Goodbye to the 2011-12 trainees!

We say a fond farewell to our 2011-12 graduate trainees and wish them all the best in their future careers!  Once again our trainees have had a great year with us.  The project showcase was a real highlight for me this year and I thought the trainees did some really interesting projects and gave some great presentations.   Most of our trainees are going to do a library or archive qualification in the next academic year or near future.  We have successfully recruited to all our trainee posts, with two additional colleges recruiting this year, one for the first time.  Thank you to all of the 2011-12 trainees and best of luck for the future!

Project Showcase 2012

On July 4th, Oxford’s contingent of graduate trainees held a showcase to present the projects we had been working on in our libraries. Each year, most of the trainees choose or are given a project to work on alongside our regular duties. These projects often reflect our particular skills or interests, as well as the needs of the library. Towards the end of the year, two of us (this time Natalie and I) organise the showcase event, and most of the trainees give presentations about our progress to an audience of our supervisors, colleagues and fellow trainees.

There were fifteen presentations this year, covering a range of topics. Some projects focussed on creating videos and libguides to help students use resources or find services. Others compared different Oxford libraries’ rules or signage to offer advice about possible improvements. The reclassification projects made collections easier, quicker and less frustrating to browse. Some of us also worked on making specific resources more available by digitising, cataloguing, creating searchable databases or, in one case, physically finding them!

In addition to the presentations, Emma Sullivan gave a short speech about the benefits of projects, both for us as trainees, and for the libraries. We have a chance to develop skills and experience that will be valuable in our future careers, both from the specific content covered, and also from learning how to plan and implement an extended project. The libraries have a chance to get a project completed that will be of lasting benefit to them, which in turn allows us to feel that we are really part of the library.

The presentations were well received, and the event was enjoyed by all (with the exception of pre-presentation nerves…)

Some of the first slides from the presentations

Here is a very brief summary, in alphabetical order, of each trainee’s project:

Vicky Arnold (All Souls) managed to track down some 17th century Russian maps mentioned very briefly in the library committee’s minutes, but subsequently lost amid the library’s collections.

Lizzie Atkinson (RSL) created video and libguide resources to showcase what the mapmaking and spatial analysis programme ArcGIS can do, and to help students and researchers decide if they need to use it.

Louise Cowan (St Hugh’s) discovered common factors influencing how frequently students disobey library rules, including whether they see the effect that breaking a rule would have on others.

Rebecca Hunt (EFL) used the University archives to research the EFL’s history, creating a booklet, a display and a facebook timeline in preparation for their centenary in 2014.

Charlotte Kelham (Nuffield) catalogued the architects’ plans for Nuffield College, discovering very different pre- and post- World War Two designs.

Liz Kennedy (St Hilda’s) reclassified the library’s linguistics section, using customised Dewey to fit with the existing system and reflect the level of detail needed.

Rebecca Nielsen (futureArch) investigated how to extract and catalogue the video files stored on an outdated type of camcorder cassette called MiniDV.

Emily Nunn (LawBod) reclassified books and ‘spring-cleaned’ their catalogue records as part of the LawBod’s mass reclassification project to adopt the Moys system, which allows law materials to be browsed by subject.

Siobhan O’Brien (Jesus) established a collection development policy and classification system for the library’s collection of books by and about Jesus members.

Natalie O’Keefe (HFL) made short explanatory videos for students (and staff…) to access online, showing how different services will be provided in the HFL’s new location within the Radcliffe Camera.

Laurence Peacock (Taylor Slavonic) took a collection of letters from an Oxford professor’s trip to Germany in 1913, scanned and catalogued them, then created a website to promote them, including a searchable database of the details and images.

Matthew Pocock (Bodleian) integrated a section of LCC books into the reading room’s existing system, planning and implementing a large book move to accommodate the reclassified books.

Stephanie Wales (SSL) reviewed different iPad apps for the social sciences, creating a lib guide of recommendations.

Janine Walker (SSL) investigated how libraries communicate with their readers, making suggestions about improving signage in the physical library space as well as keeping branding consistent online.

Evelyn Webster (Union Society) designed and began building a searchable database to record information about the Union’s debates, officers and famous speakers.

Louise Cowan, St Hugh’s College Library

Hello, I’m Louise – the new Graduate Library Trainee at St Hugh’s College.

I graduated from Newcastle University in 2006 with a degree in Classical Studies and went on to do a PGCE in Primary Education and a MA in Children’s Literature at the University of Sunderland.

After four years as a primary school teacher  I decided the teaching profession wasn’t right for me and began thinking about diversifying into another area.  Librarianship appealed as a match to my interests and skills so  I volunteered at the University of Sunderland library for four months to gain some experience and learn more about the profession.  I really enjoyed my time there and luckily had the opportunity to apply for the traineeship at St Hugh’s College in December!

Although I began my traineeship a little later than everyone else (in January 2012) I’ve already learned a lot and am thoroughly enjoying my time at St Hugh’s.  Everyone is very friendly and welcoming and Oxford is a beautiful city to live in!

If you’d like an insight into what I’ve been up to in my first month as a trainee, I recently took part in round 8 of Library Day in the Life Project and have blogged about my daily jobs and a  graduate trainee session on special collections here:  Daily Jobs  and  Graduate Trainee Session.

Rebecca Hunt, English Faculty Library

Hi I’m Rebecca and I’m the Graduate Trainee for the English Faculty Library. Due to a few technical difficulties I wasn’t able to post before now but better late than never!

