On Tuesday 11th September the graduate trainees of 2012/13 were invited for a tour of the Bodleian, followed by a wine reception. We were met by Vanessa Corrick and Kate Petherbridge in the Old Quad, where we tried not to look too much like tourists and, ironically for a group of wannabe librarians, were shushed by the diligent Quad patrols…
We worked our way up myriad staircases until we reached the impressive Special Collections room where the Bodleian’s rare books are housed, then creaked and squeaked our way through the reading rooms (the silence really augments any footfalls, and a gaggle of graduate trainees trooping through raised a few heads from books!)
In the Radcliffe Camera, we were confronted by empty shelves in the upper level. A major shift of the History Faculty’s entire stock meant that we were present at one of the few times that a room in the Bodleian would be seen in such a bookless state; the shelves are awaiting the History department’s books, currently being reclassified. It is hard to believe that the entire space will be filled before 0thweek, but staff are optimistic that everything will be ready in time for the students’ arrival. It was a good example of the dedication and hard work of librarians behind-the-scenes to ensure that they are ready to provide their customers with a timely service.
After the tour it was time for wine and nibbles and mingling with library staff from all around Oxford, who were only too happy to explain their routes into the profession and to provide the trainees with sage advice. Mike Heaney, Executive Secretary at the Bodleian, welcomed us all and assured us that we were at the start of a great year ahead: something that everyone was happy to raise a glass to!