LGBTQ+ Month @ the Sainsbury Library

February is LGBTQ+ month and I’ve been putting together a display to celebrate LGBTQ+ in business for the Sainsbury Library. As always happens when digging into it, the past has proven more lively, varied, and knit with the present than expected. The pace of change is remarkable even knowing to expect it, and over the three decades covered here it is also mostly positive change. I hope you find it inspires you a little as it does me.

The books are presented as a timeline from left to right.

Top Row (1990s):

1991 – The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life – Kenneth J. GergenSocial psychologist Kenneth J. Gergen is an example of academic ally-ship whose work at the start of the 1990s is as sophisticated as current ideas in its approach to LGBTQ+ issues. Although not an overtly queer work, The Saturated Self constructs a theory of modern identity that makes room for and obliges the legitimacy of LGBTQ+ identities. His work on The Social Construction and The Transformation of Identity Politics was also remarkably prescient in 1999 about where the discourse around these questions would go and how it would change in the subsequent two decades.

1994 – Ivan Massow’s Gay Finance Guide. In the UK during the 1990s Ivan Massow was able to use both a new, growing acceptance of homosexuals in  public life and their continued stereotyping to his advantage. His London advisory firm completely changed the conversation around gay clients in the insurance industry, who during the AIDs epidemic were being shut out by discriminatory premiums. Off the back of this success he entered politics, shocking many of his left-leaning clientele by calling the Conservative party “the gayest party in Europe”, and was determined to change it from within. While he was briefly close to the Thatcher leadership, by the early 2000s his business was in danger of collapse and Massow agreed to become an agent for Zurich. The legal fall-out after Massow claimed Zurich refused to cover most of his clients almost bankrupted him.

1995 – The Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender – Martine Rothblatt. Rothblatt is the founder and chairwoman of the board of United Therapeutics, making her the highest earning CEO in the biopharmaceutical industry. Written the year after Rothblatt’s gender reassignment surgery and as a prelude to beginning her PhD in medical ethics with a  specialisation in xenotransplantation, The Apartheid of Sex not only argued for a continuum of gender from both biological and sociological grounds before the idea gained public prominence but also laid the groundwork for Rothblatt’s current radical arguments for high levels of financial and social investment in transhumanism.

1997 – Homo Economics: Capitalism, Community, and Lesbian and Gay Life – Amy Gluckman and Betsy ReedGluckman and Reed’s Homo Economics was the first thorough account of the relationship between gay people and the market. Drawing on experts in journalism, activism, academia, the arts, and public policy, it fully contextualised the state of mixed progress contemporary LGBTQ+ groups find themselves in as well as highlighting its fragility, demonstrating how both the continuation of modern capitalism in its current form and the looming threats of reduced social investment frustrate the LGBTQ+ movement in different ways.

2000 – Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to the Market – Alexandrea Chasin. Selling Out is an accessible, personal, agitative work that blends the academic and vox pop elements of works like Homo Economics and charted what effect the “embrace” of consumerism and capital was having on the LGBTQ+ community. An associate professor of literary studies at The Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts, Chasin charts what had been gained and what had been lost in the mainstreaming of the LGBTQ+ movement, as well as what she feared and hoped might happen in the coming decade.

Middle Row (2000s):

2002 – The Pink Pages: The Gay and Lesbian Business and Services DirectoryAs with numerous previous marginalised groups, the LGBTQ+ community created guides to allow safe navigation through a world that was inherently hostile to them. As acceptance grew, a flurry of travel guides appeared in more public forms. Acting as the name suggests (a Yellow Pages for the queer community) The Pink Pages still operates as a list of ally tradespeople. Now replaced by pinkpagesonline and similar sites, this 2002 copy of the directory was the only print edition.

2005 – Business Not Politics: The Making of the Gay Market – Katherine Sender. In this work Katherine Sender, a professor in the Department of Communication and the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Cornell University, refutes two major pieces of conventional wisdom in this work. 1 – that the LGBTQ+ community exists independently of how it is marketed to, and 2 – that LGBTQ+ marketing exists independently of political action around that community. Sender shows how marketing as a form of media has helped construct the community as well as increased visibility for its members, while also inherently creating restrictions in its definition.

2006 – The G Quotient – Kirk Snyder. As inclusion and diversity of all kinds was gaining ground not just as a political and moral orientation but also as a strength of modern teams, Kirk Snyder followed up his 2003 Career Guide for the Gay Community with this work arguing that gay men were making the best managers precisely because their gay lives meant they understood inclusion and diversity best. Snyder’s work is focused around what the business community can learn from the LGBTQ+ community to change itself, rather than change them.

2008 – Queer Economics, A Reader – Joyce Jacobsen and Adam ZellerJacobsen and Zeller’s collection of academic works includes extracts from Homo Economics, recontextualised a decade later. Queer Economics presents the results of that intellectual provocation, and its movement into areas of demography, labour markets, consumer representation, political economy, and economic history.

2008 – Opportunities and Challenges of Workplace Diversity: Theory, Cases and Exercises – Kathryn A Cañas. Cañas began editing Opportunities and Challenges of Workplace Diversity in 2008 and new editions were produced until 2014. Cañas works as a member of the Management Department in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, where she has helped shape the department since 1999, incorporating changes in attitudes towards diversity including towards the LGBTQ+ community. Opportunities and Challenges has been a core-text internationally for courses in Diversity, Organizational Behavior, and Human Resource Management Diversity and the Workplace.

Lower Row (2010s):

2014 – The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good Business – John Browne. Browne was chief executive of BP between 1995 and 2007 and was known as the “sun king” by employees due to BP’s increased interest in renewables under his leadership. Having started his career as an apprentice with BP in 1966, his time as it’s CEO ended acrimoniously when allegations were printed in 2007 by the Mail on Sunday that he had mis-used company funds to support a partner during and after their relationship. Having fought injunctions to stop the allegations being published, Browne resigned. He described later that what “terrified” him was not the financial scandal or potential early retirement, but that his sexuality would become public knowledge. By the time he wrote The Glass Closet Browne was advocating for a wide-spread, top-down corporate policy of LGBTQ+ inclusiveness as proposed by Snyder in 2006.

2015 – Queer Business: Queering Organisation Sexualities – Nick Rumens. Queer Business took the thoroughly business-minded approach of seeing opportunity in problems. He identifies that, despite the developments over the past 25 years, there is a continued lack of association between business studies and LGBTQ+ issues when compared to other areas of scholarship, but argues that there are potential positives to this situation. Rumens describes management and organisational studies as a field in which queer theory may make new advances, and as an area where it “has yet to become exhausted and clichéd”.

2016 – Inclusive Leadership: The Definitive Guide to Developing and Executing an Impactful Diversity and Inclusion Strategy – Charlotte Sweeney and Fleur Bothwick. Charlotte Sweeney Associates launched in 2012 as inclusion, diversity, and equality consultant specialists, following a 20-year career in the finance sector for Sweeney. Fleur Bothwick is Director of Diversity and Inclusion at multinational firm Ernst & Young. She received an OBE in 2013 for services to Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. Sweeney received the same in 2017 for services to Women and Equalities. A follow-up to Inclusive Leadership, which won the Chartered Management Institute’s Book of the Year 2016, is expected in 2020.

2019 – Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level – Leander Kahney. Tim Cook is routinely cited as the most powerful LGBTQ+ leader in business. In 2014 he was the first Fortune 500 chief executive to come out as gay – a remarkable contrast to Browne’s experience just 7 years prior. While before coming out Cook was not overt in his support of the LGBTQ+ struggle, he has since admitted that in valuing his privacy he “was valuing it too far above what I could do for other people, so I wanted to tell everyone my truth” and ensure LGBTQ+ youth knew that he had relied on the work of people who had fought for their rights before him.

2019 – The Queering of Corporate America: How Big Business Went from LGBT Adversary to Ally – Carlos A. BallCovering street protests and boycotts during the 1970s, AIDS activism directed at pharmaceutical companies in the 1980s, and the push for corporate non-discrimination policies and domestic partnership benefits in the 1990s, Ball describes how LGBTQ+ activism has changed the business community’s understanding and treatment of the queer community. This is the current way the history of these two groups is being described and it’s vital to consider it in context of the works that have preceded it.

 

For more information about the month’s celebrations visit https://lgbtplushistorymonth.co.uk/

UK Web Archive “Mini” Conference

Based at The British Library and officially a collaborative effort between all six legal deposit libraries, UKWA has been at work since 2005, although their scope and reach have expanded since then and have records going back to 1996, even if their team is still small for such an encompassing endeavour. To put that in perspective, the World Wide Web only came into existence as a publicly accessible network in 1990. Jason Webber, the team lead, tries not to worry too much about those intervening six years, although you can tell that if anyone had that data he’d want UKWA to incorporate it.

