Tag Archives: Graduate trainee project

Graduate Trainee Showcase Programme

Sami Anderson-Talbi | New College Library
Though my time in Oxford has been shorter than most, I have found it to be a very rewarding experience. At New College, we have a fantastic team who have kindly put up with me for the past year, and I will be quite sad to leave. The support I have received from colleagues has been great, and I have had the opportunity to take an active role in most aspects of the running an academic library. No day is quite the same in a College library, whether you are dealing with interesting queries (bringing rowing oars into the library is not acceptable) or working with antiquarian texts, there is always something going on. The highlight of the year has been the many visits to other libraries, my favourite being the trip to the Codrington (where my camera frustratingly refused to work). Having said that, I greatly enjoyed discovering a handwritten note hidden within a book, from the author to a prominent politician.

Chantal van den Berg | Bodleian Social Science Library
I had a fantastic time at the SSL and I will be sad to leave! I’ve learned so much and I feel grateful I was given the opportunity to work in such an amazing library. My highlight of the year has been spending time with all my lovely fellow trainees! Next year, I’ll be studying for a distance learning MA in Library and Information Service Management at the University of Sheffield and hopefully I’ll be staying in Oxford!

Connie Bettison | St. John’s College
I’ve enjoyed my year at St John’s Library very much and will be sorry to say goodbye. I feel very lucky to have got the chance to gain valuable experience both in working with readers in the day-to-day running of the library and in working with special collections. Next, I am going to Edinburgh to study for an MSc in Book History and Material Culture and gain more experience working in libraries.

Stephanie Bushell | All Souls College Library
The past year has given me a sense of the diversity of the LIS sector as a whole and the training has allowed me to explore areas of librarianship which I was not familiar with at the start of my traineeship. I particularly enjoyed the talk on the book trade, although if I had to pick a highlight of the training I must admit it’s probably our weekly meet-ups in the Punter post-session! I’ve had an incredible time working at All Souls College and I have met many lovely people over the course of my employment here. The Codrington Library is a really special place and I know I’ll always be in touch with the wonderful people who keep it ticking over. Now that the year is coming to a close I’ve received offers to study Library and Information Studies and Book History at UCL and Edinburgh respectively, and I am looking forward to seeing where the knowledge I’ve picked up here in Oxford will take me in the future.

Tom Cook | Lady Margaret Hall Library
I am currently the graduate trainee at Lady Margaret Hall, having previously worked at the English Faculty Library and St. Catherine’s College. I am also a poet and literary critic: my writing has appeared in the New Statesman, Spectator, Times Literary Supplement, P. N. Review, Ambit, Partisan and elsewhere. I am the chair of the English Faculty’s Twentieth-Century Poetry Reading Group. I am currently compiling and designing The Ash Anthology – a book of poems drawn from Ash, the magazine I have edited for the last two years – which will be available from all good bookshops later this summer.

Tim Dungate | English Faculty Library
I’ve completely loved working in the EFL this year. I arrived from down the road at the SSL, where I was a Library Assistant while I finished my Master’s degree, and it’s been delightful to join the EFL as a Trainee and learn much more about working in academic libraries. Everyone was very welcoming when I began the year, and I’ve been able to take on a pleasingly varied array of duties, with some longer-term projects alongside.
Recently I’ve been shadowing Pip Willcox at the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and I am assisting her in organising a conference jointly hosted between the Bodleian and the Folger Shakespeare Library (which unfortunately means I cannot attend this showcase!).
While I will be extremely sad to leave the EFL, I’m happy to say that I will be remaining in Oxford as a Digitisation Assistant with BDLSS, starting this summer.

Anabel Farrell | Oxford University Archives
One of the many highlights of my year at the University Archives has been researching and responding to the broad range of enquiries that we receive every day. It has enabled me to explore the University’s fascinating records and acquire a good knowledge of the University’s history. It is always particularly rewarding to be able to help an enquirer trace an ancestor who once studied here. I’ll certainly miss the views over Oxford from my office at the top of the Tower of the Five Orders, but I’m not sure I’ll miss the 142 steps it takes to get up there!’

