The Library will consider placements, without pay, for students on master's degree courses in library and information science or similar qualifications. Please read the guidelines and contact our Staff Resource Coordinator ruth.newton@imperial.ac.uk

Guidelines for prospective work experience placements

Who will be considered?

The Library will consider placements, without pay, for students on master's degree courses in library and information science or similar qualifications, including overseas qualifications, and others as appropriate.

Currently the library takes 2 students from University College London (UCL) for two weeks every January. This has been a long-standing arrangement, and always follows the same pattern. It involves a talk from every section within the library service and, where possible, some duties within that area. Where work within a section is not possible the participants spend time working or shadowing on the issue and help desk.

Contacts and referees

A reliable contact address, including email, is required from the individual and/or institution as appropriate. References will normally be required when the approach is made by an individual rather than an institution. For all applicants a CV is required to determine the person's skills and experience and so plan suitable work.

Nature of the work

All team leaders are normally consulted about availability of work suitable for students on placement. The work that can be offered depends also on the availability of suitable staff to supervise and train placement students. While work may be routine, it will be placed in context so that the student should be able to gain insights from it, appropriate to their level of experience.

An effort will also be made to provide a fitting overview of the Library, with input from senior staff where possible. Placement students are asked to be prepared with questions when such meetings are arranged.

What we expect of the placement student

  • An active interest in the work opportunity provided
  • Prompt attendance for the agreed hours (normally 09.30 - 17.30 or 09.00 - 17.00 on some campuses)
  • Prompt notification of sickness or other unavoidable absence. The supervisor or Staff Resources Officer should be informed as soon as possible.
  • In return for the work experience offered, the library asks for a brief evaluative report conveying what the student has learned, what insight has been gained and any comments on the library as an organisation. Time for report writing will be incorporated into the placement timetable.

Time considerations

In the current economic situation where numbers of library staff are declining, job roles are becoming more comprehensive and time is limited. Placements take staff away from current duties, and a certain amount of time commitment is needed, both in planning and supervising activities.

Requests for placements have varied from a period of one week to five weeks in the library. Placements depend on availability of work and staff resources. The longest period of time the library has committed to placements is the two week period for the UCL students. Under any other circumstances one week would be considered adequate.