Library School – Data, Law and Ethics module

I took this module last autumn, one of the last two of the PG Dip. For my general post about my librarianship course, go here.

I had really high hopes for this module. I thought we’d get into all kinds of meaty issues I was really interested in like privacy, surveillance and censorship. We did address these issues and others, but at a very high, broad-brush level. The module had to cram a lot in, so I felt I got an overview of the main issues but little to no in-depth engagement. It also placed a big emphasis on legal frameworks so we covered a lot of laws and government policy which was fairly dry. I would have appreciated learning about a law, say the Copyright, Design and Patents Act (1988) and then delving into a relevant example that raised all sorts of uncomfortable questions and applications. There were some attempts to engage via activities you were supposed to do which were helpful, but I felt this classes’ subject matter would work better in an in-person context where you can have discussions.

The module was structured as a series of workbooks that we worked through with some discussion board posting online. There were two assignments to complete. One was a discussion board post on a legal case or area of legislation and the other was a topical essay or critical analysis of journal articles. I would have loved to do the essay, but in the end time pressure forced me to do the article review because I knew I wouldn’t have time do all the reading I wanted to for the essay. One of the articles on the approved list was about the library’s role in disaster preparedness and looked at how libraries met people’s needs after Hurricane Katrina in 2010 on the Gulf Coast (Braquet, 2010). This was obviously of personal interest to me (here’s my Katrina post) and I found that the study and others on this topic showed that libraries basically kept on doing what they do best in the midst of terrible situations, viz. providing quality information, internet access and a safe space for all. This was of great value to those communities and of course is now a major talking point on the value of libraries. See for instance this article about Baltimore public libraries remaining open during the riots last year.


Braquet, D. M. (2010) ‘Library experiences of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans flood survivors’, Libres Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal, 20(1), pp. 1-23. Available at: (Accessed: 7 Dec 2015).

Quick Update – Autumn 2014

A lot of change has been happening in my life this autumn and has resulted in a massive slow down of blog posts! You might have seen on Facebook or Twitter that I have changed jobs recently. I said goodbye to Bruntcliffe School on October 24th and am now in my second week as a library counter assistant at Leeds College of Music. A professional goal of mine is to work in a music library, so I was thrilled to get this role at the College and it’s great to be working with music again. My school library experience was brilliant and definitely prepared me for taking the next step in my career. I’ll be writing a blog post soon about what I learned.

I attended the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Lyon, France in August. This was an amazing, mind-boggling experience and all you CILIP members can read a feature article I wrote for the October issue of Update (along with some other first timers’ perspectives). I’ll be adapting this for my blog at some point as well.

Along with a lot of early career library folks, I want to do my librarianship qualification. However it was put on the back burner because of my work commitments. However when I got my new job which is part time, I thought it was a good opportunity to study part time as well. So I am now a month in to the Information and Library Management MA/MSc (distance learning) at Northumbria University. I’m nearly caught up with the coursework and really enjoying it so far – lots of blog and Twitter fodder in there as well!

When not turning my life upside down, I try to keep up with email lists and wanted to share a few interesting articles I’ve read recently:

  • Daniel Russell, an employee of Google, on why your library card is a powerful research tool:
  • Christopher Hogwood, a pioneer of the historical performance movement in Britain, died recently. This post on the Cambridge Music Collections blog gave a brilliant picture of his life:
  • After attending the IFLA conference, I’m more interested in libraries advocating for the public interest. This short article about US librarians and anti-surveillance was interesting:

A few teaser pictures from #WLIC2014 Lyon:


Beautiful Lyonnais architecture.


Conference Centre