In 2013 UKWA made their first full annual trawl of everything that could be considered a UK public website. That’s millions of websites, billions of individual assets, and hundreds of terabytes of data every year, and it’s growing all the time. They don’t get anything private, no emails, nothing from behind a log-in, and the rise in streaming is proving a challenge, but everything they do get is captured to look and work just as it did when it was live. Jason is keen to make it clear they do their best, but there may still be bad links here and there in the vast amount of data they process, and some websites, retail especially, are too much to handle in their complete form. “We collect a representative sample of the UK web space” is the line they’re comfortable with for now.

The event which myself and Hannah attended on November 4th was described as a “mini” conference, and with only maybe 30 to 40 delegates it’s not an inaccurate name. The whole UKWA team consists of eight people, four technical and four curatorial staff. This small staffing means that for all their efforts there are still difficulties accessing the archive, and, along with legal deposit restrictions, that there’s a major limit on what’s possible in terms of Big Data analysis and research. Most collected websites are only accessible in legal deposit libraries. The website for BUDDAH (Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities), as presented by Prof. Jane Winters from the University of London, summarises the current situation in most fields best:

Despite the limitations, improvements to the user interface are a top priority at UKWA. There’s hope that as the archive “becomes history” and its relevance grows that increased interest will see increased use and development. The achieve was able to save a database of Conservative party speeches that was otherwise removed from public domain back in 2013 while the privately organised Internet Archive was blocked from doing so (UKWA had its legal obligation to gather the data to protect it). 90% of UKWA is no longer live, so instances like this are likely to occur more often in the future – their Brexit collection is already seeing higher traffic than previous curations and holds evidence of the notorious bus-pledge on the Vote Leave campaign’s website.

More events of this kind are planned and it’s evident the UKWA team want to see the project grow. Presentations by researchers at the mini-con showed the breadth of what the archive can be used for. Public assistance also helps – archiving a website is an option for anyone and can be done easily and rapidly at https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/info/nominate Sites like this one with a “.uk” domain are atuomatically included, but anything else requires nomination. Don’t hold back – as the team made sure we were aware, every website matters.

The OxCam College Librarians’ Biennial Conference, Pt. I.

(The following is part one of a two-part blog post on the 2019 OxCam Librarians’ Biennial Conference. It features individual recollections of the day’s events, kindly contributed by some of the Oxford and Cambridge University Graduate Library Trainees in attendance.)

The 2019 OxCam College Librarians’ Biennial Conference, hosted by Worcester College, Oxford, took place on the 19th March in the Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre. The event provided an opportunity to share ideas and updates on developments currently impacting the library services of Oxford and Cambridge University colleges. An exhibition space had been set up in the conference centre’s anteroom, allowing delegates the chance to network throughout the day with representatives from numerous organisations, including Cambridge University Press, Temple Bookbinders, Blackwell’s, and Gresswell. Upon arrival, attendees were given a welcome pack which included a programme of proceedings, some helpful maps and floor plans, a register of delegates and, of course, a complimentary bookmark.

A pictorial map of Worcester College, Oxford.
A map of Worcester College, Oxford, included in the welcome pack.

The day was divided into five sessions, two of which were the morning and afternoon plenary sessions, comprised of talks on mental ill-health in the workplace, the Cambridge Information Literacy Network, and a case study on Balliol’s Wellcome Trust funded project to catalogue the Nicholas Crouch Collection.

Images of the books constituting the Nicholas Crouch Collection.
A sample of the Nicholas Crouch Collection, since catalogued by Balliol College Library staff.

The first talk on mental ill-health in the workplace, delivered by Dan Holloway, was warmly received by the delegation and provided a positive, constructive foundation for the day ahead. Jenna, Graduate Library Trainee at the Bodleian Law Library (BLL) details the conference’s opening prelection:

‘Dan Holloway’s presentation was the first of the day, and he set a really good tone for the remainder of the conference by delivering a very thoughtful and open talk which conveyed important information in an informal and accessible way. Dan ran through some of the issues contributing to and exasperating mental ill-health in the work place; he considered the things we can do to aid workers with mental health difficulties and to break down stigmas, using facts and statistics alongside experiences from his own mental health story.’

After a round of informative and thought-provoking presentations, breakout sessions ran contiguous to the morning’s plenary session. The Graduate Library Trainees were asked to attend a special session led by Eleanor Kelly of St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Ross Jones, Graduate Library Trainee at the Bodleian History Faculty Library, recounts his experience in the passage below:

‘The Graduate Trainee Special Session took place in the Smethurst Studio and served as a platform for sharing our experiences as library trainees. In all, a total of twenty trainees attended, including a party of six from Cambridge University colleges.

Discussions opened with a brief ice-breaker exercise in which we were asked to share our name and our place of work with the group. We were also asked to describe our respective libraries in one word – ‘accommodating’, ‘comfortable’, ‘warm’ and ‘antiquated’ were some examples. After a round of introductions, Eleanor organised us all into five smaller groups and prompt sheets were circulated to guide conversation towards specific talking points. These points centred on aspects of our experiences such as the skills we’d attained, any accomplishments we’d achieved, the challenges we’d faced, and the types of library work we were involved in. I think structuring the conversation in this way helped to determine the significance of any similarities or contrasts that stemmed from working in different libraries.

Towards the end of the session, the group I was in broached the possibility of applying for postgraduate courses in library-related fields and discussed whether it was preferable to enrol as a full-time or part-time student. We also speculated which career paths might suit us best in the future. It was equal parts interesting and reassuring to hear from my compeers about the various activities trainees were involved with day to day; despite the differences, it seems inevitable that every trainee will, at one point, find themselves book processing, adhering bookplates and spine labels to new acquisitions!’

Once the morning breakout sessions had concluded, the delegation broke for lunch in Worcester College Hall. It was a hurried affair as visits to an Oxford archive, museum or college library were scheduled to run concurrently in the early afternoon. Natasha, one of the visiting trainees from Pembroke College, Cambridge, reflects on her tour of the Queen’s College Library in the passage below:

‘After lunch we split into groups for one of the most anticipated parts of the day, the library visits, and the Queen’s College Library did not disappoint. Amanda Saville, the Librarian, raced through the College and Library’s histories before letting us into the Upper Library.

A photograph of the Queen's College Library's Upper Library with orreries in the central passage.
The Upper Library of the Queen’s College.

This space is the oldest part of the Library and it remains open as a student study area. A staircase connects it to the Lower Library which houses much of the modern teaching collection and before the extension the shelves were full. The New Library is the most recent extension and it opened in 2017. Hidden beneath the Provost’s Garden, it allowed the library to expand and houses the special collections and archives in a secure and environmentally controlled storeroom. Multiple new reading rooms allow for better access to the special collections and cater to a wider range of student needs. It was great seeing how popular the New Library is, even in the vacation, and how well Amanda’s team did in supporting their users throughout the different Library spaces.’

Meanwhile, Bethan, a trainee at the Old Bodleian Library, was among those visiting Exeter College’s Cohen Quad. Elaborating on her experience, she says:

‘I was given the chance to visit Exeter College’s Cohen Quad which contained a purpose-built facility for the College Library’s Special Collections. William Morris is a notable alumnus of Exeter, and some of his possessions were donated to the college. This included his many pipes and a lock of his hair. We were shown an array of artefacts, including books produced by Morris’s printing house, Kelmscott Press; there was a beautifully illustrated edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which apparently is the original ‘Kelmscott Chaucer’ and belonged to Morris himself.

The Special Collections Librarian showed us the new facility which houses the collections and archives. This included the colour-coded rolling stacks and a purpose-built metal gate used to keep the rarest items secure. She discussed the logistics of moving over 30,000 rare books and manuscripts to the site and the challenges she faced in the process.  The collections themselves were originally held in poor conditions, so each item had to be individually cleaned and restored before being moved. There was time afterwards for questions and a brief discussion about the promotion of Special Collections.’

Amy, Graduate Trainee at the Howard Piper Library of St Hugh’s College, visited the library at Worcester College and describes the tour here:

‘Mark Bainbridge, the Librarian of Worcester College, was our knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide. I think I can safely say everyone in our group had a very pleasant visit. We first climbed up an eighteenth century cantilevered spiral staircase with over 60 steps to reach the modern (upper) library, which was created in the twentieth century. It is open 24/7 and holds 65,000 volumes across two levels. These are all digitally catalogued and can be borrowed via a self-service machine. The card catalogue was discontinued in February 2006, but is still available for consultation. They acquire around 1,000 books each year and have approximately 6 years of space left before the library is full, although there is some weeding to be done which should give them a little more time. The first professional librarian to work here introduced an in-house classification system in the 1960s, which is still used today.

A photograph of the issue desk in Worcester College's more modern upper library.
The Upper Library at Worcester College.

Naturally the highlight of our visit was the handsome Lower Library, completed in 1736. Most of the shelves hold Dr George Clarke’s large bequest of books, manuscripts, prints and drawings, a great deal of which are not digitally catalogued. Sadly, we did not get to walk along the gallery, but we were a big group so this probably was not feasible. The Lower Library is open from 8am until midnight each day. Unsurprisingly, it is a popular place for students to work, so much so that they have to set out modern desks and chairs during particularly busy periods.

