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LIS education in the UK - University College London

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LIS Education
United Kingdom
A historical perspective:
• formal training for librarians in the UK dates back to
the late nineteenth century
• this was delivered through evening classes and short
courses, and was quite fragmentary
• UCL was the first library school to be set up, in 1919
• other university departments date from the period
after World War II
• education for professional examinations of the
Library Association (leading to ALA) were provided
for mainly by commercial and technical colleges
School of Librarianship, UCL:
• set up through the efforts of Sir John McAlister
• James Duff Brown was another enthusiast for
professional education
• the course was initially for a diploma in librarianship
for practising librarians
• most of the teaching was delivered through evening
• most of the lecturers were eminent librarians
• there was only one full-time member of staff
• students were required to study literature, and
foreign languages, as well as library economy,
cataloguing, and bibliography
Later history of UCL:
• full-time courses were gradually introduced, but the
Diploma remained the qualification until the 1970s
• professional education for archivists was added in
• MSc in Information Science was introduced as a midcareer qualification
• a master’s in Electronic Communication and Publishing
came in the 1990s
• MA Publishing started in 2007
• the name of the Department was changed to
Information Studies in 2009
Graduate education in LIS:
• during the earlier part of the 20th century, there was a
great divide between graduate and non-graduate entry to
the profession
• graduates studied for a graduate diploma
• non-graduates studied for the Library Association
examinations leading to chartership
• later on, bachelor's degrees in librarianship were
introduced (although these have more or less disappeared
• graduate diplomas were supplemented by master’s
degrees, which have become the standard LIS
• in 1992 many colleges were granted university status
• librarianship became a graduate profession
Current qualifications:
• professional (rather than academic) qualifications are
managed by CILIP – the Chartered Institute of Library
and Information Professionals
• at present the normal route to professional qualification
will be MA LIS (or equivalent)
• this is �topped up’ by a professional portfolio leading to
chartership, and the award of MCLIP
• certification or ACLIP (affiliated status) was introduced
in 2005 for paraprofessionals
• possession of ACLIP allows paraprofessionals to embark on
the chartership process
• CILIP also offers fellowships (FCLIP)
• there is a re-validation process for CPD
Relation between MA and MCLIP:
• CILIP validates the courses run by university
• this ensures that the universities cover the Body of
Professional Knowledge (BPK) in their curricula
• graduates with an accredited MA (or post-graduate
diploma) are able to start on the chartership route
• the accreditation process takes place every five
• there are currently four accredited institutions in
London, plus fourteen other UK universities
• CILIP also recognizes the programmes at Cologne
• is regarded as very traditional compared to other UK
• only school to teach cataloguing/classification in depth
• only school to offer rare books librarianship and manuscript
• children’s librarianship is another �feature’ module
• these are all successfully offered as CPD
• there is also state-of-the-art technical content
• there is useful cross-programme teaching
• we enjoy excellent access to the wealth of libraries in London
• emphasis on practical work, placements and engagement with
the profession
The good UCL LIS student:
has a good honour’s degree in any subject
mostly we have humanities graduates
has good IT skills
has a year’s practical experience
has some clear career objectives
belongs to CILIP
is lively and articulate
• most FT students have been graduate trainees
• part-time students come from a variety of
• voluntary work or related experience is good
Some recent student destinations:
Courtauld Institute
Eton College
Arts & Humanities Data
Victoria & Albert Museum
Slaughter and May
Guildhall School of Music
Sackler Library Oxford
Scotland Yard
Special collections UCL
Imperial College London
Natural History Museum
London Library
Lambeth Palace
Fire Services College
Conde Nast
Department for Education & Skills
London Borough of Brent
National Institute for Clinical
Excellence (NICE)
Inst. of Advanced Legal Studies
Friends’ House (Quakers)
National Autistic Society
National Maritime Museum
National Trust
St. Bride Printing Library
Hillingdon Schools Library Service
Seeley History Library, Cambridge
Caius College Cambridge
The professional curriculum 1:
• this has been the subject of much change over recent
• broad-based programmes like UCL’s have been joined by
more specialist courses in areas like health informatics
and geographic information management
• a particular feature is the change in terminology
• nearly all departments and programmes have been relabelled to emphasise �information’ rather than �library’
• this is accompanied by re-styling of many curriculum areas,
such as cataloguing and classification becoming knowledge
• important to focus on core skills and to retain the idea of
LIS as a discipline, and a research area
The professional curriculum 2:
• there have been some substantial changes in content over
the last twenty-thirty years
• much more emphasis on ICT, and a need to make room for it
• subjects such as cataloguing disappeared from many schools
• some are now re-appearing under other names
• the changing role of the professional librarian explains some
new areas
• the professional bodies now lay some stress upon the need
for strategic management and leadership skills
• information literacy and the need for teaching skills
Knowledge management:
• organization and representation of knowledge
– metadata, classification schemes, catalogues, website
• publishing
– creation and dissemination of knowledge
• subject indexing
– analysis and indexing of individual documents/resources
• communication
– transmission of knowledge, enquiries, reading lists
• information resource management
– collection management, curation
• information service provision
– information systems, library management systems, internet
Applications environment:
• ethical framework
– codes of practice, quality standards, diversity awareness
• legal dimension
– data protection, freedom of information, intellectual
property, copyright
• information policy
– local information policies, access to internet for children
• information governance
– policies, strategies, adherence to legislation at institutional
level, compliance, accountability framework
• communications perspective
– dynamics of information flow, collaborative working, national
and local agencies
Generic and transferable skills:
computer and information literacy
interpersonal skills
management skills
training skills
research methods
The professional curriculum 3:
• the government Knowledge Council is working on a
framework of information competences which
complements the BPK
• this tends to focus on skills and disregard
distinctions between professional sectors
• traditional LIS competences are only a part of the
skills set
• knowledge management is regarded as a form of asset
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