Category Archives: People

November News, December Reminders

Goodbye to Jonathan!

Today we said goodbye to Jonathan Acton, who has worked at the Oriental Institute Library since 2010, when he moved here after the closure of the New Bodleian.

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Jonathan first started working in the Bodleian Libraries in 2007, in the old Oriental Reading Room, and has spent the past nine years assisting readers of modern Oriental materials. When the reading rooms were re-organised in 2008 he worked in the New Bodleian Reading Room, as well as carrying out book-processing duties behind the scenes, and then moved to OIL along with Kate when the refurbishment started.

We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours, and lots of fun playing with his grandson! We are sorry to see him go; his dedication to helping the readers has made him a valuable asset to the library, which will be a quieter (and probably less tidy) place without him!

November News

Drinks in the Library (again)

Despite repeated reminders, we are still finding evidence that readers are ignoring the rule that only water in sealed containers such as bottles may be brought into the library. We have found a number of cups containing coffee dregs over the past few weeks but have unfortunately yet to identify the culprit or culprits. Several readers with cups of water have also been spoken to.

We are not doing this to be awkward: the reason we don’t want coffee or other drinks in the library is purely for the protection of the books and equipment. We would politely request that readers respect this rule. We would rather not return to the days when readers were not permitted to take their bags into the library!

Reclassification

In happier news, November saw a milestone in the reclassification project: the end of the “D” section! D (History) has taken Kate since February 2014 to reclassify, with much of the collection moving into comparable sections in the Library of Congress sequence, although there were quite a few geography books which ended up in G!

The vast majority of former “D” shelfmarks – numbering almost 6000 books – are now in the LC sequence, which moves us a step closer to simplifying our shelving scheme and making it easier to find the books.

Since finishing “D”, Kate has also polished of “J” (Political Science) and “M” (Music) and is currently working on the end of “N” (Fine Art), before once again moving the books into the space created over the past few months.

This move is likely to start in the next week and will be finished before the start of Term in January.

Next on the reclassification project: “P”, but Kate says she’s not going to think about those just yet!

Periodicals

A number of periodicals which are currently shelved within the LC sequence are going to be moved into a space near the other periodicals (round the corner past the photocopiers) within the next few weeks. This is partly to free up space and also to rationalise the collection with a view eventually to having all periodicals on the ground floor in the same area. A prefix “Per.” will be added to these items to distinguish them from other materials with similar shelfmarks.

Vacation Loans

Vacation Loans are now in effect! Books borrowed from now on will be due back on January 17th (Tuesday of 1st week). Readers are requested to remember to renew books which were borrowed before this week to avoid a nasty new-year library fine surprise.

December Reminders

The library will be closed from 22nd December to January 3rd inclusive. This is a day earlier than the other Bodleian Libraries, which are open on the 22nd but closed on the 23rd onwards.

We have already noticed the dwindling numbers as many of our readers are leaving for the holidays and would like to wish everyone the best of the season!

2015 retrospective

 

Happy New Year! Please indulge us while we present a reminder of the exciting year that was 2015…

2015 was a busy year at the Oriental Institute Library, with many changes taking place. Most of these have been behind the scenes so we hope that as far as our readers are concerned things have remained calm and peaceful, but for the staff it has been quite a year!

The move that wasn’t

It was early March when the staff of the Library were told of the proposal to close the Oriental Institute Library and move the collections into the Sackler Library. We were told before any other discussions had taken place, in order that we could field questions if anyone heard rumours. Consultations with staff and students were carried out over the next couple of months, with a great number of people expressing to library staff their disquiet at the idea of removing the Library from the Faculty building.

Various points were made about the practicalities of moving our collection into an already full library and the problems which might arise for both sets of staff – Oxford is an institution with a long memory, and it is not uncommon for people to come back years after they left and be confused by changes which took place in the interim, so it would not be a case of taking a few months to get used to different materials.

We were finally told in June that the proposal had been withdrawn, which was an immense relief to both the staff of the library and our loyal readers – not to mention the Sackler readers and staff who had been as dubious as we were about the idea. We hope to continue for a long while as we are, providing a service which is obviously valuable to the University as a whole.

