Lorena Fierro, Taylor Institution Library

A photograph of the exterior of the Taylor Institute Library
The Taylor Institution Library

Hi, I’m Lorena, this year’s Taylor Institution Library trainee. The Taylor Institution is part of the Bodleian Libraries, and caters to students and researchers of modern European languages, linguistics, and film studies—plus hosts significant collections on gender, and bibliography, palaeography and book production.

Built in the 1860s and expanded in the 1930s, the Taylor Institution is an attractive neoclassical building in the centre of Oxford. It attracts not only Modern Languages scholars, but also people looking for a well-lit, comfortable place to work. Working at the Taylorian over the past few weeks has been a hugely interesting experience as I have got used to the building, its collections, and its readers.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working at the Taylorian has been the variety of languages and literatures available within its walls. Our readers and our staff generally have some familiarity with one or more languages in addition to English, and it´s common to hear conversations in Russian, German, French, or Spanish. As a person interested in language and literature, it´s always interesting to see what readers are looking for or requesting.

Also rewarding has been the opportunity to both work on the day-to-day operations of

A photograph of the interior of the Voltaire Room
The Voltaire Room

the library, and get involved in some longer-term projects. Combining working at the desk and assisting readers with project work and more technical tasks makes for varied, entertaining days.


I have also had the opportunity to work in the Sackler Library (which focuses on Ancient History, Archaeology, Art, and Architecture), and the Nizami Ganjavi Library (which covers subjects related to Asia and the Middle East). I have also had the chance to visit other libraries—look out for a future post in the coming weeks on the visit some of us made to the St Edmund Hall library!—and collaborate with staff across the Bodleian Libraries.

As a trainee, I have received nothing but encouragement when it comes to getting involved, learning more, and making changes and improvements in the library. The past few weeks have given me the opportunity to see in practice different aspects of work in academic libraries, and have served to show me a range of possible career paths beyond the traineeship. I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year will bring.

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