A photograph of the early-modern lower library of Worcester College, including busts and galleries.
The Lower Library at Worcester College.

The library team had kindly selected and displayed a few interesting items for us to view in a small room next to the Lower Library…’

A photo of Inigo Jones' copy of Andrea Palladio's 'I Quattro Libri Dell Architettura' on display.
Andrea Palladio, I Quattro Libri Dell Architettura. Venice, 1601. (Inigo Jones’s Copy)

Across town, Jenna (BLL) and Eva of Newnham College, Cambridge, were welcomed into the grounds of Oxford University’s largest college, Christ Church. In detailing their experiences, they recount the awesome purlieus and inspiring collections of the college library.

Eva:

‘It is futile to try to describe the overwhelming grandeur of Christ Church and its libraries in terms of beauty. An oddball of my generation, I am not a big fan of photographing things, preferring to just experience events and commit them to memory. The whistle stop tour of Christ Church library however had me almost instinctively reaching for my iPhone and snapping away unashamedly with the crowd around me.’

Jenna:

‘The visit to Christ Church library began with a small introduction to the college and the library by the College Librarian, Steven Archer, in Tom Quad with assistance from Emma Sillett who is the Reader Services Librarian. The grounds of the college are impressive – Tom Quad being the biggest quad of all the colleges – and you can see why Christ Church has a reputation for being one of the grandest colleges in Oxford. We then walked through the cloisters to what is actually the ‘New’ Library, which was completed in 1772 as a result of the Old Library becoming so full that they had to build another building to accommodate the amount of books that were being donated.’

Eva:

‘What was striking about the New Library was how spacious and accommodating the surroundings felt, as well as elegant. The silence felt hushed as opposed to suffocating. It was as though the prestige of the college’s history and status created an atmosphere of inspiration, rather than intimidation.’

Jenna:

‘The Library’s reading rooms are on the ground floor of the New Library, which holds the working collection, and is a pleasant mix of antiquated and classical design with beautiful iron spiral staircases and wooden shelving, contrasting with white columns and domed archways. I really enjoyed seeing students using the reading rooms, which shows that the ground floor is comfortable and accessible for students to borrow and work from.

An image of a reading room at Christ Church College Library
The wrought iron staircase and gallery in Christ Church College Library’s lower reading room.

In contrast to this though, the Upper Library was arresting in its grandeur and the smell of old books – addictive to anyone working in libraries. The upper floor consists of the college’s rare books which are mainly arranged under named shelves referencing the benefactors who bequeathed the collections. This room also holds a large amount of interesting objects, such as a hat which apparently belonged to Cardinal Wolsey and a full horse skeleton which was being used by an anatomy class at Ruskin School of Art.’

Eva:

‘The magnificent upper library, where the special collections are held is overwhelming. Our tour guide and head librarian Steven was at pains to emphasise the main function of the room is for the collections to be used and consulted, and that this was actively encouraged to potentially timid students.’

Jenna:

‘Steven had arranged for items from the college archive to be brought out for us to see, including an illuminated manuscript, one of Elizabeth I’s bibles, the foundation charter of the college, and a photograph album and draft drawings for Alice in Wonderland which belonged to Lewis Carroll who was Sub-Librarian at Christ Church during the second half of the 19th Century.’

An image of Christ Church College's Upper Library, replete with a full horse skeleton.
It’s true! There really is an entire horse skeleton in the Upper Library!

Eva:

‘The literary association with Christ Church that gets most people excited is Harry Potter, its cloisters and staircase having featured as settings for various scenes in the film series. I, however, was far more excited by another fantasy staple of fiction embedded in its history: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. To be able to stand in the same spot as Lewis Carroll did, beside his desk, and look out of the window at the ‘Cheshire Cat’s Tree’ was an eerily wonderful moment, as was being able to look at handcrafted figures of the characters made in 1900 and see original sketches Carroll’s brother drew of the book’s illustrations. I doubt I am the first to tour Christ Church and leave feeling rather like Alice.’

Jenna:

‘Overall, it was a really superb and informative tour which was well-structured but also allowed us freedom to explore the dizzying double-height Upper Library ourselves – I feel very lucky to have had such knowledgeable guides in Steven and Emma and I felt very inspired being ‘let loose’ in such a beautiful library.’

See part two of this blog post for details on the afternoon sessions attended by Oxford and Cambridge University Graduate Library Trainees!

 

The OxCam College Librarians’ Biennial Conference Pt. II.

(The following is part two of a two-part blog post on the 2019 OxCam Librarians’ Biennial Conference. It features individual recollections of the day’s events, kindly contributed by some of the Oxford and Cambridge University Graduate Library Trainees in attendance.)

After a busy morning of exhibitions and talks, and an insightful afternoon of visits, the delegation returned to the conference centre for the final few sessions of the day. Our story of events picks up again with Emmy, Graduate Library Trainee at Lady Margaret Hall, and her reflections on the Library Exhibitions On A Budget Session:

‘When we had returned from our lunchtime visits (and of course had a break for tea and plenty of cake) it was time for another breakout session. This time the trainees were spread between the different rooms. I had signed up for a session on how to produce library exhibitions on a budget, led by Victoria Stevens.

As an accredited library and archives conservator, Victoria had lots of experience to share with us! Some of her tips included:

  • Make your own book cradles and Vivak leaflet stands.
  • Think about what story the objects tell, and don’t squash too many of them into your arrangement.
  • If you do have some money to invest, consider purchasing a light logger.
Grey corrugated board being folded on a table top, into the form of a book cradle.
Exhibitions on a budget: folding board to create a book cradle.

Watching practical demonstrations and handling samples of display materials helped me to understand how these can be custom made in the library, as long as we are careful to choose conservation-grade materials. As I am a trainee at a college library, I am lucky enough to work with our small but interesting collection of rare books, so I am excited to try out some of these ideas back at the library.’

In a separate seminar room, Rowan, the trainee at St John’s College, Cambridge, was attending the session ‘Speed Dating with Special Collections’. Co-hosted by colleagues from both universities, the session touched upon the strengths and weaknesses of different outreach strategies in raising the profile of special collections:

‘Julia Walworth, of Merton College, Oxford and Anne McLaughin of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge ran a session which allowed participants to all get involved discussing the pros and cons of different special collections outreach strategies. Online initiatives were popular, with many libraries making use of social media to highlight a particular item each month. However, it was raised that the main followers of library Twitter accounts are often other libraries, meaning that other options need to be utilised to engage a variety audiences.  Such strategies, it was suggested, could include regular exhibitions and open days as well as practical workshops. The collaborative nature of the session meant we could learn of strategies that involve those less likely to already be accessing special collections. For example, inviting school groups to use the collections within their curriculum allows early engagement with historical materials, well before university. With all outreach strategies, there is a good deal of planning and preparation that goes into the finished strategy, and this has to be taken into account when deciding what will work best for each library. However, it pays off in the end.’

Meanwhile, Isobel of Queens’ College, Cambridge, had chosen to join the breakout session about fundraising for special collections. Lead by Naomi Tiley, the session helped to elucidate some of the issues inherent in fundraising projects. It also proved a useful introduction to the afternoon plenary session, which considered in detail Balliol College’s Wellcome Trust funded project to reclassify a collection of early modern texts, collated and bequeathed by Nicholas Crouch:

‘I attended two sessions on the topic of fundraising for special collections – a common necessity for many Oxford and Cambridge colleges. The first was a breakout session, run by Naomi Tiley of Balliol College, Oxford, where attendees were encouraged to share their experiences of fundraising, and offer observations and advice for future projects. As a topic outside of my direct experience to date, but very much in line with my personal career aspirations in rare books librarianship, I found the session extremely interesting and informative. It was especially useful to learn about potential funding bodies and application processes within the practical context of real-life projects and planned funding applications.

Following the breakout session, we returned to the main lecture theatre for the final plenary session of the conference. Focusing once again on fundraising for special collections, the presentation explored a case study undertaken by Balliol College, Oxford in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust. Naomi Tiley and James Howarth (Balliol College and St Edmund Hall, Oxford) were engaging speakers; incorporating question-and-answer based dialogues as they took us step by step through their project to secure funding for cataloguing the Nicholas Crouch collection. The session was particularly informative about not only fundraising, but also both in-house and outreach opportunities that can evolve from special collections cataloguing and subsequent improved accessibility.’

As the day’s business drew to a close, all the trainees agreed that the conference had been a thoroughly inspiring day of talks, visits and networking. We all gathered a tremendous amount of practical information from the sessions we attended and took away many new ideas to implement in our current libraries and in the future. As trainees, being able to meet and hear from so many professionals in the field was hugely valuable (as was sharing our library experiences with fellow trainees from ‘the other place’!). Our only regret was that we couldn’t attend all of the breakout sessions, because they all sounded brilliant! Those of us attending as the official delegate for our respective libraries certainly had plenty to report back to our colleagues.

