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Guest blog: Information Internships in the UK

This week's guest blog comes courtesy of Jara Breul from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Jara is in London for 6 weeks to get a taste of the Library and Information Science landscape here in the UK.


Ceremony.lifeguard.london.arp.newSix
weeks in London
/ SHR and lots of things to talk about at home

When I arrived on a Tuesday evening I knew
I would get some insights to British information units, but I wasn’t expecting
it to start at 8.45 on Wednesday morning. Nonetheless, it did, and I met the Sue Hill Recruitment Team. Not knowing much about
the different dialects or “slang”, I had a tough start understanding my new
colleagues.  

Four weeks later, I am still challenged by
the language, but I understand a lot more and – thanks to Sue and her team – I
have been to City
University classes,
London Met Library, British Film Institute and Linklaters.

Since I spent a whole week at Linklaters, I
can be perfectly sure that a law librarian doesn’t spend all day fighting through
textbooks and paragraphs, searching for a specific case; I know that classes at
university might take longer than expected and might include a short
video-conference with someone getting up at 5 to talk to a class; and that
there are various mysterious ways of cataloguing moving pictures and archive
materials – not to mention copyright concerns involved when handling these
special materials.

I was also impressed by the “Treasures
Room” at British Library and hope that we will have something equally
impressive at Berlin,
once the State Library finishes its reorganization and renovation.

Since you might be under the impression
that I totally lost myself in the professional area, I should admit that I was
quite a good tourist as well. I have been to the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham
Palace
on a Sunday, I went to a pub in Trafalgar Square to eat fish and chips –
twice -, I bought a pullover with the British flag and “London” on it, I went
to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of
Parliament
, I got on a boat and on the Emirates Air Line – and I watched Doctor
Who live on BBC One!

And there are two more weeks to go!

Brief summary of what I’ve learned so far:

  • There are more institutions dealing
    with information than you’d initially think of – especially if you’re not from
    here
  • Job titles of librarians can be
    really confusing
  • Britain
    has got more than 100 universities – and University Librarians can’t always
    easily be identified
  • People are really happy to talk
    to you about their jobs and projects
  • Librarians in Britain cope
    with a lot of similar problems to German ones
  • Being here on an internship
    gives you lots of insights you would not get as a tourist
  • And never – NEVER – come to London without an umbrella
    and / or rain coat.

– Jara Breul

2 comments to this post

  •  :  glad to hear you enjoy your stay. Keep learning and having fun!
  •  :  Great to meet you briefly last week Jara and well done on being so proactive. It sounds like you have gained lots of experience of the industry whilst you have been here, as well as some great trips around London, some of which I haven't even done myself! Enjoy the next two weeks and hope you have some more sunshine. Keri

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