Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Professional Experience FAQs

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What is Professional Experience

The term 'professional experience' is used in the School of Information Studies to describe those subjects which focus specifically on providing you with practical exposure to, and involvement with, the workplace and working professionals. There are two major components to professional experience - study visits and placements.

Study visits entail students visiting a series of libraries or other information agencies (generally about five or six) in a formal way over four days to observe their operations and discuss professional issues. Study visits are normally undertaken on a group basis led by a lecturer or lecturers from the School of Information Studies.

Placements essentially entail the student undertaking a placement (internship) in an appropriate library or information agency. Information Studies students undertake three week (15 day) placements while Teacher Librarianship students undertake two week (10 day) placements.

In Information Studies courses, most students undertake a placement as one subject, called 'professional experience', and a study visit as another subject, called 'professional study visit'.

In the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship), the study visit and placement are undertaken in a single subject, ETL507 'Professional Experience and Portfolio'.

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How do I register for my preferred study visit?

Register for your preferred study visit by selecting your preferences on your student details tab in InPlace before the 16th of January.

Once selections have been made your will be receive an email from the Workplace Learning team confirming you study visit group. You will then be notified when your group is open for the Study visit session self selection.  Top of page

How should I schedule my study visit in relation to my professional placement?

Our recommendation is that, if circumstances allow, you should complete your study visit before you do your placement. Study visits are excellent opportunities for identifying the type of library or information agency you would prefer for your placement.

Students in the Teacher Librarian course would generally do their placement once they have completed at least 4 subjects of the degree. 

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I am an Information Studies student - when should I enrol in my study visit subject?

Before enrolling in your study visit subject, look at the Study Visit schedule and determine which visit you would like to attend and which session(s) of study you need to enrol.

Students in BInfoStud (INF214) and MInfoStud (INF407) are required to enrol in two consecutive sessions in the same enrolment year, however, but you only need to attend one Study Visit.

If you have any questions regarding your enrolment in the study visit subject please contact the Workplace Learning Officer.

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I am enrolled in a teacher librarianship program. Where can I do my placement?

If you are not currently working, or have not recently worked, as a teacher librarian then you can choose your placement site from the full range of types of libraries and information agencies including schools libraries.

If you are currently working or have recently worked, as a full time or part time teacher librarian you are not eligible to undertake your placement in a school library. Working in a different type of library or information agency enables you to see and experience roles with which you are familiar applied in a different context and frequently in differing ways and on a different scale. Doing your placement in a library or information agency other than a school library also gives you the opportunity to undertake your placement during school holidays.

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What are the options for meeting the placement requirements in terms of time?

The quality of the experience is best served by completing your placement within a block of consecutive days. More often than not, host organisations prefer to schedule their staff for block commitments. We acknowledge that there are individuals, and host organisations, whose preferences are best met with a flexible approach to the placement in terms of attendance. All enquiries, in the first instance, should be directed to your Subject Coordinator.

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What if I can't meet my professional experience commitments within the session timeframe?

There are many circumstances, such as work or family commitments, which may prevent you from meeting some of your professional experience commitments within the timeframe of the subject.

It is preferable that you complete at least one element of your subject, prior to seeking Special Consideration from your Subject Coordinator.

It is important that you contact your Subject Coordinator as soon as possible if you need to arrange Special Consideration.

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Can I make initial contact with my preferred placement host?

Students are encouraged to make initial contact with their preferred placement host in the first instance. Please be aware that any arrangements you do make must be confirmed by the University for insurance and quality assurance purposes. All student initiated arrangements must be acknowledged and confirmed by the School of Information Studies prior to the commencement of the placement.

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How do I pick a good placement host?

Choice of a placement host is guided by the following minimum criteria:

  • that the organisation be managed by a professionally qualified librarian
  • that the organisation operates on a full-time rather than part-time basis.
  • that the collection and services of the organisation reflect the size and nature of the administrative unit to which the organisation reports.

We recommend that you use the Australian Libraries Gateway to help you choose a placement host.

If necessary, the Workplace Learning Officer is available to assist you in your selection.

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I have worked in a library for many years. Can I get credit for my professional experience subject?

In order to receive credit students must be able to demonstrate a range of diverse experience in professional library work. It is unlikely that teacher librarianship students would receive credit for their work in school libraries, for example, as they are not normally supervised by another fully qualified teacher librarian while undertaking professional duties.

Enquiries about credit should be directed in the first instance to your Subject Coordinator.

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What is INF305 Engaging with the Information Professions?

INF305 – Engaging with the Information Professions, is a compulsory subject for the Bachelor of Information Studies, and has 8 credit points. The aim of this subject is to encourage our students to commit to continuing professional development and becoming a reflective practitioner. Students are required to attend and report on a minimum of 30 hours of professional development activities. These activities, such as conferences, seminars, workshops and others, must be of value to the development of library and information professionals.

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Who can I talk to about INF305?

Contact the current INF305 Subject Co-ordinator, which can be found here Subject Coordinator. For more information please refer to this handbook.