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The road goes ever on and on: a librarian's unexpected journey

Andrew Finegan

Tuesday 16 September 2014 – Concurrent session 7, 3:30pm to 3:55pm


As a New Graduate in the Library and Information industry, the task of considering one's career can be a daunting one, especially within an uncertain job market. What was once a clear conventional career path can seem a pipe dream to those new graduates looking for a job, and for those who are employed in the industry, barriers to career progression can seem insurmountable.

This paper will consider the idea of a conventional career in the library and information industry, outlining the barriers that can exist for the aspiring new graduate. It will investigate a number of non-conventional career options, through which new graduates can develop a range of transferable skills that will prove invaluable in the information industry. Finally, it will outline some strategies for resettling back into the "real" world and, ultimately, deciding whether the library industry might be their best path, given the world of options available to an experienced library and information professional.

This paper will draw from the professional experiences of the presenter, who has worked across a range of library sectors in Melbourne and Darwin, and participated in Australian International Development projects in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. It will particularly focus on three strategies for unconventional career development: relocating to a regional centre; working as an International Development volunteer; and working in non-library industries. He will also draw from the experience of other information professionals who have pursued these non-conventional career paths.

Many professionals who have sought non-conventional career paths have developed a range of skills that have opened opportunities for diverse and interesting work opportunities. The presentation will briefly profile a number of new graduates who have gone on to pursue inspiring and stimulating careers.

Whilst career choices may seem limited for new graduates in the current climate, there are still a wealth of opportunity for professionals who are prepared to think outside the square, have a sense of adventure, and a willingness to venture into the unknown.

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