Ashleigh Fowler | Digital Archives
It’s been a non-stop year, but it’s been very enjoyable. I have been working as a digital archives trainee in the Weston Library and studying for a post-graduate diploma in Archives Administration through distance learning, so I’ve been quite busy! There have been many highlights over the year, from my first completed cataloguing projects and working on the conversion project for Benjamin Disraeli’s online catalogue to being able to attend training and talks in different parts of the country and meet archivists from many different institutions, as well as understanding the sacred role of Tea And Cake in an archivist’s workday.

Olivia Freuler | Sackler Library
As my year at the Sackler Library is slowly drawing to a conclusion, I’m looking forward to my next adventure and I hope that I can put some of what I’ve learnt to good use. I am especially grateful to the team here for being so welcoming and taking the time to show me the ropes and teach me what they know. I think the main highlight of this year was delving through a collection of artists’ books for my project. It was great to work with such interesting material and discover new artists that I hadn’t heard of before and learn more about the context in which these books were created. I also really enjoyed visiting other libraries in Oxford and the Book Conservation department in the Weston Library. As for the future, I’m quite interested in continuing to work in Art Libraries, Special Collections or for an Antiquarian Bookseller.

Laura Kondrataite | St. Hilda’s College Library
It’s been an amazing year working at St Hilda’s Library. I have learned a lot about the everyday running of a college library, and have had a chance to assist with and organise exhibitions from the library’s special collections. The knowledge I have gained about the management of special collections and the cataloguing of rare books will come in handy at my new post as a rare books administrator at an auction house.

Amy McMullen | History Faculty Library [Radcliffe Camera]
My year in the Radcliffe Camera team as a trainee has been such an interesting and valuable experience – it is a year I will never forget! As well as working in one of the most beautiful and unique buildings in Oxford, one of my highlights this year has been spending time with the other trainees, getting to know them and sharing our experiences to learn from one another. In September I will be moving to the capital and starting a full-time postgraduate masters degree in Library and Information Studies at University College London, and I am looking forward to making use of all the skills my year at the Bodleian has given me.

Hannah Medworth | Sainsbury Library
In my former role as a teaching assistant, I had the privilege of introducing children to the world of reading in their very first year of school. At the Sainsbury Library, I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt myself in just one year! I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to work alongside dedicated colleagues on a diverse range of projects and tasks, and to take on new responsibilities and expand my skills. Looking ahead, I’m very happy to be continuing as a member of the Sainsbury Library team, in the post of Collections and Instructional Materials Assistant for Executive Education.

Fiona Mossman | Bodleian Law Library
A graduate of English Literature, I’ve been thrown into the Law Library where suddenly I’ve had to become very familiar with folk such as Chitty on Contract or Wilson on Wills (my alliterative favourites), with the structure of the courts and why it matters for referencing, and with a lady called Elizabeth Moys. The Moys reclassification project is ongoing at the library, and it’s been a big part of my year. The Law Library is a great place to work and I’ve enjoyed the variety that being a graduate trainee there brings. Come September I’m planning on continuing my literary education with a Master’s degree at Durham for a year.

David Phillips | Bodleian Social Science Library
My traineeship has been a page turner, and an enlightening introduction to the profession. The Wednesday tours/talks have been a treat and have touched on everything from virtual reality to multi-part items. I have had the privilege of working at the SSL, a wonderful library that never stops trying to innovate (and stir my creative side). I have enjoyed the friendly and supportive working environment and the breadth of work available to me and my fellow SSL trainee. At the end of my traineeship, I hope to remain within the university’s network of academic libraries and sometime thereafter take on a librarianship MA by distance learning.

