Following the path of one assistant into full librarianship
How do you become a qualified Librarian? I’ve already talked about one avenue into the profession – through CILIP and their Chartership program – but there is another, and that is also something that I am looking into completing, and that is a Masters degree.
CILIP has a list of degrees that they accredit as being programmes that are good for approaching librarianship in a professional capacity. Being an academic and generally smart person, I love learning, and as well as looking at improving myself through the workplace, I am very tempted to go back to university and get a higher level of qualification. I really do like learning, and my undergraduate degree could have gone a little better.
However, as much as I love learning, I also love my work, and one of the most important aspects of librarianship is the experience of working in a library. Since I have a job in a library already, I don’t want to give that up, and one of the entry requirements is at least a year’s experience in the industry. Put those together, and that lends itself to a distance learning masters, so I can work and learn at the same time.
So looking at that list of degrees, I found that there are five or so distance learning courses. Talking to some of the other people in the department, it turns out that two of my colleagues did their master’s degrees as distance learning degrees, so there is a wealth of experience that I can talk to. It won’t be the same as university, and it is a lot different if you do the course over distance as opposed to being there in person, but it is a good option, especially if you are working.
So knowing that it can work, gets you the qualification, and with a list of potential places I look over the five options. After looking at all of them, I decided that I liked the look of the Sheffield University course. The university is pretty highly rated, and the information department is the best rated for 2015, and was #2 last year according to UCAS, which indicates that students and employers are happy with the degrees from there. The additional benefit? Starting in September 2015 there are instigating a new course, specifically aimed at distance learners.
Subject to final approval, the MA Library and Information Services Management course will take place over two years, contains much of the same topics as Sheffield’s MA Librarianship course does, but is specifically tailored to people learning long distance, and I feel that will add a lot if the degree is aimed at the group that I am a part of. Having emailed the organisers with my interest and asked them a couple of questions, I know that I meet all the entry requirements, so when applications are open, I should have no problems with my application. After that I only have to be successful, and come September I will be a masters student.
I have to admit, because I love learning I am really looking forward to this opportunity. I really hope that I do have a successful application, because even though it’ll be hard work, and I’ll have limited free time, it’ll be great for me and my future career.