Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library
Whilst doing my BA in Ceramics at Camberwell College of Arts, I became fascinated by the library collection there and at the other colleges of the University of the Arts in London. I began to think about librarianship as a way to build on my knowledge and experience and to have a career which suits my skills and incorporates my personal interests as part of my working day.
I decided to apply to IALS as it is both an academic library and highly specialised collection. Additionally and importantly, it offers an excellent training programme. The placement at IALS has prepared me for MA study as I now have a working knowledge of many of the areas covered in the core modules at University College London (UCL), where I will start in September.
I have always loved the atmosphere and service that libraries offer and consequently I started researching careers in librarianship. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about working in a law library when the only thing I knew about law was how to spell it and that under no circumstances should I break it! However, I was reassured at my interview that a background in law was not essential.
The trainee year at IALS provides a brilliant opportunity to really get stuck in to every aspect of (law) librarianship – from working on the issue/enquiry desk to checking in all the journals that pass through the serials section. The graduate trainee post here is a great opportunity for any aspiring librarian and offers a fun and varied working year in one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the UK.
In the final year of my degree in Art History at the University of Nottingham I began pursuing positions as a Graduate Trainee Library Assistant through the CILIP website. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far working at the Institute, and I quickly learned that my unfamiliarity with the material kept in the collection wasn't a problem at all. The variety of work the four trainees here undertake keeps you on your toes and gives an excellent introduction to the different facets of library work.
Following the trainee year, I intend on working as a Library Assistant in another library, preferably in an arts/humanities library, in order to enhance these skills before continuing on to library school to further my professional understanding.
Holding a MA in Jewish Studies as well as Medieval and Modern History, I wondered what it would be like to work in a legal research library without having studied law by myself. But when I came to the IALS I soon realised that there was nothing to worry about. Moving through three different sections of the library and having regular shifts at the enquiry and issue desk provided a good opportunity to gain experience in working in a large academic library. All in all, I spent a great and instructive year at IALS and really enjoyed working with very nice and helpful colleagues, who were always committed to impart their considerable knowledge. After my trainee year I intend to take up a postgraduate course in Information and Library Studies by distance learning.
Institute of Classical Studies Library
I had considered a career in Librarianship at several points during my University career, but wanted some time to travel after graduating so I spent time studying languages abroad. When I returned I realised that this was the right career for me and researched the trainee positions available.
As well as the Library's reputation and its location in Bloomsbury, I was also attracted by the idea of working for the University of London and the training and support it offers. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and have had a varied experience of work and learning opportunities. I hope to undertake a Masters course in Library and Information Studies at City University in September.
Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library
I started thinking about becoming a Librarian shortly after graduating with a degree in English Literature and History, and attended one of the CILIP open days in order to find out more about what was involved. I realised that I had missed the deadlines for the Traineeships that year, but decided to gain some experience working, and apply the following year. Working at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies has been a great experience. I'm part of a small team, and as such I get a lot of hands-on experience of the varying jobs involved in working in a library, from desk duties and re-shelving through to cataloguing. This year has cemented my interest in pursuing a career as a Librarian, and next year I will be going on to study for the MA at UCL.
Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies
Whilst completing my MA at the University of Bath, I was involved both in part-time work in the University Language Centre and in Bath Central Library. Inspired by my manager in the language centre, I realised that a library traineeship is not only the best way to gain transferable skills before doing the postgraduate qualification, but also can been seen as a starting point to build up a professional career.
Since August 2007 I have been working in the Germanic Studies library, where I can continuingly use my knowledge of German. Apart from working in the library, other benefits of the year include the comprehensive training sessions and library visits scheme provided by the University. I think that I will find a full-time job in a library after my traineeship in order to earn money to undertake a part-time course the next year.
Institute of Historical Research Library
As I approached my final year at university, I started to explore the many career options available to a history graduate. Wanting to find out more about librarianship, I undertook some vacation work experience at the University of Surrey Library.
As a trainee at the IHR, working within a small team of supportive colleagues, I have been encouraged to take every training opportunity I wanted to pursue, even if it means taking time off work. Most of all, working here has given me an excellent grounding in librarianship, particularly the more traditional side such as cataloguing and classification. Consequently, I am due to start an MSc in Library and Information Studies at City University this September where I will focus more on IT and information management in general.
Warburg Institute Library
Tabitha Tuckett (2007 - 2009)
I came to the Warburg after a doctorate and research fellowship in Classics and English, followed by work as a lexicographer and then as a musician. After work experience in libraries, archives and museum education, I decided that librarianship was for me.
The traineeship offers a wide range of experience, including cataloguing, processing book orders and inter-library loans, introducing new readers, learning to digitize books and to update web pages.
I am very pleased to have been offered the opportunity to continue working at the Institute while I study for a part-time MA in library studies one day a week. I have found the Institute to be a warm, welcoming and stimulating place to work and I would thoroughly recommend this traineeship.
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