The majority of people who apply for the graduate traineeships advertised on the CILIP website are recent graduates who have just completed three or four years of study in a variety of disciplines, and each year there are also a number of mature applicants who feel the time is right for a career change.
Each graduate traineeship lasts for a year, and offers the successful applicant a thorough grounding and experience of what working in the library and information sector actually entails. The traineeships are offered by a variety of libraries: academic, law, government and specialist. It is not essential to do a traineeship before applying to library school but most universities do require at least a year’s library experience. In this respect, the traineeship offers many advantages: a structured training programme, experience of the key areas of library work and excellent preparation for library school.
Library School and Beyond
The trainee scheme allows each person to make up their mind as to whether a career in librarianship is actually right for them. If the answer is yes, then it’s back to university to study for an MA or MSc in Librarianship or Information and Library Studies. There are a wide variety of courses available at a wide range of institutions. For the most up-to-date information, visit CILIP’s exhaustive list of places to study. Courses tend to last for one year when completed full-time, but many universities offer the option to study part-time or by distance learning. This offers greater flexibility if you are unable to study full-time. Alternatively, some students take some time out to save money before starting a course.
Once this year is over, it is time to embark on your first professional job.
CILIP has reciprocal agreements with the American Library Association (ALA), Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Library Association of Ireland (LAI) and many other national professional associations; their accredited qualifications are recognised by CILIP, and vice versa. For more details, see the CILIP webpage on international qualifications.
CILIP Vocational Qualifications
CILIP also offer vocational qualifications which allow library and information professionals to gain qualifications while working. This allows for different and multiple entry points into the profession and new career progression routes, and thus caters for a wide range of experience and qualifications.
Professional registration provides employers with evidence of professional qualities and skills. Academic qualifications prove that you can cut it in the classroom in essays and tutorials, but chartered status demonstrates your competence in the workplace at a professional level. Chartership is very worthwhile as employers often express a preference for a chartered professional in job advertisements and chartered status can often lead to a higher salary.
CILIP is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the United Kingdom. Chartered Membership is the first level of professional qualification awarded by the Chartered Institute. Most members gain chartered membership two or three years after gaining their professional qualification.
The award of chartered membership is based on evidence of continuing professional development in practice, and on the ability to learn from experience. For all information on professional registration visit the CILIP pages.
Ucam-lib-charter is an email discussion list for staff in Cambridge libraries who are working towards Chartered Membership of CILIP. It is intended as a forum for issues relating to the Chartership process, and for the circulation of information relating to training and library tours. To join the list, please send an email to email@example.com
Lis-cilip-reg is an email discussion list for people working towards Chartership from all sectors. For more information, see www.jiscmail.ac.uk
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Chartered status recognises your skills and achievements in the professional environment but these skills need to be continually updated and kept relevant if you are to maintain a place at the forefront of the library and information sector. By keeping up-to-date with changes and developments in the sector it is possible to remain flexible and adaptable to change and to make the most of any opportunities that arise. CPD allows each individual to assess the knowledge they have and its relevance to current trends and situations. This should allow each individual to develop existing skills, highlight areas that need to be worked on and point out areas in which new skills are needed. CILIP offers a wide range of courses, conferences and seminars, as well as a revalidation scheme for chartered members. These are all aimed at improving and consolidating existing knowledge so that individuals can develop and change with their profession.
Fellowship is the highest professional qualification available to members of CILIP. It is open to any Corporate Member who has been on the Register and in full-time professional practice for at least six years or completed two successful consecutive cycles of revalidation. Professional practice includes any aspect of librarianship or information work. Fellowship demonstrates that a Chartered Member has developed the potential recognised by their award of Chartership. Development will have occurred through their personal work and in the contribution made in general to their profession. Someone who becomes a Fellow has the right to use postnominal letters FCLIP, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.
Candidates for Fellowship must demonstrate how they have built on the potential that enabled them to gain Chartered status. The work submitted to support an application for Chartered Fellowship is extremely significant. The work can be in any format but will generally be original and highlight both intellectual and professional development.
Occasionally a Member who has not achieved Chartered Membership may apply directly for Fellowship. However, doing this means that the candidate must demonstrate that the level required for Chartered Membership has been achieved by some other means.