Question… what is the last thing you would expect a Librarian to say they were?


An alien, axe wielding, maniacal, book burning fool or…. a dyslexic?

How the hell does someone with dyslexia end up as a Librarian and at what point is that even a good idea? These are questions a lass in Libraryland has pondered on numerous occasions, her conclusion… sometimes it would be easier to wield an axe. To be fair it should be noted that ALIL was until a few years ago completely ignorant of her so called affliction, she had dragged herself through the educational system and managed to bag herself a degree in Librarianship, so far so good. First job landed she proceeded to pick up and build on her newly acquired skills, there was progress and there where moments of despair (the joys of juggling three part-time posts whilst seeking ones niche can not be underestimated). After the usual casting around, attending interviews and deciding on which direction to go she located that elusive job with her ‘name written all over it’.

As a result ALIL found herself the proud and slightly overwhelmed solo owner of a small and far from perfectly formed specialist service in the HE sector – the mini end of HE that is.

It was during this period that ALIL began to develop a sense of her professional identity and whilst this part of her grew she couldn’t help but feel something wasn’t how it should be… some days she felt as if she was wading waist deep in treacle and yet no matter where she looked she couldn’t finger the cause. The one constant was the fulfilment and pleasure she experienced as she developed and tweaked her new service. Despite the treacle she found herself thriving in an autonomous environment, able to make progress and see the positive changes she could bring to her corner of Libraryland.

Having been qualified for some years ALIL decided it was time to bite the bullet that is chartership and began to gather together the glut of paper evidence required for the task. However, no matter how hard she tried she just could not get the report element written, edited and finished. In frustration she set things to one side and pretended to do something else for a while.

During this ‘doing something else’ period ALIL was due to attend a training session with a number of other support staff. This offered her a chance to learn something about assistive technologies for DSA students and add to her chartership training bundle. The training looked really interesting and when the day of the session dawned ALIL was prepared to soak up new information and skills like a sponge… so much for best laid plans.

In the true style of any good cliché hindsight allows ALIL to see that the appalling trainer who came to deliver the course was actually a blessing in disguise. The poor teaching skills or lack there of and the subject being covered resulted in a blinding revelation… the ultimate conclusion of which was a discussion with the resident student support officer and an appointment to be tested for dyslexia.

In a surprisingly short time ALIL found herself the proud owner of a diagnosis, she was indeed a thirty something, dyslexic Librarian. Cor lummy how the hell did that get missed?

The relief was palpable and having identified the issue ALIL pushed through the pain barrier and finished her chartership report, submitted and gained her MCLIP status.

Everyday ALIL wishes she wasn’t dyslexic, her life and work would be so much easier if she could retain information for longer than 3 seconds. She often ponders how much better it would have been to be gifted a photographic memory, but them’s the breaks and frankly her relief at identifying the issue and purchasing the correct orange, blow up armbands to keep her head above… well treacle… has proved surprisingly liberating.Would ALIL have been encouraged to qualify as a Librarian had she or anyone else known she was dyslexic (careers advisors, teachers, etc)? ALIL somehow doubts it and is therefore glad it got missed… after all the thought of doing anything else for a living leaves her quite cold.The moral of this tale… don’t ask a lass in Libraryland how to spell antidisestablishmentarian when she is up to her eyeballs in treacle, no fair!

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