A photograph of most, but not quite all, of the trainees present at the conference, taken in the grounds of Worcester college in front of the conference centre

On behalf of us all, thank you very much to Worcester College for hosting, to all the conference speakers and sponsors, and to the organisers — Liz Kay (Brasenose), Emma Sillett (Christ Church), Diana Hackett (Nuffield), Eleanor Kelly (St. Hilda’s) and Marina Sotiriou (Lincoln).


Contributors:

Amy Douglas – St Hugh’s College, Oxford

Isobel Goodman – Queens’ College, Cambridge

Emmy Ingle – Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford

Ross Jones – Bodleian History Faculty Library and Radcliffe Camera

Natasha MacMahon – Pembroke College, Cambridge

Jenna Meek – Bodleian Law Library

Bethan Morgan – Bodleian Library

Rowan Rush-Morgan – St John’s College, Cambridge

Eva Wewiorski – Newnham College, Cambridge

 

 

 

Showcase Presentations 2017

As promised, here are the presentations given by the 2016-17 trainees at our Showcase in July.

All the PowerPoint slides, and Stephanie Bushell’s video presentation, can be found here: http://bit.ly/2fvhCFg

Chantal van den Berg’s video presentation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bisZh0AicQQ

Sophie Welsh’s Prezi can be found here: http://prezi.com/kihswng7cpmz/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Thanks again to all the trainees for working so hard on these presentations.  We all learnt a lot from hearing about each other’s projects.

TRIPS TO LONDON LIBRARIES

On the morning of Wednesday 5th July, this year’s Graduate Trainees met at Oxford station for perhaps the most eagerly awaited trainee trip: The visits to two specialist libraries across the capital. This year, trainees could decide to visit the Guardian Library, the Natural History Museum Library, the London Library, and the British Film Institute Library. As this visit was the highlight of the year for many trainees, we have therefore decided to write a few words about the day and what we learned from visiting these four unique libraries!

THE GUARDIAN LIBRARY

For the morning session, eight of the trainees had decided to visit the library of the Guardian and Observer newspapers. Located in a light and airy high rise just to the north of King’s Cross Station, it was immediately apparent when entering the building and meeting the Information Manger that both the library and the role of a librarian at a news organisation were very different to the world of academic libraries we had grown accustomed to in Oxford. Instead of the gothic exteriors, ancient tomes, and wooden panelling of many of the Bodleian Libraries, on our tour of the newspaper offices we encountered instead a busy open plan office stretching around the entire building and a rather small library tucked away in the corner.

The entrance to the Guardian offices (Photo credit: Will Shire)

In his informative talk during our visit, the Information Manager explained why this was the case. In a world of 24 hour news and broadband connectivity, the role of the librarian at all media organisations has changed considerably over the last few decades. Before the internet, he explained, all large newspapers required a librarian to manage a ‘cuttings library’, filled with stories taken from all the major newspapers and meticulously organised by their subject – either about a particular event or about the activities of a well-known person. As technology advanced and journalists started to do the majority of their work online, the role of the librarian therefore also changed. The cuttings library still exists, but on top of managing this, the information team now use the Guardian collections to improve the journalism in other ways. He explained that their in depth information knowledge gained from librarianship means that they are well placed to answer any complicated research enquiries from journalists or to even create their own pieces following statistical analysis and insight gained from managing the Guardian Library’s holdings. Although technology is affecting librarianship across all sectors, this talk therefore demonstrated that the skills of librarians remain useful in a digitally connected world.

The tour that we had of the offices concluded with a visit to the offices of the Guardian’s archives team, which also works closely with the library. The two archivists emphasised the importance of their collections, as they not only provide a unique glimpse of the changing journalism industry in the UK, but can also act as a springboard for a wide variety of researchers, as newspaper articles are the first response to current events. The archives contain several back editions of the Observer and Guardian newspapers, and several artefacts relevant to their journalism, such as the Edward Snowdon laptops that are now of national importance.

It was excellent to have the opportunity to visit the media library of one of the most well-known newspapers in the country, and the talks gave us a well-rounded introduction into another aspect of librarianship that few of the trainees had prior knowledge of or considered as a career path.

Written by Will Shire, Taylor and PTFL trainee

THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM LIBRARY

Those of us fortunate enough (perhaps ‘judicious’ might be a better term – who wouldn’t want to stroll beneath a 25.2 metre-long floating blue whale skeleton?) to bid to visit the NHM were hoping for a morning of quirks and curiosities.  Happily, we were not to be disappointed.

Seated amidst the stuffed rarities and sweeping bookshelves of the Reading Room we were treated to two very intriguing talks delivered by the Researcher Services Librarian and the Special Collections Librarian, which covered (amongst other things) mermaids, woodworm, and the dangers of voyaging in the 18th century.

We were able to hear about the development of the existing collections and received an overview of some of the topics represented in the library today such as Palaeontology, Botany, Entomology, Zoology, Ornithology, Anthropology and Mineralogy.

The trainees at the Natural History Museum Library (Photo credit: NHM twitter feed, originally posted on 5th July, 2017)

There was also a chance to take a closer look at some of the NHM’s most fascinating manuscripts and special collections including a letter penned by Charles Darwin and the Endeavour botanical illustrations.  Our guides were friendly and very knowledgeable and I feel that we all benefitted from our exposure to a library so entirely different to those that many of us are used to.

The NHM has been steadily acquiring material since 1881 and hosts readers from a variety of backgrounds on a daily basis.  There is a growing emphasis on the importance of digitisation across libraries and archives at present and consequently the NHM aims to upload around 25,000 items to the Biodiversity Heritage Library every single month, ensuring that scholars are able to access the materials they need wherever they are located.  NHM staff have produced publications on a plethora of interesting topics and are often found engaging in outreach activities such as ‘Nature Live’ (free discussions held in Attenborough Studio, by all accounts not to be missed!).

I’d like to thank our hosts for their time and efforts in showing us around this magnificent institution.  I left the NHM with a whole new appreciation of the magnitude of that 83 foot whale skeleton, but also with a better awareness of the sheer scale of the NHM library and archival operations, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

You can keep up to date with the latest goings-on at the NHM by following them on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/NHM_Library.

Written by Steph Bushell, All Souls College trainee

THE LONDON LIBRARY

Following our respective morning sessions, eight of the trainees travelled to 14 St James’ Square to visit the famous London Library in the afternoon. From the outside this library looks rather small, as it appears to just fill one small building tucked into the corner of the square. Once we entered, however, it became clear that appearances can definitely be deceiving!

The entrance to the London Library (Photo credit: Sophie Welsh)

Upon entering the building, we were met by the Head of Membership Services and she proceeded to give us a very informative tour through the labyrinthine London Library. Although the library originally only occupied the small entrance building on St James’ Square, she told us that it had continued to grow since its foundation in 1841 and had gradually expanded into the adjacent buildings. On our tour, we therefore climbed several sets of stairs, and saw beautiful cast iron stacks, filled with levels of books both above and below us as far as we could see.

Whilst we were looking at the stacks, we were given a short introduction into the unique classification scheme at the London Library. Unlike the academic libraries in Oxford, the London Library is designed for browsing, and the shelfmark system is therefore designed accordingly. Instead of the neat labels with individual shelfmarks in the Bodleian Libraries, the London Library’s books are arranged alphabetically by individual categories designed in the Victorian period. This means that browsing must be really fun, as readers not only have to browse the shelves to find a specific book (and hopefully encountering other interesting titles whilst they do so), but also have to think like a Victorian to find the books they need. Books on Ethiopia are consequently still shelved under A for Abyssinia, as this was the name of the country when the scheme was developed! As the library has no formal weeding policy and keeps 95% of its material on the open shelves, it is therefore common to find a modern book (such as one on Ethiopian History) nestled next to a Victorian copy on a similar topic.

The beautiful stacks in the London Library (Photo credit: Sophie Welsh)

After looking at the stacks, we then had a tour of the main reading rooms. Whilst we were looking through these rooms, our tour guide gave us several interesting anecdotes on the history of the library. We learned, therefore, about the heroic efforts of the readers to rescue as many books as possible after one of the rooms was hit by a German bomb during the Second World War, and also discovered more about the famous literary figures associated with the library. These range from T.S Eliot, a long serving President of the Library, to Joseph Conrad, Agatha Christie, Virginia Woolf, and Siegfried Sassoon who were all members.

Our visit to the London Library was a really enjoyable experience. As it is a private members library, it was interesting to compare this library with the academic libraries we are used to in Oxford, and to see how this affects library organisation as it has created a library based around browsing and quick access to the majority of material. It is without doubt a unique library, and if I ever live in London and have enough money for the membership fees, I would definitely like to join in the future!