William Shire | Taylor Institution Library | Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library
This year has been an amazing experience and I’ve loved getting to know the Bodleian Libraries! The highlight of my year at the Taylor and the PTFL has definitely been working in two fantastic teams. I’d never worked at a Faculty Library before and have therefore had to learn a lot throughout the year – a process made a lot easier by both my patient colleagues and the fantastic Wednesday afternoon sessions. Next year I will be staying in Oxford and studying for the distance learning Library MA offered by the University of Sheffield, which I’m very much looking forward to.

Sophie Welsh | Bodleian Library | Reader Services
The highlight of my year has been answering the wide variety of enquiries at the Main Enquiry Desk – we keep a record of the wackiest ones for future amusement. I have especially enjoyed the mini research projects that have come out of some of the enquiries; I’ve researched inter-war shoe catalogues and 19th Century French pharmaceutical periodicals, to name just two. I’ve also been very lucky to have lots of shadowing opportunities, such as a week based in the Collections & Resource Description department (learning about cataloguing processes, acquisitions of monographs and serials, the Legal Deposit operations and e-resources), as well as afternoons shadowing a college librarian and the English & Film subject librarian. I’m hoping to find another library job in Oxford at the end of the trainee year, then in the next few years I would like to do a Master’s in Library Studies and in English Literature (but I haven’t decided which one should come first yet).

Jessica Woodward | Taylor Institution Library | Mansfield College Library
This year has been wonderful and I feel very lucky to have taken part in the trainee scheme. I entered librarianship via part-time jobs at Corpus Christi and St Peter’s Colleges, began the trainee year navigating the Taylorian’s labyrinthine book stacks, and in May 2017 embarked on the new challenge of a maternity-cover Assistant Librarian post at Mansfield College. There have been many highlights, but I’ll particularly value having met so many friendly librarians, handled the Taylorian’s amazing manuscripts, and indulged in Mansfield’s delicious lunches! I’ll be at Mansfield until February 2018 and am excited for the months ahead‘

Harry Wright | Jesus College Library
Having come from a Graduate Traineeship in a busy secondary school library, Jesus College has been a comparative haven of calm! I have particularly enjoyed the higher-level nature of research enquiries, and learning about students’ and researchers’ information needs. I’m currently looking for library work around Oxford and will be spending the next year gaining more experience, hopefully in a slightly different, more specialised role, before going on to qualify.

10:45 | PART I

10:45 – 10:55 | Welcome

10:55 – 11:05 | David Phillips | Bodleian Social Science Library
Visualising the SSL

I use data visualisation to tell you a story about the SSL.

11:05 – 11:10 | Chantal van den Berg | Bodleian Social Science Library
Can Inductions be Made More Interesting

My trainee project focuses on how to make library inductions more interesting for students. Readers receive a lot of information on how to use the library during these sessions, and we hope that short videos made with PowToon will make it easier to digest the information and to keep the reader’s attention.

11:10 – 11:15 | Stephanie Bushell | All Souls College Library
You shall not pass’: Or, an attempt to survey, shift and deaccession collections in two not-so-accessible areas.

My project will involve managing two collections under the jurisdiction of the Codrington Library to which we have (very) limited access. This project will involve surveying and rearranging the existing collections with a view to deaccessioning extraneous material. I also plan to cover some highlights of my time here in the Codrington.

11:15 – 11:25 | William Shire | Taylor Institution Library | Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library
A Year at the Bodleian – A Comparison of Two Libraries

Throughout my Trainee year, I have worked at two different Bodleian Libraries – the Taylor Institution Library and the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library. The projects I have been involved in throughout my year have therefore been varied – ranging from the creation of a blog post and a Powerpoint presentation for the Library Information Screen to an extended reclassification project. My presentation will therefore detail these projects and reflect on how the similarities and differences between the two libraries I have worked in have affected them.

11:25 – 11:35 | Jessica Woodward | Taylor Institution Library | Mansfield College Library
Two Taylorian Projects and a Term at Mansfield

In this presentation, I will discuss the trainee projects I undertook at the Taylorian: creating a flow chart to help staff process donated books, and writing a blog post on some fascinating hidden treasures from the Rare Books Room. I will then take attendees on a virtual tour of the Mansfield College Library – where I currently work – and explore some of the differences between college libraries and Bodleian libraries.

