Grace Exley, Jesus College Library

Hi, I’m Grace and I’m the trainee at Jesus College Library, which is solely for the use of Jesus college students and caters for a broad range of subjects. I’ve been here since the beginning of September, and I absolutely love it.

I’ve always got a buzz from connecting people with ideas and information and I adore polite, civilised conversation. Around my family responsibilities I’ve worked for many years as an artist and a teacher of art. I’ve found working in education to be very rewarding, but teaching involves too much talking for me, so I’m thrilled to have made an inroad into academic libraries.


The lower floor of this room is filled with bookshelves splitting the space into individual study carrels, and the upper gallery is lined with bookshelves.
Jesus College Library (© Jorge Royan, Creative Commons)


The Oxford University libraries network has a truly thriving and interesting community that I’m proud and excited to be a part of. There is so much going on here and so many avenues that your career can go down with libraries as a starting point – more than I had first imagined.

Over one hundred libraries make up this network and it is surprising how independent they can be from one another and how each one is run in a slightly different way – so no two traineeships will be the same! In my library there are only two members of staff – the librarian and myself – taking care of everything. This is fantastic for me, as not only do I get the benefit of one-on-one support, but I also get a very comprehensive overview of what it takes to run a library and there is plenty for me to do.

When I first started the library was very quiet and empty and I had a month to get to grips with how things work before the students arrived for Michaelmas term. Come freshers week I knew enough to help successfully run a couple of days of library inductions for the new students. This was a lot of fun and I felt really excited for them.

Six weeks in, I’ve learned a lot and I feel really supported. The librarian I work with day to day is super-lovely and so are the other trainees, whom I meet up with once or twice a week for a training session. We regularly meet up outside of work too.

My impression so far is that the training scheme is extremely well thought out, well delivered and full of opportunities. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

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