A month ago, I attended this full-day event organised by SLA, BIALL, and CLSIG. There were a wide variety of attendees; from people who were finishing their library traineeships and were about to embark on getting their qualifications, to others like me who had graduated.
Part of the day was dedicated to law librarianship, whilst in the other half focused on specialist areas of librarianship. The day ended with a talk from the day’s sponsors about recruitment. We also had a tour of the Wellcome Collection Library at lunchtime.
For law librarianship, our speakers where:
- Janet Scoones, Director of Information & KM at Trowers & Hamlins,
- Karen Jackson, Knowledge & Information Officer at Clifford Chance,
- Diane Miller, Senior Information Officer at Gowling WLG.
One common theme among all of these talks was a drive for innovation. Law firms are all about saving time and money. You have to prove that having an in-house library service, instead of being outsourced, is worth it. This means law library services are very competitive, always looking for new ways to share information and knowledge.
There was discussion about how law librarianship had changed in the past few years, and how it will continue to change. Decades earlier law librarianship was about photocopying and cutting up articles, now it’s about knowledge sharing and technological advances. To be in law librarianship, you have to be adaptable and willing to update your skills constantly.
For specialist areas of librarianship, our speakers were:
- Cornelia Andersson, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Research and Market Data at The Blackstone Group,
- Ian O’Leary, Information Services Manager at The Medical Defence Union,
- Seema Rampersad, Senior Business Researcher and Service Manager at The British Library.
Cornelia doesn’t hold a traditional LIS role. However, she is now applying for CILIP Chartership as her job has elements of information management. Similar to law librarianship, her sector is very competitive. Cornelia’s role requires a lot of specialist marketing and business knowledge that left my head spinning!
Ian discussed his new job at the Medical Defense Union (MDU), having worked at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) previously. Ian emphasised that services in research organisations are stretched, so it’s important to keep up with technological innovations, make allies throughout the organisation, and be proactive.
Seema focused on the outreach work she has done throughout the community. She discussed the Start-Ups in London Libraries initiative, which offers free workshops to budding entrepreneurs, as well other support such as one-to-ones. She stated that a key requirement of her role is collaboration and networking.
To discuss recruitment, our speakers were:
- Jayne Winch, Senior Consultant at CB Resourcing recruitment consultants,
- Lee Seymour, Senior Consultant at TFPL Recruitment and Daniel Rose, Senior Consultant at Sue Hill Recruitment.
They gave advise for applying for the application process.
Some main points included:
- Tailor your CV/cover letter using the job description and personal specification.
- Find keywords to use from the specification and put them in your CV/cover letter, but avoid library jargon as the person reading it might not be a LIS professional.
- The essential requirements are usually a wish list and not definitive. If you are missing one or two of the requirements, try applying anyway. You never know!
- An interview is not just about the organisation deciding if you’re the right fit, but also the other way round. Always have questions ready for the end of the interview.
Overall, it was an enjoyable day where I learnt a lot about libraries outside of the academic sphere and I had an opportunity to network with my peers.
Throughout all the talks, there was a common theme of innovation, collaboration, and a drive towards sharing knowledge.
If you would like to discover more about the day and find other people’s perspectives, you can search the hashtag #SLANewProfs on Twitter.