11:35 – 11:45 | Questions

11:45 – 12:00 | Morning Break

 

12:00 | PART II

12:05 – 12:15 | Amy McMullen | History Faculty Library [Radcliffe Camera]
Reading List Provision in Undergraduate History

Serving one of the largest faculties at Oxford and meeting the demands of hundreds of varied and often complex reading lists that make up our undergraduate History degrees is a challenge to the staff at the History Faculty Library. With growing popularity of Reading List management software, I wanted to help our library assess its current procedure by investigating how other academic libraries deal with reading list provision and whether we can use that to improve our practice.

12:15 – 12:25 | Hannah Medworth | Sainsbury Library
From Eureka to Egrove: A journey into embedded library provision for Executive Education

A year of change at the Sainsbury Library has provided me with some exciting experiences. As I share snapshots of several projects and tasks, from managing research repository submissions to providing copyright clearance for reading lists, I will reflect on the skills I have learnt along the way. Finding myself in the unique world of an Executive Education library, I investigate what makes this type of provision distinctive, and explore some recent and ongoing developments to meet the evolving demands on library services.

12:25 – 12:35 | Sophie Welsh | Bodleian Library [Reader Services]
Relegating the Bodleian Library’s Handlists

Methodically adding information and detail to ALEPH records for Bodleian open shelf items so that the handlists (card catalogues) are no longer required.

12:35 – 12:45 | Fiona Mossman | Bodleian Law Library
Just keep moving: Moys, moves, and miscellanea at the Bodleian Law Library

Between renovation work and reclassification work, the library and its books have been on the move lately. My part in that has been in my contributions to the moving of the Reserve collection, early on in my post, my ongoing reclassification work, and the upcoming ‘mega-Moys’ move in the summer. These will be the main focus of my talk, together with some mini-projects that I’ve undertaken throughout the year.

12:45 – 12:55 | Questions

12:55 – 13:25 | Buffet Lunch

 

13:25 | PART III

13:30 – 13:50 | Guest Speaker | Andrew Bax

Andrew Bax has had a long and successful career in publishing, culminating in the creation of his own medical publishing house, Radcliffe Publishing.  Since the sale of that company, he has been producing fiction under the imprint Bombus Books and has been involved in various charitable ventures.  He will be sharing some entertaining stories from his professional life, with a focus on his experiences of working with some big names of 20th-century publishing.

13:50 – 13:55 | Questions

 

13:55 | PART IV

14:00 – 14:10 | Ashleigh Fowler | Digital Archives
The Archives of Hilary Bailey and of The Macirone Family

A talk on the process of cataloguing two different archives; one of the science fiction and general fiction writer, Hilary Bailey, the other of the Victorian middle class Macirone family.

14:10 – 14:20 | Connie Bettison | St. John’s College
Working with Modern Literary Papers

Over the past year at St John’s, I have spent part of my time working with the library’s modern literary special collections. In an ongoing project, I am cataloguing some personal papers of A.E. Housman and uploading the records onto ArchivesHub: an update from a typescript card catalogue of basic information. Using the broader collection of literary papers, the exhibition I arranged for the start of Trinity Term showcases a collection of the Library’s literary letters.

14:20 – 14:30 | Olivia Freuler | Sackler Library
Artists’ books at the Sackler Library

A brief look into the world of artist’s books and an introduction to the collection originally donated to the Taylor Institution Library by W.J. Strachan and now housed in the Sackler’s Archive Room.

14:30 – 14:40 | Questions

14:40 – 14:55 | Afternoon Break

 

14:55 | Part V

15:00 – 15:10 | Laura Kondrataite | St. Hilda’s College Library
The Golden Age of Children’s Literature

The presentation will give an insight to the organisation of and topics covered in an exhibition on Victorian children’s literature from St Hilda’s College library’s special collections.

