Alex Pound, New College Library

[New College Library. Photo provided by me. I should point out that the spire is not part of the building…]
Where to start.

Well, my name is Alex and I am the graduate trainee at New College. The above picture is my home for the next year. (It just had to be an overcast day for it, didn’t it?) Before this, I worked for nearly two years in the Swindon Borough Council public library service as a general library assistant, and prior to that, I studied History at the University of Lincoln.

New College (1379) has quite the history to it, having part of the original town wall incorporated into the College. The founder, William of Wykeham agreed on the upkeep of the structure when he acquired the land. All things considered, it’s in very good condition. You’re all very welcome to bug me for a tour should you want one. The Harry Potter fans among you may be interested in the cloisters of the chapel, which featured in at least one of the films.

The rest of the college is comprised of ‘newer’ buildings, but those are by no means less beautiful than the older architecture, apart from some of the student accommodation that is hidden away out of sight. I find that it is nice to have keys to certain gates around the college, giving me several routes in and out of the college (And an excuse to swagger past tourists!) I find that I am always looked upon like some sort of mythical gatekeeper: “Look! He has access to part of the college that we do not. Let’s try and follow him.” Free lunch is also a college plus, and the food here is amazing.

I believe that I have been introduced to all of the other staff now, such as the porters, I.T, and the bursars, but I cannot even begin to remember all of their names. It’s more of a polite nod and smile job. I think that is one of the benefits of being part of a smaller team in the library. The office only has four of us. Three names I can just about cope with: Naomi is the head librarian. Helen is her deputy. Jason is the assistant librarian. Easy enough, right?

Like many of you, the first few weeks have been filled with learning. Information about this, and that, and needing to learn 20+ other trainee names. I believe I know all of them now, but I do apologise if I ever call you anything else. Please, do not take offence. It appears that my days will be filled to the brim with varying jobs and tasks, so I am looking forward to being kept busy. So far I have put most of the Osney training to good use, whether it’s checking reading lists with SOLO/OXLIP+, or cataloguing books (and hoping that I do not make a mistake), and generally feeling safe and secure around the workplace thanks to Wednesday’s session. (I am definitely not bringing my toaster to the desk now)

For the past two weeks, we have been bringing some of our antiquarian stock over from its safe, snug dwellings in the bell tower, over to the library. It’s a journey of three or four minutes, easy right? Well when I returned with two manuscripts packed in their respective boxes, my manager looked over her computer screen and asked me: “What do you think the value of what you’ve just carried over is?” I had very little idea. I won’t go into specifics, but it was a lot of money. My fear of accidentally dropping anything has increased tenfold. So, if I suddenly disappear and one day I resurface in a small, rural hamlet in Nepal, you’ll all know why.




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