Instant Ideas and Collaboration

Summary Part 2: 3rd November – Library School

7. Which is more highly valued by employers: qualifications or experience?

  • Experience is valued over qualifications – even if experience is not in libraries (@ggnewed)
  • Lots of years doesn’t necessarily mean enhanced performance (@jwebbery)
  • Qualifications still incorporated into interview point scoring system at workplace (@jwebbery)
  • Seems like whatever you have they don’t need, whatever you don’t have they need (@richardveevers)
  • Qualification gets you to interview stage but your skills and experience more important than qualification (@Readyourbook, @ostephens, @joeyanne, @halfpricechamp)
  • Qualification gives you advantage  if you both have the experience – it’s very competitive (@EmmaBettyHughes, @Sonja_Kujansuu, @Library_Karen)
  • Some posts don’t require or reward qualifications – but now in a job where qualification is needed (@call_me_cathy)
  • Qualifications no longer required at current workplace – value experience and capabilities (@JoLibrariAnne, @shedsue)
  • Can be both. Have appointed less experienced people because of greater knowledge, skills, abilities (@jwebbery)
  • Even if you lack professional experience, don’t underestimate the respect that having done a graduate traineeship will get you (@sarahcchilds)
  • Employers don’t ask about qualifications at interview – they ask about experience (@usernametaken10)
  • The old saying ‘recruit for attitude, train for skills’ which is true even in the context of fair recruitment (@liz_jolly via @prossian)
  • Not usually awarded job on basis of degree mark but can make a difference (@jwebbery)
  • Qualifications are important but continuing professional CPD is essential (@JeanetteCastle)
8. What can a new graduate offer an employer that an experienced candidate cannot in an increasingly competitive job market?
  • Employers may perceive them to be more enthusiastic (@sarahcchilds, @KrisWJ)
  • Employers may perceive them to be more technologically proficient (@sarahcchilds)
  • Employers may perceive them to be more flexible  (@sarahcchilds)
  • Question things others may take for granted (@booleanberry, @ggnewed)
  • New graduates might come with more current background academic knowledge on librarianship (@Sonja_Kujansuu)
  • We all bring individual skills & experience to what we do. Newly qualified doesn’t mean inexperienced (@ostephens)
  • New professionals are very high calibre at the moment compared to recent years (@jwebbery)

9. For those that are not “new professionals” – how do you view the course now compared to when you took it?

  • Quit Aberystwyth Bachelors degree in 2009 as it felt outdated – this may have changed (@JoLibrariAnne)
  • UCL (2006-2008) – mixed feelings – polarised over good and bad bits. Want more computing and theory of information etc. (@girlinthe)
  • Manchester Metropolitan (1999). HR, management, web content, using library, writing website all good. Cataloguing dull(@shedsue)
  • Impression is that they still lack decent computing element (@ostephens). Although @PaulaGoodale and @dgtherunner pointed put that few choose techy options that are available
  • Many lack cataloguing and classification (@ggnewed)
10. For those that are not “new professionals” – do you notice any skill gaps that you think those leaving library school have?
  • Sometimes wonder if there’s much focus on customer service – the job is as much about communication as about organization (@kathryntyne)

11. How do you think the fee changes will affect the future of the profession? Will people still do MAs?

  • Distance and part-time learning will be more popular (@Sonja_Kujansuu)
  • I’m not sure the fee changes will really have much of an effect, as students pay it back when working (@jothelibrarian)
12.  Has anyone taken part in #hacklibschoolhttp://hacklibschool.wordpress.com/about/
  • Haven’t done #hacklibschool but would love to. Given fees and need for greater edge, want to make most of being a student (@booleanberry)
  • Read blog and might write Aberystwyth review after graduating (@Sonja_Kujansuu)
13.  Any tips on writing a statement or applying for library school?
  • Get as many people to read it as possible (@sarahcchilds)
  • Be honest and enthusiastic about your passions (@girlinthe, @booleanberry, @Jothelibrarian)
  • Even if you haven’t got library experience, look for transferable skills from elsewhere (@Library_Karen)
  • Be very clear about why you want to do the course and what you think you will get out of it (@PaulaGoodale)
  1. Why don’t they teach practical cataloguing skills in some library schools and what is the best way to learn this if you want to go into cataloguing?
  • Learning cataloguing skills by volunteering –  e.g. museum sector, public libraries or charities (@JoLibrariAnne, @MyWeeklyBook, @Library_Karen, @sarahcchilds)
  • Started cataloguing at work before library school as knew it was part of course, it helped having that background (@KrisWJ)
  • Cat & class helps me consider usability, organisation, theory, etc (@booleanberry)
  • Bowman’s Essential Cataloguing is approachable as a text with lots of examples (@booleanberry, @jothelibrarian) http://t.co/1mEL8kYY
  • Shadowing (@KrisWJ)
  • Courses e.g. ASLIB (@ellyob)

15. What did you write your dissertation on? How did you decide topic? Any advice for people trying to come up with topic?

