Josie Fairley Keast, Bodleian Law Library

Hi, I’m Josie, the current Academic Services trainee in the Law Library. Earlier this year I graduated from the University of Aberdeen, where I did a joint MA (undergrad MA, it’s a Scottish thing) in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies and English alongside a sustained study in jazz saxophone. At the beginning of 2021 I knew I was definitely interested in some sort of postgraduate study, but wasn’t sure which area to pursue, and was also keen to get some practical experience after a year of mostly-remote learning. Although I’ve been interested in librarianship for a while, I didn’t know about these traineeships until a friend who’d previously done one suggested I apply- that conversation happened just a couple of weeks before the Bodleian deadline, so I feel very lucky to be here at all! My previous experience comes from volunteering in my school library, various customer service positions, and assorted musician shenanigans; surprisingly, I think the thing that’s been most relevant to my new role so far is the music librarianship work I did for student ensembles. That job mostly involved un-breaking the photocopiers (I swear they can tell when you’re doing something at the last minute) and getting a lot of sheet music to the right place and time in the right order, so wrangling the Bookeye scanner into fulfilling scan-and-deliver requests feels reassuringly familiar at times.

As someone whose prior law knowledge is either medieval or minimal, the first few weeks of the traineeship have been a big learning curve: so many law reports! so many abbreviations! so many tiny hidden staircases that somehow never come out quite where I expect them to! The Law Library involves an incredible range of resources and services, and my role as the AS trainee currently feels like a strange race as I attempt to get enough of a head start on the freshers to actually understand what I’ll be helping out with. However, I enjoy a challenge, and I’m really looking forward to getting into term-time activities as we welcome students back to the library. Once I get to grips with things like the difference between Halsbury and Hansard, learn how to read case citations, and stop getting lost in Official Papers, I think that this is going to be a hugely rewarding year.

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