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This post was originally published here as part of the “Student Perspectives” series of the City University London Library and Information Science blog.

The author in his natural habitat.

The author in his natural habitat.

I began the MSc in Library Science at City University London in September 2014 and, as a full-time student, am currently nearing the end of my studies, with only the small matter of the dissertation left to write. I started my library career in late 2012—after a couple of years of wondering what, exactly, to do with a first degree in History—working first as a volunteer and then as an Library Assistant at Durham University Library, and latterly as a Trainee Cataloguer at Coutts Information Services. After committing to the course at City, I was fortunate enough to secure a part-time Service Assistant job in the university library, which has proved to be very convenient and beneficial for my studies.

I can echo the comments of previous contributors to this series of blog posts by agreeing that the course has given me a great deal of new knowledge about the subject, whilst placing aspects with which I was already familiar in a strong overall conceptual framework. I have particularly enjoyed some of the more theoretical aspects of the course, which (superficially at least) have little connection to the practice of library work, such as information philosophy and theory. On the other hand, modules covering digital libraries, computer programming languages, Digital Humanities research techniques and Open Access publishing ensure that we have knowledge of the key contemporary issues facing the profession.

Another aspect of the course that I have enjoyed is the camaraderie between the students, including those studying the similar Information Science MSc (not to mention the teaching staff!). Previously sceptical about the value of social media, I was required to create a Twitter account and this personal blog, and I like to think that I have embraced them with the zeal of the convert. Both of these Internet platforms have proved to been invaluable tools for us to communicate with one another and to share articles, links and events that may be of interest, whilst the practice of reflecting on my thoughts and putting them into words on a weekly basis for some of the courses has, I believe, improved my writing skills considerably.

Finally, in addition to lectures by module leaders, the course also benefits from a wide variety of guest speakers. Some of these are specialists in a particular subject area; others have represented a particular institution’s experience with an aspect of the course that we have first discussed in general or theoretical terms, again helping to link the theory and practice of librarianship with one another, and in many cases to inspire topics for dissertations. All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience of the course so far, and would recommend it without hesitation to anyone considering a career as a librarian or a similar information professional.

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