Hannah Hickman, History Faculty Library

I’m Hannah, the new trainee at the History Faculty Library. The HFL is currently based at the Radcliffe Camera, which is a pretty incredible building to rock up to every morning — I’ve been told it doesn’t take long before you become blasé about Oxford’s architectural grandeur, but I’m definitely still in the honeymoon phase.

The ceiling of the Upper Camera — so pretty!

The RadCam’s a really interesting site, because the loanable HFL books are sandwiched in-between the reference-only Bodleian books, and with the Gladstone Link connecting the Camera to the Old Library, the books (and their accompanying readers) can wander pretty freely between the reading rooms. There’s at least four or five different classification systems in use, so reshelving has been quite an adventure. Apparently this is one of the busiest library sites — even out of term time, there’s a lot of coming and going. I expect that the first week of Michaelmas is going to be a wild ride!

I’m originally from Oxfordshire, so it’s lovely to be back in the area. I spent the last five years in Warwickshire, doing my BA in English at Warwick and then following it up with a part-time MA in Shakespeare and Renaissance history at the Shakespeare Institute. I started working in libraries during my MA, and was lucky enough to get experience working in a small reference-only postgrad library with an archive and a large lending library, as well as a few weeks in a special collections archives. I can’t believe it took me so long to realise how much I enjoy being on the other side of the counter!

So far, the last week and a half — nearly two weeks now — has been really fun. I’ve learned a lot, and so far I’m managing to remember everyone’s names…

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