People

In June we welcomed Vasiliki Giannopoulou to the Library, initially on Thursdays and Fridays, although her role has now expanded slightly to take on extra hours. Vasiliki had previously worked at the History Faculty Library, so her familiarity with the Library of Congress materials was a definite bonus in terms of shelving. She has now been with us for over six months and has settled into the team well.

The summer saw a couple of announcements; Dawn Vaux, who had been the Deputy Librarian at OIL since 2004 (check this) told us that her husband had been offered a job in Sydney, Australia, and that she would be leaving the Library at the start of September, while Dinah Manisty would be retiring at the end of September.

Dawn’s departure was, naturally, more of a surprise, but we all wished her well and she was given a good send-off at the beginning of September.

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Meanwhile Dinah’s interim replacement as Subject Librarian for Middle Eastern and Islamic Collections is Lydia Wright, who worked for a month shadowing Dinah to get up to speed with the work before Dinah’s departure.

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As both our senior staff had gone we underwent a bit of restructuring to compensate; Lidio has now taken on more responsibility and Jane Bruder from the Sackler has extended her role to include certain managerial duties at OIL. Both Natalija and Vasiliki have also taken on more hours to increase staffing levels. We hope that readers have not noticed any major change in service provision as a result of these adjustments.

Books

At the end of the summer the staff of the Muller Library at the Hebrew and Jewish Studies centre moved some of the books in our collection over to Walton Street as they were deemed more appropriate to the collection there. Readers who find that books they were expecting to be here have moved are advised to check SOLO for new location information.

Kate has reclassified a total of 2342 books in the last calendar year. Over the 2014-15 academic year she reclassified 1688 shelfmarks, representing a 2223 items in total. During September she moved the books from the end of the LC sequence into the area vacated by the DS section and is currently working her way along the shelves near the computers. As ever, please check SOLO regularly if you are a frequent user of materials in the area which is currently being reclassified as things will move.

Looking Forward to 2016

Now that Term has begun again we look forward to welcoming our returning readers, hoping that everyone has had a relaxing break. At present the only major change of which we are aware is the move of some of our Japanese books to the Bodleian Japanese Library, but at present we have no timetable for that work and will keep the Facebook page and this blog updated when more information comes to light.

 

September News

(a little belated, with our apologies)

Arrivals and departures

In September the Oriental Institute Library welcomed Lydia Wright to the staff. Lydia is the Arabic Subject Specialist, and will be taking over that aspect of Dinah Manisty’s role, initially for a year. Regular readers will see her around the library, although she will also be working at Osney Mead for part of each week.

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Wednesday 30th was Dinah’s last day; with typical modesty she told us she didn’t want a party, so we threw one anyway – albeit a modest affair. Nobody gets out of OIL without a party! Dinah has worked here since 2010 and has been the Librarian in Charge for the last two years. We wish her a long and happy retirement and hope she visits us often.

 

Leaping into the fray with regards to management will be Jane Bruder, who some readers may know from the Sackler Library. Jane will be taking a more central role at OIL as part of a small restructuring in the wake of Dawn and Dinah’s departures but the core staff of the library and our remit will remain the same.

Book moves

Readers who regularly visit the basement will have noticed activity over the last couple of weeks as our colleagues from the Muller Library have been moving some of our Hebrew collections to their library as part of a re-organisation of collections.

If you are used to finding a particular item at OIL and it appears to have gone, do check with staff who will be able to check as to whether it has been moved.

Meanwhile Kate has been reorganising the Library of Congress books and moving them round into the area which was vacated by the old-sequence DS materials. This has involved a significant relocation of some popular sections; PK and PL are now in the far corner nearest to the Sackler Library and PJ is ranged along under the windows. Do ask if you cannot find anything; it is all still in sequence, just in different places!

 

Inductions – this Friday!

Finally, don’t forget that the Library Open Day is this Friday, 9th October. Everyone is always welcome, but we especially hope to see lots of new faces keen to find out all there is to know about the Library and its workings.

