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Charles Sturt University

  • 24% international / 76% domestic

Justin Langley

My favourite units in this course was the study visit and the professional placement.

About you

What did you study at undergraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now? Are you studying and working at the same time?

I studied a Bachelor of Social Research and Policy at University of New South Wales 2013 and a Masters of Information Studies (Archives and Records Management) at Charles Sturt University 2017. I’m currently a Librarian.     

What have been the most important stages of your life?

My primary and secondary schooling were obviously significant stages in my early life. Both my undergraduate and postgraduate university experiences were possibly even more significant. It was during this time that I discovered who I was as a person, what I wanted to do with my life and met my future wife.

How did you get to your current (or most recent) job position and how long have you been working there?

Job advertised on seek in a school library 5 years ago.

About your course

What made you decide to progress with further study?

When I left school I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do, so I studied a broad undergraduate degree in the Arts field. After a lot of consideration I decided to pursue librarianship as I felt this matched both my interests and my skill set. ALIA (the Library industry body) accredits courses to qualify as a librarian and this standard is used by most employers across the country, so it was a natural choice.

How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?

When making my decision to pursue a postgraduate degree I was picking between teaching or librarianship. The opportunity to work in a school library in the months leading up to my decision was incredibly helpful and helped me to discern that information studies was the correct choice for me.
As there were only a few universities that still offer a Masters of Information Studies, it was a matter of researching the few university websites. In the end I attended an online information session that Charles Sturt University put on and this really helped confirm my decision. 

What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?

As a postgraduate course I needed to have completed a relevant undergraduate degree. In between my undergraduate and postgraduate courses, I also completed a Certificate IV in Library studies which gave me a basic understanding of a few of the concepts. This wasn't necessary but I did find it useful in terms of keeping my academic skills sharp and giving me a foundation in the area before continuing my studies. 

What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)

Being distance education there was no such thing as a typical day. During my time studying I was working full-time and had just gotten married, so it was a very busy period of my life. Thankfully, both my wife and my employer were very supportive of my studies, this proved to be a major help.
The freedom of my distance education meant that I was able to study anywhere, changing my location and habits to suit my schedule and my mood at the time. 

Pros and cons

Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.

This course has been incredibly beneficial in my career. Not only has it allowed me to be promoted to a head librarian role, but it also equipped me with the practical skills and key conceptual understanding that I have needed to succeed in the field. The expert academics with current knowledge of trends in the field was invaluable and also instilled in me a desire to keep up with developments in the field myself.
My choice of specialisation means that I have the freedom to move into over information management fields beyond librarianship, such as data and records management or archiving. 

What do you love the most about your course? 

The practical and current knowledge provided by educators. My favourite units in this course was the study visit and the professional placement. This gave me an opportunity to see first hand what cutting edge programs and processes are being used in the industry and the work that is actually involved in doing them. The university had organised them really well and they were a really rich learning experience. 

What are the limitations of your course?

Being a distance education course, one limitation was the lack of free flowing, face-to-face discussion with tutors and fellow students. While the use of discussion boards and communication from professors was very good, these are not necessarily conducive to a good conversation.
Another limitation of this course is that professionally, it's narrow application means that it is not overly useful if I ever wish to change industries. 

A word to the wise…

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life.

  1. Make the most of the opportunity that you have to learn broadly and deeply.
  2. Don't be afraid if you don't have a career in mind or of changing your mind.
  3. Enjoy the ride.