A network for new and aspiring library professionals
If you have just started a library or information course (BA, BSc, MSc, MA, PGDip etc.) then you might find the following tips from Library and Information post-graduate alumni useful. They’ve been there, done that and got the graduation photo…
We have created a page on this blog that lists multiple examples of the 4 resources we have mentioned. The list is not exhaustive, but it contains examples that we, personally, have found to be useful.
Making the most of it
Tips from Ben Catt:
Say hello – Get chatting to other students, they will have experience of working in different sectors and can offer valuable insight when it comes to making your own career decisions. Be open-minded and sociable, even if you consider yourself an introvert (as many of us library folk tend to). If you’re feeling especially proactive then be the first to arrange a gathering outside the department (i.e. in the pub) or even consider forming a society, as demonstrated by Sheffield students last year.
Branch out – Approach public library services, archives and charities for work shadowing opportunities. If you have spare time then this is a good way to develop practical experience alongside your studies. Your tutors might be able to introduce you to alumni working within local organisations. Also, if your university is hosting an interesting-looking conference then volunteer to help out!
Stay current – Librarians love Twitter, and it’s usually the first place I hear library news (information specialist Phil Bradley has curated a list of UK librarians in case you’re in need of people to follow). Twitter and LinkedIn are also ways to keep in touch after graduation, so encourage your fellow students to sign up! Last year CILIP introduced free student membership which you may also find beneficial for developing current awareness of the wider professional sector.
Keep a diary / blog – This one I’ve stolen from Evelyn Webster’s post on Graduate Traineeships, but it is also especially relevant to students. Regular writing and reflection is a good habit to get into, and an effective way to keep track of your learning and achievements for filling in job applications next summer.
Don’t ignore feedback – As a humanities undergraduate I was initially challenged by the need to re-adjust my writing style for concise literature reviews, structured abstracts and critical analyses. Remember that your tutors have a responsibility to help you with this (you may even be offered a practice assignment at the beginning of term) so don’t be afraid of asking for feedback and arranging one-to-one meetings to discuss your work.
Top tips for conference bursaries by Penny Andrews
Hope these tips help and please let us know if you have any to add 🙂