Image of Alex Milleron a Special Collections project placement at the National Library of Scotland

A university placement

Hello, my name is Alex Miller, and I am currently a student at the University of Strathclyde, working on completing a one-year MSc course in Information and Library Science. My time at the National Library has been spent working towards completing a Special Collections project started by a previous placement student in early 2020.  

The project has shown me a new book classification system, how to use the library cataloguing database, as well as different areas of the National Library. My mentor, Hazel Stewart, has been very helpful in giving me a well-rounded view of the library, and arranged for me to spend time in many different areas of the organisation rather than just having me stay upstairs in the Special Collections Reading Room. It’s a treat to be able to see how a well-funded library runs, as the majority of library and information sector jobs could always use a bit more funding to be better.  

I’ve spent time learning how the different reading rooms are managed, viewing and helping place books delivered to the reference areas, as well as some time poking around fun and interesting maps. All these areas are important to the sharing of information, and it’s useful to see how the different reading rooms work in their place on the machine – how it’s similar and how it’s different from other areas.  

Once my placement is done, I will spend the summer months working on my dissertation. My topic is “Do libraries that have more resources in more languages help to support or strengthen their community?”, and I’m planning on including librarians in my definition of resources. I will use things learned in both my course and throughout my placement to help me learn the answer to this question and will use the results to help my future librarian or information career, wherever that may lead. 

I am thankful to both the National Library and Hazel in helping me with this opportunity, as well as the chance to experience my placement days as if I were working here.