MLIS Co-op

Students in the library

The benefits of co-op for students and employers

The MLIS Co-op program, begun in 1979, formally integrates a student's academic study with paid work experience. Students are exposed to the professional environment, and have the opportunity to use and develop newly acquired skills, and gain practical experience which will contribute to their training as professionals.

Employers gain enthusiastic, adaptable, temporary employees with up-to-date skills on a “just-in-time” basis.

Sample Past Employers (There is no guarantee of future co-op positions at these organizations)

  • Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Ottawa, ON
  • Chalmers Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, ON
  • Paul Martin Law Library, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON
  • The D. B. Weldon Library, University of Western Ontario, London, ON
  • Access Copyright, Toronto, ON
  • Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, ON

Information for students

General Information

Employers are in public or private sector organizations all across Canada.  Most of the positions advertised are outside London, generally in the Ottawa and Toronto areas. The ability to relocate is essential.

The number of placements in any term is dependent on the number of positions made available by participating employers. This is a competitive process, not a placement agency.

Co-op must be completed before you begin your final academic term.

Student Benefits

Benefits from participating in a co-op:
  • Provides the opportunity to work in different areas of the library and information science field
  • Establishes employer contacts for post-graduation
  • Bridges the gap between theory and practice
  • Develops your communication and time management skills
  • Expands your interview experience
  • Allows you to develop a professional resume
  • Assists you in planning a career path
  • Provides the opportunity to live and work in another part of Canada

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible to apply for Co-op you must have completed a minimum of four MLIS courses including 9001, 9002, 9003, and 9005 with a 75% average or above, with no individual course grade below 70%. Some employers also list additional requirements and will not consider applicants who do not meet the qualifications. You must be legally able to work in Canada to be considered for co-op.

Since participation in the Co-operative Work/Study Program is a privilege rather than a right, only students who meet and maintain the required qualifications, who demonstrate professional readiness (i.e., appropriate skills and professional behaviour) and adhere to the procedures and regulations of the program may participate. The decision not to allow a student to participate in Co-op is made by the Associate Dean and is not appealable.

Application & Placement

  1. Employers post co-op positions.

  2. Students submit résumés and cover letters for the jobs for which they want to apply. A deadline for receipt of applications will be listed on each posting. Assistance with résumé and cover letter preparation is available from the Manager, Graduate Student Services.

  3. Employers select students whom they want to interview, and the Co-op Office sets up in-person, SKYPE or telephone interviews. All interviews are set up by the Co-op Office. Students do not contact employers.

  4. Employers then contact co-op office with the selected student’s name. The co-op office provides the offer to student with a 48-hour response requirement.

  5. Students go out on co-op; they write two reports during the work term.

  6. A mid-term site visit is conducted by the Manager, Graduate Student Services.

  7. Employers complete a performance evaluation of the student at the end of the term.

Co-op Timeline

Specific dates are set each term. Contact the Co-op Program Office for additional information.

January - April Term
  • Job postings: Starting October 1st
  • Interviews: Mid-October - November
  • Majority of placements confirmed: November - December
May - August Term
  • Job postings: Starting February 1st
  • Interviews: Mid-February - March
  • Majority of placements confirmed: March – April
September - December Term
  • Job postings: Starting June 1st
  • Interviews: Mid-June – July
  • Majority of placements confirmed: July - August

Evaluation

Students will be evaluated by the Manager of Graduate Student Services based on the following factors:
  • mid-term report
  • on-site visit or telephone conversation with the employer and the student
  • final report
  • employer evaluation
Grades for co-op are designated as Pass/Fail.

FAQ

Is co-op a mandatory part of the MLIS Program?
No. Co-op is an enrichment option. Students are not required to participate in the co-op program.

Does co-op count towards my degree?
Co-op work terms appear on your transcript as a pass/fail. They DO NOT reduce the number of courses you have to take to complete the MLIS degree.

How many co-op terms am I allowed to complete?
Students may participate in up to two 14-week work terms. The terms may be consecutive or non-consecutive.

May I take a course while I am on co-op?
Yes. Students are permitted to take one course during their co-op placement if they wish (see additional note below). A tuition fee will be assessed for the course.

May I take my final course during a co-op term?
No. Students must have at least one course remaining after their co-op term ends (i.e. you must be a "returning student" vs. a graduate after the co-op term ends).

