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Department of Information Studies


Archive for the 'Alumni Posts' Category

Indie-visits to Libraries: LIS Students Out and About by Ivan Donadello

By Anne Welsh, on 21 November 2014



The one-year spent in the full time Masters course passes by very quickly. You start and, all of a sudden, it is January and Term 1 has gone. Then you find yourself putting together that case study and after a minute you are writing up your dissertation. In all this, visiting libraries is a (very) good idea.


The idea came about spontaneously to my classmates and me. As comprehensive as it can possibly be, a LIS course could never cover all the possible aspects of libraries in all their fields. Academic libraries are the first and most common example for library students, but we wanted to explore a bit more what there was out there. Departments would organise visits as part of their curricula, but self-organised students visits respond more to the students’ natural curiosity. And it was fun!


How? We pulled together the resources we had and we used our contacts. Those who had spent a year in a Graduate Traineeship relied on the relations in the previous workplace: simply, they asked their previous supervisor whether they where willing to host a visit by eager library students. Others used personal contacts and their network to arrange a visit. We have never tried to directly contact a library we were interested in, presenting ourselves as “UCL LIS students”, but I am confident that very few libraries would have turned us down: sharing and teaching are at the core of the profession!


What? Our visits were approximately two hours long: enough time to look around and have a relaxed chat with the staff. The more questions, the more engaging the experience was – and it also helps a lot to think critically about ideas and experiences one might have. We managed only 3: the more the better, but studying full time and in some cases having part-time jobs made it difficult to do any more. For the same reasons, each time the group was not too large: trying to fit a visit into everybody’s schedules was of course impossible – doodle helps a lot. We have been to the library of Lincoln’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court in London and to the Idea Store in Whitechapel, a new concept of public library that aims at serving at its best their community. We also treated ourselves with a one-day trip to Cambridge to visit the library of Trinity College. Here and there, a couple of pubs.


Why? It has been a great way to think about libraries out of the “write-that-assignment” frame of mind and to build stronger relations among ourselves beyond the university walls. It has been useful in terms of inspiration and a good exercise in planning and organising. Meeting professionals in a more informal situation also allowed us to ask more questions and free up your own curiosity. I believe we gained an awareness of the diversity and the options that exist in libraries.


Ivan Donadello (@ibancelafa) was one of the MA LIS class of 2012-13, and is now Senior Library Assistant at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

Image: Trinity College by Laura Newman (@librarylandL), used with permission. Pictured, from left to right: Ivan Donadello (@ibancelafa), Natalie Kent (@natalielkent), Richard Hobart, Fiona Watson, Ella Taylor and Alexandra Kohn.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Ivan Donadello is the sole author of this piece, and Laura Newman holds the copyright for the image.

The Stationers’ Company Postgraduate Bursary by Charlotte Middleton

By Anne Welsh, on 12 November 2014


Editorial note (Anne Welsh): UCL DIS is fortunate to benefit from the Stationers’ Company Postgraduate Bursary Scheme, with a member of the MA LIS cohort under 25 years old being selected each year for the generous financial and mentorship package. On 27 October, the bursary holder for 2013-14, Charlotte Middleton was made free of the Company, alongside Aislinn O’Connell, who holds an award from the Stationers for her PhD in Publishing. This year’s recipient, Tavian Hunter, also attended the ceremony to receive her bursary certificate and meet her mentor.

In this blog post, Charlotte describes the award and what joining the Stationers’ Company has meant to her as a new information professional:

Receiving one of the Stationers’ Bursaries has been fantastic. In addition to the bursary itself – which contributes considerably to the cost of the Masters’ fees – bursary recipients also receive guidance and support from a mentor, provided by the Stationers, in their studies, their work and in their interactions with the Company. My mentor, Sarah, was kind and friendly; she showed me around her work, encouraged me to attend Stationers’ events and introduced me to other members of the Company.

Recipients also receive the first three years of your membership of the Stationers’ Company for free which is, in my opinion, what sets this scholarship apart. Membership of one of the London Guilds is a rare honour, as well as being excellent fun.

Since receiving the bursary I have attended several new members’ evenings which are a great opportunity to meet other young and new Stationers, and there are always excellent wines and canapés. I have visited the Stationers’ Library and Archive on several occasions, attended the Printers’ Carols Service at Christmas and enjoyed several networking events.

I have also attended several excellent talks: the first about the digitisation of the Stationers’ Registers; the Annual Lecture about the printing of currencies and passports; and another about the history of private printing presses in Britain.

I also attended the Lord Mayor’s Show Luncheon after last year’s parade, and this year I have had the privilege of helping to organise the Stationers’ float and walk in the parade.

Being a member of the Stationers’ Company is a tremendous honour: to be granted the opportunity to be part of a Guild with such a prestigious six hundred year history in the book trade, to meet fascinating people and to drink excellent wine is by far the greatest aspect of this bursary.

I would encourage anyone who is thinking of applying to do so.


Charlotte Middleton (@Middletonwest) was the Stationers’ Company Postgraduate Bursary recipient for UCL in 2013-14. Having completed her MA LIS, she is currently building a portfolio career in Special Collections, and is one of the panellists at the CPD25 event ‘Applying to Study Library and Information Science’ on Tuesday 18 November 2014.

Applicants for the MA LIS who are under 25 are encouraged to apply for the Stationers’ Company Postgraduate Bursary Scheme and will be contacted by the Department at the appropriate stage in the application process.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Charlotte Middleton is the sole author of this piece.