Written by Will Shire, Taylor and PTFL trainee

BFI REUBEN LIBRARY

On the way to the BFI (Photo credit: Hannah Medworth)

Arriving at the British Film Institute at Southbank after lunch on a ridiculously sunny day (see Hannah’s photo!), half the trainees met with the Librarian for Reader Services for the BFI Reuben Library. First of all, she took us to the library’s main reading room and spoke with us about what her library offers and how it functions, along with a brief history. We learnt a lot. For example, we were told that the library has recently seen a surge of A-Level pupils and school-aged readers. We also learnt about the library’s stance on membership; previously it had been a members’ library which charged a small membership fee but now it is free for everybody to use.

After the introduction, we were given a demonstration of the library’s collections database which holds information on more than 800,000 film titles. The database itself was quite different to ones we as trainees are familiar with in our university libraries. When using SOLO, we may filter by ‘physical items’ or ‘electronic resources’, but at the BFI it is the norm to begin a search while keeping an eye out for symbols indicating a much larger range of materials:

Materials available at the BFI Reuben Library (From collections-search.bfi.org.uk/web)

Following this, if you are searching to view a film – or as it is referred to at the BFI, searching to access ‘moving image material’ – there may be several different ‘manifestations’ to choose from. This has been explained to be roughly equivalent to different editions or publications of a book. These different manifestations could include film, digital copies, VHS cassettes, audio tapes, and film negatives – all of which could be subdivided by gauge, release print, or combination.

We were also shown some of the exciting projects going on at the BFI, from their streaming service – BFIPLAYER – to the fascinating Britain On Film. The latter is a web interface where you can find films made locally for a certain area: documentaries, home films, shorts and even feature films.

Next we were taken downstairs to visit the library’s stacks. There we received two treats tailor-made for librarians: bookmarks and a recommendation of a film with a particularly inspiring librarian character: Desk Set (1957) starring Katharine Hepburn. Our tour guide also mentioned an article she had written for the BFI website about the best librarians on screen (not, as she said, just on film, else you have to miss out Giles on Buffy): http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/lists/10-best-librarians-screen

It was here too that the Librarian for Reader Services explained how she had had to fight against cuts to the library, whether to its staffing, funding or collections, leaving us with the impression that as a librarian it is important to be a passionate and vocal advocate for libraries.

Written by Connie Bettison, St John’s College trainee

So that’s a short guide to our hugely enjoyable day visiting some beautiful libraries across London! The day was definitely one of the best visits we have been on throughout our year, and I’m sure I can speak for all trainees when I say that I am very grateful to Staff Development for organising everything and to the individual staff members at the respective libraries who made time for us. It was a great way to end our traineeship, and gave us a fascinating insight into several libraries that are completely different to the ones that we are familiar with in Oxford.

Trainee Showcase – Andrew Bax’s Guest Lecture

Thank you very much to everyone who came to our Trainee Showcase on 12th July.  We really appreciated your support.

One of the highlights of the day was the guest lecture by publisher Andrew Bax.  For anyone who missed it, or would like to revisit it, the full script is below.  Many thanks again to Andrew for preparing this interesting and informative talk.

The trainees’ presentation slides will follow soon!

 

Oxford, as we all know, is an extraordinary place. The Bookseller, the UK’s trade magazine for publishers and booksellers revealed, some years ago, that the city of Oxford had the greatest density of published authors in the world. It also discovered that over 200 publishing companies were registered in Oxford, including my own.

I got into publishing by accident. In 1965 I was young, irresponsible and in Oxford without a job. A friend told me that there were always vacancies for science graduates at a firm called Pergamon Press. I had only five ‘O’ levels but applied anyway – and was accepted. I joined a team of about ten handling the production of academic journals from offices in Headington Hill Hall, now part of Brooke’s University. Initially, my working space was a windowsill and the top of a filing cabinet in the attic above the boss’s bedroom. The boss was called Robert Maxwell.

Robert Maxwell acquired his name by deed pole in 1948. His real name was Jan Hoch and he originated from that turbulent part of eastern Europe that changed from Czechoslovakia to Hungary and is now part of Ukraine. His family were Jewish cattle dealers and, after the Nazis invaded, most of them were taken to Auschwitz, where they died. Young Jan had escaped however, and joined the Czechoslovak Army in exile and, later, the Royal Staffordshire Regiment. He saw active service across Europe, was awarded the MC and, at the end of the war, was promoted to the rank of Captain. He was then sent to Berlin as part of the mission to revive the German economy, and was appointed to the publishing house, Springer Verlag. Springer was sitting on valuable scientific research and, recognising the opportunity, Maxwell had it translated into English and published it through a company he formed for the purpose. That was the beginning of Pergamon Press. In preparation for this talk I discovered that Pergamon began as a collaboration with a certain Paul Rosebaud who had been a senior scientist in the Nazi hierarchy. Throughout the war, however, he had been secretly spying for Britain.

When the world finally emerged from the devastation of World War II, governments and universities began to invest heavily in scientific research. Then, as now, it was vital for those involved in such work to be aware of what was happening in other centres. Then, as now, there was competition and collaboration, often fuelled by personal ambition. The established publishers were slow on the uptake and communication was often achieved through correspondence and international conferences.

Enter Robert Maxwell. One of his techniques was to use an international conference to launch a new journal. After a visit by Maxwell, often at the conference itself, the host academic was persuaded to continue his good work by editing a new journal in the subject, and the conference papers would provide the first issue. Everyone working in the field wanted to have their work published in the journal and library funds were used to pay for it. Thus it was that a pile of manuscripts was delivered to my desk for a new journal to be called Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer. Maxwell had brought them with him from a conference in Rio de Janeiro. That journal, I see, is now in its 200th volume and has an in-print price of £6742. This was happening all the time and journals were being launched in subjects we’d hardly heard of. Editors, usually unpaid, competed for the best papers, frequency of publication was increased and, of course, the price. Then Maxwell introduced page charges so that contributors had to pay for the privilege of publication, and their library for the privilege of subscribing. For a while he took advantage of currency fluctuations so that customers might he invoiced in US dollars one day and Japanese yen the next. In books he invented a series called the Commonwealth Library for which he received a guaranteed order from the Commonwealth Office for 500 copies of each title published. As you can imagine, that series grew very rapidly, often from material culled from the journals. While all this was going on he was also Labour MP for Buckingham. And all that happened during the 18 months I was with Pergamon.

Eighteen months was about average. If you stayed any longer you were liable to be sacked or relocated anywhere in the world. I was getting married and this kind of uncertainty was just too exciting. Maxwell was a tyrant, a man of immense dynamism and creative energy and, eventually, a fraudster on a massive scale. There is no time here to cover the Maxwell story but, towards the beginning of the 1990s his empire began to unravel and, in desperation, he plundered his employee’s pension scheme to the tune of some £440million. He died by falling from his yacht off the Canary Islands and debate still rages about whether he jumped or whether he was pushed. Afterwards, he was found to have some 300 companies, most of which only he knew about. He had also been involved in arms deals between eastern Europe and Israel, and it is probable that he had been an agent for Mossad. He is buried in Jerusalem.

After Pergamon I joined part of the Blackwell empire. There were about a dozen of us in offices next to The Bear in Alfred Street. I was with the firm for 20 years during which time it expanded rapidly, moving to its own purpose-built premises in Osney Mead which are now part of the Bodleian and, eventually, employing over 200 people in offices in five countries. It was run by another big character, Per Saugman, who I got to know quite well. As a young man he was employed in the bookshop as part of an exchange scheme with the firm of Munksgaard in Copenhagen. It seems he quickly outgrew the challenges of bookselling so, in 1957, he was invited to revive an old publishing imprint, Blackwell Scientific Publications, which had been dormant for years. It was suggested that, with the growth of the NHS, he should consider medicine.

Per knew nothing about medicine but he thought he would start with blood. So, like Maxwell, he went to a conference in London where he announced his intention to launch the British Journal of Haematology. The leading lights in the field were anxious to become involved and it is now on Volume 177 with an in-print subscription price of £1777. It was the beginning of a substantial journal portfolio. With books his technique was to ‘seek advice’ from the highest authority on what topics are inadequately covered and who might be best to write them. Ego and ambition drove these men and, in those days it was usually men and, in the end, these chaps recommended themselves, which is what Per wanted all along. However, for authors, the financial rewards were modest. The international expert on Megaloblastic Anaemias told me that his fat, expensive monograph had ruined his health and his marriage and that on calculating his royalties he had earned just 4p an hour.

Whereas Maxwell got his way be terrifying people, Per did it with charm. He was articulate and terrific company; if he was speaking here instead of me he would do so without stumbling and without notes. He had his frailties though; there was a bit of Swiss bankery and he was a terrible womaniser.

