CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Laura Stewart, ANGUSalive

Category: Blog, Meet our Members

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

My name is Laura Stewart and I’m one of four Libraries Operations Leads for ANGUSalive.

I loved reading as a child and always wanted a job where I could sit about and read all day…. Wishful thinking!  I decided on a career in libraries as I figured being surrounded by books was the next best thing :)

I began my library career back in 2004 when I was a supply library assistant for Dundee City Council.  This was a great job as I had a lot of fun going round the different libraries and meeting the staff that worked there.  It gave me an excellent introduction to public libraries and also allowed me the flexibility to attend Aberystwyth University to begin my degree in Information and Library Studies.

In 2008 I secured a more permanent position with Angus Council, working as a Library Assistant in Forfar Library.  This was my first opportunity to become part of a smaller team in a single location and I enjoyed being able to see tasks and activities through from start to finish.  I also finished my degree via distance learning whilst I worked here – lots of hard work but worth it in the end!

I was sad to leave Forfar in 2011 however it was time for a new challenge which came in the form of a promotion to Senior Library Assistant in Monifieth Library.  This was a steep learning curve as managing a team was a new experience.  I feel lucky that I had a good team around me which meant we were able to focus on building our service and offering new activities to our customers.  My team also offered a lot of support as I worked through my Chartership, completing this in 2013.

Major changes were afoot at the end of 2015 when the library service merged with ACCESS, the Angus Council Community Enquiry ServiceS, and then transferred to Trust within the space of one month.  Throw in a brand new Library Management System and it was a recipe for disaster!

Thankfully there was no disaster – although it was a very challenging time!  Having successfully interviewed for the position of Facilities Officer, it was an exciting opportunity to bring the two teams together and offer new and different services to our customers.  Our team Formed and Stormed before settling into the Norm – and now Perform pretty well.

Four years on we have re-shuffled again and I am now a Libraries Operations Lead in charge of two sites in Angus.  It’s another new challenge and one I’m looking forward to.

When I’m not trying to answer my emails (ah, those endless emails…) I really enjoy networking with library professionals from outwith Angus to share information and get ideas.  I like attending conferences and training courses, and I’ve been on the CILIPS Tayside committee since it re-formed. I feel very lucky to have had so many opportunities in my career and to have worked with a lot of professional people who have helped me develop and learn – I hope to pay it forward with new professionals coming through.