Well, we’re into the final month of our trainee year, and our trainee showcase has been and gone. Here are some of the things the organising team did to get everything in place for the big day.
- Arranged a guest speaker. Making libraries more inclusive and accessible has been a recurring theme of our year, so we were really excited when Helen Worrell (Archaeology & Anthropology Librarian and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity Coordinator) agreed to speak to us about her work leading the EDI project ‘Changing the Narrative: Championing Inclusive Collection Development.’ We were also lucky to have Antony Brewerton (Associate Director for Academic Library Services and Keeper of Collections) speak to us about the traineeship and beyond at the end of the day.
- Invited everyone we knew – or at least, everyone the trainees had worked closely with over the course of the year, as well as any former trainees remaining in Oxford. We also had space to offer each trainee an invite for a non-Oxford guest – one brought a friend who was interested in librarianship, and another invited the former colleague who had helped them apply for the scheme. The showcase took place on what was otherwise a normal working day, so we knew we couldn’t expect everyone to join us for the whole day – to help accommodate this, we collected all the trainees’ presentation titles well in advance so we could send out a draft programme along with the initial invitations.
- Used RSVPs to plan refreshments. We included a question about dietary requirements in our RSVP, and kept track of this information alongside who was coming and for how much of the day. This meant that we had a clear understanding of what would be needed on the day, and liaised with Craig at the SSL to place an order with the Manor Road Building’s catering team. Unfortunately there were some issues with how this turned out on the day – we’re looking into it, and will come back to this post if we find a way to avoid this in future.
- Scoped out the location. We visited the Manor Road Lecture Theatre ahead of the big day in order to have a look at the size and layout of the room, where the refreshments would be located, and to explore the logistics of holding the showcase both in-person and over Teams. This was a really useful thing to do – although we’d advise remembering to communicate what you find out to the rest of the trainees before the entire organising team goes on annual leave for part of July. Sorry, guys.
- Designed a programme – with trainee contributions! Since not everyone in the audience had worked with us all, each trainee wrote a short paragraph reflecting on their year to give some introduction to the new faces. We decided to use a panel-type structure for the showcase, with three or four presentations followed by a round of questions and discussion. This allowed us to find some common ground between what was an incredible variety of projects – key themes of the day included institutional memory and the passing-on of information and skills, and various experiences of working with and presenting special collections materials. Encouraging the trainees to have questions planned for each other seemed to help with getting the ball rolling on the discussion segments.
- Hosted a hybrid event. This was easier than we expected and proved to be a useful option for colleagues who couldn’t attend in person – we’d recommend taking some time ahead of the day to get to grips with how everything works. We collected everyone’s presentation slides on a USB in advance of the showcase, and one of us was on tech duty during each session, transitioning between presentations and ensuring the Teams call was running smoothly. Another of us introduced each speaker and handled the question sessions, and we tried to also have someone situated at the back of the room, ready to run to the IT office to find out what was going on when things didn’t go to plan (like when the entire building’s internet gave up mid-presentation). Our trainee twitter team also live-tweeted throughout the day, and we even had a guest tweeter from the Bodleian social media team in the morning!
A huge thanks goes out to everyone who helped out in advance or on the day, and to everyone who came to support us. Click the read-more for a roundup of this year’s trainee projects, with links to blog posts by those who were unable to present on the day.
Malcolm Spencer (Taylor Institution Library) prepared an exhibition as part of Oxford-wide celebrations of Dante’s seventh centenary. Emerging from Pandemic Purgatory
Ben Elliott (Pembroke College) explored the catalogues of a 17th century college master’s book collection. The Bishop John Hall Collection: Creating an Inventory
Katie Ross (Social Science Library) joined the graduate trainee scheme in March 2022, and shared some of her experiences in the library so far. A Surprise Six Months as the SSL Grad Trainee 2.0