15:10 – 15:20 | Harry Wright | Jesus College Library
Creating a Welfare Collection in 10 Easy Steps

This presentation will outline the expansion and development of Jesus College’s Welfare & Student Support Collection, an ongoing project which I have led. Issues of privacy and confidentiality are crucial to such a collection, but how feasible are they in the context of a busy working library?

15:20 – 15:30 | Sami Anderson-Talbi | New College Library
Proposals on Space and Collection Management for the Law Reading Room of New College Library

An investigation into the current configuration of the Law Reading Room, with proposed changes to how both space and collection management can be improved. Also including results of a recent survey of our readers, which focused on the provision of study space in the library

15:30 – 15:40 | Tom Cook | Lady Margaret Hall Library
The Literary Treasures of LMH

An account of planning, compiling and launching a successful exhibition from our comparatively limited rare-books collection. This culminated in a sold-out evening event, with guest talks from Simon Armitage and a DPhil researcher called Noreen Masud, which was open to the public and packed out the Old Library hall here in college.

15:40 – 15:50 | Questions

15:50 – 16:00 | Thanks

Enquiries:jessica.woodward@mansfield.ox.ac.uk or david.phillips@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
This programme may be subject to change.

End of Year 2015 – Emma Quinlan

Officially, our first academic term as trainees has come to an end! Well done all! We’ve had many highs – who can forget the ‘getting stuck in a lift at the trainee reception’ episode or more recently the epic selfie with the Bodley’s Librarian, Richard Ovenden at the Bodleian Xmas Party. We have had many training sessions on a variety of subjects from Supporting Disabled Readers to How to Become a Qualified Librarian (a very informative and useful session, I might add). I think one of the highlights of the first academic term was to visit the Book Storage Facility (or BSF for short) in Swindon. A place so large it is staggering in its entirety (FYI it has 153 miles of shelving and can hold up to 8.4 million books) and very reminiscent of that famous scene in Harry Potter where Ginny Weasley causes the bottled prophecies to come crashing down in the Department of Mysteries….

BSF Swindon

BSF Swindon (Thank you, last trainee cohort for providing the pic!)

Well that’s what it looked like to me! Anyway, this first term has been an eye opener to the big world of Librarianship and I for one, cannot wait to get stuck into the training next term. First we just have to get through the festive period and all the joys that entails!

Merry Christmas everyone and have a wonderful New Year!

Organising the Trainee Showcase (Part Two), Emily Delahaye

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 before hand, 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!

Key Skills

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 

Organising the Trainee Showcase, Anja Badock

Each year the traineeship at Oxford ends with a Showcase where all of the trainees have the opportunity to speak about their experience as a trainee at their library. This can be about a particular project they have been involved in or more generally about what they have learnt and enjoyed about the year.

This year I organised the Showcase along with Emily Delahaye from the Sainsbury Library. I must admit to having been a little nervous when I heard I would be expected to present in front of an audience as I’m sure were many of my peers. This is why when an email was circulated asking for volunteers to organise the event I decided to get involved.  Not only would it be a good chance to gain experience of organising an event (which is something I had never done before), but I figured that by being involved in the planning stages I would feel more confident on the day. I am pleased to say that I think my theory worked. I still felt a bit nervous when I stepped up to present, but I came away from the day feeling really proud of myself and I know that when I need to present in front of a large group again in the future, it will seem less intimidating.

Bodleian Social Science Library

Bodleian Social Science Library

Getting Started

I could talk for much longer about my experience of presenting, but I really want to talk to you about my experience of organising the Trainee Showcase. Knowing where to begin when we first started organising the event was quite daunting. We were lucky, however, to have the assistance of Tamsyn from the Staff Development department who explained how the Showcase has worked in previous years and helped us get a sense of the different tasks we would be responsible for organising.

