SLLG guest lecture at University of Strathclyde, 16 March 2017

The Group’s ongoing outreach activity continued earlier this month in Glasgow. Our Secretary, Faye Cooke, returned to her alma mater to address postgraduates on the Information and Library Studies programme.

On a trip down memory lane (ie Rottenrow), I noted changes on campus – new shops, a large mural and Glasgow College looming above. Then again, it’s been six years since I took my last exam at the University of Strathclyde and entered the world of special libraries, the subject on which I had been invited to talk.


View from Livingstone Tower to Graham Hills Building

I made my way to the 14th floor of Livingstone Tower where all was reassuringly familiar, including the seminar room. No doubt testament to David McMenemy, Lecturer and Course Director, it was a great turnout for an afternoon session and I was relieved to be greeted by a friendly audience.

As they were to discover, I used to work in careers information and if I learnt one thing, it’s that students want practical tips and insider info. I therefore followed a rough plan:


  • Special libraries – definition and sectors
  • Special librarians
  • Law libraries – workforce stats
  • Law librarian role, eg budget and collection management, current awareness, etc.

My experience

  • My CV
  • Pros and cons of role/sector


  • Gaining experience
  • Professional bodies, incl. SLLG student project
  • Finding jobs and looking ahead

The slides can be viewed here (PDF)

I tried to be as honest as possible, admitting that when I began my postgraduate diploma, my understanding of potential sectors was pretty narrow. The opportunity to do a placement at a law firm, however, completely opened my eyes to special and, indeed, law libraries.

The main takeaway was the importance of professional engagement. Alongside hard work and a bit of serendipity, a good support network has been key to my career development thus far. As librarians in the Scottish legal sector, we often work either alone, remotely or small teams. Membership of professional bodies has helped me to gain knowledge and skills, and to feel part of something bigger.

One last tip for our future librarians: save all those thank you emails. Positive feedback is evidence of the impact our roles and services have. It’s also a reminder to me that I get to help someone and be a know-it-all at the same time. That’s why I go to work with a smile on my face (most days)!

The committee would like to thank the Computer & Information Sciences department at the University of Strathclyde and David McMenemy for allowing the SLLG to present a talk to their students.


SLLG talk to Robert Gordon University librarian students, 9 March 2017

As part of SLLG’s desire to conduct outreach regarding information professionalism in the law sector, Maria very kindly agreed to be our emissary sent to Robert Gordon University to talk to library students. Maria has provided us a short report of her mission and link to the full talk.

On Thursday 9th March, SLLG member, Maria Robertson, addressed 16 library studies students at Robert Gordon University. Whether in law firms, academia or in the public services, law information professional roles are vital but often not well-known to students thinking about their career direction.

Maria explained the role of law librarianship as a concept as well as the practical day-to-day work law librarians will be regularly employed in.

Maria used her own experiences (and slides!) to tell the students what it is like being a law librarian behind the job description. Maria also told the students of her own Library Route – from student to Executive Secretary and Librarian at the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen.


Maria (right) readying her talk and slides at RGU – note SLLG promotion too!

SLLG leaflets were made available and the wonders of the SLLG were extolled.

Maria was also able to offer a student place on the SLLG committee for any volunteer. A great way to add to an information profession CV, the SLLG committee is welcoming a student onto the committee. Working to organise events and assessing the SLLG lines of communications (learning how and why we support each other), this could be suitable as part of an MSc or simply good experience. Any interested student should contact the SLLG Convenor with notes of interest or further questions.

Maria’s full talk can be read here. (PDF)

The slides can be viewed here. (PowerPoint required)

The students all listened, and laughed at the appropriate places, and several even took business cards and leaflets at the end. Hopefully they found it was a useful session and will consider law librarianship as an option when their formal studies are over.


Students at RGU getting settled to find out more about the exciting world of law librarianship

Head of School Peter Reid sat in on the session – and provided the accompanying photography of the event. Maria enjoyed speaking to him again as he had been there when she herself was a student at RGU when she did the full four year degree (which is no longer available).

It is hoped SLLG members can make similar presentations at other university library related courses to spread the word of our work, and that of our profession.

The committee would very much like to express their grateful thanks to Maria for agreeing to and then writing and presenting her career experiences to the students. The committee also wish to note their appreciation to the iSchool at Robert Gordon University and Dr Konstantina Martzoukou for allowing the SLLG to present a talk to their students.