These are examples of past ECCA application statements:

Example 1

Tell us why you chose to pursue a career in LIS and why you might wish to work in one or more of the three subject areas, which are the focus of the three co-sponsoring SLA Divisions:

In common with most information professionals I have spoken to, I did not leave school with a burning ambition to become a librarian. In fact, I left school with little idea of what I could do next, which gave me something in common with most of my classmates on my chosen degree subject – photography. I have no regrets in this area at all – I thoroughly enjoyed my time at university, and I believe my short career as a freelance photographer taught me some valuable lessons about business and self-management. It wasn’t until, two years after graduating and realising that I didn’t want to be a professional photographer, I stumbled by chance upon an advert for a graduate trainee librarian position and it occurred to me that librarianship might be a good option to explore (this kind of serendipitous discovery of Librarianship as a profession seems to be fairly common among my peers). A few weeks and dozens of job applications later I was offered a graduate trainee position with Gray’s Inn Library (a law library, attached to one of the four Inns of Court). A short while into my time at Gray’s Inn, I was happy to have my initial opinion confirmed – that this was the career I’d been looking for. For the first time, I was doing a job I was happy in, good at, and one in which I could see a long future ahead of me.

I am now studying towards an MSc in Library and Information Science at City University, and am excited to be beginning my career in LIS at a time of enormous change and new opportunities within the profession. I am particularly interested in the work of the Leadership and Management Division of the SLA – my traineeship at Gray’s Inn, and my current part-time work at City University Library have given me a great deal of experience in general library work, but I have never held a management position or been responsible for anybody’s work but my own. This is the part of my future career which I believe is the most important to develop. I have already found the LMD’s Impact blog to be a valuable resource for finding out about current thinking within the field of leadership and management.

Example 2

Tell us why you chose to pursue a career in LIS and why you might wish to work in one or more of the three subject areas, which are the focus of the three co-sponsoring SLA Divisions:
It would be fair to say that I discovered the job of legal librarian by accident. Until circumstances led me to take an evening assistant job in a law school library my knowledge of special libraries was virtually nil.
I had been considering a career change for some time and realised that law librarianship would offer a number of employment challenges alongside the core information work:

  • Becoming an expert in a particular and dynamic subject area
  • Developing skills as a trainer
  • Extending my IT and database skills
  • Working with a variety of people
  • Being stretched intellectually

After two years as a part-time library assistant I began an MSc in Information Science at City University, whilst continuing to work full time. I complete the course in a year and took up my first full-time role as a legal information officer in August 2006, moving to a more challenging role in January 2008. The nature of the legal subject matter means it is an demanding with which to keep up to date. Hand-in-hand with ‘pure’ legal research comes research into company and financial information from both the US and UK. I would next like to increase my understanding of this type of information, to learn more about how to read balance sheets and annual reports in order to analyse the status of a business. To that end, the Business and Finance section of the SLA is the one I see as a helpful organisation.

Example 3

Tell us why you chose to pursue a career in LIS and why you might wish to work in one or more of the three subject areas, which are the focus of the three co-sponsoring SLA Divisions:

When I chose to begin a career in LIS, I knew very little about the profession, but from the start of my library work I knew that it was absolutely the right choice of profession for me. I discovered a passion within myself for the provision of information: for facilitating access to information, and making sure that it reaches those who need it.

I had never considered myself to be a leader before starting my career in LIS, even though I had held a team leader position. However, that soon changed: with only a few months of library experience, I found myself making suggestions for projects and improvements. During my MA, I was group leader for all of my group projects, and my groups got the top marks for 3 out of 4 projects. Suddenly, I felt comfortable in a leadership position.

Although I’m not supervising any staff or leading a team in my current role, I do have responsibility for managing many aspects of my own work. I am also liaising with leaders from throughout the profession, in a way that I would be unable to do if I was in a more traditional first professional role. Not only am I communicating with university Librarians, but with meta-professionals from organisations such as Research Libraries UK, the Research Information Network, and the British Library, as well as colleagues at Mimas.

I want to be a leader in this profession. Not for my own ambition’s sake, but because I want to give the profession more than I could from a non-leadership position. Much as I love front-line library work, I realise that LIS needs strong, capable leaders, to ensure the future of this front-line work. This does not necessarily mean being in a management position: leadership can come from anywhere in the profession. What it requires is a commitment to confronting the issues that face our profession, and encouraging others to do the same.

What would you gain from attending the SLA Conference?

What would I gain from attending the SLA conference? One of the most important aspects for me would be the networking opportunities. While I feel confident in myself as an information professional, I realise that I am lacking experience. Attending the SLA conference would give me opportunities to exchange experience on several levels: in-depth, with my fellow award-winners; formally, from speakers, presenters, and vendors; and informally from the thousands of information professionals from all over the world who will be attending. If I learn only one thing from each person I speak to, I will return with the equivalent of years of invaluable experience.

One of my professional interests is federated/meta-searching, and related technologies, such as vertical resource discovery tools. In the course of my research on these topics, it has become apparent that the US is often at the forefront of library technology. The impressive array of vendors at the SLA INFO-EXPO will enable me to investigate new products, technologies, and solutions before they are adopted in the UK.

While attending the SLA conference would be of enormous benefit to my professional and personal development, winning an award to attend would have value beyond being able to attend the conference. It would validate, and help to provide evidence of, my professional commitment. The post-award obligation to write two articles on my experiences is, for me, a benefit rather than an obligation. I enjoy writing, and am trying to gain experience writing for various sectors of the professional press. The chance to write for SLA publications is an exciting one, which I would not wish to miss.

Example 4

Part I
Library and information work is my chosen career because it provides the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills whilst contributing to and supporting the work of others. It is a career which can lead in any number of directions, and in which it is possible to develop my interests with the support of a wide-ranging professional network. Outward-facing, it allows me to work with other people and to seek to bring benefits to their practices and processes as well as to my own. I enjoy taking any opportunities available to familiarise myself with the range of work undertaken by library and information professionals.

The government library in which I work provides a corporate information service to departmental staff, and in many ways functions like a business library. I am learning skills which are particularly applicable to a business environment, and I would be happy to continue my career, whether as a government librarian or in other types of business library, working in the subject areas covered by the Business and Finance Division.

I am also interested in the work of the Leadership and Management Division. Regardless of the direction my career takes, it is likely to require the development of leadership and management skills. The work of this division provides a rewarding opportunity to develop these skills by drawing from all subjects and sectors within the specific context of professional information work.

Part II
It is unfortunately very easy, once in a post, to focus attention on the specific, narrow concerns of that role and to lose sight of wider issues. The 2009 SLA Centennial Conference would allow me to actively broaden my experience and understanding of library and information work beyond the government sector and UK focus to which I am most accustomed. This would improve my professional understanding and provide new approaches and ideas to bring back to my current role.

I hope that the conference would improve my knowledge both of familiar subjects, providing new perspectives on areas such as corporate and government information provision, cataloguing, web 2.0 and research skills, as well as highlighting topics new to me of interest to the wider information community. The conference programme offers coverage of a wide variety of content, and I would look to benefit from hearing of others’ practical workplace understanding of topics that I have gained theoretical knowledge of through my personal and professional studies.

I also hope to take full advantage of the many networking opportunities offered by the conference, in order to speak to professionals from a variety of sectors and at difference stages of their careers and to benefit from their experience and practical example in my own future career.

Attending the SLA Centennial Conference would provide an unparalleled opportunity to improve my knowledge of the issues and interests affecting all sectors of the global information community. It would benefit my current work by offering new insight and my future by allowing me to broaden my horizons to the many possibilities of my chosen professional career.

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