Beth Whitney is an MSc Library and Information Management student at Dublin Business School, and will graduate this year. She is working full-time and studying part-time. She is most interested in information access and the empowerment characteristics of educating people in the area of information literacy. She is currently working as an executive assistant in The School of Medicine at UCD and is enjoying it very much. Previously she has worked in the office at a veterinary hospital. She has completed work experience in the libraries in Met Éireann and DBS. In the future, she would like to gain employment in a health library and/ or have an involvement in the delivery of information skills workshops. Her undergraduate degree is in Environmental Science.
You can follow her on Twitter at @bwhitneybeth
How did you first get into the information and library profession?
I am not yet a fully fledged member of the profession. I will graduate this year from DBS and I hope to achieve a library role before long. The importance of education and the access to good, as well as reliable information is what drew me back to study almost ten years after finishing my undergrad in Trinity College.
What qualifications are you taking?
MSc Library and Information Management in Dublin Business School: The modules I am taking are aligned directly with CILIPs wheel of Professional Knowledge and Skills Base. I feel I will be fully prepared for a professional role on completion of the qualification.
What else are you doing alongside your qualification?
Previously I was working in the office of a veterinary hospital in an administration capacity. Just before Christmas I joined a team in the Biomedical Section of The School of Medicine in UCD. My work is still administration based but I am learning about the structures and procedures within the college and I am carrying out an archiving project. One small step closer to the library hopefully!
What does your job involve?
I am a member of a team providing administration support to the academic staff in The School of Medicine, UCD.
Can you describe a “typical week”?
I rise each morning just before 6.00 am; I commute to work for approximately 8.00. I have tried studying on my lunch break but I find I am not very productive due to watching the clock (and eating). At 4.30 I clock off, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings I attend my lectures at DBS. One other evening in the week, either Monday or Friday I like to take advantage of the facilities in UCD and spend approximately 5 or 6 hours in the library, reading and working on assignments for the evening. I am going to have to start planning my thesis in detail soon. My days are long but enjoyable. I have sacrificed my hobbies and social life to complete the MSc, but I have understanding and supportive friends and family. At the weekends I usually spend an hour or two at bikram yoga and some time with my horse (who has been enjoying getting fat all week).
What advice would you give to anyone starting their studies?
Choose a course that you feel will prepare you for your chosen career path.
Fully commit to seeing it through to the end.
Work hard and enjoy it.
What skills do you think are most important for today’s information and library professionals?
The practical skills needed in the profession are quite wide but well defined. On top of these I think it is important to be proficient with your IT abilities and to be flexible. Learn the skills and then be willing to apply them in any setting.