Tom Vickers – Sainsbury Library

Hi everyone, my name’s Tom, I’m the trainee for the Sainsbury Library in the Saïd Business School.

I’ve done plenty of things prior to being a trainee in librarianship – work in hospitality and the arts – and I’ve been living in Oxford since 2012 when I came here to study my MSt in Creative Writing. I was lucky enough to meet an alum of the traineeship a few years back and got to see what their life was like and hear about what working in the discipline was like first-hand. It turns out that misconceptions about what librarians do cuts both ways – I’d not really considered the role before since I’ve always wanted to work with people and the role seemed an isolated one. This isn’t the case at all, as my first few weeks have definitively proved. The sessions at Osney One with my fellow trainees are getting us all up to speed on so many systems, and I’ve been expanding my horizons outside of training as well – having admitted to my supervisor this is the first time I’ve set foot in a business library I’ve been finding books on all kinds of subjects I wouldn’t expect while re-ordering the stacks. Good lesson for a librarian: never make assumptions about a subject, they all have their depths and surprises. Being at the business school is a great place to learn fast – the students are entirely unafraid to ask questions and have high expectations, and the school plays host to events on a regular basis. I’ll also be working on the Wayfinding project Madeline mentioned in her first post on here, and I’ll be travelling to London as the Sainsbury Library’s representative for a conference on website archiving at the start of next month. The team here wanted me to know from day one how important they think it is to support each other and I really feel able to say yes to all sorts of opportunities as they appear. They’re a tight-knit team here and they all work flat-out, but have still found time to make me feel really welcomed. Everyone connected to the traineeship has been friendly and supportive, and it feels like every time I turn a corner I meet another previous trainee who’s found a role with the university. The traineeship alum who started this all for me is still in Oxford and was able to introduce me to plenty of other’s who’ve chosen to stay – some of whom were there to greet this year’s intake at the welcome tour and drinks!

When I was considering a change of role back in late 2018 I wanted to find something that wouldn’t just be a job but a career for me – if there’s anywhere I’m going to find out what life as a librarian is like, I think it’s here.

A few of the tools of the trade, as well as some of my favourite surprises/discoveries so far – a retro version of the orginal economic sci-fi, a great 1970s example of graphic cover design, and a beautiful clothbound copy of a study on the management of US forestry service.

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