On the job experience is something one can’t replicate in an academic environment regardless of profession. I was musing about the things I’ve actually used from my formal library training, and those that I’ve learned by working within the environment.
Things I’ve used that I learned from formal library training
1. Report writing – this might be the one thing that I’ve used consistently through all of my various positions.
2. Collection development – writing policy, implementing the policy, reviewing systems and collections.
3. Classification systems – getting pretty good at knowing Dewey out of my head, though not perhaps as well as a cataloguer might.
4. Budgeting -self explanatory really.
5. Cataloguing – or to be more accurate, how to interpret AACR2 into an LMS’s version of cataloguing. I don’t any cataloguing in my current job but the knowledge of past experience is helpful in some of the projects I’m involved in.
6. How to use reference works and other information sources – I speak rather generally here because apart from Britannica, most of the things we studied have been superseded by online versions. But the search techniques and mindset have been helpful.
7. Marketing – this is something libraries do very badly IMO. We did cover some aspects of marketing but so much has changed since I was at school!
Things I’ve learned on the job
1. Teaching – this is a major part of my current position and it’s something I’ve had to learn through trial, error and some formal training with MPOWs education department.
2. How to win friends and influence people – is it possible to teach this? There are things I’m frustrated and concerned about but trying to convey that to those who could change things is something I’m not good at.
3. Counseling – career, education path, marriage, life skills are all things people have sought help from me at various times. I feel flattered but unequipped to deal with some of the issues they bring.
4. New trends and drifts in thinking – information literacy was a movement that emerged not long after I started work. There have been many others. It’s interesting to see that my PLN* these days has moved from published library literature to the more immediate media of blogs and Twitter.
5. Dealing with the weird and wonderful diversity of clients – you’ve all had them I’m sure. Patrons who are challenging, funny, horrible, delightful and even mentally broken.
6. Sometimes you have to clean up puke.
*personal learning network