Blackwell provided me with a series of lucky breaks. After a short time in journals I took on publicity, sales and marketing. Except we weren’t allowed to call it that because the patriarch of the firm, Sir Basil Blackwell, believed that ‘good books sell themselves’ so anything advertised was automatically deemed to be suspect. After a few years the director to whom I was reporting became ill and was off work for a while. I stepped into his shoes and, apart from one big mistake, I did quite well. The big mistake caused an almighty row with our partners in North America, the C.V. Mosby Company and I was dispatched to St Louis, Missouri to be eaten alive by their management team. In the end it was quite a tame affair. I was ushered into the president’s suite, where everyone was hushed and deferential, and then into the office of the great man himself, in which the carpet was so think you almost waded through it. We talked about this and that and, after a decent interval, he considered that honour was satisfied and the meeting was over. Years later I bumped into him at the Frankfurt Book Fair; he was working as a sales rep. So whatever mistake he made, it was bigger than mine.

C.V. Mosby was one of a number of US publishers for which we were stock-holding agents for Europe, often with reciprocal arrangements in America. One of these was CRC Press. CRC stands for the Chemical Rubber Company and their business began in manufacturing rubber valves and tubes for use in laboratories. One of their best-selling items was a rubber apron with a pocket into which they inserted a free booklet called the Handbook of Chemistry & Physics. That booklet proved to be so popular that people were buying the apron just to obtain the Handbook. Eventually they gave up the rubbery stuff and became publishers. By the time we were involved that Handbook was published annually with over 2500 pages, and had spawned many others.

All this meant that we had a lot of books to sell. No-one in the firm had taken on the role before but, through trial and error, I managed to hold down the job and eventually headed up a marketing department of 12 which, at one point included Robert Maxwell’s son, Kevin.

One thing I managed to do quite well was to sell books in bulk to the pharmaceutical industry. Books seemed less like a bribe than the lavish hospitality that such companies gave to those doctors who prescribed their drugs. I was negotiating one particular deal as the board of Blackwell Scientific Publications was in the throes of succession planning. It was a very big deal, and complicated, requiring the directors to sign up to something new. But they were too distracted by other concerns and rejected it. So I reported back to the pharmaceutical company that Blackwell wouldn’t do it, but that I would. Somehow I got away with it. I had six days to register a company, find an office, print some visiting cards and sign the contract. That was on 6 June 1987 and was the beginning of my own company, Radcliffe Publishing. I didn’t have a shadow of Maxwell’s dynamism or a fraction of Per Saugman’s personality, but those guys taught me a lot.

At that time Margaret Thatcher was overhauling things as prime minister and Kenneth Clarke, as her Minister for Health, was embarking on a radical reform of the NHS. Part of this involved upgrading the quality of primary care. GPs had little on-going training, were rarely supervised and were badly paid but suddenly they found themselves under great pressure to improve their service, with the prospect of greatly increasing their earnings. My Blackwell days had opened doors to a lot of useful contacts, including the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union. Soon after Radcliffe started I had a call from the BMA asking me to attend an urgent meeting in London that same morning. Within an hour I had agreed to publish a series of books on the Business Side of General Practice; the BMA’s senior negotiator wrote the first one in nine weeks and we published it in another nine weeks. That was very fast, it sold in huge numbers and put us on the map. Another in the series sold 47,000 copies even though there were only 25,000 GPs at the time; that was because I had sold it to four pharmaceutical companies, working in competition. As the marketing manager of Glaxo told me ‘all’s fair in love, war and pharmaceutical advertising.’

Radcliffe started life in a single room in the Jam Factory in Park End Street; we expanded into a second room then moved to a light industrial unit in Osney Mead, then into a second one. In 1995 we moved again, into a beautiful Victorian house in Abingdon. By then we were employing about 15 people, many of them former colleague from Blackwell. They were strongly motivated by the success we were enjoying. We had found our niche in primary care; it was a very big niche and we were providing serious competition to the established publishers. Their reaction was to try to buy us; I had enquires from OUP, Churchill-Livingstone, Taylor & Francis and my old employers, Blackwell. They were talking millions and I rejected all offers; we were having just too much fun. It was too good to last though.

The first problem was the internet which undermined all the traditional publishing models and caused confusion throughout the industry, not just for us at Radcliffe. We did, however, invent something called Radcliffe Interactive. This hosted several consumer-related portals, including Divorce Online which is still going. It was financed by someone I first knew as a stationery salesman when I first joined Blackwell. He had gone on to become a publisher himself, and like Radcliffe, made himself troublesome to his rivals. However, when Routledge offered to buy him out, unlike me, he said yes. With the proceeds he became a business angel, financing start ups from an office he rented from us in our Abingdon home. Sadly we have lost touch now but when we last met he had a manor house in Berkshire, a house in California and a vineyard in South Africa.

Our second problem was that, having rejected all takeovers, our rivals decided to close in on us and, eventually, we ceased to be unique. So from around 2000 onwards we plateaued. I was also becoming aware of my own limitations; I had an inadequate grasp of financial management and I didn’t understand the internet so I decided my time was up. I felt we needed new blood at the top but that view was not shared by my colleagues; we had worked together for a long time and we all felt a strong loyalty to the company and to each other. In the end I promoted our marketing manager to managing director and elevated myself to chairman.

In 2010 Radcliffe was acquired by a firm called Electric Word whose owners seemed only interested in manipulating the price on the Stock Exchange and publishing suffered as a consequence. After a few years they sold Radcliffe to Taylor & Francis which, by then, had itself become part of a huge international communications conglomerate called Informa which included Routledge and CRC Press, names I have mentioned earlier. However, I am pleased to be able to tell you that the Radcliffe imprint continues but for reasons I cannot begin to understand, it publishes from the CRC offices in Boca Raton, Florida.

And that is where I was going to end this little talk but, in her biographical notes Jessica mentioned Bombus Books. This is the imprint of Oxford Inc, a group of writers to which I belong and which has self-published a few books of fiction and non-fiction. Last year we launched a writing competition for stories based on the No 13 bus which plies between the station and John Radcliffe Hospital. The best entries appeared in Double-Decker, available from Blackwells and other good bookshops, and three of the stories are by Jessica. That is how we came to meet and, I guess, why I am standing here today.

 

Graduate Trainee Showcase Programme

Sami Anderson-Talbi | New College Library
Though my time in Oxford has been shorter than most, I have found it to be a very rewarding experience. At New College, we have a fantastic team who have kindly put up with me for the past year, and I will be quite sad to leave. The support I have received from colleagues has been great, and I have had the opportunity to take an active role in most aspects of the running an academic library. No day is quite the same in a College library, whether you are dealing with interesting queries (bringing rowing oars into the library is not acceptable) or working with antiquarian texts, there is always something going on. The highlight of the year has been the many visits to other libraries, my favourite being the trip to the Codrington (where my camera frustratingly refused to work). Having said that, I greatly enjoyed discovering a handwritten note hidden within a book, from the author to a prominent politician.

Chantal van den Berg | Bodleian Social Science Library
I had a fantastic time at the SSL and I will be sad to leave! I’ve learned so much and I feel grateful I was given the opportunity to work in such an amazing library. My highlight of the year has been spending time with all my lovely fellow trainees! Next year, I’ll be studying for a distance learning MA in Library and Information Service Management at the University of Sheffield and hopefully I’ll be staying in Oxford!

Connie Bettison | St. John’s College
I’ve enjoyed my year at St John’s Library very much and will be sorry to say goodbye. I feel very lucky to have got the chance to gain valuable experience both in working with readers in the day-to-day running of the library and in working with special collections. Next, I am going to Edinburgh to study for an MSc in Book History and Material Culture and gain more experience working in libraries.

Stephanie Bushell | All Souls College Library
The past year has given me a sense of the diversity of the LIS sector as a whole and the training has allowed me to explore areas of librarianship which I was not familiar with at the start of my traineeship. I particularly enjoyed the talk on the book trade, although if I had to pick a highlight of the training I must admit it’s probably our weekly meet-ups in the Punter post-session! I’ve had an incredible time working at All Souls College and I have met many lovely people over the course of my employment here. The Codrington Library is a really special place and I know I’ll always be in touch with the wonderful people who keep it ticking over. Now that the year is coming to a close I’ve received offers to study Library and Information Studies and Book History at UCL and Edinburgh respectively, and I am looking forward to seeing where the knowledge I’ve picked up here in Oxford will take me in the future.

Tom Cook | Lady Margaret Hall Library
I am currently the graduate trainee at Lady Margaret Hall, having previously worked at the English Faculty Library and St. Catherine’s College. I am also a poet and literary critic: my writing has appeared in the New Statesman, Spectator, Times Literary Supplement, P. N. Review, Ambit, Partisan and elsewhere. I am the chair of the English Faculty’s Twentieth-Century Poetry Reading Group. I am currently compiling and designing The Ash Anthology – a book of poems drawn from Ash, the magazine I have edited for the last two years – which will be available from all good bookshops later this summer.

