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New Voices Case Study by Chloe Elder

Category: New Voices

This New Voices Case Study was written by new professional Chloe Elder, Library Assistant at St George’s School for Girls in Edinburgh and Students & New Professionals Community Committee Member. If you would like to write for New Voices, please get in touch with

I’m Chloe, and I work in the library at St George’s School for Girls, Edinburgh.

As Library Assistant since January 2020, I support the library’s day-to-day administration and assist my colleagues in their work. This includes handling issues and returns, creating library displays, managing the library’s Twitter account and processing new stock. I also assist with library classes and reading lists. And I manage the Student Librarian scheme for Upper School volunteers. During lockdown, I have focused on what services we can provide remotely. I’ve highlighted and facilitated access to digital resources and developed interactive activities. I enjoy fostering enthusiasm for books and reading among students and staff alike.

My interest in libraries and archives originated in undergrad from an internship experience conducting research at the Bibliothèque nationale de France for the Letters of Samuel Beckett. I became interested in working with primary material and in understanding the organisation of resources and information.

I took my first step toward the information sector when I began my MSc in Book History and Material Culture at the University of Edinburgh in 2015. Through the course, I spent more time in libraries and archives. This experience led me to pursue a second master’s degree in Information Management and Preservation from the University of Glasgow, which I received in 2018.

Throughout, my professional path has been a winding one. At the risk of presenting my CV, here is some of my experience from the past five years. I volunteered at the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh, at Scottish Poetry Library and in the Archives of St George’s School for Girls. I was as a Project Assistant for the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust. I completed a couple of internships and short-term roles at the University of Edinburgh, including at New College Library and as part of the Library Learning Services team. And I was a remote summer intern for the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library. I also spent 2019 back home in the US simultaneously working as a Library Assistant at Delray Beach Public Library and as the Archivist for the Delray Beach Historical Society in Florida.

Something I was told often when I started out is that I would need to be flexible in order to make headway in my career. In many ways, I’ve been categorically inflexible. I decided early on I would settle in Edinburgh one way or another. I have, however, been more flexible about my job (or volunteer/committee member/intern) title. Even if an opportunity wasn’t what I expected, I took advantage of any chance to apply myself, meet new people and learn skills in a variety of situations. (It is important to note that I was able to do this from a place of privilege, and it is not always feasible.) Easier said than done but putting yourself ‘out there’ is my biggest piece of advice.

For example, I’m a committee member of the CILIPS Students and New Professionals Community. I am also a Training Officer for the Archives and Records Association Scotland. Being a part of these volunteer committees has been a great way to meet more people and become better ingrained in the libraries and archives world.

Looking forward, I’m excited to continue my professional development, start out on the journey toward CILIP Certification and meet more people in the sector. Feel free to say hi on Twitter @chloe_v_elder!

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