Learning in Libraries Through Rotations

Learning in Libraries Through Rotations

At 24, Harriet Richardson, an aspiring library assistant with the City of Sydney, found herself under the guidance of her supervisor, Rob Di Cosmo. Rob, the Library Technology Team Leader, oversees various aspects of technology and strategic planning for the library service.

In his words;

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the Library service to keep younger Trainees interested in the industry.

Through their studies, they tend to bring fresh ideas and can look at our service to help with improvements. The added bonus is they come to the end of the traineeship with a good grounding in library services and a certificate to boot!”

In the dynamic environment of the City of Sydney, comprising nine branches and two link services. Including free wifi, and access to a variety of physical and electronic collections are integral. Rob ensures that all technological touchpoints within the team and community are not only functional but also supported with the necessary equipment and resources. He also delves into strategic planning, envisioning the future of technology in the library service, particularly concerning accessibility to make the service inclusive for everyone.

Rob’s involvement with the Library traineeship program dates back almost 10 years to 2014. With his recent role as a mentor and guide for the Trainees in the past two years.

Harriet, currently studying Cert IV Library and Information Services, joined the City of Sydney in search of a more fulfilling profession.

Initially, there were reservations about not fitting the typical Trainee profile at the age of 24. But, Harriet realised that age was no barrier to success.

Rob emphasised the importance of the learning aspect, stating;

“We are called Libraries & Learning, and our Trainees really take the learning aspect and run with it.”

Harriet’s traineeship unfolded as a series of diverse and engaging experiences.
Rotating through different sections of the library, she shared insights into her daily tasks:

“I’ve learned a lot regarding libraries, but what I’ve taken away is don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up.

That’s the whole point of this traineeship after all, to learn.”

From customer service to working with the Collections team, Harriet has embraced each role with enthusiasm.

As she transitioned to the tech team, her days became even more dynamic. Engaged in a project to refresh the public IT service.
Harriet found herself at the forefront of implementing changes, replacing equipment and payment devices across 28 different sites in their division. This hands-on experience not only enhanced her technical skills but also provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of library technology.

Rob praised Harriet’s proactive approach;

“I appreciate Trainees who are willing to jump in, learn, and embrace opportunities. Harriet’s ability to adapt and contribute has been instrumental in the success of our projects.”

Harriet echoed this sentiment, emphasising the significance of being proactive in her growth;

“It changes; I’m doing 3-month rotations in different sections of the library. I started in customer service doing branch work, and now I am on the tech team, so my days are very different, which I thoroughly enjoy.”

In observing Harriet’s personal and professional growth. Rob noted her increased confidence and willingness to embrace opportunities as she became more comfortable with the workplace.

Harriet emphasised the importance of the supportive environment at the City of Sydney Library.
Highlighting the collaborative and enriching culture:

“My favourite part of my traineeship has been the people. I have met so many great people who are so supportive and make working every day fun.”

When asked if he would recommend the AFL SportsReady program to other organisations, Rob responded with enthusiasm:

“100%! We love having the trainees come through.

The program supports learning and development and is beneficial for both parties. There is a real sense of accomplishment at the end for the Trainee, and as a business, being involved with helping a Trainee set up for the future is just a great outcome.”

Harriet’s journey, under the supportive guidance of Rob and the AFL SportsReady program, highlights that it’s a collaborative effort. Leading to a fulfilling and enriching traineeship experience at the City of Sydney.

Her time as a Trainee not only equipped her with practical skills. But also fostered a passion for continuous learning and growth in the ever-evolving field of library services.

If you’ve recently completed your Traineeship, join our Alumni!

We have taken the successful AFL SportsReady model and applied it to the arts, cultural and creative industries.

The ArtsReady program assists employers in engaging young Australians in traineeships. ArtsReady is delivered by AFL SportsReady, a not-for-profit organisation specialising in education and employment for over 29 years. The national program prepares participants to graduate as job-ready. Offering on-the-job work experience.


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