Tim Dungate | English Faculty Library
I’ve completely loved working in the EFL this year. I arrived from down the road at the SSL, where I was a Library Assistant while I finished my Master’s degree, and it’s been delightful to join the EFL as a Trainee and learn much more about working in academic libraries. Everyone was very welcoming when I began the year, and I’ve been able to take on a pleasingly varied array of duties, with some longer-term projects alongside.
Recently I’ve been shadowing Pip Willcox at the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and I am assisting her in organising a conference jointly hosted between the Bodleian and the Folger Shakespeare Library (which unfortunately means I cannot attend this showcase!).
While I will be extremely sad to leave the EFL, I’m happy to say that I will be remaining in Oxford as a Digitisation Assistant with BDLSS, starting this summer.

Anabel Farrell | Oxford University Archives
One of the many highlights of my year at the University Archives has been researching and responding to the broad range of enquiries that we receive every day. It has enabled me to explore the University’s fascinating records and acquire a good knowledge of the University’s history. It is always particularly rewarding to be able to help an enquirer trace an ancestor who once studied here. I’ll certainly miss the views over Oxford from my office at the top of the Tower of the Five Orders, but I’m not sure I’ll miss the 142 steps it takes to get up there!’

Ashleigh Fowler | Digital Archives
It’s been a non-stop year, but it’s been very enjoyable. I have been working as a digital archives trainee in the Weston Library and studying for a post-graduate diploma in Archives Administration through distance learning, so I’ve been quite busy! There have been many highlights over the year, from my first completed cataloguing projects and working on the conversion project for Benjamin Disraeli’s online catalogue to being able to attend training and talks in different parts of the country and meet archivists from many different institutions, as well as understanding the sacred role of Tea And Cake in an archivist’s workday.

Olivia Freuler | Sackler Library
As my year at the Sackler Library is slowly drawing to a conclusion, I’m looking forward to my next adventure and I hope that I can put some of what I’ve learnt to good use. I am especially grateful to the team here for being so welcoming and taking the time to show me the ropes and teach me what they know. I think the main highlight of this year was delving through a collection of artists’ books for my project. It was great to work with such interesting material and discover new artists that I hadn’t heard of before and learn more about the context in which these books were created. I also really enjoyed visiting other libraries in Oxford and the Book Conservation department in the Weston Library. As for the future, I’m quite interested in continuing to work in Art Libraries, Special Collections or for an Antiquarian Bookseller.

Laura Kondrataite | St. Hilda’s College Library
It’s been an amazing year working at St Hilda’s Library. I have learned a lot about the everyday running of a college library, and have had a chance to assist with and organise exhibitions from the library’s special collections. The knowledge I have gained about the management of special collections and the cataloguing of rare books will come in handy at my new post as a rare books administrator at an auction house.

Amy McMullen | History Faculty Library [Radcliffe Camera]
My year in the Radcliffe Camera team as a trainee has been such an interesting and valuable experience – it is a year I will never forget! As well as working in one of the most beautiful and unique buildings in Oxford, one of my highlights this year has been spending time with the other trainees, getting to know them and sharing our experiences to learn from one another. In September I will be moving to the capital and starting a full-time postgraduate masters degree in Library and Information Studies at University College London, and I am looking forward to making use of all the skills my year at the Bodleian has given me.

Hannah Medworth | Sainsbury Library
In my former role as a teaching assistant, I had the privilege of introducing children to the world of reading in their very first year of school. At the Sainsbury Library, I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt myself in just one year! I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to work alongside dedicated colleagues on a diverse range of projects and tasks, and to take on new responsibilities and expand my skills. Looking ahead, I’m very happy to be continuing as a member of the Sainsbury Library team, in the post of Collections and Instructional Materials Assistant for Executive Education.

Fiona Mossman | Bodleian Law Library
A graduate of English Literature, I’ve been thrown into the Law Library where suddenly I’ve had to become very familiar with folk such as Chitty on Contract or Wilson on Wills (my alliterative favourites), with the structure of the courts and why it matters for referencing, and with a lady called Elizabeth Moys. The Moys reclassification project is ongoing at the library, and it’s been a big part of my year. The Law Library is a great place to work and I’ve enjoyed the variety that being a graduate trainee there brings. Come September I’m planning on continuing my literary education with a Master’s degree at Durham for a year.

David Phillips | Bodleian Social Science Library
My traineeship has been a page turner, and an enlightening introduction to the profession. The Wednesday tours/talks have been a treat and have touched on everything from virtual reality to multi-part items. I have had the privilege of working at the SSL, a wonderful library that never stops trying to innovate (and stir my creative side). I have enjoyed the friendly and supportive working environment and the breadth of work available to me and my fellow SSL trainee. At the end of my traineeship, I hope to remain within the university’s network of academic libraries and sometime thereafter take on a librarianship MA by distance learning.

William Shire | Taylor Institution Library | Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library
This year has been an amazing experience and I’ve loved getting to know the Bodleian Libraries! The highlight of my year at the Taylor and the PTFL has definitely been working in two fantastic teams. I’d never worked at a Faculty Library before and have therefore had to learn a lot throughout the year – a process made a lot easier by both my patient colleagues and the fantastic Wednesday afternoon sessions. Next year I will be staying in Oxford and studying for the distance learning Library MA offered by the University of Sheffield, which I’m very much looking forward to.

Sophie Welsh | Bodleian Library | Reader Services
The highlight of my year has been answering the wide variety of enquiries at the Main Enquiry Desk – we keep a record of the wackiest ones for future amusement. I have especially enjoyed the mini research projects that have come out of some of the enquiries; I’ve researched inter-war shoe catalogues and 19th Century French pharmaceutical periodicals, to name just two. I’ve also been very lucky to have lots of shadowing opportunities, such as a week based in the Collections & Resource Description department (learning about cataloguing processes, acquisitions of monographs and serials, the Legal Deposit operations and e-resources), as well as afternoons shadowing a college librarian and the English & Film subject librarian. I’m hoping to find another library job in Oxford at the end of the trainee year, then in the next few years I would like to do a Master’s in Library Studies and in English Literature (but I haven’t decided which one should come first yet).

Jessica Woodward | Taylor Institution Library | Mansfield College Library
This year has been wonderful and I feel very lucky to have taken part in the trainee scheme. I entered librarianship via part-time jobs at Corpus Christi and St Peter’s Colleges, began the trainee year navigating the Taylorian’s labyrinthine book stacks, and in May 2017 embarked on the new challenge of a maternity-cover Assistant Librarian post at Mansfield College. There have been many highlights, but I’ll particularly value having met so many friendly librarians, handled the Taylorian’s amazing manuscripts, and indulged in Mansfield’s delicious lunches! I’ll be at Mansfield until February 2018 and am excited for the months ahead‘

Harry Wright | Jesus College Library
Having come from a Graduate Traineeship in a busy secondary school library, Jesus College has been a comparative haven of calm! I have particularly enjoyed the higher-level nature of research enquiries, and learning about students’ and researchers’ information needs. I’m currently looking for library work around Oxford and will be spending the next year gaining more experience, hopefully in a slightly different, more specialised role, before going on to qualify.

10:45 | PART I

10:45 – 10:55 | Welcome

10:55 – 11:05 | David Phillips | Bodleian Social Science Library
Visualising the SSL

I use data visualisation to tell you a story about the SSL.

11:05 – 11:10 | Chantal van den Berg | Bodleian Social Science Library
Can Inductions be Made More Interesting

My trainee project focuses on how to make library inductions more interesting for students. Readers receive a lot of information on how to use the library during these sessions, and we hope that short videos made with PowToon will make it easier to digest the information and to keep the reader’s attention.

11:10 – 11:15 | Stephanie Bushell | All Souls College Library
You shall not pass’: Or, an attempt to survey, shift and deaccession collections in two not-so-accessible areas.

My project will involve managing two collections under the jurisdiction of the Codrington Library to which we have (very) limited access. This project will involve surveying and rearranging the existing collections with a view to deaccessioning extraneous material. I also plan to cover some highlights of my time here in the Codrington.

11:15 – 11:25 | William Shire | Taylor Institution Library | Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library
A Year at the Bodleian – A Comparison of Two Libraries

Throughout my Trainee year, I have worked at two different Bodleian Libraries – the Taylor Institution Library and the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library. The projects I have been involved in throughout my year have therefore been varied – ranging from the creation of a blog post and a Powerpoint presentation for the Library Information Screen to an extended reclassification project. My presentation will therefore detail these projects and reflect on how the similarities and differences between the two libraries I have worked in have affected them.

11:25 – 11:35 | Jessica Woodward | Taylor Institution Library | Mansfield College Library
Two Taylorian Projects and a Term at Mansfield

In this presentation, I will discuss the trainee projects I undertook at the Taylorian: creating a flow chart to help staff process donated books, and writing a blog post on some fascinating hidden treasures from the Rare Books Room. I will then take attendees on a virtual tour of the Mansfield College Library – where I currently work – and explore some of the differences between college libraries and Bodleian libraries.

