Hello everyone, I’m Sophie, this year’s Graduate Trainee at the Bodleian Library. I’ve been in Oxford for just over two months now, and have really enjoyed my time here so far. As part of the Reader Services department I’m based mainly at the reserve desks, the first point of contact for readers. My main duties are to assist library users with book orders and photocopying, answering any queries they might have, as well as processing the incoming books from the regular deliveries throughout the day. Thankfully the first three weeks were relatively quiet, so I was able to get the hang of the computer system and practice answering the most common queries before the rush of term! In between readers there are plenty of tasks to be getting on with such as shelving, tagging and stamping new journals, and helping out with the major book moves that have been taking place throughout the library.
Unlike the majority of staff in the Bodleian, as part of my role I regularly move around the library and work in various reading rooms. This has been great so far, if initially confusing, as I’ve been able to experience a wide variety of tasks, find my way around more easily, and work closely with a large number of staff. I move between the reading rooms in the Old Bodleian and the Radcliffe Camera, which are quite different working environments – there are usually more queries in the Camera due to the higher proportion of undergraduate readers and the fact that it is a lending library, unlike the Bodleian. It has been really interesting to work in both libraries and to experience the differences in day-to-day practices. I have also been spending a lot of time at the Main Enquiry Desk, answering enquiries over the phone and by email, which was nerve-wracking at first but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. The number of weird and wonderful questions we get asked is amazing!
A little more information about me: I’ve just graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in American Studies, and worked in various retail and customer service roles alongside my studies. I also volunteered in a small theological library last summer, an experience I enjoyed immensely, and which inspired me to pursue librarianship as a possible career. Overall, my experience of the Bodleian so far has been exciting and eye-opening. I have loved meeting my fellow trainees and exploring this beautiful city, and can’t wait to discover what the coming year will bring.