Academic Support and Skills

Student Library Rep – Books + Music + Transferable skills


There are a whole range of reasons to get involved in co-curricular activities. Usually, it’s because the activity is something you really enjoy doing. If you are a book lover, being a Student Library Rep offers a good opportunity to indulge your love of books, get an insight into how the library works, get some really good resources for your fellow students and develop skills you can take with you when you leave. Music student and Student Library Rep Clare, talks to us about her experience as a Library Rep and also her practical and theory based approaches to experimental music.

“I love the library, I think it’s great and I think librarianship is something I’d possibly be interested in doing career wise. It’s also really good experience – budget management, time management, outreach, communication.”

A budget to spend on books for the music department

As a Library Rep, Clare is given a budget to spend on books for her department based on suggestions and requests from fellow students. To find out what her fellow students wanted her to buy, Clare initially sent out emails to the whole department through the department office and received a ton of replies and suggestions.

“There were some post grad research students who had some really good suggestions of what they’d like to see in the library and there was also some stuff that was on reading lists for big classes where there was only one copy or something so people asked to get some more copies of this.”

Discovering new skills

Already from doing the role, Clare has learned that she can be quite resourceful.

“I have to think of ways to spread the word to promote the project and also to search for books that were requested but weren’t available from the provider that Goldsmiths library uses. So things like scores that people have asked for and are difficult to find, I’ve had to find a way of sourcing them myself and asking the library to buy them.”

Clare has also been studying reading lists and recommended readings herself for ideas and used the rep role to get an extra copy of a book that she ended up buying herself because she couldn’t get it out on loan. Realising that other students will also need this book for essays, she included it on the list.

Fitting it in with academic work

The library is somewhere she’s been spending a lot of time in recently. Currently she is working towards two final year projects – a dissertation and an advanced classical performance. She is focusing on the composer Morten Feldman who she became interested in whilst researching an essay on graphic notation in her first year.

“Yes, it’s quite a lot (of work) but it’s interesting. I hadn’t heard of him until I did an essay in first year on graphic notation which I found so fascinating and he was the first western composer to use non-conventional notation so his scores were graphs and things.”

Her third year projects are building on work she did in her second year when she did a lot of composition and recording in the music studios.

“It was a lot of fun because the studios here are really great.  There are loads of facilities and they just let you do your own thing and you can be really experimental.”

One of her composition projects involved climbing a mountain in Ireland to record the sounds of a waterfall and stream which she then used to make a composition with piano and layered voice recordings of poetry by Seamus Heaney.

As well as consulting students and hunting down hard to find music scores, Clare also gets to find out about what working in a library involves.

“I take part in focus groups and some of the services that the library offers and I’ve had a job shadowing session which was really cool. It was a tour of the library office and the Special Collections.”

Her advice to anyone thinking of getting involved in this project next year is clear

“I would definitely encourage people to apply. It doesn’t take up too much time. It’s really good experience and looks really good on your HEAR and the skills are transferable no matter what field you’re interested in and it’s also a really great to meet people from other departments who are also interested in books.”

Gaining valuable skills

There is a lot of value in getting involved in activities while doing your degree and the skills you gain can help in the future. Clare sees it as:

“It’s the transferable skills and the experience. It’s great to get experience while you are still studying so that you can come out of university not only with an academic education but also working experience as well.”

Evidence of what she’s done at university

She’s recording it on her HEAR to show what’s she’s done at university

“I think it (the HEAR) gives a more comprehensive view of your achievements while at university. The university experience is not only about academic learning and it shows good skills and experience too.”

Life after graduation

Life after graduation holds a number of options

“I think I’m probably going to look at doing post graduate study, possibly something performance based but still research based, but part time and possibly get some freelance work at the same time – teaching, community music, performing, there’s lots of things.”

Right now, graduation is looming and Clare has her sights set on finishing her degree and heading to Greece in the summer for a well-earned break.


Student Library Reps can record their role on their HEAR from this year. Talk to Marion Harris, Acquisitions Supervisor, for more information

Read more about the HEAR and what you need to do to record being a Student Library Rep on your HEAR


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