Hi, my name is Jo and I'm a newly qualified librarian working in several academic libraries in Cambridge.

I originally created this blog as an electronic learning journal whilst participating in an extended shadowing programme prior to starting the MA in Information Services Management at London Metropolitan University.

The views expressed here are entirely my own.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Visit to the Campuses of University College London and London Metropolitan University

While I was in London on Wednesday, I took the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the UCL campus and to check out the location of the Ladbroke House site of London Metropolitan's North Campus.

Being just 15 or so minutes walk from Kings Cross, the UCL campus is ideally situated close to a number of major libraries including the British Library itself. Before Wednesday, I perceived the course offered at UCL to be very traditional and academic in focus. My impression from reading the prospectuses and university website was that the college is very selective and those who have high academic grades and have completed a graduate traineeship are preferred candidates. After taking the tour of the campus I was left slightly awe struck by the sense of history radiating from the impressive dome of the Wilkin's Building and the redbrick cruciform building. In short, I was pretty intimidated.

However, listening to Vanda Broughton's presentation at yesterday's workshop I was compelled to review my preconceptions. The college's insistence on a written exam and an academic reference (even for those who first graduated over ten years ago) is evidence that the university is very traditional in culture. However, the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies itself seems committed to try and counter this by limiting the number of written examinations to one and trying to make the interview process as informal and relaxed as possible. Although the UCL course is characterised by its core modules in cataloguing, classification and bibliography and its specialist modules in rare books and manuscript studies it also offers modules in new technologies such as electronic publishing and database design. I was also encouraged that while describing the ideal candidate, Vanda made it clear that the School does encourage applications from students with varied backgrounds which suggests that it is much more inclusive than it may first appear.

The course at London Metropolitan University is taught at Ladbroke House which is conveniently located about a 15 or 20 minute walk from Finsbury Park station. I didn't have an opportunity to go into the building or to visit the main campus but from the map it appears to be within walking distance of the Graduate Centre and other university buildings on Holloway Road. I am attracted by the course offered at London Met as it seems to offer the right balance of the traditional, such as cataloguing and classification, and the modern, such as information and communications technologies, with a focus on information services management. I hope to explore the campus further and learn more about the course itself when a suitable open day is arranged.

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