In this document the term library is used to refer to the range of information agencies and cultural facilities whose main business is providing information services.
Each year the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University places about 200 students on professional placement. This document provides important information for students and placement hosts, including the person in the organisation responsible for setting up the placement and the students' immediate supervisor.
The document may not cover every eventuality and for help on any aspect of a placement please contact the professional experience officer.
The following basic principles apply to all professional placements:
The professional placement should provide the opportunity for students to:
Students embarking on a professional placement have typically completed at least four academic subjects towards the award of their degree. They should be able to articulate what they hope to gain from the placement and have an idea of the kind of library in which they wish to be placed.
Details of subjects already completed by students are listed on the Student Profile provided with the confirmation letter sent to the host supervisor by the Professional Experience Officer. This profile also provides details on the student's prior experience, information and communication technology (ICT) competencies, professional memberships and activities, and perceived learning needs in the field of librarianship.
A brief overview of the courses librarianship and teacher librarianship is provided via the course links below. Host supervisors may find the links to short abstracts provided in these overviews (describing the key content of specific subjects offered as part of the TL course curriculum) particularly useful when familiarising themselves with the student's core knowledge and skills in the field of librarianship at the time of their placement experience.
|Subject||Course Handbook Link|
|ETL507 Professional Experience & Portfolio (METL)||Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship)|
|INF208 Professional Placement||Bachelor Information Studies|
|INF408 Professional Placement||Master of Information Studies|
The Professional Experience Officer provides liaison between the host organisations, the students and the School of Information Studies, except where other contact procedures are specified for individual subjects. The Professional Experience Officer is also responsible for the administrative component of the professional placement.
The subject coordinator is the lecturer responsible for the academic component of the placement.
|ETL507 Professional Experience (METL)||Roy Crotty|
|INF208 Professional Placement||Suzanne Lipu|
|INF408 Professional Experience (PG)||Suzanne Lipu|
The host supervisor is the librarian in the organisation who provides the day-to-day supervision of the student during the placement. This person typically establishes the tasks and responsibilities that are assigned to the student and reports on the student.
The Professional Experience Officer will contact host libraries to confirm that students have arrived to commence their placement. During the placement, contact will also be made by the Subject Coordinator to check on the progress of the student.
Many libraries have well-developed placement programs which provide appropriate professional experience for students. Generally this means providing students with work which requires them to apply knowledge acquired during their course to fulfil a work role and develop a range of professional skills.
It is recommended that the placement student be introduced to the total environment of the library to which s/he is assigned, developing and progressing understanding of the following aspects of library practice:
Whilst it is anticipated that the placement program will provide a genuine taste of professional work, it is appreciated that it is not always possible for the student to undertake activities in all areas of the organisation. Wherever possible the student should be able to work, observe, have discussions with, and ask questions of staff and users in as many areas as possible.
Supervisors are asked to:
Supervisors are asked to complete the report at the end of the placement and forward it to the Professional Experience Officer by post or fax (details provided on the report form). Please note that the Supervisor's Report may be completed in consultation with the student on placement.
The report outline, contained in the student's subject materials, is not meant to be prescriptive, but is provided as a starting point for analysis. It is acknowledged that library environments vary a great deal in the services and programs that they deliver, and as a result, some aspects of the report outline may not be relevant.
Each student is required to submit a placement report to their subject coordinator, highlighting key principles that are currently informing professional practice. Students are expected to be analytical about their experiences providing evidence of professional interaction across a range of areas, drawing conclusions and reasoning implications and consequences.
Students are required to explore a range of key areas within the library environment including: the role of the library; the collection; cataloguing, classification and indexing; system management; reference and information services; network infrastructure; user needs and services; personnel and staff development; promotion and marketing; and performance evaluation.
Students may be required to complete additional assessment tasks which is dependent upon the subject in which they are enrolled. It is recommended that the host supervisor discusses assessment requirements with the student at the commencement of the placement.
Supervisors at host libraries are invited to provide any feedback to the Professional Experience Officer to help us improve the Professional Placement process for both students and host libraries.
The School of Information Studies greatly appreciates the continued support of the library community for the Professional Placement program.