David Wright identifies as a gay man and works as an Associate University Librarian.
What’s a typical day/week like in your job?
It’s very varied, busy and challenging.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love opening up the world of knowledge to people keen to expand their horizons through learning.
What are the challenges?
There’s never enough money to do what we want to do. The world of publishing is still in turmoil due to the shift to online content – that can be a huge challenge for librarians involved in procuring content.
Are you out at work?
Yes, I have been out at work for over 30 years.
Do you think that being a part of the LGBTQ+ community has helped, hindered or made no difference to your career?
I think in the past ten or so years it has definitely helped. It can create networks that cut across traditional boundaries in organisations and as more and more firms have recognised the value of diversity, I do feel they appreciate having staff who are happy to be visible role models.
Do you feel that the way you look or present yourself has caused you to be the subject of bullying or discrimination in the workplace, aided your career or had no affect?
I’ve been extremely lucky and never experienced anything other than welcome and acceptance in the workplace. I used to wear an earring as a younger man which was unusual in those days in more formal workplace settings. It was never a problem.
Did the company’s reputation of working with its LGBT+ staff have any impact on your decision to apply to work for them?
I don’t think the University had much of a profile on LGBT+ issues when I joined back in 2008! I’m very proud to have been part of a small group of people who have changed that over the past ten years. In my experience, libraries in general are very accepting, non-judgmental places. They have a reputation for being conservative but in my experience, they can be quietly radical in promoting and providing access to LGBTQ resources.
Does your company have an LGBTQ+ staff network and are you a member of it?
They do – and I am. In fact, I helped to set it up J I felt it was important in an institution where young people would be exploring their sexuality and gender identity that we had a visible LGBTQ presence on the staff side. It’s one of the things, I feel, that is central to creating an understanding and accepting environment for young LGBTQ people.
What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this industry?
1. Try and get some hands-on work experience – that always counts for a lot when we are considering job applications.
2. Education is really important, especially if you want to move into more senior roles. Study something you love at undergrad level then follow it up with a Masters in Information/Library studies would be my advice.
3. Be yourself! Libraries are inclusive places that genuinely value diversity – but also, you will just be happier and able to achieve more if you can bring your whole self to an interview and then on into the workplace.