A Career in Libraries

Karen Poolton is the CKG judge for YLG North West

and is the school librarian at St Bede’s College, Manchester.

Karen Poolton

I have recently taken on the role of Careers Coordinator alongside my main job as librarian at the school I work at. It has proved challenging and interesting and, as is usually the case, it has been good to tackle something new. I am lucky enough to have the opportunity of having Careers input into lessons from Year 7 onwards and it is my role to encourage students to consider all sorts of options and introduce them to a wide range of career possibilities. I frequently find myself telling students not to worry about not knowing exactly what career they want – we don’t expect most of them to make firm choices while they are still at school – and that keeping their options open is a often a good idea. I am also aware that in the future, we expect people to have a number of different careers through their life.

I say all this, but actually, I did know what I wanted to do when I was a young teenager and I have only ever been employed as a librarian! I have never felt the need or desire to do anything different and feel privileged to have always been gainfully employed in either a school or public library authority, aiming to pass on the joy of reading and provide information, and the skills needed to access it, to people of all ages. There are always downsides to any job and things that are frustrating in any work environment, but despite these, I have never had any doubts that being a librarian is a brilliant job. At times I feel guilty that I am enjoying my work so much and, even after 35 years, I still can’t believe someone is paying me to buy books!

I am now lucky enough to be a CKG judge and am viewing this as the high point of my career (the low point involved a dead pigeon and a broom, but I won’t go into any more detail!). I’ll probably be happy to retire after my 2 years are up. It is proving a challenge – I found reading that number of books in the time required really hard – but brilliant at the same time. To immerse myself in all those brilliant books has been a real joy and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

So, as I do my careers bit at school, I will remember that there will be some young people who do know what they want to do with their lives from a very young age and I will encourage them to go for it. You never know, one day, I might also meet a student who wants to be a librarian, in which case, I’ll tell them that it is the best career anyone could possibly wish for!

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