Barbora Sojkova, All Souls Library

My name is Barbora and I am the trainee at the All Souls College Library. Although All Souls holds a certain aura of mystique, its Library is perhaps the most accessible college library in Oxford, providing its rich collections not only to the members of the college but also to Oxford students and external researchers. The library is strong in history and law in particular; furthermore, there is a wealth of manuscripts and early-printed materials.



I have been in Oxford for five years now, reading for MPhil in Classical Indian Religions at Wolfson before transferring to DPhil in Oriental Studies with specialisation in Vedic Sanskrit at Balliol College. Before coming to Oxford, I did an undergrad and MA in Religious Studies at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, where I worked part-time as a Student Librarian in the library of the Department of Philosophy for four years. I loved every aspect of that job, so when I arrived in Oxford, I quickly found a part-time job as an invigilator in the Radcliffe Camera. It was there where I first heard about the Graduate Traineeship, and I was absolutely certain I would apply once I finish my DPhil.

Although I cannot say I am fully done with my DPhil yet – handing in my thesis only over a week ago and anxiously awaiting my viva – I am very lucky to be working in the grand eighteenth-century All Souls Library for about a month and half now. The main bulk of my job has been behind the library scenes so far, including tasks such as shelving, book processing, handling book requests, updating spreadsheets of all kinds, and creating more space in the bookstack. As we have just opened to readers after the long vacation, I will be incrementally taking on more tasks related to the reader services. So far, my favourite job has been processing the so-called “presentations”, i.e., books donated to the library by college members. This involves multiple steps from creating a custom bookplate commemorating the donation to assigning it a shelfmark.

Overall, I am very excited to see what the year at All Souls has in store for me!

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