Once we had a general impression about what the Showcase entailed, we started out by agreeing upon a few key things:

–          What we needed to do

–          Who would do what

–          When things needed to be completed

Making these decisions straight away made the rest of the process run very smoothly. By dividing up responsibilities we were able to share the workload so that the Showcase didn’t take too much time away from our normal jobs. We also made sure to start things off as early as possible so that we wouldn’t be rushing to get everything ready at the last minute. This also had the added bonus that if something unexpected happened (such as Emily or I became ill) we would still have time to get everything ready.

What did I do?

  1. Contacting Trainees

We started off by emailing all of the trainees to give them a basic idea of what the Showcase would be like. Once we had given everyone a chance to think about what they would like to present about, we then contacted the trainees again to ask them for the following information:

–          Whether they would be able to attend the Showcase

–          What they planned to present about

–          A short biography of themselves

–          Any dietary requirements for the buffet lunch

The main reason we needed this information was to help us produce a programme of the day that could be sent out to everyone we planned to invite. Knowing how many trainees would be speaking would help us divide up the day evenly and we wanted to add as much detail as possible about each trainee and what they would be speaking about to help our invitees decide which part of the day to come along for if they were unable to attend the entire event.

I created a spreadsheet to record attendance and dietary information and I saved each trainees biographies and presentation information in a folder. This made the information easily accessible when it was needed.

Image - mouse

  1. Sending  Invitations

When we had received everything we needed from the trainees we could start creating the programme to be sent out with our invitations. It was quite easy to put the programme together, but it was more difficult to decide on timings. There were a few keys parts of the day that couldn’t be too massively altered such as lunchtime (no one wants lunch at 11.15am), but we were also restricted by the start time as well as the number of trainees we had presenting. After some work, we managed to timetable the day quite well.

Next was to send out invitations. The trainees’ Supervisors were all invited as well as everyone who had spoken to us or trained us over the year. Due the fantastic and varied training programme offered as part of the Oxford traineeship this was a very large list of people! As with receiving details from the trainees, we needed a central location to record responses. To make this easier, I asked all those invited to contact me and I created a spreadsheet to record who would be attending and whether they had any dietary requirements.

  1. Organising Catering

We decided to offer a buffet lunch which would allow everyone in attendance to get a chance to circulate and chat with each other. We were conscious that this could be a good opportunity to people to ask questions and share feedback about the presentations we had seen so far.

Using the spreadsheets I created for recording attendance made organising the catering very straightforward. I could easily calculate how many people would require lunch as well as pass on dietary information.

This information had to be passed on to the caterers at least a week before the event which was made easy by the fact that we had contacted the trainees and sent out invitations quite a long time in advance.

 Key Skills

Obviously the main skill needed for running the Showcase was organisation. Emily and I spent time at the start planning what exactly needed to be done and we were able to reach our objectives through good time management.

Looking back at the organisation Emily and I did for the Showcase has made me realise that it was not just all about planning, but communication was also actually a big element. We needed to be able to communicate with each other so that we didn’t become confused or disorganised. We also needed to communicate with our fellow trainees, with those who were invited to the Showcase and with many other people. In these instances, we always tried our best to be friendly and approachable as well as to make our messages clear and informative so that everyone knew what was happening.Image - computer

Another common theme was being able to record information accurately and efficiently. It would have been a real challenge to plan the timings of presentations or know how many chairs to place out in the room if we hadn’t recorded people’s replies clearly.

How do I think it went?

I really enjoyed organising the Trainee Showcase because it taught me a lot about how to plan an event and it has shown me that I am very good at managing my time and strategizing. I also thoroughly enjoyed getting to work closely with Emily which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise because we work in different libraries.

The day itself was a little nerve-wracking, but thanks to the positive audience and our careful preparation before the day, everything ran smoothly and I can even say I enjoyed myself! The trainees all did a fantastic job at presenting. Everyone had clearly taken time to plan a professional presentation and it was a pleasure to discover how varied each of our experiences and projects have been.

