Welcome to the Oxford Libraries Graduate Trainee Programme Blog! This blog exists to capture some of the experiences of current trainees, and features guest posts from ex-trainees and trainees’ colleagues. Currently managed by the 2018/19 trainee cohort, this blog is a space for recording our experiences, sharing what we do in our individual libraries and commenting on library and information current issues.
The traineeship is intended to offer one year’s practical experience of library work for those wishing to embark on a postgraduate qualification as a librarian or information professional. This is worthwhile as not only is it a requirement of most courses that you have some experience in a library/information environment, but it also helps you be certain that it’s what you want to do, before you invest time and money in postgraduate study.
Oxford offers more trainee placements than any other university, which has advantages both professionally and socially; there are plenty of opportunities to find out about work in the various libraries and lots of potential new friendships. The Oxford Libraries Graduate Trainee programme follows the SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) Code of Practice, which means that the trainees work in a library whilst following a formal training programme. Throughout this blog you can read the views of the current trainees on working in a library environment, weekly training sessions and applications to library school.
Independent of the formal trainee sessions, Oxford University also offers a good selection of training courses and workshops such as computing workshops. Additionally the library service runs courses throughout the year for all staff, which you will usually be allowed to attend. If you make the most of the wide range of events and courses it should mean that you leave Oxford having learnt some valuable skills and with a broad view of the profession, which will make you an even more attractive candidate to both universities and potential employers.
Further information about the traineeship can be found on the traineeship section of the Bodleian Libraries website.
The Graduate Library Trainee scheme usually offers around 12 placements each year within the Bodleian Libraries in one of three subject areas: Humanities, Science and Social Sciences. Placements are offered within faculty or subject libraries as well as within the main Bodleian Library. A number of college libraries and the Oxford Union Library advertise separately. The trainee posts are open to graduates of any age who intend to undertake a postgraduate library/information course in order to pursue a career in library and information studies (LIS)/ library and information management (LIM).
Vacancies for the 2019/20 programme will be advertised on the University of Oxford jobs page and in the CILIP Graduate Trainee Opportunity Directory. Please note these vacancies are for posts within the Bodleian Libraries only, and that details of positions within colleges libraries are advertised by the individual colleges on their websites and in the CILIP Graduate Trainee Opportunity Directory. Further information on the application procedure for prospective applicants can be found on the traineeship section of the Bodleian Libraries website.
For more details about the application process (deadlines, interview dates etc.) please go to the Bodleian Libraries Graduate Trainee Scheme FAQs page.
A unique feature of the Oxford scheme is the series of sessions set up for the trainees on Wednesday afternoons run by the Bodleian Libraries Staff Development Team. The aim is to give you a broader insight into some of the issues surrounding librarianship, and also to provide you with extra training and skills that will be of benefit to you in the future, whether in Oxford or elsewhere. The sessions have been developed in line with the SCONUL code of practice. In addition to sessions with outside speakers, IT skills training and off-site visits, some sessions are devoted to supporting the trainee experience. Thus, the first term began this year with an introductory session, giving the trainees an opportunity to get to know one another and to discuss their hopes and fears for the forthcoming year. It is an excellent opportunity to meet librarians from across the Bodleian Libraries, and to catch up with other trainees.