A fond farewell

September 3rd saw a sad and yet happy event at the Oriental Institute: a farewell party for our lovely Deputy Librarian, Dawn Vaux, who has left us for pastures antipodean. The party was well-attended, a fitting tribute to a popular and sympathetic member of staff who has weathered many library storms over her almost-eleven-year tenure at OIL.

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Dawn first came to work at OIL when Martyn Minty was the Librarian, in 2004, and has seen many library colleagues come and go. When the closure of the New Bodleian Library in 2010 necessitated the restructuring of the Oriental provision within the libraries, Dawn was gracious in welcoming the staff (your humble blogger included) who had previously worked in the Oriental Reading Room and the New Bodleian Reading Room, and making us feel a part of the team.

In her own words, Dawn has described the Oriental Institute Library as “the most interesting and diverse library to work in at Oxford” and said that she feels “very lucky to have had such a great experience”, although at times the larger team – which developed due to various job-shares and the addition of Bodleian staff – was sometimes a bit difficult to keep track of!

Dawn has left the Library to move to Sydney, Australia, with her husband, who has accepted a job there. We are variously jealous, sad, and pleased for them to have this wonderful opportunity.

 

June Headlines

First things first…

Most of our readers will hopefully have heard the good news by now, that the proposal to move the Oriental Institute Library’s collections into the Sackler Library has been withdrawn.

Library staff are delighted with the news and would like to extend an enormous

Thank you!!

to everyone who signed petitions, spoke up in various meetings and generally made lots of noise on our behalf. We realise that there were many reasons besides the ones we had for not taking the option to move us out of the Oriental Institute (not least the disruption it would have caused to the readers and staff of the Sackler), but the end result is just as important and just as welcome. We all look forward to remaining where we belong and to continuing to provide a friendly and efficient library service to all our users, be they from the faculty or from everywhere else in the world.

It really is an enormous relief, and it has been lovely to talk to many indignant regular readers who were unanimous in telling us how much they wanted us to stay put.

June Headlines

Well, there’s not much we can say to top that, is there? We have had a busy month in terms of the reader numbers, and hope that everyone’s exams went – or are still going – smoothly.

Automated Finalist notices went out last week, which resulted in a flurry of readers bringing in books and paying off fines. If you still have items to return, please do so before your card expires as you may find it harder to get into the building afterwards!

For other borrowers we are now in the Vacation Loans period; all books borrowed from the Library will be due for return on the 13th October (Tuesday of 1st week) unless your card expires before that, in which case they will be due the day before the date on your card.

Readers who are in on Thursdays and Friday evenings will have met our new colleague, Vasiliki Giannopoulou, who started working with us at the beginning of June. Vasiliki comes to us with experience of the Library of Congress Classification as she also works at the History Faculty Library. We would like to welcome her to OIL, and we look forward to her pointing out all the weirdly shelved books in the LC section!

On the subject of LC classification, Kate will be doing some moving over the next few days to accommodate the ridiculously crowded DR (Turkish History) section. These books (formerly in DS 162 and DS 165 in the old sequence) have taken over what was previously a relatively small area and the reorganising of shelves from PJ back to DS in order to make room is necessary as Kate was finding it was taking longer to make space for the reclassified books than it was to reclassify them in the first place.

A larger move, which will see all the LC books shifted round to the empty spaces left by the reclassification of the DS section, will take place towards the end of the summer.

Finally, advance warning that the SunRays (the computers by the windows which don’t require a log-in) are being retired on July 10th. The good news, however, is that they will be replaced by a similar system the following week. We’ll put something on here or on the Facebook page when that has happened.

 

 

March Headlines

Oops!

Yes, we know… this is a bit of a belated post, but in our defence it seemed a little redundant to post on the blog on the Thursday before Easter given that the Library was closed.

March was a productive month for the Library staff, even as most of the students drifted away for the Easter vacation.

The PCAS photocopiers underwent a software upgrade at the start of the vacation which has altered the interface slightly, but they still work as they did before. As far as we know the odd issues which were encountered when the upgrade occurred (none of which affected us) have been resolved, but do let us know if there are any problems.

