Megan Holly Burns, Oxford Brookes Library

[all photographs mine — one of the displays at our Headington Library]

I’m Megan, and I’m the Graduate Library Trainee at Oxford Brookes. Before this, I worked in my university library alongside my studies (I graduated this summer with a degree in English Literature from the University of Glasgow). This is the first time Brookes have offered this scheme, so I’m a bit of a guinea pig of sorts! Though I’m undergoing my own training program here at Brookes, I’ve been attached to the Bodleian trainee program in order to attend some of the broader training sessions — best of both worlds! 

I’ve noticed a lot of other trainees talking about working in small teams, and I think this is just one of the ways my experience at Brookes is quite different! I’m currently based in the Customer Services department at Headington (I’ll be moving throughout the departments across the year); here in this department alone we have at least sixteen daytime staff, with an additional group working during out-of-hours periods (the library is staffed until nine o’clock, but is open twenty-four hours a day with swipe-card access). Our building was also built just three years ago lots of open plan spaces, bright colour and glass panelling so I’ve already noticed a huge contrast with the Bodleian buildings we saw on our tour in my first week!

[the Forum, with platform above — very shiny!]

My days are very varied at the moment, which is something I really enjoy. I’m regularly shipped off to other departments to do odd jobs, and at the moment I’m attending lots of different training sessions, too; aside from the Bodleian training program I’m also attached to the Brookes Intern Development Program which is keeping me busy (yesterday we were learning about the Myers Briggs Type Indicator; I thought for sure I was an introvert but I scored a measly nine introvert points compared to seventeen extrovert, so all I really took away from that session was a mild personality crisis).

In a normal day in Customer Service, however, I’ll typically work on the reservation list, collecting and processing (start-of-term horror stories have seen it reach seventy pages!) and then do a couple of hours on the welcome desk, with lots of odd jobs in between. This morning was a bit different I attended a ‘Welcome to Brookes’ training session, in which lots of new staff got to put questions to one of our Pro Vice-Chancellors, and find out more about the ethos of Oxford Brookes (more importantly, there was a free lunch and I ate three varieties of sandwich. Genuinely very exciting). My question was about inclusivity and widening participation at Brookes; I came to university from your average working-class background — first in the family/local girl done good — and found the experience quite daunting for a bit, so it was great to learn that Brookes are doing really good work in this field. It reminded me of a great training session we all attended last week on supporting disabled readers — these principles of inclusivity are ones I’m really hoping to put to good work in the library over the course of the year ahead!

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