Anirban recently completed a two-week work experience placement at Tea Tree Gully Library. Here is his account of his time:
I am a people person. I enjoy talking with patrons and I enjoy dealing with a diverse range of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. I enjoy giving direct support to senior management, colleagues and co-workers in a way that really makes a noticeable difference. I enjoy challenges, responsibilities, methodical as well as precise approach.
My placement at Tea Tree Gully Library has provided me with an excellent opportunity to develop professional networks with colleagues and library staff members. Over the past two weeks, staff have become familiar with my professional ability, punctuality, reliability, team skills and work ethics. I believe these connections will provide strong references in the future when the time comes to gain meaningful and sustainable employment in the library industry.
Working at the Library has given me a chance to observe how other employees operate and behave in various circumstances. For instance, verbal and non-verbal communication, writing clear business correspondence, observing office etiquette and behaviour patterns, answering telephone calls, dealing with difficult and aggressive patrons and resolving conflicts.
This placement has been an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge I have learned at TAFE in a professional environment. Applying skills practically has helped me to identify my biggest strengths and areas I can improve in the future. My workplace supervisors have given me the necessary training and induction during my placement. Customer service attendants and other specialist library staff have helped me to complete my work placement through various on-the-job training.
For instance, a WHS representative Stephen Radlett gave me the necessary training for manual handling. The Digital Hub coordinator, Julian Smith, explained vividly how to use various electronic devices for placing a hold, searching the library catalogue and how to use social media platforms for collaboration, communication and effective engagement with peers, colleagues and patrons. Overall, the preparation was insightful and equally comprehensive.
My placement has allowed me to work in different areas in the Library to see what environment suits me most. For example, dealing with children, computers and systems, collections, adult programs and community history. It is practically impossible to know where I will best fit without trying a variety of responsibilities. Moreover, the library has a wide range of patrons and staff from different cultures, ethnicities and educational backgrounds. That has made the internship even more vibrant, stimulating and insightful.
Placements usually award me with some kind of compensation such as course credit or a professional recommendation. With the Tea Tree Gully Library, I have greatly admired their support, constant cooperation and desire for professional growth in their employees. I was privileged to be able to take advantage of in-house training and flexible scheduling to complete my Certificate IV in Library and Information Services.
The entire purpose of a placement is to gain new skills and apply them to real tasks. For example, during the placement I have learnt the different uses and functionalities of the SirsiDynix Library Management system, how to display an educational event and project management techniques. A placement is like a crash course of working in the real world. I am learning from hands-on experience instead of a classroom-based lesson. Whether it learning big things or little things, I have been learning constantly. In the real world of employment, learning never stops, so it has been great to start adding to my skill set while undertaking my placement as a trainee library assistant.
It is difficult to find a placement in the library industry under the current economic and political climate, especially in South Australia. Placements are all about gaining experience, making professional connections and learning new skills. They involve a lot of work, learning, observation, and involvement. Whether it is the work I am doing or the people that surround me, there are so many different things to love about my placements.
The successful completion of a college certificate does not necessarily provide direct entry into a career. I think of placements as career experiments to accomplish long-term educational and career objectives. I have enjoyed my placement and wish to work in the Library industry upon graduation.
Doing something I love and thoroughly enjoy is vitally important because it resembles what I want to do in the future. I felt like I hit the jackpot when I got my approval letter to complete a placement at the Tea Tree Gully Library. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
A placement may often be perceived as an audition for a full-time job either with the same organisation or with a different organisation. My advice for future work experience students is to apply yourself to a placement as if it is a permanent engagement, or if it might turn into one. Libraries are always looking for dedicated, passionate, dynamic, and creative individuals. It is worth remembering that hard work always pays off!