  • Interested in doing dissertation on digitisation or portal design (@MyWeeklyBook)
  • Wanted to do dissertation on information literacy in the workplace (@JoLibrariAnne)
  • Interested in doing dissertation on something rare books related, but unsure how specific to make it (@Sonja_Kujansuu)
  • Catalogue use of rare books as potential topic (@girlinthe)
  • Ethics – had good project design and was interested in topic (@call_me_cathy)
  • User generated tagging of oral history archives (@KrisWJ)
  • The use of virtual reality to provide information (1993-4) -wanted to show info was more than just words. Interesting how augmented reality has moved to mobile phones (@ggnewed)
  • Wrote dissertation about history and development of the project I worked on, learned a lot about qualitative research & interviewed a CBE & KBE (@ellyob)
  • Advise not to work 2 jobs at the same time as trying to write dissertation! (@call_me_cathy)
  • Plan ahead – especially if you will need a placement, make the contacts and form working relationships asap (@MyWeeklyBook)
  • Choose something you love (@joeyanne, @PaulaGoodale, @jothelibrarian, @ellyob)
  • Don’t relate to a work project if there’s any chance the project will be delayed or stop altogether (@joeyanne)
  • Really enjoyed doing it.. Supervisors just let me get on with it, as I was having so much fun! (@jothelibrarian)
  • Pick the right supervisor (@MyWeeklyBook, @jothelibrarian)
  • Treat it like a job and get it done (@jothelibrarian)
  • Try reading about topics of interest, I found ideas start to take form once you’re looking at related literature out there (@KrisWJ)
  • Doesn’t necessarily need to relate to current or future job (@joeyanne)

16. Do you have any advice on making the transition to a professional position?

  • Make use of university careers service (@call_me_cathy)
  • Use any and all experience  you have from library jobs or anything else (@call_me_cathy)
  • Networking (@call_me_cathy)
Other points:
  • Suggestion to ask for study leave if you’re working (@kirsty_thomson)

Information about courses and qualifications:

  • At Loughborough you get to design Information Literacy intervention
  • Very little practical cataloguing and classification at Aberystwyth
  • CPD route at Shefieldf you can do – ‘independent studies’ on any subject (@PaulaGoodale)
  • Glasgow course accredited by CILIP and archives body
  • Other points to note:
    • Some employers now view NVQs as acceptable qualifications (@Readyourbook, @BhamLibrarian,)
    • You can charter without doing information/library management qualification – called extraordinary route (@Kwiddows)
    • Think about doing other non-library qualifications e.g. Project Management (@kwiddows)


  • Berlin course is €5000 http://bit.ly/vZiahk
  • University course in Boras, Sweden offers digital library course – no fees http://bit.ly/AlJPa6
  • High fees can make you resent bad classes (@booleanberry)
  • Beware fees going up after you have accepted offer (@booleanberry, @myweeklybook)
  • Fees keep going up – though perhaps market will bring them down eventually (@MyWeeklyBook)
  • Non-distance learning classes and full-time classes may die out (@MyWeeklyBook)
  • Several people have had to drop out of course, or weren’t able to start them in the first place because of funding problems (@MyWeeklyBook, @stormfilled, @calire, @HemBem)
  • Some had had some or all of their fees paid by employers but recognised that this was an increasingly rare option. Employers  who have sponsored degrees: University of Cambridge, Oxford Libraries. Although this funding can be withdrawn (@joeyanne)
  • Some had fees paid by bodies like SAAS and AHRC (@call_me_cathy, @kirsty_thomson)
Some universities believed not to charge more if it’s your second MA:

One comment on “Summary Part 2: 3rd November – Library School

  1. Anne Welsh
    January 16, 2012

    Just to confirm, I double checked with our Head of Department and we do not charge extra if it is a second Masters.

    Indeed, each year we have several students with Masters already and several others with PhDs, although, of course you are not required to have higher degrees already!

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2012 by in Discussion Summaries.


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