Natalija has been barcoding some of the uncatalogued Japanese books in the basement, which will be a help when people borrow them as previously we have had to create records from scratch, which can result in a bit of a wait at the desk.

Meanwhile Kate has been doing some shuffling round in the Library of Congress section again, too. The “D” and “DS” sections in particular were becoming heavily congested as that is the area where she is adding to the shelves with the reclassified materials, and it had reached “critical mess” by the end of term. She has moved things around in the “B” and “BP” section, reducing some of the over-estimated growth space there to make space in the “D” and “DS” areas. Please be aware that many books in this section will have therefore shifted position (sometimes up to 20 shelves away from where they were!). The labels on the ends of the bays have been adjusted accordingly, but do ask staff if you have any problems finding anything. The Library of Congress shelves now look a lot less crowded, and Kate is optimistic that she won’t need to move things again until at least the end of the summer vacation!

It’s Competition Time!

Announcing… the Michaelmas Term competition at OIL!

After the success last year of the “Mystery Object”, the decision has been taken to run another competition for readers at the Library during Michaelmas Term 2014.

In the absence of any more obviously “mysterious” objects (the previous incumbent being a piece of reinforced concrete bent into an interesting shape after being rescued by a former member of staff during a refurbishment project), we have instead decided to link our new competition to a bit of library psychology, and equipment.

The blog below was the inspiration for this year’s adventure:

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To summarise, the author mentions that staplers which have been given a name tend not to be broken as quickly as those which remain nameless, possibly because the users identify with them a little more as objects. With this in mind we have decided to run a “Name the Stapler” competition, having acquired over the summer a large, heavy-duty stapler which we would rather not die too soon. Anyone wishing to read the whole post can find it at: http://tragicoptimist.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/on-the-care-and-feeding-of-academic-library-staplers/

The rules of the competition are simple: find a name for the stapler. Entries can be via the Facebook Page or at the Library Desk, where a suitable receptacle will be found for paper entries.

Entrants must be a member of the University or hold a valid Library card.

The top prize for this year’s competition is a £10 book token, generously donated by Dinah Manisty. There will also be a chocolate-related runner-up prize.

Please refrain from any offensive or obscene suggestions; this is a bit of fun. Anything we deem inappropriate may be reported.

The winner and a runner-up will be announced during 8th Week.

September Headlines

 

September at OIL is often the calm before the storm. Before the return of the students and researchers who make the library so much more lively during the winter months, before the chilly weather sets in and the nights begin to lengthen.

This September, however, we have been rather busy. The ongoing reclassification project for the David Reading Room in the Weston Library – now open and looking splendid – has been occupying various members of staff, who have been valiantly rearranging the hastily moved books into their proper Library of Congress order. There is still a way to go, but they already look very smart. Sadly, photographs are not permitted as the architect has requested that no pictures are made available until the Grand Opening next March, so you will have to take our word for it.

Meanwhile at OIL (where photos are permitted), we celebrated Dawn’s 10-year anniversary with an amazing cake:

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(thanks to Dinah Manisty for arranging this, and to Gillian Evison for the champagne!)

Kate has been moving the LC books again, this time into the space which was vacated by the folios when they were shuffled down the library to their current location. She began this small move on one of the days when we were closed for St Giles’ Fair, and was suitably perturbed by the bloodcurdling screams emanating from the rides on the other side of Blackfriars!

The Library reclassification project has been carrying on now that we are no longer doing so work for the Weston materials. We are happy to announce that the totals for the academic year 2013-14 are:

1993 shelfmarks, and a total of 2515 actual items, which reflects the fact that there have been a number of large sets reclassified over the year, including at least one 20 volume set, a couple which numbered around 15 volumes and numerous 10-volume sets, all of which are now to be found in the Library of Congress section. If you have problems finding anything which has moved, as ever, do ask the staff.

So, next comes October! The Library Open Day falls on Friday 10th October this year, and we look forward to meeting our new intake and seeing some old faces.

July News

 

As usual, once the vacation gets into full-swing, we have been busy in the library.

