CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Jacqueline Geekie, Information Literacy and Learning Librarian, Live Life Aberdeenshire

Category: Meet our Members

This blog is part of our Meet Our Members series, focusing on different members and their careers.

I’m Jacqueline Geekie and I am the Information Literacy and Learning Librarian for Live Life Aberdeenshire which is a Business Unit within Aberdeenshire Council. Most of my career in libraries has been in the public sector with a smattering of school libraries at the very beginning.

Although Information Literacy is in my job title, I have a varied set of projects and responsibilities and it is difficult to describe what an average day looks like, but really, does anyone have such a thing as a typical day?

I love anything digital, so I am lucky it is a big part of my role.  I relish the opportunity to attend Digital Champions meetings with other colleagues from across Scotland to learn about new digital developments and then implement these within Aberdeenshire.  A couple of these have been Girls who Code Club and Virtual Reality Sessions with BBC content.  I never thought I would have the opportunity to be quoted in a BBC report when starting out in libraries! Recently my job has involved a lot of research on a local author called George MacDonald for the BBC Novels that shaped our world project.  This will be published as a digital Canvas for the month of April when the topic is Life, Death and other worlds. Check it (and GMD) out!

I manage the Outreach part of the service which involves providing a service to care homes.  This has recently evolved into providing Memory Suitcases on a variety of subjects such as “Are ye dancing?” rather than a stock of books as this has far more impact with the residents.  Outreach also involves overseeing the housebound service, VIP (Visually impaired) service and Playlist for Life service for people with dementia. These services are vital for keeping older people physically and mentally well.

Volunteering in libraries elicits a mixed response but we use them to add value to the service we provide rather than replace paid members of staff.  We have five volunteer roles, one of which is an ICT volunteer.  These can be senior pupils who provide ICT support for older members of the public.  I oversee a project called Cool Computing for Couthie Customers which helps to break down barriers between the different generations as well as providing ICT help.

Other tasks in the mix are providing Lego WeDo and Osmo Coding sessions when people Gie it a Go and, on occasion, I have been known to provide 3D printer sessions.

I am currently Chair of The Philosophy Café, Aberdeenshire, a registered charity supported by Live Life Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen University providing opportunities for members of the public to come to events and discuss philosophical ideas whilst enjoying a cup of tea.

I really love the variety of tasks and projects I am involved in within my job and I particularly enjoy that each day is different.  I love meeting and working with people of all ages and am very lucky that my job allows me to do just that.  However, the biggest challenge is the spread of our local authority which means a fair amount of travel or the use of technology such as Skype for business for meetings. This can be almost as challenging as travelling lots of miles!

I always wanted to be a librarian, and in fact, spent 16 of my 17 free periods in 6th year helping my school librarian who became one of my colleagues when I started working in Aberdeenshire.  When I graduated from RGU my first job was in a school library in Glasgow and was a great introduction to the library profession.  I had a very supportive Head Teacher which makes all the difference when you are in what could be a very insular role.  I also had a great group of colleagues who were working on their Chartership at the same time, so we motivated each other.  I moved from a school library to a joint school and public library and then finally a public library headquarters where I have held a few roles.  I am still there and am part of a wider team of librarians who are very supportive of each other.

I joined CILIP as a student back in the day and was proud to become a Chartered Librarian a couple of years after graduating.  I have also mentored several successful Chartership candidates which I feel is my way of giving back to the profession.  The past few years I have been the Public Library Representative on the CILIP Information Literacy Group which has given me a whole new range of skills and experiences and I would encourage anyone to get involved with any of the CILIP(S) groups.

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