Almost one year on, Helen and Lorna take a look at how the first years of their MLIS courses went.
What did you enjoy most?
HK: I really enjoyed one assignment on looking at the future of libraries in different sectors and the governing body papers and reports. It was interesting looking at what the future directions are and how that affects what we do at present. The assignment gave me a lot of scope to look at case studies and examples of best practice which I found really useful to see what worked well and what hasn’t.
HK: I also enjoyed the opportunities to chat with my fellow students many of whom come from different library and information backgrounds so have different perspectives and experiences.
LD: I really enjoyed a group project we did where we had to present how we would implement a new innovation to a library service. It allowed me to think a bit like a library manager which was cool and an experience I wouldn’t usually have. It helped me put theory like organisational structure and marketing – which can sometimes feel a bit distant – into context. The girls I worked with were great, we worked really well together, put our all in and it definitely paid off.
What do you know now that you didn’t before?
HK: A lot! Haha. Seriously though all my assignments and lectures have taught me new things- I’ve been able to spend time actually researching different things and being able to see what research has gone before which not only gives me a better understanding of what we do now (and why we do it) but also gives me plenty of ideas to share with the team.
LD: How openathens and the linkresolver work. My final essay was about extending e-resource access and I had to explain about openathens and linkresolver problems. I was on a tight deadline (because I misread it) and could have kept it vague but I wanted to be able to explain it fully so I went away and researched it. I’m really glad I did. When I submitted that essay I knew no matter what mark I got, I was happy with it because I’d learnt something valuable from writing it.
How has it helped in your job role?
HK: I often come away from lectures going ‘Oh, so that’s why we do it like that’ or ‘I wonder how we could take those ideas and implement them here’ which is really fun- it certainly fires up the imagination.
LD: Yeah I had those kind of moments when we studied things like copyright and intellectual property. It helped me understand the reasons behind the processes in inter-library loans.
HK: It’s also given me a lot more practical understanding about the strategy side of things. One assignment I struggled with at first was writing a PID. I found it challenging because you had to create your fictitious library and organisation (which involved a lot of research of different organisations hierarchies!) but I really enjoyed the actual process of writing it and considering the eventualities and ways to mitigate risk. It’s helped me understand more within our workplace.
LD: Learning about and reflecting on team roles has helped me to better understand our team dynamic at work. I already knew it was a good one, now I have a better appreciation of why. It’s helped me understand my preferred way of working so I can now consciously try to work that way. It’s also highlighted things I might struggle with, which kind of makes them easier to address and hopefully overcome.
What are you looking forward to next year?
HK: We’ve got a research methods module coming up that I’m looking forward to as it’s been a long time since I last did something on this and I’m looking forward to finding out new ideas. There’s also going to be more about Knowledge Management, a concept I still find challenging to get my head around so I’m looking forward to that!
LD: I have to say, I’m also looking forward to the Research Methods and doing super intense research into a topic that I’m interested in. May not feel quite the same way by the end of it but we’ll see. I’m also looking forward to learning more about information literacy. It’s something that’s been touched upon a bit but not much this year. I think is really important for the future so am excited to learn more.
What will you do differently in the coming year?
HK: I’m not going to read the student google plus group the week before an assignment is due! The other google plus pages for modules often have useful information close to deadlines, but I’ve found the student one becomes an echo-chamber with everyone worried about getting their assignment Just Perfect. I think I will stress less if I don’t get caught up in it!
HK: On a perhaps more boring note I’m going to try a new way of notetaking that I found online (because yes, of course I google stuff like that in my spare time) which involves putting summaries on the supporting readings in a box alongside lecture summaries. I think it will help me remember what I’ve read, rather than flipping between pages so I’m going to give that a go!
LD: My aim is to read around the course more. I kind of got into doing this in second term and wish I’d started doing it earlier. It helped me feel more confident contributing ideas in class. One supplementary essay on change management actually helped me understand the changes that were going on at work in the Trust merger.
LD: I also want to go to more NLPN events. I attended one this year on negotiating e-journal licences. There was a guy from JISC who explained about what they do which was helpful because I didn’t have a clue before. It’s nice to meet people who are in the same boat – just starting out – and the events are usually free which is great!
Lorna Dawson and Helen Kiely