Library and Information Studies MA – courses, funding, links and interesting things to research further !

Many of us on the Bodleian Libraries traineeship may be considering undertaking the MA or PG Diploma in Library and Information Studies at some point in the future. I hope that this article will be interesting and useful for the current cohort, as well as any future trainees who may be reading this (or anyone engaged in a relentless Google search regarding doing a Library Masters, or related, course).

The first thing to consider is which institutions in the UK actually offer the MA degree. The main ones are: 

In England:

In Wales: 

In Scotland:

All of the above are accredited by the UK’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

There are also other courses which have a focus on different aspects of librarianship: for example, Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University has a specialist option unit focusing on Health Librarianship, “devised in conjunction with the NHS Library and Knowledge Services North to address a specific industry need for more library and information professionals in this sector.”

I found this quite interesting because it allows you to consider how dynamic different aspects of librarianship can be outside of the academic and public spheres:

https://www.cilip.org.uk/news/436963/Career-Challenges-starting-in-Health-Care-Librarianship.htm

 

Some other slightly more unconventional programmes of study that might also be of interest:

The Institute of English Studies (part of the School of Advanced Study, itself a postgraduate wing of the University of London) offers an MA/MRes in the History of the Book. It’s specifically geared towards those with an interest in the rare book trade and has an internship with an antiquarian bookseller as one of its components. They also run the London Rare Books School (LRBS), a series of five-day, intensive courses on a variety of book-related topics taught in and around Senate House, University of London. This can be attended as part of the MA or separately (it’s also possible to apply for a bursary to cover some of the cost of attending).

Similarly, the University of Edinburgh has a one-year taught MSc in Book History and Material Culture, which is run by the Centre for the History of the Book (CHB), founded as an “international and interdisciplinary centre for advanced research into all aspects of the material culture of the text, from manuscripts to electronic texts.” It is accredited by CILIP and seems to have a particular focus on special collections management in terms of conservation, digitisation and display.

The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing have a comprehensive listing relating to these types of courses, which you can find here. 

 

Funding

When we think of funding a postgraduate course, the first thing that comes to mind is usually:

a) There isn’t any or b) I’ll need to take out loans, loans and more loans !!

It is true that the main source of funding available is through loans (including the Postgraduate Master’s Loan, which is maximum about £11,000).

However, I have discovered that although there is certainly a scarcity of funding, there are in fact several options available to supplement a loan/savings.

A lot of the institutions above offer PG scholarships and will have them available to search on their site. Once you have accepted an offer, you will often be given the option of opting in automatically to be considered for certain scholarships, and others you may need to apply for separately.

Museums Archives and Libraries Wales (CyMAL) offers library staff working in Wales up to £3,000 to undertake the MA by Distance Learning. There is also funding available from CILIP, mainly for attending conferences. 

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online is a funding resource for current and prospective postgraduate students studying at UK universities, focusing on unusual or obscure sources of funding from private charities that offer bursaries and grants to students to fund PG study. It was founded by students who themselves won many of these charity awards as a mean of funding their PG education, and contains a database of nearly 1,000 sources of this type of funding. The database is constantly being updated and added to. It also promises to be “a methodology rather than simply a finding tool,” containing reams of information on not only how to find funding that is applicable to your circumstances, but also the best way to go about applying to be considered for it. Oxford has a full subscription to the AGO, so trainees can set up an account and access the information for free.

The Book Trade Charity also provides grants to support those under the age of 30 who want to enter the book trade in terms of supporting apprenticeships, internships etc.

The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, also known as the Stationers’ Company, offer postgraduate bursaries to students who have received an offer to study on a list of specific degree programmes at particular institutions, which range from conservation to publishing to photojournalism. In terms of Library and Information Studies, you can apply for this bursary if you are doing the MA at University College London. The bursary is for up to £6,000 and as well as this, the applicant “will be offered the opportunity to receive mentoring during their studies from a member of the Stationers’ Company, taking into account the specific interests of the student.”

The criteria states that “Applicants must normally be under 25 on 1st September 2020, resident in the UK, and classified as paying UK tuition fees.” However, if you are between 25 and 30 and want to apply, it says to “please discuss your application with the relevant Course Director and Administrator,” so it seems as though someone who is 25-30 may still be in with a chance !

They also have a really useful PDF which gives a listing of many other places to look for funding and can be found at the bottom of this page.

There are way more options and resources out there than you might think at first glance, and I hope that anyone reading this has found it helpful as a starting point.

 

Library Trainee Day in the Life (Emily Delahaye, Sainsbury Library)

Hi everyone! Last year the trainees blogged about a typical day in the life in their respective libraries so I thought I would do the same – this is what my day as a trainee generally looks like!

8.30 am – Arrive at the library and settle in. Once a week I open up the library – this involves picking up copies of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal to put in the library, emptying the book return box, sweeping the library for lost property and books left on desks, and checking that all the lights are switched on and that there is paper in the printers.

8.45 am – The whole team helps to shelve books that were put into the book return box overnight. If its term time, then we can have quite a few shelves of books to sort through, but everyone working together makes this quite a speedy process!

9.00 am – 10.15 am – Every day I spend four hours on the enquiry desk, either in the morning or after lunch. If I’m on the desk in the morning, I first sort through all the emails in the library inbox, forwarding them on to the relevant people or responding to them myself. When the post arrives there might be new issues of journals or new books for me to process and label, which is a task I quite enjoy.