11:35 – 11:45 | Questions

11:45 – 12:00 | Morning Break

 

12:00 | PART II

12:05 – 12:15 | Amy McMullen | History Faculty Library [Radcliffe Camera]
Reading List Provision in Undergraduate History

Serving one of the largest faculties at Oxford and meeting the demands of hundreds of varied and often complex reading lists that make up our undergraduate History degrees is a challenge to the staff at the History Faculty Library. With growing popularity of Reading List management software, I wanted to help our library assess its current procedure by investigating how other academic libraries deal with reading list provision and whether we can use that to improve our practice.

12:15 – 12:25 | Hannah Medworth | Sainsbury Library
From Eureka to Egrove: A journey into embedded library provision for Executive Education

A year of change at the Sainsbury Library has provided me with some exciting experiences. As I share snapshots of several projects and tasks, from managing research repository submissions to providing copyright clearance for reading lists, I will reflect on the skills I have learnt along the way. Finding myself in the unique world of an Executive Education library, I investigate what makes this type of provision distinctive, and explore some recent and ongoing developments to meet the evolving demands on library services.

12:25 – 12:35 | Sophie Welsh | Bodleian Library [Reader Services]
Relegating the Bodleian Library’s Handlists

Methodically adding information and detail to ALEPH records for Bodleian open shelf items so that the handlists (card catalogues) are no longer required.

12:35 – 12:45 | Fiona Mossman | Bodleian Law Library
Just keep moving: Moys, moves, and miscellanea at the Bodleian Law Library

Between renovation work and reclassification work, the library and its books have been on the move lately. My part in that has been in my contributions to the moving of the Reserve collection, early on in my post, my ongoing reclassification work, and the upcoming ‘mega-Moys’ move in the summer. These will be the main focus of my talk, together with some mini-projects that I’ve undertaken throughout the year.

12:45 – 12:55 | Questions

12:55 – 13:25 | Buffet Lunch

 

13:25 | PART III

13:30 – 13:50 | Guest Speaker | Andrew Bax

Andrew Bax has had a long and successful career in publishing, culminating in the creation of his own medical publishing house, Radcliffe Publishing.  Since the sale of that company, he has been producing fiction under the imprint Bombus Books and has been involved in various charitable ventures.  He will be sharing some entertaining stories from his professional life, with a focus on his experiences of working with some big names of 20th-century publishing.

13:50 – 13:55 | Questions

 

13:55 | PART IV

14:00 – 14:10 | Ashleigh Fowler | Digital Archives
The Archives of Hilary Bailey and of The Macirone Family

A talk on the process of cataloguing two different archives; one of the science fiction and general fiction writer, Hilary Bailey, the other of the Victorian middle class Macirone family.

14:10 – 14:20 | Connie Bettison | St. John’s College
Working with Modern Literary Papers

Over the past year at St John’s, I have spent part of my time working with the library’s modern literary special collections. In an ongoing project, I am cataloguing some personal papers of A.E. Housman and uploading the records onto ArchivesHub: an update from a typescript card catalogue of basic information. Using the broader collection of literary papers, the exhibition I arranged for the start of Trinity Term showcases a collection of the Library’s literary letters.

14:20 – 14:30 | Olivia Freuler | Sackler Library
Artists’ books at the Sackler Library

A brief look into the world of artist’s books and an introduction to the collection originally donated to the Taylor Institution Library by W.J. Strachan and now housed in the Sackler’s Archive Room.

14:30 – 14:40 | Questions

14:40 – 14:55 | Afternoon Break

 

14:55 | Part V

15:00 – 15:10 | Laura Kondrataite | St. Hilda’s College Library
The Golden Age of Children’s Literature

The presentation will give an insight to the organisation of and topics covered in an exhibition on Victorian children’s literature from St Hilda’s College library’s special collections.

15:10 – 15:20 | Harry Wright | Jesus College Library
Creating a Welfare Collection in 10 Easy Steps

This presentation will outline the expansion and development of Jesus College’s Welfare & Student Support Collection, an ongoing project which I have led. Issues of privacy and confidentiality are crucial to such a collection, but how feasible are they in the context of a busy working library?

15:20 – 15:30 | Sami Anderson-Talbi | New College Library
Proposals on Space and Collection Management for the Law Reading Room of New College Library

An investigation into the current configuration of the Law Reading Room, with proposed changes to how both space and collection management can be improved. Also including results of a recent survey of our readers, which focused on the provision of study space in the library

15:30 – 15:40 | Tom Cook | Lady Margaret Hall Library
The Literary Treasures of LMH

An account of planning, compiling and launching a successful exhibition from our comparatively limited rare-books collection. This culminated in a sold-out evening event, with guest talks from Simon Armitage and a DPhil researcher called Noreen Masud, which was open to the public and packed out the Old Library hall here in college.

15:40 – 15:50 | Questions

15:50 – 16:00 | Thanks

Enquiries:jessica.woodward@mansfield.ox.ac.uk or david.phillips@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
This programme may be subject to change.

The Edible Book Festival 2017

Our prize winning cake! Photo by Chantal van den Berg.

On Thursday 2nd March, the 2nd Annual Edible Book Festival took place at the RSL to mark World Book Day. To take part in the festival, participants enter “bookish” art pieces that need to be mostly edible. These pieces can therefore represent a book title, a book cover, a character, a plot element or theme. As this competition combined books and cake, several trainees were naturally eager to take part, and, over the course of several days, we came up first with an idea for a cake and then brought it to life!

To begin with, we decided to meet up in the aptly inspiring café in Blackwell Hall to discuss potential ideas. After much debate, we eventually decided on our book: The Maltese Falcon by Daniel Hammett. Published in 1929, this detective novel describes a series of murders connected with the Maltese Falcon – a valuable statue made by the 16th century Knights of Malta as a gift to the King of Spain. We therefore felt that this statue would be the perfect centrepiece for a cake. As the book is set in Malta, we decided that Maltesers would naturally be an excellent edible decoration for our book, and, as chocolate cake is always popular, we quickly had a sketched bake-off style design to work from. Now all we had to do was actually create our culinary masterpiece!

Law trainee Fiona watches as Chantal, Will and David decorate the cake with Maltesers. Olivia works on the falcon, the star of the cake, made entirely out of sugar paste. Photo by Jessica Woodward.

It became clear that the perfect venue for our big baking session would be the Trainee House in Iffley (a.k.a. the shared home of trainees from the Law Library, SSL and University Archives, plus Will, who recently morphed from Taylorian trainee into PTFL trainee). At our final preparation at the Blackwell Hall meeting, we allocated responsibility for the ingredients, agreeing who would purchase what, and who would brave the intricate task of sculpting the falcon in advance of the main baking session.  Luckily, we had Olivia – art-school graduate, former Downton Abbey costume-maker, and Sackler trainee – on the team.  She offered to build a feathery head and body, which would be complemented by delicious chocolate wings baked by David the SSL trainee.

Our delicious cake is slowly taking shape. We used a recipe from Nigella Lawson, called Devil’s food cake. Sinfully delicious indeed! Photo by Jessica Woodward.

The culinary evening arrived. With great festivity, we took the bus to Iffley, made a quick trip to the Co-Op, and we were ready.  As an all-knowing David recited each stage of a Nigella chocolate-cake recipe (which was Chantal his fellow SSL trainee’s recommendation), the kitchen filled with the chinks of stirring spoons and the bubbling of melting chocolate.  A dark, spongy mass took shape.  It needed to cook then cool, so we rewarded ourselves with well-earned pizza while we waited.  Finally, we gathered at the table to secure Maltesers in careful circles around the falcon centrepiece.

The final result! Photo by Chantal van den Berg.

The next morning, David and Olivia handed the cake over to the RSL staff, who put it on display alongside its competitors.  At 1pm, the RSL Lounge opened its gates to a gaggle of eager cake fans, including us!  Ideas were admired, photos were taken.  We were fascinated to see the other creations, with Far From the Madding Crowd, The Silver Pigs and The Bees proving particular favourites (if you’d like to see photos of these and more, click here).  We felt excited to observe that the voting sheet for our cake was filling up fast with audience approvals… and when the judges confirmed that we had won the People’s Choice Award, we were thrilled!

A selection of the other entries: In Search of Lost Time, Cider with Rosie, Silence of the Yams (behind the cider bottle), Grapes of Wrath and The Catcher in the Rye. Photo by Chantal van den Berg.
Jessica, Will, David and Chantal looking surpised and pleased. Sadly, Olivia couldn’t be there. Photo by Dawn Young.

The Edible Book Festival was certainly a wonderful experience; and a tasty one, seeing as we got to tuck into all the cakes after the judging was over!  Those of us who are around next year will no doubt be keen to do it again!

After the prizes were awarded, it was time to eat! After only a few moments, our cake was almost entirely gone. Our falcon is looking proud! Photo by Chantal van den Berg.

By William Shire (PTFL), Jessica Woodward (Taylor Institution), Olivia Freuler (Sackler), David Phillips and Chantal van den Berg (both SSL)