Travels have ended but library adventures continue!

Well I have come to the end of my Travelling Librarian study tour. I’ve had an amazing time and consider myself extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity. Along the way I’ve seen some fabulous libraries and places, I’ve met some awesome librarians, found an American library soul-mate with whom I hope to plan some international co-working and made some great contacts to share best practices with.

I will be taking back some great ideas, some will be:

  • Wow! If only we had the space or the money!
  • We could definitely look at that model and adapt it to suit us.
  • We could build relationships like these.
  • That is so obvious – it’s a no-brainer!
  • Next year’s team plan!
  • Maybe not for us but other libraries may find this useful.

I also know that we have a great team at North Somerset and we have lots of fantastic projects and developments on the go, which I have enjoyed sharing with colleagues overseas. I hope that what I have discovered and learnt will help inform future developments, I know that colleagues in the States will also be looking at some of our processes and projects to adapt for their libraries. Sharing is the best way forward, it’s not necessary for any of us to re-invent the wheel, libraries, after all, are about open access to information – free for all!

I will be writing a full report and will post it here when it is published. I am happy to help and give guidance or support to anyone who may be applying for the Travelling Librarian bursary or similar in the future. Please do get in touch email: or Twitter: @FrancesTout. I look forward to writing articles and delivering presentations to share my findings and experiences over the coming months.

Most of all I would like to thank the English Speaking Union and CILIP for giving me the opportunity and funding this amazing library adventure. Also North Somerset Library Service and North Somerset Council for supporting my application and letting me go. Lastly, but by no means least, I would like to thank all my colleagues at work, who have had to cover my workload while I’ve been away, they have been extremely supportive and not one of them has moaned at me!

in front of Lincoln memorial

2 thoughts on “Travels have ended but library adventures continue!

  1. I’ve enjoyed following you around on your journey (not, as it happens, vicariously, as I’ve been in Vancouver and Chicago for the last couple of weeks). You’ve reminded me that one of the unique, and unanticipated, benefits that this opportunity provides, is to meet Americans in their workplaces and share the working experience. You get a real understanding and appreciation of the energy and drive, not to mention the generosity and hospitality, that are such features of the American character, something that I don’t think any other travel experience can provide. It takes you to places that you would otherwise never go, to see things you would otherwise never see, to meet people you would otherwise never meet. You won’t get such insights as an ordinary tourist and I don’t think you get them to anything like the same degree if you are visiting friends and family. The US gets a bad press and a reminder that there is much to admire can provide some much-needed balance.

    It’s the career opportunity of a lifetime and I don’t understand why more public librarians don’t apply. I hope your experience will encourage more people to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Couldn’t agree more Anne! It’s a great opportunity for librarians and info pros from all disciplines but it surprised me that there hadn’t been more public librarians in the past. I would also add that staying with people in their homes was also a great cultural experience, I am so glad that I did that rather than hotels and hostels. Hope you had a great time in Vancouver and Chicago.


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