I haven’t blogged in a while because I have been incredibly busy and it hasn’t, sadly, been a big priority. However, it is now almost Christmas, and I’m winding down for the break so it seemed like a perfect time to get some stuff down about things I have been up to lately.
Firstly, I moved to Sheffield to do their MA in Librarianship. I was awarded an Alumni Benefactors Scholarship, which has paid for my tuition and rent for the year making me able to do the course full time. I’ll not say much about the course here, as I will likely be writing about it for FLIP at some point. I am enjoying the course so far though and absolutely thrilled to be back in Sheffield in a city that I love, where I can afford a pint. I’m currently working at the university libraries part time as well – by far the largest libraries I have ever worked in and quite a departure from the kind of work I am used to.
What else have I been up to, well, I’ve been to a meeting about starting up an RLC group in South Yorkshire. Unfortunately everyone involved doesn’t have much time to spare, so we’re having to take things fairly slowly, but hopefully in the new year there will be more to say about that. I also attended LISDIS and wrote about it for FLIP. It was a great event! And, well, because I don’t think I’ve even brought it up on here, I founded the Future Library and Information Professionals Network (the FLIP thing I keep mentioning). There are certain things about this profession which I find deeply concerning – access to the profession and diversity in the profession. Getting into librarianship involves a lot of difficult and often costly decisions, as such I feel like aspiring librarians need a place to talk about this and see themselves represented, know they aren’t alone in feeling stressed and frustrated about their options. Not only is making these decisions a major source of stress for aspiring librarians, but the financial investment required into the career combined with poor funding opportunities is pricing people out of the profession. This concerns me because the profession is dominated by generally white and middle class people, which I feel poses a threat to delivering truly equitable service. As such, I am keen to work on widening access to the profession, and FLIP was a starting point – a place where aspiring professionals can read about others experiences and hopefully feel comforted that it is possible to make it in the profession even if you feel your circumstances won’t allow it. It’s a place where people can improve their professional awareness, ask questions, discuss and get informed. One thing I am hoping to do is put together a comprehensive guide to funding for MA LIS courses. There is very little of it about, but clear information about where to find it from a single, trustworthy source, I feel, would reduce the pressure on potential postgraduate students when it comes to making the decision about whether to study or not and how to fund it. I’m hoping we can address with FLIP some of the key issues around access to the profession, but this will not happen successfully without engagement from other professionals. If you’d be interested in working with us on a project or writing a post for our blog, then it would be great to hear from you. We are easily contacted by email and always keen to hear from people about their own experiences of the profession.
These things aside, I’ve mostly spent my time getting reacquainted with Sheffield, and other parts of my beloved north.