I currently have two part-time roles within two universities in the North West. I am an information adviser at Sheffield Hallam University supporting the Sheffield Business School and I also work within the Library and Support Services department at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
I previously worked as a solicitor before making the career change into library and information services. I then undertook the library graduate trainee scheme at MMU before embarking on the MA in Library and Information Management (graduating in Sept 2011). During my studies, I continued to work at MMU, managing one of their smaller libraries during the weekend. This work experience was invaluable as it contextualised and consolidated the teaching on the course and, conversely, the teaching informed and improved the way in which I carried out my job.
After graduation, I continued to work at MMU, but I began working for their Library Support Services, which supports the acquisition, cataloguing and management of stock. The modules I studied on the course such as ‘Information Access and Retrieval’ proved very useful, particularly the sections on metadata schemas: MARC and Dublin Core. Shortly after I finished the course, I also secured a role at Sheffield Hallam University as an Information Adviser. The role is heavily teaching orientated and customer focused and so it has given me great experience in developing learning resources for multiple platforms, collection development and academic liaison. My chosen elective on the MA course was ‘Media Law’, which has stood me in good stead when it comes to navigating my way through the copyright minefield!
The course opened up new areas of library service delivery to me, which I may not have been exposed to without doing the course. For example, the ‘Digital Futures’ module explored current issues in the development and delivery of digital services exploring issues such as digital libraries, institutional repositories, digitisation of learning materials and Web 2.0 technologies. I undertook my dissertation on institutional repositories, which was supported by the knowledge and expertise of my supervisor. I feel that this teaching has put me at the forefront of my profession as I am eager to embrace new technologies in order to enhance the service I provide to library users.
I think gaining work experience within the library and information sector is important to get the most from the course and to enhance your chances of securing employment after graduation. The MA course offers students the opportunity to undertake short placements within library and information management settings, which is a great way to boost your CV and enhance your employability!