How much does it cost to participate in co-op?
You will pay a placement fee and will be registered as "Part-time Co-op." Typically the co-op fee is less than the cost of tuition for one course. Contact the Co-op Program Office for the current rate. Note: The fee is paid for each term of co-op.

Will going on co-op affect my OSAP or OGS?
Be sure to check with the appropriate office on campus to make sure there are no situations that would prevent accepting employment under the Co-op Program.

How will I find accommodation in another city?
It is the student's responsibility to find his/her own accommodations; however, a member of the MLIS Student Council helps co-ordinate housing information.  More information can be found on the MLIS Housing Blog.

Information for employers

General Information

A co-op placement is an arrangement between the employer and the student employee facilitated by the Co-op Office. The program requires a minimum work term of 14 weeks of full-time professional work, which corresponds to the academic term. Terms of employment are established by the employer. By mutual agreement, a student may be reappointed to a second work term, with the approval of the Co-op Office.

Salary is set by the employer. The Co-op Office is able to advise on the range of current rates. Benefits are set by the employer but normally are those required by law.

Work assigned to co-op students may encompass a wide range of jobs from preparing and conducting studies that include surveys, indexing or cataloguing projects, to setting up Web pages on the Internet, database design or regular archival, library or information science work.

Employers in the public or private sectors are encouraged to post positions with the LIS Co-op Program. Any bona fide employer can be a co-op employer, provided the work is related to the academic discipline of the student. It should be noted, however, that a qualified individual is required to supervise/mentor the work of the co-op student for the duration of the work term.

As the co-op experience is a competitive employment process, students are flexible as to the location and type of employment. All communication between employers and students is mediated by the FIMS Co-op Office.

Employer Benefits

  • Students are available for placement year-round.  Work terms are January-April, May-August and September-December.
  • Co-op students can provide temporary assistance for peak periods, maternity or other leaves, and for the completion of special projects requiring qualified personnel.
  • Co-op students bring to your organization knowledge of current technology, enthusiasm and a willingness to work.
  • Co-op is a cost-effective means of evaluating potential employees. If a co-op graduate is later hired to a permanent position, significantly less training time is required.
  • Co-op placements can be part of your institution’s recruitment strategy.
  • Your business may be eligible to receive a tax credit from the Ontario government.  The Co-operative Education Tax Credit provides Ontario employers operating unincorporated businesses with a refundable tax credit of up to $1000 per co-op student.
Students are permitted to participate in one or two work terms.

Submit a Job Posting

You submit your job posting and a copy of the employer application form to the FIMS Co-op Office (fims-coop@uwo.ca), including:

  • a contact name, title, and address
  • background information about your organization
  • an outline of job responsibilities
  • the required qualifications
  • the rate of pay

 Once all information has been received, the co-op office will set up an employer account for you on Career Central, portal for all administrative aspects of the co-op process.

Applications & Interviews

  1. Approved job postings will be advertised on Career Central for the duration selected. Career Central will notify you and release the student applications following the pre-determined deadline.

  2. You choose which candidates you wish to interview and select preferred interview dates & time. We work with you to schedule and confirm the interviews with the selected candidates.

  3. Interviews can be either in-person at Western, or via telephone / SKYPE

  4. Following your interviews, contact the co-op office with the name of your preferred candidate and we will facilitate the offer at that time.

  5. Once an offer has been confirmed by both parties, it is considered as a successful placement.

*All communication between employers and students regarding co-op matters (student eligibility, interview, supporting documents etc.) is to be handled through the co-op office until the placements have been finalized.

Co-op Timeline

Specific dates are set each term. Contact the Co-op Program Office for additional information.

January - April Term
  • Job postings: Starting October 1st
  • Interviews: Mid-October - November
  • Majority of placements confirmed: November - December
May - August Term
  • Job postings: Starting February 1st
  • Interviews: Mid-February - March
  • Majority of placements confirmed: March – April
September - December Term
  • Job postings: Starting June 1st
  • Interviews: Mid-June – July
  • Majority of placements confirmed: July – August

Evaluation

Employers evaluate students on their on-the-job-performance. In addition, the Manager of Graduate Student Services monitors the progress of students through an on-site or telephone interview with supervisors and students each term. The co-op employer/co-op program relationship provides an open avenue for feedback in order to ensure that the program is responding to the specific needs of both employers and students.

Each student is required to submit a final report which is evaluated for accuracy by the employer and forwarded to the Manager of Graduate Student Services.

FAQ

Please download the Employer FAQ (pdf).

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