Anja has already covered the getting started process in her blog post, so I’ll cover what tasks I tackled and my experience of the day!
What did I do?
1. Finding Guest Speakers
I took responsibility for finding guest speakers from the world of library and information management in Oxford for the showcase. Anja and I decided that we wanted to have speakers that had previously been trainees, as they would be able to give us good advice on what to do once we had finished our year here. To find some suitable people I looked through the graduate trainee blog and also LinkedIn.
We were very lucky to have three guest speakers at the event – Alice Nelson, the librarian at Hertford College, Helen Matthews, the assistant librarian at Nuffield College and Laura Cracknell, the librarian at Pembroke College. They decided amongst themselves to cover in turn; what the traineeship was like, what postgraduate study involves and then career advice for after the traineeship and the course.
2. Blog posts
Unfortunately, not all of the trainees were able to attend the showcase. In order that there was still a record of what they achieved visible at the event, I emailed non-attending trainees to request that they write a blog post about their project and their year at Oxford. At the event, we displayed these blog posts on some of the computers, so that the showcase guests could see the wide variety of projects we had this year. You can see their posts below.
3. Collecting the presentations
In order to make the day run as smoothly as possible I collated all of the trainees’ presentations beforehand, so that they could be accessed on the same USB stick. This avoided needing to plug in 13 different sticks/access 13 different email accounts on the day. I just had to be careful to not forget the USB stick in the morning!
4. Planning in the immediate run-up to the event
Anja and I got together shortly before the showcase to plan the practicalities of the day itself. Luckily, we had some volunteers to help us on the day – Eóin Davies, Diana Hackett and Emma Jones! We worked out when we needed to arrive to set up, go down to collect the tea and coffee urns, and then the lunch, how many people we needed to send to carry these things and how we would clear away for the next event. I also planned what we would say to start the day, introduce the guest speakers, and close the day. Thanks to our planning, the day itself went surprisingly smoothly!
Before the showcase, I didn’t have much experience of presenting information in front of strangers, so this was a challenge. I knew that I needed to try to make what I was presenting interesting and relevant, so I thought a lot about my audience when writing my speech. I practiced a lot so that I didn’t need to check my cue cards too much as well. As I was presenting on something close to me, it was easy to be enthusiastic! The showcase has introduced me to making formal presentations on my work, which I’m sure will be handy further down the line.
Like Anja, I also feel that organising the showcase has also given me some new skills. It’s been great to work so closely in a team, corresponding through email and on the phone as our libraries are in opposite sides of town. We’ve had to plan ahead, divide tasks, manage our time well and liaise with lots of different people – all this has given us a taste of what organising an event can involve.
How do I think it went?
Pretty well, I think! I really enjoyed seeing all of the presentations, hearing what the guest speakers had to say and meeting lots of new people over coffee and lunch. It was interesting to hear about what everyone had achieved this year, after hearing snippets about people’s projects at training sessions.
Overall, I’ve had a really great year in Oxford, and I feel that I’ve learnt a lot in my library! This Autumn I am going on to study for an MA in Library and Information Studies at UCL, which I’m excited about. It’s been a pleasure to meet all the other trainees, a few of whom I will be seeing at UCL