Our names are Anastasia and Mary and we are the new Graduate Trainees for the Social Science Library (commonly known as the SSL).
Anastasia (right)- I have recently finished my M.Phil in Medieval History at Trinity College Dublin and prior to that I worked in university admin at the University of Exeter and received a BA in History at the University of Nottingham. Whilst I have no previous experience working in a library, I spent hundreds of hours in my university libraries as a student and was a frequent visitor of the library services desk, with my endless questions and obscure book queries. Whilst in Dublin I was fortunate to visit a variety of libraries and archives weekly for seminars and I have volunteered in a number of different archives up and down the country . Being a medieval historian I love old documents, artefacts, pretty buildings, and historical facts, so naturally am very excited to be living in Oxford. I love being in a university environment and am looking forward to the variation that this role will provide, where (hopefully) no one day will be the same.
Mary (left)- As it happens, I also studied history at university and am similarly fascinated by all things historical. It was while studying for my degree that I realised how much I (weirdly) enjoyed searching for resources, both through online library catalogues and physically on library shelves. (Sometimes it does feel like detective work!) My library experience before starting the trainee scheme was purely through voluntary work – whilst at university I volunteered at my local public library, then, after a short work experience placement at the Royal Engineers Museum archive, I volunteered once a week at Canterbury Cathedral library for a year. Although the SSL is very different in terms of the building and its collections, the knowledge and skills I learnt through my various experiences have definitely come in useful. Besides which, I love getting a flavour of each different type of library. I am looking forward to helping readers with their enquiries and welcoming new students when term begins – though maybe once I’ve got my head around the library system myself first!
So far in the first few weeks we have done a variety of library activities – ranging from relabelling and processing new books to scanning chapters for reading lists, and from checking and reprinting library shelf signs to watering the plants and blowing up balloons for the open day. We have definitely been making the most of the glorious weather, making the most of our lunch breaks to explore the Botanical Gardens and several of the colleges and museums. It has been an enjoyable, but very busy first few weeks, preparing for when the students arrive in 0th week!