get a job, any job!  I was lucky and got a job working for a public library as an Assistant Librarian less than 15 minutes from home. 

I loved it!  I loved storytime, loved the kids (not the cleaning up), helping kids with their homework, finding people what books to read next.  I enjoyed helping the customers, my regulars, the kids rushing up to say hello in the local shops.  I loved people telling me the impact that I had on their lives.  The kids who now sat still at kindy cause of how we ran storytime, the adults telling me how much they loved the book I recommended and asking what book they should read next.  I eventually moved onto a Branch Librarian position, then a specialist position within a public library but I no longer loved it.

 So after 15 years in public libraries, I applied for and obtained a position within a special library.  And it’s very special, being the only one of its kind in the state.

I like my clients, whose politeness still throws me for a loop.  I work in a beautiful environment and have the best view on the way to work.  I am heavily involved in researching for clients, my original reason for becoming a librarian, which is fantastic.    But the culture shock, even after 3 years is massive.  From working in a building with 3 business units, over 40 people, lots of customers and a ridiculous work load to a special library with more remote clients than physical clients is major culture shock.

I am lonely during my workday, which I’ve never been before.  I have had to learn how to ring people at random, to tell them how great the library is to gain more clients (my least favourite thing).  I’ve also had to work harder at networking with librarians as I miss that professional contact.


I don’t regret taking this position, it is an amazing opportunity and I have learnt things about myself I didn’t know.  I am a better person and a better librarian for this experience.  But that culture shock still continues and I don’t think that will cease while I work there.  So while I still need to work out where my next library adventure lies, I’ll keep experiencing this amazing once in a lifetime experience.

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