It’s difficult to believe how quickly the time has gone, but I’ve already completed the taught element of my librarianship Masters degree. All I have left to do are a couple more assignments, an exam and my dissertation – so still quite a lot of work, but from this point onwards it will be all self-directed study with a few supervision sessions to attend as and when necessary.
My modules this term were Management, Information Sources and Retrieval, and Web Publishing. We had quite a few assignments to complete for the Management module, including a group work portfolio for which we had to produce a budget allocation plan, a staffing structure and a strategic plan for an imaginary library. This was an interesting exercise and it definitely got us thinking about how we might allocate our funds if we were ever put in charge of managing a library in the future. For this module we also had to produce an essay on legal issues in libraries; mine was mostly about copyright law and how this could affect both print and eresources in an academic library. We also had to produce a briefing report which proposed a change in a library service, and for this I opted to propose the introduction of an ebooks service in a public library.
Web Publishing was my optional module this term, and although some of the material we covered had already been covered in my compulsory Principles of Computing and Information Technology module, I found that I learned a lot more about accessibility issues and how these are important to consider when designing web pages. There was no course work for this module and instead we took an exam on the last day of term – we were given a website to evaluate and had to check the HTML code for errors and make recommendations for how the site’s accessibility could be improved.
The site we were given to evaluate was one that I happened to be already familiar with – The Women’s Library in London. Unfortunately, it has recently been announced that this library is under threat of closure, which is really bad news because the library’s collections are of outstanding national and international importance and it is a key resource for women’s history. There is a petition circulating at the moment to keep the library open, which is here for anyone who wishes to sign it.
The final module which I took this term was Information Sources and Retrieval, and I am still currently working on the assignment for this module. We have to produce a resource guide for a subject of our choice which evaluates different kinds of information sources and identifies all the key resources for the subject. I’ve chosen to do mine on Jane Austen as I studied a module on her during my undergraduate degree and I’m already pretty familiar with some of the resources in this area.
In addition to taking the above modules, this was the term during which I also had to submit my dissertation proposal. This is still very much in the early stages, but I’m hoping to build my topic around the idea of measuring the impact of public libraries on communities. I thought that this would be a highly relevant topic to look at given the current climate of austerity which is causing library cuts and closures. I’ll aim to blog about this in a bit more detail once I start the writing process in earnest. In the meantime, my immediate priorities are to finish my resource guide and then start revising hard for my Professional Awareness exam in May – plenty to keep me busy!