Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Trials Tribulations and Applying to Library School: Part 1

Trials Tribulations and Applying to Library School - A talk by 3 former library school students

Post contributed by Piotr Czosnyka, Medical Library (@PiotrCzosnyka)

It was exciting and a bit scary to be asked to speak to the members of the Cambridge Library Group (CLG) about why I choose to apply to University College of London (UCL) to peruse a MA in Library and Information Science. Public speaking is never a walk in the park, no matter how many times I done it. It is an opportunity to further or develop skills, and this is partly what CLG is about. It is a platform that amplifies the voice of information professionals. On a selfish note, participating in CLG events gives me yet another iron on the fire, maintaining my personal career development. It is also essential to highlight the changing role of a librarian into an informational professional. So, debunking the delusion that many still have in our society that a room full of books is a library, nothing can be further from the truth. An empty room with a librarian is a library.

It’s not just about ME (as the ego is not your amigo), because here in Cambridge we work as a community in a rich landscape and it is not often that we get to meet our colleagues in an informal capacity. What do I mean? Working with someone who was a stranger before simply for the joy that that the labour brings is a good way to get to know somebody. Therefore, after the work is done you have a pro bono feature of knowing a new person.  Working alongside my esteemed colleagues Katherine and Matthias was a gas and a hoot, because we are different, we all did slightly different courses. Hence we aimed to present a balanced set of arguments for why you may wish to choose to attend Information School. This decision is not to be taken lightly, the financial burden alone is enough to put anyone off, because of the context of austerity, brexit, economic uncertainty, the digital divide, and did I mention the Chinese and American trade war? Times are hard, everybody is feeling the pinch.

I choose to attend UCL, because my core values of promoting literacy, knowledge, civil rights matched up with that of the institution, and I believe that in the information age of the 21st century information professionals are responsible in providing equal access at the point of entry to knowledge and thus power. UCL was founded on the ideas of meritocracy and the philosophy of Jeremy Bentham. To advance as a civilized species we need librarians, information professionals, but remember this: how you wish to call us is not as important as what we do. Simples.

Thank you to the committee and the chair of CLG.