Overall, I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to organise the Trainee Showcase. It has taught a lot about event management as well as about my own strengths and weaknesses. If you are ever offered the chance to challenge yourself, as I was in this case, I highly recommend you take it…

Anja Badock, Graduate Trainee, Bodleian Social Science Library

St John’s College Library Graduate Trainee Project, Joanne Hilliar

Curating a Special Collections exhibition on the theme of war

As I am unable to attend at the trainee showcase, I’ve written an account of my trainee project at St John’s Library instead, covering the process of organising a themed exhibition of rare books and manuscripts.

One of the reasons I applied for the traineeship at St John’s College Library was due to its fascinating range of extensive Special Collections, and the chance to explore and work with these as part of my day-to-day tasks. Items housed in the library date back to the 9th century and include some 400 manuscripts, 20,000 early printed books and significant collections of modern literary papers. In order to give College members the chance to learn more about these, we organise exhibitions displaying a number of items of interest twice a year. Each exhibition is based around a particular theme, with recent topics including a Classical A to Z and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Knowing that I would be setting up my exhibition in April, I decided to get started as early as possible and began thinking of possible themes (which gave me a great excuse to explore the collections themselves!) Three topics stood out as possibilities; witchcraft, alchemy and war. However, it turned out that we didn’t have enough variety of material to justify a witchcraft exhibition. Left with two options, I eventually decided on the theme of war – despite it not being an area I know much about – as I thought it tied in well with the marking of the centenary of WWI this year. War has become a prevalent theme in the media, with an increased topical and cultural presence.

The exhibition poster and handlist cover picture

I then had a closer look at the items I could display – choosing war as a topic made it easy to ensure that the exhibition could cover all our collections, from a 13th century Egyptian manuscript, to 17th century early printed books, to the modern literary papers of Robert Graves and Spike Milligan. The Librarian and Deputy Librarian, having a wider knowledge of the library’s collections, both suggested items to include, and I then decided on the final order. I intended this to be fully chronological, but logistical considerations (making sure all the items would actually fit in the exhibition cases without being damaged!) made this difficult. The first three cases are therefore based around different themes, before the exhibition moves on chronologically to cover the 16th to the 20th century. It sounds slightly confusing but I think it works! I learned that one of the most important things was trying to include a balance of text and image in each section in order to maintain the viewer’s interest.

The information I give in my captions for the exhibition obviously had to be meticulously researched, before being checked by the Librarian. Part of this research involved consulting a 19th century book in the Taylor Institution Library, which was a lovely place to work in and made me feel very studious!

After the exhibition was finally set up, I looked into how best to promote it. As well as using channels already in existence, such as posters, the library website and Facebook page, I took the opportunity to increase the library’s social media presence by posting on the St John’s College Twitter account and setting up a Special Collections blog for the library, (http://stjohnscollegelibrary.wordpress.com), with the first post focusing on the content of the exhibition. The College President’s Executive Assistant also included details about it in the monthly College events flyer. This part of the process showed me another important side to Special Collections work; the fact that good communication skills, both online and face-to-face, are essential in an sector which relies on gaining funding and developing innovative ways to engage readers to ensure its relevance in an increasingly digitally-focused society.

Promotion of the exhibition in the College events flyer

The range of tasks involved in completing this project reflects the opportunities the trainee scheme as a whole has given me – I’ve really enjoyed the combination of reader services and Special Collections work that being part of a College library team entails. The other projects I have been involved epitomise this variety; from sorting through 19th century letters and cataloguing Spike Milligan’s literary papers, to setting up general interest book displays and providing free squash and biscuits to students during exam time!

A selection of the treats on offer as part of our daily ‘squash and biscuits’ breaks

Overall, I feel that all of these projects and tasks, along with the training sessions provided by the Bodleian scheme, have given me excellent practical knowledge and experience of academic libraries, something I look forward to exploring in an academic context during my MA in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield.

Library Trainee Day in the Life (Emily Delahaye, Sainsbury Library)

Hi everyone! Last year the trainees blogged about a typical day in the life in their respective libraries so I thought I would do the same – this is what my day as a trainee generally looks like!

