Juliet Brown, Old Bodleian Library

A view of the Old Bod, featuring the ‘Great Gate’

Hi! I’m Juliet, the Graduate Library Trainee at the Old Bodleian Library.

The Old Bod is aptly named, as it is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. The library comprises of three historic reading rooms: the Lower Reading Room, the Upper Reading Room and Duke Humfrey’s Library.

The latter is the oldest part of the building, which opened to scholars in 1602 – it also happens to be where I carry out most of my computer work, which is very cool! In addition, ten years ago the library was extended to include a fourth reading room in the Lower Gladstone Link, which is situated under the Radcliffe Camera, and connects to the Old Bod via an incredible space-age tunnel.

Before applying to the trainee scheme, I was working in a local pub, and prior to that I completed my degree in Politics and Modern History at the University of Manchester. I began to strongly consider librarianship as a career during the pandemic, and I was lucky enough to gain a position in a public library over the summer. I absolutely loved my time in this role – it made me realise how much I enjoyed working directly with people, whilst also taking advantage of my organisational skills.

The view from the gallery, Duke Humfrey’s



To reiterate some of the other trainees, you absolutely don’t need to have library experience to apply for the role. In my current role I use so many skills I have gained from working in customer service, but also from my volunteering positions in school libraries, charities, community organisations and archives – value the experience you have and don’t undersell yourself.

As of today, it has officially been one month since I started working in the Old Bod, and I still can’t believe that I’m here. The trainee scheme is undeniably an incredible opportunity to learn, and I am looking forward to seeing how the role develops as the year goes on.

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