Hello, I’m Fiona and I’m the graduate trainee at the Bodleian Law Library, the home of all things legal in Oxford. We’re based at the St Cross Building, shared with the English Faculty Library and the Faculty of Law, and there’s been a lot of renovations going on meaning that the start of my traineeship has been far from normal. The library has just re-opened for readers but is still undergoing lots of work, with the entrance and enquiries desk not yet complete and plenty of dust sheets everywhere to protect the books, and the dulcet noises of sawing and drilling filling the air. So I’ve joined at an exceptional time, with added chaos to the start of my traineeship. However that’s not prevented me from thoroughly enjoying my first few weeks, which have passed very quickly, with introductions to the teams and the workings of the library and some of the tasks that I’ll be doing over the next year.
Since we’ve only just re-opened, my main tasks up until now – and for the most part, since I’m in the Information Resources team – have been on the book processing side of things, and I’ve learnt a lot about the therapeutic tasks of book stamping, tattling, and labelling, as well as a little bit of shelving and loose-leaf filing. The graduate trainee gets a little bit of everything, though, and I’ll also be helping the Academic Services team, in tasks such as Document Delivery and, soon, the student induction days. From this week onwards I’ll be having my first shifts on the enquiry desk, where I’ll have to know enough about the layout and workings of the library to help readers – a daunting task right now, as the various moves and reclassification project mean that nothing is where you expect it to be! The reclassification is another major task for the Law Library, where we are moving from the in-house method to a more standardised Moys format adapted for Law collections. As yet, I’ve not done any of this, but I’m sure that I’ll be doing plenty as the year goes on.
As for a little bit about myself and how I got into the trainee programme – I’m a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh, where I studied English Literature for the past four years, fuelling my obsession with books. My summer job as a customer services assistant at Cairngorm Mountain, where I’m from, and my voluntary activities at Oxfam bookshop and the Edinburgh University Centre for Research Collections helped to give me the experience and drive to apply to the graduate scheme, and now, amazingly, here I am. I’m thoroughly looking forward to working in the Law Library for the next year, learning from the lovely team here and with my fellow trainees at our weekly sessions, and hopefully picking up a thing or two. It promises to be an exciting year.