This Guest Post is by Suzannah Bridge, co-founder of The Future Library and Information Professionals (FLIP) Network, and will be of interest in particular to anyone thinking of studying Library or Information Studies.
How do I get started working in libraries? Do I need to do a Graduate Traineeship to be a librarian? Should I do a library and information science (LIS) qualification? Full time, part time or distance learning? Where should I study? I’m sure these are all questions that readers of this blog have asked themselves at one time, or indeed might be asking as they are reading this.
Getting started in LIS can be difficult, and even once you have secured your first library job you need to start thinking about getting an LIS qualification. While a qualification isn’t the only route into the profession, it is often asked for by employers, and provides something of a ‘fast track’ into a professional post. There are many decisions to be made along the way, and I certainly found they were not easy decisions to make. Hearing from people who are currently studying, have recently qualified, or just being able to speak to your peers about it is hugely valuable, but not something that everyone has.
The Future Library and Information Professionals (FLIP) Network was born of a frustration with the lack of resources and support available to anyone considering a career in LIS. As a community LIS professionals are very friendly, but it can be a confusing world to immerse yourself in. There are acronyms galore, countless professional networks and a myriad of mailing lists to learn about; when you are first starting out this is difficult to navigate.
In my experience no one really tells you about all of these things, you just have to pick them up along the way, but it’s not easy. At FLIP we wanted to fill this gap by providing practical support to future library and information professionals. We started our ‘Guides’ series in order to do this. So far we’ve only got a couple of guides (to mailing lists, and using Twitter for professional networking), but we are working to expand this.
We also regularly post articles from aspiring and current LIS professionals at various stages in their career. These articles cover a range of topics from graduate trainee experiences, to conference reports, and reports from visits to interesting libraries. We hope that these are not only informative for anyone interested in LIS, but will provide support to anyone starting out in their career. I know I certainly spent a lot of time searching for, and reading such posts when I was first starting out.
We’re always looking for anyone interested in LIS to write for us, no matter what stage you are at in your career. If you have an experience you’d like to share please get in touch! Contact details can be found on our website, and you can get the latest from us by following us on Twitter @FLIPnetworkUK