|English and Related Literature|
|Academic Liaison Librarian|
|University of York|
|Education / Library, museum and information services|
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A day in the life of a Academic Liaison Librarian in the United Kingdom
What I do
My job involves liaising with academic departments at the university to ensure that library needs are met, often via email but also through face-to-face contact with students and staff.
I also provide information skills and library induction sessions to students - delivered as lectures, seminars or workshops - answer enquiries in person and online, and work with academic staff to ensure that the library offers the resources and services which they and their students need.
Skills I use and how I developed them
Librarianship qualification and experience as a library graduate trainee.
My undergraduate course in English Literature encouraged a huge degree of independence and lateral thinking, which is indispensable in my current role. It also helped to develop effective time management skills, as minimal teaching hours meant how I spent my time was largely self-determined. This has helped enormously in my job, as I have a wide range of different responsibilities to manage.
I took part in programmes such as York Students in Schools (YSIS) and the York Award, each of which encouraged me to think more carefully about my personal skills and development and how these might be perceived by potential employers. The YSIS programme in particular helped me to gain confidence in unfamiliar surroundings, which I have found invaluable in different job situations.
What I like most
I particularly enjoy contact time with students and staff, helping them answer enquiries and make the most of our resources. It can be very rewarding finding that all-important piece of information for someone, or even just answering a simple question. Lots of students will come to an appointment feeling very stressed, anxious and pessimistic about their research, so it's a great feeling to know that they've left with more confidence and ability.
What I like least
Time is very pressured and it can often be stressful managing so many different responsibilities. This is a challenge, but a welcome one!
My career goals when I graduated
I started my third year with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do when graduating. It was only when I really started to look at opportunities after York that I came across librarianship. I was specifically interested in academic librarianship, as I really wanted to stay working within a university environment. My career goals at first were small; I simply wanted to find out whether librarianship was right for me. Since then, sticking with the career, I've wanted to progress and to build my skills, in particular becoming more confident with teaching skills.
Courses taken since graduation
MA Librarianship, University of Sheffield
How my studies have helped my career
A librarianship degree is really essential to progress in a career in academic libraries, principally to demonstrate your commitment to the career and your investment in professional (alongside academic) development. For me this mean undertaking a Masters degree in Librarianship, which was invaluable in developing my knowledge of the profession and academic research, as well as in finding out about the range of opportunities available.
My advice to students considering work
It is important to start thinking about career options early and not leave everything until the last minute. A number of the best opportunities which I found had quite early closing dates, and these can pass by very quickly if you are unprepared.
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