In writing a post on this particular topic I have to admit I might be searching for inspiration as much as providing it! But given the fact that I am coming to the end of a PG Diploma in Library and Information Services Management, this is a topic which is never far from my mind. Whilst I have picked up a wide range of theoretical knowledge and explored the LIS sector in a variety of different contexts, the ultimate goal and reason for undertaking the course was career development. Some of my peers have voiced their concerns over that small but niggling doubt which questions whether skills gained on their respective LIS course will transfer successfully to a professional post. After all, “you’re already doing the job, why do you need a qualification?”
This blog post may not have all the answers to assuage those incredulous shocked faces and concerned pleas from partners, family members, friends, in-law/out-laws etc., all urging you to quit your “eternal student” status, but it will hopefully be a timely consideration of the many solid justifications for pursuing a professional library qualification which can sometimes get lost in the ether. Although quite irritating to admit, it would be a lie to say that these nagging doubts haven’t occurred to me at one point or another, but particularly at the very beginning of my LIS studies. In fact, the decision to begin any further qualifications after completing masters and doctoral level studies was strangely daunting. The substantial financial cost is a major consideration for most applicants, accompanied by the fact that (as in most professions) funding is incredibly limited. Also, time constraints, work pressures, family commitments and general life obstacles can all feed into the mix and make a persuasive case for avoiding further study altogether. You’ve got the permanent post now, so why bother?
Well, as anyone who has been bitten by the library bug will know, there is a certain security and an empowerment in information literacy which encourages individuals to constantly reassess and reconsider the best routes to information discovery. No matter how “expert” we might feel, various different experiences in public, academic and special libraries have taught me that there is always something new to learn. Perhaps therein lies the intrigue with Library and Information Services courses.