Your name: Christopher Jones
Library: Currently unemployed. Previous employment in academic libraries at University of Sunderland, University of Manchester, and Preston’s College.
Job Title: n/a
How did you become a librarian/what was your career path?
Redundancy from my role of IT Support Engineer allowed me to refocus on where I wanted to be. I identified the aspects of my IT role that I enjoyed the most (i.e.: providing and sharing information, helping people, conducting research, and resolving problems), those I disliked (i.e.: desk bound, and the general approach of the profession at the time to hoard information (“information is power!”)) and was surprised to learn that a career as a librarian was the best future for me.
Did you need any specialist training for your current role?
Yes – in order to gather the knowledge and skills to facilitate my change in career I studied the MSC in Information and Library studies at The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.
What makes your library/department unique?
Having worked in different libraries I believe the library design/space, staff and customers makes each library unique, since the challenges, and the approaches to meeting those challenges, will always be unique. If someone believes that what worked in one library will work for another then they are being indifferent to their customers, library and profession.
What is your favourite aspect of the job?
I enjoy meeting the challenges of students and staff in a welcoming manner. Each year brings new challenges and new opportunities to be innovative in the delivery of the wide range of library services – and the new ones, too.
What has been your most complex/funny/unusual enquiry?
Most complex enquiry involved research for an academic into the sources of funding for climate change sceptics. It was vital to remain objective in the research while acknowledging the bias of information sources as well as that of the researcher and client. A formal reference interview was applied to fully explore the current knowledge and information need of the client. Diligence and citation chaining revealed many links between authors of peer reviewed articles, their parent institutions, funding provided to those institutions, and links of those providing funding to other business interests. My final report for the enquiry remained impartial and fully referenced. I learnt a lot about the subject matter – a lot more than is generally portrayed in the press and media.
Thanks to Chris for that contribution. If you’d like to take part in the mini-quiz, or have anything you’d like posted on this site, please contact me.