I graduated in November from Trinity College, Dublin where I studied English Literature and History and this is my first proper grown-up job. I’m really enjoying working in the EFL, everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. My duties vary quite a bit from answering customer queries to processing new books and journals (for which you need a third hand), creating displays and wrestling with photocopiers. As time goes on I am steadily being entrusted with new tasks and responsibilities so I’m now helping with the reclassification project and will soon be lending a hand with acquiring new ebooks for the library.

So far it’s been a great year, Oxford still looks magical and I’ve made some really good friends in the other trainees. I know everyone has moved on from the introductory blog posts by now so I’m going to wrap it up with a snippet of useless yet interesting information. Its not even really information it’s just a link to the 35 most amazing libraries in the world as decided by someone. Some are pretty, some are space-like and some are just distracting. If nothing else it will teach you what a rhombicuboctahedron is. And the Bodleian makes it to number two! Take that Cambridge!

Anyway that’s it. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas.  Happy New Year!

Matthew Pocock, Bodleian Old Library

Hi there

I’m Matt as you all know by now.

I am the graduate trainee at the Bodleian Library, and I am getting well into the thick of things in week 4 of term. I graduated last summer from the University of Birmingham with a BA, in Ancient History. Just before, and throughout the duration of my degree I have worked for the NHS in areas including: Patient Administration Systems (PAS), Clinical Coding, and most recently in the Outpatients department.

I enjoy sports in general, including water sports but I am particularly enthusiastic about racket sports, mainly Badminton and Squash. I also enjoyed managing and playing in a six-aside football team at university.

I have undertaken a number of roles since I began working at the Bodleian, including shelving and unloading deliveries; however the majority of my time is spent assisting and interacting with the public on both the reserve and main enquiry desks.

To sum up my time so far, I’m loving Oxford, living the dream and my hope is to benefit from the experience I will gain from the traineeship and the chances I will have to get to know new people.

Rebecca Nielsen, futureArch, Digital Archives

Hello! I’m Rebecca, and I’m the futureArch graduate trainee, based within BEAM (Bodleian Electronic Archives and Manuscripts).

I graduated last year from the University of Leicester, where I studied History. Since then I have worked at a GP surgery and volunteered at Shropshire Archives, where I was involved in a project on some Parish collections. This meant I got to work with a lot of old documents, including the relics of a key member of the early Methodist movement.

My role in futureArch is quite different, as I am dealing with born-digital material: things like websites, emails, Word documents, audio files, and digital photos. This means working with sites on the live web, as well as capturing files off CDs and floppy disks. I am also doing some more traditional archive work, assisting in the Special Collections Reading Room once a week and cataloguing paper collections using EAD. I’m looking forward to learning more about archives over the next year, especially the challenges which digital material presents to archivists.

Natalie O’Keefe, History Faculty Library

My name is Natalie O’Keefe and I am working at the History
Faculty Library. In the summer I graduated from the University of Manchester
with a degree in History and Sociology.

I have previously worked as an Optical Advisor at a local
independent opticians and a Visitor Assistant at the Museum
of Science and Industry in Manchester. Also, while
at University I volunteered in a museum and local council archives.

I have already been given a variety jobs so far ranging from
working on the issue desk to processing new books. I have never worked in a
library before so I’m looking forward to what the year will bring and the start
of my career in the library profession.

Emily Sargeant – Law Library

Image taken from

Hi, I’m Emily and I’m one of the two trainees (and one of the two Emilys!) at the Bodleian Law Library. I graduated from York in July, having studied English Literature with a little Spanish. I first looked into librarianship as a career last year, and applied for as many traineeships as possible before I was lucky enough to be accepted to the Bodleian. In the meantime I tried to gain as much library work experience as I could, and ended up working as a Digitisation Assistant at the York University Library for a month or so after my final essay hand in. Before that I had been on a few work shadowing days with the English Literature Subject Librarian at York.

I’m working in Academic Services, so on any given day I could be doing anything from shelving books to dealing with document delivery requests from law firms. As I get to grips with the ins and outs of librarianship, I’m learning a lot about the law and am finding it fascinating. My time in Oxford has been wonderful so far, and I’m really looking forward to what promises to be a challenging and fulfilling year ahead!

Lizzie Atkinson, Radcliffe Science Library

Hello!  I’m Lizzie and I’m the trainee at the Radcliffe Science Library, although I’ll also be spending one day a week at the Alexander Library of Ornithology and one day a week at the Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy.  I graduated this summer from Cambridge University where I studied Natural Sciences, specialising in Geological Sciences.

Last summer, having decided librarianship might be the career for me, I volunteered at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library of the English Folk Dance and Song Society where I worked with both the librarian and archivist.  Then this summer I spent three weeks doing work experience at the Earth Sciences Library of Cambridge University.  These placements gave me an insight into the world of librarianship and were both experiences which I thoroughly enjoyed.

So far I have spent a lot of my time here on the enquiry desk and now feel just about ready for all the new students and their questions!  I have also been given a wide variety of other tasks and am very much looking forward to an interesting, varied and rewarding year as a trainee here in Oxford.

Charlotte, Nuffield College Library

Hello I’m Charlotte, and I’m the trainee at Nuffield College, where the library is inside one of Oxford’s gleaming spires(so there are lots of stairs)

I previously studied English literature at Cardiff, and finished my masters this September. Whilst studying I worked in the library as a shelver and during the holidays I was a library assistant in my village library for a few years.  I really enjoyed my time there, and I am enjoying my time at Nuffield so far, though it is very different. It’s been a lot quieter so far.

I’ve spent most of my time so far either on the circulation desk, trying to learn how to use the computer system before term starts, or being taught how to do acquisitions for books and journals.

I’m really excited about coming to work in Oxford, and hopefully what I learn this year will stand me in good stead for pursuing a career in librarianship.