Helen Fairfield, Codrington Library (All Souls College)

Hello, I’m Helen and I’m the graduate trainee at All Souls College.  Yes, I’m the one looking the wrong way in the group photo – there’s always one, and it’s usually me!  Since graduating from Bristol University in 2005 with a degree in English, I have worked for a year as a medical secretary, completed a PGCE at Oxford University and taught in a secondary comprehensive school for three years, so librarianship is a complete change of direction for me.  So far I’m really enjoying it and feel extremely lucky to have got a place on the graduate trainee scheme.

All Souls is a fascinating place to work;  it’s unique and it can be difficult to explain how it runs as it is very far from your “typical” library.  The college doesn’t have any students, so the library primarily caters for the Fellows of All Souls, although any student of Oxford University can apply to read here – this can come as a surpise to some people who think of All Souls as being terribly exclusive.  Actually the library actively encourages undergraduate readers and it is certainly an awe-inspiring place to study.  The library itself specialises in History and Law, although its collection covers a much broader range than this.  It is also the home to some real treasures, including 457 Wren drawings, which we get a lot of enquiries about.

We open today so I’m looking forward to seeing what term-time brings and to the rest of my year at All Souls.

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