Before thinking about the various qualifications that may be appropriate for my role it is probably helpful to describe the role. My job title is Librarian but that hides the range of tasks I am actually involved in – legal research, research training, I buy books, deal with subscriptions, current awareness is a big part of my job, I also spend too much time on basic library admin, and then there’s all my knowledge management responsibilities too ….
As a bit of a studying junkie I have several qualifications, two are particularly relevant to my current job.
MSc Library and Information Studies
I believe that having a sound theoretical understanding of librarianship underpins a lot of what I do in my role. We often adapt the rules to fit the specifics of this firm but to be able to do that successfully I need to know what these rules are in the first place. It is also proving useful in the KM side of my job, at the moment we are working on harmonising and tidying up the taxonomy/taxonomies on the intranet so I am using skills I was trained for many years ago.
HNC in Legal Studies
Having a basic understanding of law is obviously very helpful when doing research for the lawyers, I found that although I was picking things up as I went along I needed to put some structure to my knowledge and fill in some gaps so chose to study this distance learning HNC. It’s definitely been worth the effort, I still don’t have the same level of legal knowledge as even the trainee lawyers but I have enough to get me through!
Some other law firm librarians do have law degrees, for the moment I have decided that that’s a step too far and more than is needed for the job.
What else might be appropriate and which qualification might I seek next?
The two qualifications above are the closest to essential for my role. However each year I have been with my present employer my job role seems to have widened and I wonder if I need to gain a little more background knowledge in these areas. In particular other qualifications which might be useful and helpful are in the fields of IT, business studies and politics. I have been toying with the idea of constructing an Open University degree around the most useful looking courses in these areas. And of course a knowledge management qualification would be very appropriate.
If I decide to remain a CILIP member then I really must commit to it fully and finally revalidate (I chartered in 2002 so it’s long overdue).