Firstly, in collaboration with Professor Sebastian Brock, we have now moved books on Syriac and Armenian subjects which were housed in the Library of Congress section into a new Eastern Christianity Library (ECL) collection in the basement, round the back of the staircase where the Minor Collections materials are still kept. The labels are slightly different – they now have a prefix [ECL] – but otherwise those books which could be borrowed before still will be. If you have problems finding anything do ask the library staff.

Secondly, as part of the ongoing reclassification into Library of Congress of the general collection on the ground floor, the Short Loan “Apply Staff” books which are held in the front office have now been reclassified. This will mean that items which were once in a particular place on a shelf will have moved, but please rest assured that we have not removed anything from the shelf (with the exception of a box containing three audio cassettes which nobody remembered being there in the first place). We think they look much better with their smart new labels! Please check SOLO for updated shelf marks for the Short Loan collection.

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Over the next few weeks staff from OIL will be undertaking more reclassification work, this time for the Oriental materials which are going into the Weston Library. We will post more about this later in the summer.

Finally, on Tuesday 29th July we said a fond goodbye to Andrew Blades, who has been covering Friday afternoons and Saturdays at OIL since 2010, and who worked in various other parts of the Bodleian for a number of years before joining us. Andrew is leaving for an exciting teaching post at the University of Bristol, and we wish him all the best and thank him for his dedicated service.

Announcements for August

The Library will be open as normal over the next month, apart from the August Bank Holiday – we will be CLOSED on Saturday 23rd and Monday 25th. There will be further closures in September for St Giles’ Fair, but we will remind everyone of that nearer the time. Notices will be posted accordingly.

June News and Summer Announcements

 

First and foremost, a fond farewell to the last of our departing finalists – and a last ditch plea to those of you who have outstanding fines to please pay them off before you go. While the University is not able to prevent you from graduating because of outstanding library fines, there is still the possibility of repeat offenders being referred to the Proctors, and nobody really wants that.

June has been busy for us for various reasons; as well as the general library busyness of the last few weeks of Exams, we have been refurbishing the staff areas. Dawn and Dinah’s office was redecorated at the end of May and all the staff offices now have nice new desks and other furniture which makes for a far more efficient office environment than the previous ad-hoc arrangement of long planks and filing cabinets.

The upgrade of the door entry system was also an ongoing situation during June, but it appears that most people’s cards are now working on the front and Library doors. We will continue to add orange card-holders to the system manually, as we used to on the old one, but blue cards should work automatically. Anyone experiencing problems may need to get an updated card if theirs is too old for the proximity technology, but do ask us and we will endeavour to help.

Vacation Loans have been in force since the middle of the month, so anything borrowed by members with a normal (i.e. non-staff) membership will be checked out until 14th October (Tuesday of First Week, Michaelmas Term). This will only not apply in the event that a readers’ card expires before this point, in which case the due date will be the card expiry date.

Summer Announcements

There are various changes afoot in the Oriental Libraries this summer. While OIL remains constant – our opening hours are the same as for Term: 0915-1900 during the week and 10-4pm on Saturdays – a great deal of change is taking place elsewhere. The Chinese Studies Library will be moving out of the Clarendon Institute in Walton Street to new accommodations in the Dickson Poon Building in the grounds of St Hugh’s College of Canterbury Road from July; and the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies will be moving into the Clarendon Institute in September, from their current base at Yarnton Manor. The website is here: http://www.ochjs.ac.uk/about/announcement/

The Chinese move in particular does concern OIL, inasmuch as we will be the place for people to return any borrowed CSL books during their period of closure, which begins at the end of Friday 5th July. We do not have a definite opening date for the new  Bodleian K B Chen China Centre Library at present due to the logistical complications of the move, but there should be regular updates on the CSL pages of the website: http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/csl/chinese-studies-library-move.

Meanwhile staff at OIL will be assisting Weston Library colleagues in preparations for the movement of the Oriental materials from the current SCRR at the RSL to the new reading rooms; we will update when we know more details, but this should not affect the general running of the Library during this time.

Otherwise we anticipate a fairly quiet summer – bar the inevitable moving round of the Library of Congress collection into the space vacated by the reclassified items!