Children's Services Development Officer
North East Lincolnshire County Council
00:00:03 My name is Sue W. I’m a young people and children’s services development officer. That’s a posh title for a person in charge of children’s libraries. On a day to day basis we do school assemblies, we have class visits into the library, we can do chatterbox clubs which are reading groups – fun reading groups for children. Dolly comes out and children love to hold her and once they’re holding her they lose their inhibitions and they’ll start talking to you because sometimes many of the children we talk to have never been in a library in their life. We’ve got some very, very deprived areas and we have to engage with children in as many innovative ways as we possibly can.
00:00:43 I always wanted to be a teacher and I remember going home from school one day and saying to Mum, “I don’t want to be a teacher anymore.” So, she said, “What on earth are you going to do?” So, I said, “I’ve heard there’s a job in the library,” so I said, “I’m going to try it.” And I went and they said, “Yes, you can have the job as long as you go to university.” And that’s how I got into it and it’s the best move I’ve ever made because working in a library is absolutely brilliant. I’ve loved every minute of it, all 40 plus years of it.
00:01:12 When I was at university I studied librarianship, yes, as a specific course. It was great. When I went for my interview I evidently said the right thing because they said, “Why do you want to be a librarian?” And I said, “Because I like people.” And they said afterwards the reason I got my place was because I said I wanted to work with people.
00:01:32 It was so much easier 40 years ago to get a job. I finished my degree and I heard about they were starting a new house bound library service in the east end of London and so I just rang up and I got an interview and I got the job.
00:01:51 I set up a house bound library service which means that you take books out to people in their own homes who are ill or have some infirmities. Not only that, we went to prison libraries and mental hospitals and it was interesting to say the very, very least. One of the mental hospitals I went into I was actually stabbed. But you’ll probably edit that out. I went down to collect some books from the dining and of course I shouldn’t have gone and they’d laid the table for dinner so one of the people who were resident got a knife and had a go at me. The high point of my career was last Christmas. I had an afterschool club running at a very deprived area and parents never came into this library. The children just spent all day there and we put on a performance and the parents came. We actually got the family interacting together which had never happened in that library before and to see them perform it, come out of themselves, yes, you’re moved to tears. I know that sounds very strange in a librarian’s life but it really does make a difference.
00:03:04 I love my out of work activities. Believe it or not we rally drive, my son’s got a rally car. I have been in it but now I’m getting older so I do the food and we go, you know, all over the country. I like the excitement. When your son’s racing around you think, “Oh, gosh,” because he’s had some big crashes. “Let’s please get round.” I never think of him getting hurt, I’m more worried if he blows the engine it costs so many thousand pounds.
00:03:32 I’ve no regrets about the career path I took. I think it was absolutely the right one for me. Meeting with people was superb and to end my career which I will be doing in this post is the very bestest thing in the world, you know. I know when I do leave in a few months time I’m not going to be very happy. I shall be very sad and you’ll get me crying again so let’s stop it.
Sue is soon to retire from her job as Services Development Officer but she describes her job as the “very best thing in the world” even though she was once stabbed when collecting books from a prison! She describes one of the high points of her career as succeeding in getting parents to come into the library in a very deprived area to see their children perform: “you’re moved to tears”.
More information about Librarians
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Selects and arranges for the acquisition of books, periodicals, audio-visual and other material;
- Collects, classifies and catalogues information, books and other material;
- Prepares and circulates abstracts, bibliographies, book lists, etc.;
- Identifies the information needs of clients, seeks out and evaluates information sources;
- Establishes information storage systems to deal with queries and to maintain up to date records;
- Manages library borrowing and inter-library loan facilities;
- Promotes library services through displays and talks
- Provides learning and cultural experiences through events such as author talks, reading groups, formal and informal teaching.
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