14 May 2020

Migrating into the Freelance Consultancy Library Space



Guest post by Marie Jennings 

I was always drawn to the idea of becoming a freelance librarian. In my past career I was involved in a lot of projects including: 
  • Cataloguing several special collections at various heritage houses throughout Ireland with the OPW. 
  • I was part of a retrospective cataloguing project with the Houses of the Oireachtas. 
  • Cataloguing a pre-1800 collection for DCU of several thousand books. 
  • Assessing the cataloguing needs of the Franciscan book collection in UCD Special Collections. 
  • A large-scale project comprising a Pre-1900, Irish Studies and a Moral Theology collection for the Redemptorists. 

Having spent nearly twenty years working as a professional librarian on a diverse range of projects, I decided to fulfil a key personal and professional goal to work as a freelance librarian where the skills and experience that I have acquired to date could be utilised. 

Since becoming a freelancer in June of last year, I have already been involved in a lot of interesting projects including compiling a User Experience report and a languages toolkit for librarians in Dublin City Libraries, creating a reference library for the Redemptorists in Dundalk, cataloguing a special collection for the Dominican Order and developing a secondary school library for Manor House School in Dublin. 

Working freelance is a very fulfilling experience and has exposed me to very interesting projects. There are other enjoyable aspects to becoming a freelance librarian such as website design, liaising with your customers and the promotion of your services. 

Even though I have worked in the library and information sector for twenty years, I am passionate about CPD, which is particularly helpful as a freelance librarian as my skills are always relevant and up to date. I have recently completed a “Metadata Design and Implementation” course with the Library Juice Academy. Another course I’ve recently undertaken is “The History of the Book” with Trinity College Dublin. I found this course beneficial as I learned about new tools that are useful for cataloguers of rare books. I also undertook the “Rare Book Curatorship” course many years ago in UCD as part of my postgraduate studies and I have been fortunate to have catalogued large collections of antiquarian books. 

I was planning to have this article published in March to officially launch my website and services and then Covid-19 struck, and I had put these plans on hold. At the time of writing we are still in the midst of the pandemic and increasing numbers are working from home. I myself am currently working from home to finish a cataloguing project for the Dominicans. I decided to publish this article anyway as I offer remote services in addition to onsite services, so it is business as usual for me as a freelance librarian. 

I am delighted to join the freelance librarian space. This is a growing space within the library and information management community due to the constantly expanding skillset of the modern librarian. Please go to https://freelancelibrarianmj.com/ to see my newly launched website called The Freelance Librarian. If you have queries, please do get in touch. My email is mariejenningslibrarian@gmail.com. 

In the meantime I hope that you all keep safe and well.

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