Focus on Alumni is our series of blog posts written by #citylis alumni.
This post is by #citylis alumna Karine Larose, Systems Librarian at Imperial College London.
Hello there! My name is Karine. I work as a Systems Librarian at Imperial College London Library (Imperial Library) in South Kensington. Previously, I worked at UCL, Unilever, Canon Europe, Wellcome Trust, and did an internship at the London Mathematical Society while I was doing my Master’s degree at City University in 2010. In these positions, I acquired various skills, including web development, content management, systems administration, collection management, and various other technical skills that helped me secure my current position. I started my current job in January this year and working @imperialLibrary has been fantastic so far, I am really enjoying my time and learning new things every day.
From day one, it has been a roller-coaster of exciting projects to work on. It generally involves a lot of liaising work with the internal library teams, ICT, external suppliers and their technical teams to support systems-related and cross-library projects. Currently, I am busy with the implementation of a new reading list system with our external partner, and investigating on a project on user experience for our library discovery system. At Imperial Library, I am encouraged to pursue an active programme of continuing professional development to maintain relevant skills and professional knowledge by keeping up-to-date with new technologies and systems developments affecting libraries and higher education. This feeds well with my intellectual curiosity and allows me to keep learning which I think is one of the great benefits of this position. It can be hard to find a working environment where your employer provides a space for developing yourself as a professional and help you with learning new skills and deepen your professional experience through the form of events, conferences, participation in cross library projects and specialist training courses (e.g. Prince2 Certification)
Doing a master’s degree in Library Science as an international student was challenging but equally rewarding; I feel that I grew a lot and gradually discovering my working values from my experience doing this degree along with working in various jobs and going through the good and bad experiences life throws at you. There is no perfect path or set of secrets to get the professional job of your dreams after your master. From my experience, the best tool is the attitude to learn and adapt while going through challenges especially when starting a new career in Library and Information Science (LIS).
I’d never worked in a “traditional library” before. My master’s degree laid the foundation for my career in Systems Librarianship and an appreciation of the unique nature of the LIS profession in the UK. What I found great with my master’s degree in Library Science at City University is that it provided me with a set of skills which doesn’t limit me to just libraries and also exposed me to a network of library professionals through lectures, seminars and other opportunities which otherwise would have been difficult to get at the start of my career without going through a master’s degree.
I feel very fortunate to have found a position that I enjoy and in which I am using the skills that I gathered throughout my previous experiences and my education in Library Science at City University London. I am really excited to see how my career in systems at Imperial Library will evolve in the future. My “training” doesn’t stop with Library school: I see my time at City University as a very short beginning to what is a lifetime of continuing learning.