10.15 am – Normally on my morning break I will go down and get a coffee in the excellent cafe we have in the Said Business School.

10.30 am – 1.00 pm – After my break I will continue to work on the enquiry desk. During term time I will be mainly dealing with student enquiries. Typical enquiries I receive include: how to find a book in the library, how to get access to one of the electronic databases we subscribe to, how to use the printing system and how to order books from the Bodleian Storage Facility (BSF). Around this time in the morning, the books students have previously ordered from the BSF will arrive, so I will check these in and lock them away securely.

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm – Lunch break!

2.00 pm – 5.00 pm – In the afternoon, if I’m not on the enquiry desk I will be at my own desk in the library office. During these hours I work on various projects, such as helping with the reclassification of parts of the library to the library of congress system. Otherwise, I might be uploading files to the library’s student project database, where current students can read their predecessors’ dissertations which helps with writing their own. Recently we had a book sale in the library, so I spent some time making a list of everything we were selling, so we could keep track, and also taking pictures of the books so we could advertise them to students.

I’m over half way through my traineeship now and I’m still really enjoying working at the Sainsbury Library – my colleagues are very encouraging and have often let me be part of the work they do, which has given me a detailed insight into the world of librarianship!

BIALL, CLSIG and SLA Europe Open Day 2013 part 2

Hello, Francesca here, Academic Services trainee at the Bodleian Law Library. Following on from Kat’s post, here’s a little of what I took away from the BIALL, CLSIG, and SLA Europe Open Day (acronyms helpfully explained by Kat below!) which we were lucky enough to attend at the CILIP head offices in London on Wednesday.

After a nice rush hour battle with the tube, I soon settled in to the talk by the first of the day’s nine speakers, each of whom gave a fascinating insight into their career paths to date. What I learnt immediately from Jacky Berry’s presentation was that there are a lot more sectors into which a professional qualification in Librarianship and Information can lead that I had imagined! Jacky’s experiences and suggestions for sectors to look in included Building and Architecture, MI5 and charities. The number of different job titles associated with the information profession is also never-ending, and it was interesting to learn of Jacky’s management of the recent redevelopment of the British Medical Association Library. It was an excellent eye-opener to the types of roles to look out for.

IALS Library
IALS Library. Image from Twitter.

I had however, gone into the day hoping to learn more about the Legal sector, whether as a law librarian in an academic institutiton, or as a researcher for a law firm. Working for the Bodleian Law Library has certainly inspired me to consider specialising withing the legal sector when I finish my traineeship, and gain my professional qualification.  Six of the day’s nine speakers either work or have worked as a law librarian or for a law firm, and we were given an insightful tour of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed with the amount of information given. (A little overwhelmed maybe, but now is the time to go away and process it!)

Two of the speakers were recent graduates, both recipients of the SLA Early Career Conference Award. Both now work as Information Officers for London law firms. It was interesting to hear from people not long ago in my position on how they got to where they are, and allowed me to see that it is something realistic for me to pursue, given my experience in the Bodleian Law Library, and my enrollment on the MScEcon Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University. Their talks gave extremely useful tips on how to make yourself stand out. Indeed, I am a little behind the times, and yet to open a Twitter account or a LinkedIn account. Marie Cannon’s talk reminded and persuaded me of the importance of these tools (when used sensibly!) in keeping up to date with developments in the sector, keeping in touch and making new connections with professionals, and in job hunting in all areas of librarianship. I shall be going home to create these this weekend! Sam Wiggins highlighted the usefulness of joining professional bodies, particularly for those in corporate sectors such as law, and trying your luck at applying for awards and bursaries such as the ECCA . ‘If you don’t ask (apply), you don’t get’!

There were also two talks from established Librarians, one from Emily Allbon, Law Librarian at City University Library, and one from Sandra Smythe, Senior Information Officer at a London law firm. It was extremely interesting (and again a little overwhelming!) to learn of the huge variety of tasks that Emily undertakes as City’s Law Librarian, from teaching and managing budgets to her work on creating Lawbore, a fanatastic directory for students of links to law resources on the web. I am still very much drawn towards attempting to stay working in an academic environment, as I thoroughly enjoy the interaction with students. However, like Kat, the idea of undertaking legal research is an inviting (if daunting!) challenge. Sandra discussed her past and current roles working for London law firms. The process of research has always been something I thoroughly enjoy, and whilst in an academic situation the students research for themselves, a role at a law firm would be a great opportunity to continue researching myself (albeit under quite demanding and time-pressured circumstances!)

As you can see, then, the open day has given me a lot of food for thought! I too would like to thank everyone involved, particularly those who spoke – the talks were thought-provoking and extremely useful at this point in my deciding what opportunities to seek, whether they end up being in the legal sector, or somewhere else. I also learnt that planning a path in the Information sector doesn’t always work, so we shall see! As mentioned by Kat, the presentations can be found on the CLSIG event pages.

Library Routes Project

There is a meme going around the biblioblogosphere at the moment in which librarians are writing about their route in to librarianship.

The meme was borne out of a discussion that started on Twitter. Woodsiegirl followed this up with a post on her blog, Organising Chaos, and this got others posting their stories. Seeing that the meme was escalating Ned Potter has set up the Library Routes Project wiki where all the blog posts (including mine!) are being collated.

I thought this might be something a bunch of future librarians, who are considering their options, might be interested in.