Katie Allen, English Faculty Library

Hello everyone! I’m Katie, and for this (admittedly weird) year I’ll be working at the English Faculty Library. In my previous life, I taught English in Japan (as well as a few other places). I came back to the UK early in 2019 and worked in a temporary role at a school library to get a feel for whether a career in librarianship might be for me. I decided it was, applied for the traineeship, and here I am – by the skin of my teeth, as the Bodleian Libraries closed their doors due to COVID-19 measures back in March, only a few hours after my interview took place.

The EFL has now re-opened


Since I started at the English Faculty Library a month ago, the library has gone through several stages of its gradual re-opening plan. We’ve been scanning requested chapters to readers as part of the Bodleian Libraries’ Scan and Deliver service, and we’ve introduced a Click and Collect service too. And as of last week, readers can now book a slot to study in the library again. It’s great to have readers back in, and it’s lovely being part of a small and friendly team. I’m really enjoying the traineeship so far, despite the unusual circumstances. It’s going to be an interesting year, but at least at the EFL we’ve sorted out how to use the kettle in a safe and socially distanced way…


Emma Jambor, English Faculty Library

Hello I’m Emma the new English Faculty Library Trainee! I did my degree in Classical Literature and Civilisation at the University of Birmingham, after which I worked for a year doing administrative work at AQA and some seasonal work at Waterstones. I have had a little experience working in a library as I volunteered in my classics department library for two years whilst I was at university, but otherwise I’m very new to the experience of working in a larger library.

The EFL on a sunny day


The EFL is located on Manor Road in the St. Cross Building which also hosts the Law Library and is next door to the Social Sciences Library. The library has various special collections including the Icelandic collection which is held in the Turville-Petre room. Previously the library hosted the Wilfred Owen Collection which was donated by Mrs Harold Owen in 1975 and consisted of Owen’s personal library displayed exactly as it had been on his shelves. The library is also in the process of reclassifying the old in-house system to LCC so I have been helping shift books before term starts.

Our banned and challenged books display


I have now been working at English Faculty Library for just over a month and I’ve already learnt so much about the different tasks and processes within the library such as; the BSF deliveries, working on the issue desk, processing new books and journals, whilst also drinking lots of tea! Recently as part of my trainee role I created a display on banned books which was really interesting to put together and helped me refresh my knowledge of English Literature. Everyone I work with is really lovely and helpful, as well as our readers, which has helped me settle in. It has been lovely to meet the other trainees and I look forward to the year ahead.

Bryony Davies, English Faculty Library

Hi, I’m Bryony and I am the graduate trainee based at the English Faculty Library this year. I have just finished my MA in Classics & Ancient History at Durham University, where I have been based on and off since 2013 – living down south again has taken some getting used to! While at Durham I spent some time volunteering in the Classics Department Library, but other than that I am very new to the world of Librarianship.

Myself alongside our lovely bust of Tolkien – at the EFL we very much embrace hobbit dining culture… elevenses and afternoon tea breaks are very much encouraged!

The English Faculty Library can be found in the St. Cross Building on the corner of Manor Road. It shares the building with the Bodleian Law Library, and is also just around the corner from The Social Science Library so I can wave to my fellow trainees there on my way in to work. The English Faculty Library was founded in 1914 and functions primarily to serve all those reading and teaching English at Oxford, alongside other readers needing to access the collections held here. The Library holds over 110,000 volumes and subscribes to around 80 current print journals. The collection is catalogued on SOLO, and the majority of the books, except for those in our special collections, are available for loan to registered borrowers. Our special collections consist of the Wilfred Owen Collection, Pre – 1850 Collection, the Napier Collection, the Icelandic Collections, and the Meyerstein Collection.

Two of my favourite items so far in our special collections – an 1895 William Morris edition of Beowulf and our copy of The Elizabethan Zoo: A book of Beasts both Fabulous and Authentic.

So far no one day has been the same here. My duties range from staffing the issue desk, processing new books, processing new DVDs, periodicals management, managing and processing BSF material, banking, PCAS maintenance, creating displays, finding missing books, handling the post, social media (follow us on Instagram: @EFLOXF …. apologies for the shameless plug), shelving, minor book repairs and attending training sessions with the other trainees. The variety of tasks and jobs certainly keeps me on my toes, there is never a dull moment here that’s for sure.

Some books recently sent to repair that were subjected to my version of spinal surgery….

Although I am still only a few weeks in I already feel at home here at the EFL. Everyone here has been so welcoming and helpful, I can’t wait for what the rest of this year has in store.