Applying to Library School… And Beyond! 2012: a CPD25 Event

Our very first guest post!  This piece was written by James Atkinson, one of our Information Assistants working in Health.  He recently attended this CPD25 event aimed at IAs and graduate trainees interested in applying to study Library and Information Science. 

Full disclaimer: your venerable host for this post, Samantha, was one of the organisers of this event.

Having never been to any form of conference before, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this event. I was also, due to a lack of experience, a little fearful of the networking periods.  My fears were allayed very soon after arrival, though, when I quickly (admittedly after a period talking to others from City I already knew) found myself talking to strangers and not minding one bit (I’d also been given a natty M25 bag and pen, which helped things too).  As was later covered in the conference, this really isn’t something to worry about.  And tea and cake always help!

The other delegates were mostly comprised of Graduate Trainees from the various academic institutions in and around London, with some a little further afield, and it was fun to spot the different universities on people’s badges, as well as smaller institutions I’d not heard of.

Before long we all shuffled through to the main room and took our seats for the morning’s talks.  The role of the day was to gain advice on how to apply to Library School and what to expect once there.

The “How To” element was provided by UCL’s Vanda Broughton who gave a very good talk that included many tips on the application process for Library Masters courses, such as what they want to see in application forms and hear at interviews.  She also talked about the importance of choosing a course from picking through the details of the terminology used in the prospectus to deciding how to study.

The other speakers were all library professionals who had previously attended this course and since been through Library School.  Each spoke about their experiences of studying as well as the route they took before and after.  These stories gave great advice on how to go about selecting the course that is right for you and took a look beyond at job possibilities once qualified.  They also urged us to get involved, through twitter, at conferences, at work and in courses to discover and learn more about the profession and where we would like it to lead us.

One of the strengths of this course was that it looked at all the different ways of studying, and different institutions that offer Library Masters.  This made me think more about the different possibilities open to me than I had before, including the possibility of distance learning – with the different approaches to it taken at Northumbria and Aberystwyth given as examples.

Mind you, for me, distance learning still seems like something that wouldn’t work for me (I would rather have more face-to-face contact) whereas part-time study seems an even better prospect than I had previously thought (as people talked about how the course can be helped by working, and vice versa); possibly – working and studying is always going to be a big commitment but I am eager to try.

Over lunch there was the chance to talk with staff from various universities that run Library and Information Studies courses, allowing us to gain more information and ask questions – after a re-fuel with sandwiches first though, of course.

In addition, the afternoon included a Q&A session with a panel (including our own Laura Radford!) with current LIS students and recent graduates where people were able to get at further information that may not have been covered during the talks as well as solidifying many of the main points that had been raised during the day.

It was so good that I’m going to return to attend another CPD25 course in February!

— James Atkinson.

If you’d like to see some of the slides, prezis and my own notes for the day, they’re linked to and written up on my personal blog.  — Samantha.

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