Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

INF Placement Report

INF208 - Professional Placement and INF445/408 Professional Experience

Assessment: Placement report

Due date: Within one month of completion of placement.

Length: 2500 words (+ or - 10%)


To connect the placement experience with knowledge, theory and skills in a reflective and disciplined manner.


The report guidelines below are intended to provide you with a framework from which you can gain a broad overview of the library in which you will undertake your placement. The completed placement report is part of the assessment strategy in this subject. Expect that the audience of your report would be a professional librarian, but that he or she would not know the specific library to which you refer.

Use the writing up of this report as a time to reflect upon what you have observed and experienced. It is expected that you will be analytical about your experiences providing evidence of professional interaction across a range of areas, drawing conclusions and reasoning implications and consequences.

The focus text provided in the guidelines is not meant to be prescriptive, but is provided as a starting point for your thinking and analysis. Library environments vary a great deal in the services and programs that they deliver, and as a result, some aspects of the report guidelines may not be relevant to the library where you have your placement. Be selective in your commentary, highlighting key principles that are currently informing practice.

When writing your report there are several concepts fundamental to the provision of library and information services that need to inform your thinking. They are:

  • the relationship between user needs and services
  • the effective integration of information and communication technologies
  • occupational health and safety and the ways in which the library provides a safe workplace for the library staff and the clients.

Collect information at every opportunity, but edit your material before writing your report.

Most of all, enjoy your experience ...



Professional placement report guidelines

This report is due one month after the completion of your placement.

Your report would normally include analytical commentary on at least 10 of the following areas. Points 12 and 13 should not be omitted.

Total words: 2500

1. The role of the Library

Comment on the aims, planning and objective setting of the library. How does the library use the recommendations and opportunities provided by its parent organisation? How does the library liaise with relevant professional bodies?

2. User needs and services
Consider the provision of programs, activities and materials which acknowledge the needs and interests of the clientele, including special groups in the community. To what extent does the library obtain input from its clientele about its services?

3. Collections and information resources

Investigate the developing nature of the collections (physical and online), including written policy and procedures which guide collection management. Consider the evolving relationship of information services and information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the digitisation of information. Investigate the way in which materials are selected. Is it by an individual or a team and, what input does or can the client make in the selection process?

4. Cataloguing, classification and indexing
Consider the function of cataloguing in terms of the library user. What options are employed for the cataloguing process, e.g., local cataloguing, outsourcing, participation in cooperative national or regional bibliographic networks? What descriptive cataloguing, subject access, and classification systems and other standards are used? What access is provided for resources that are not catalogued?

5. System management
What ILMS (integrated library management system) is used and to what extend does it meet the library's needs? Consider circulation control, OPAC interface, serials management etc. How is the system supported? Consider application of routine statistical reports and routine authority control processes, etc. Analyse policy in this area to determine opportunity for enhancements in order to meet the needs of users, including staff.

6. Reference and information services
Examine the way in which reference services are provided for different sectors of the client group. What electronic means are used to take, track and answer reference questions? What document requesting and delivery systems are available, including current awareness and SDI? Observe the reference interview and identify policies for accessing information using the web, indexing and abstracting services etc.

7. Network infrastructure

LAN, WAN, intranet, internet? What types of electronic networks operate within the library, or between the library and outside agencies? To what extent does the library depend on network access and availability? How are remote users supported? Consider information policy issues such as licensing, and copyright. Configuration of workstations and ergonomics as well as future developments regarding network applications.

8. Staffing
Consider the levels of professional and technical staffing, and the provision and development of induction programs, continuing education programs and opportunities for performance development. Consider the efficiency and effectiveness of communication between staff. Explore the extent to which teamwork is employed and the strengths to be gained from this in terms of the organisation's effectiveness.

9. User education
Consider the range of user education or information literacy programs provided for different sectors of the client group, identifying processes that demonstrate a commitment to improve information use. Identify what strategies are used to gather data about users' information seeking and information use habits?

10. Promotion and marketing

Consider the effectiveness and focus of promotion and marketing strategies, range and content of publications (e.g., web presence, annual reports), displays, events, newsletters, activities etc.

11. Evaluation of library services

Consider how the library evaluates the services it delivers and provides. Consider the range of performance measures implemented, how outcomes are analysed and the impact this has on service delivery.

12. Reflecting on an activity

Outline the main activities you were involved in during your placement. Identify a significant activity with which you were involved with during your placement. State the objectives and briefly describe the activity. Evaluate the activity, commenting on its impact, and suggesting possible modifications which might be made.

13. Evaluate the placement
Give your impressions of the placement and comment on its usefulness to you. Comment on your perceived progress in terms of knowledge gained, skills learned, insights into your performance, and any changes in your attitudes or views.


Marking criteria

Your report will be assessed as pass or fail according to the following criteria:

  • Submission within time indicated (or arranged with subject coordinator);
  • Inclusion of information indicated in guidelines;
  • Thoughtfulness and critical thinking displayed regarding the various considerations indicated in the guidelines;
  • Clarity of expression and layout.

A pass for the report will require a satisfactory performance in relation to the criteria.

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