Applying to Library School

Hi all,

Here are some of the options for that I've come across for library school and thought that I would share them on here - I hope it's useful.

December is the deadline for UCL – fairly early in the post for graduate trainees - but ultimately I, and I think maybe UCL, think that if you’ve already applied for graduate trainee posts you probably have already heavily considered Library School. I had considered Library School, and can honestly say I considered it with the utmost sincerity and measured regard, but the very fact of wanting or indeed needing (for many people) to complete the master’s for career progression does not seem to make the course one hundred per cent feasible. It costs – to somebody in my position having already completed a graduate course and having to fork out the living costs of London - the world, a completely incomprehensibly un-savable amount. However, this has ultimately not deterred me from applying because there are plenty of ways around the cost without having to pay for it all in one fell swoop, and the course at UCL does seem very interesting and good value for money, as well as being the most affordable (apart from distance learning courses).

First of all, you could go part time, something which all universities offer but something that it is important to consider is: can you afford to pay half the tuition fees in one go? And if not can you afford to pay for one module at a time? Probably most people can if they began saving the year before. UCL offer their course on a modular basis over five years and one further thing to take note of is that you can do the diploma (so that means you do not do the dissertation, but can importantly earn chartership with this) and then return to study within five years to complete the full master’s. Additional funding could be gathered from Career Development Loans but these are given with the understanding of repayments beginning with the end of the course. More options of funding for most of the master’s are available from very varied and obscure sources if you scour the respective universities funding pages and utilise google’s search engine. Often these funding bodies give a criterion that excludes a large amount of people - but some luck can be had. One other option could be simply to apply for a distance-learning course – something that seems to be very popular; I myself have several colleagues that are currently doing this. Coupled with this course you can fit a full-time job and social life and take a great deal of time over completing it. Aberystwyth, Robert Gorden and Northumbria University run the prominent courses in this area.

A more interesting and life changing option is to look further afield (something which I consider to be more interesting anyhow.) I have strongly considered America due to some generous scholarships (directory available here) that are available but was ultimately put off by costly and time-consuming applications. It seems that most courses come with an application fee and additionally you would have to take the GRE examination. The GRE can be taken in England and if you are interested it can be booked online here. However there are some great schools and I am under the impression that an American qualification would not hinder anyone in securing a job in the UK. The American Library Association accredits courses in the same way CILIP accredit UK courses. A list of accredited programs and a very large document of funding options can be found here. I was very interested in University of Wisconsin at Madison, which seemed to be a very good school to attend and was voted the best student city to live in America, but, as I previously stated, I was put off by expensive applications and the GRE. That said, not all schools require the GRE.
America is not the only option for study outside of England: many European countries offer English language courses, and, more importantly, they are considerably cheaper than universities’ in England. Take, for example, the master’s at Copenhagen – a great university offering free courses to students within the EU. I can only assume that it is fiercely competitive to secure a place considering they only take 25 students per year.
The only further advice I can give is to take an in depth look around at all the options and to consider options that are out of the ordinary as they possibly could be life changing and extremely rewarding – really, though, it does depend on individual circumstances. This article really made me want to study abroad but at the moment I don’t think that this is the best option to me.  The most appealing option for me at the moment (it does change daily) is to work and study part-time, hopefully at UCL – this is working on the assumption that I will not receive any funding from UCL considering I was unsuccessful at gaining a first-class degree; although, of course I would not turn down any funding… 

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