8.30 am – Arrive at the library and settle in. Once a week I open up the library – this involves picking up copies of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal to put in the library, emptying the book return box, sweeping the library for lost property and books left on desks, and checking that all the lights are switched on and that there is paper in the printers.

8.45 am – The whole team helps to shelve books that were put into the book return box overnight. If its term time, then we can have quite a few shelves of books to sort through, but everyone working together makes this quite a speedy process!

9.00 am – 10.15 am – Every day I spend four hours on the enquiry desk, either in the morning or after lunch. If I’m on the desk in the morning, I first sort through all the emails in the library inbox, forwarding them on to the relevant people or responding to them myself. When the post arrives there might be new issues of journals or new books for me to process and label, which is a task I quite enjoy.

10.15 am – Normally on my morning break I will go down and get a coffee in the excellent cafe we have in the Said Business School.

10.30 am – 1.00 pm – After my break I will continue to work on the enquiry desk. During term time I will be mainly dealing with student enquiries. Typical enquiries I receive include: how to find a book in the library, how to get access to one of the electronic databases we subscribe to, how to use the printing system and how to order books from the Bodleian Storage Facility (BSF). Around this time in the morning, the books students have previously ordered from the BSF will arrive, so I will check these in and lock them away securely.

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm – Lunch break!

2.00 pm – 5.00 pm – In the afternoon, if I’m not on the enquiry desk I will be at my own desk in the library office. During these hours I work on various projects, such as helping with the reclassification of parts of the library to the library of congress system. Otherwise, I might be uploading files to the library’s student project database, where current students can read their predecessors’ dissertations which helps with writing their own. Recently we had a book sale in the library, so I spent some time making a list of everything we were selling, so we could keep track, and also taking pictures of the books so we could advertise them to students.

I’m over half way through my traineeship now and I’m still really enjoying working at the Sainsbury Library – my colleagues are very encouraging and have often let me be part of the work they do, which has given me a detailed insight into the world of librarianship!

Trainee project showcase – From QEH to LoC: reclassifying pamphlets in the SSL

For our trainee project we have been reclassifying the pamphlets in the SSL from an in-house classification scheme to Library of Congress. The pamphlets came over from the International Development Centre at Queen Elizabeth House in 2005 and cover a huge range of topics including constitutional and conference publications, political and economic reports. Some of these pamphlets are actually the only copies held in Oxford and often date back to the 1940’s and 50’s, so altogether they make a really interesting, almost archival collection.

Why was the reclassification needed? We are still using the shelf marks from QEH, whereas the rest of the SSL uses Library of Congress, which is familiar to our readers and they can already navigate it. Also, the boxes were messy, with unequal amounts in them, and were underused. We hope that reclassifying the section will improve their use and accessibility.

After a brief explanation of Library of Congress classification the presentation then shows the steps we go through in order to assign each pamphlet with a new shelfmark. This involves looking at the item’s MARC record to find the subject heading which can then be used to find a relevant shelfmark on Classificationweb. The final part of the shelfmark is then constructed using information taken from the MARC record such as the author’s name and the publication date. Once a new shelfmark has been found we then update the holdings so that the new shelfmark appears on the catalogue. By processing the reclassified pamphlets in the same way and keeping them all in one section we hope that they will be easy for staff and readers to find.

The project has been going really well, and we are making steady progress. We won’t finish the whole section, but we will be passing it on to another member of staff. It has been an enjoyable project, especially getting to read the pamphlets! It’s also been a fantastic opportunity to learn assigning original classification, which is a really useful skill that not everyone has the chance to learn, especially as a graduate trainee.

Trainee project showcase – Antiquarian books in the History Faculty Library

On 13 July, as Becci has said, the Graduate Trainees held our project showcase, where we shared the projects we have been working on this year.  The other presentations from the showcase are available here, and some are also in this blog.

My trainee project was making a record of a collection of antiquarian books that are kept in closed stacks in the History Faculty Library.  Most are from the 18th and 19th century; a dozen are older, and there are also some 20th-century books there because of their special provenance.  The majority of the books are not catalogued electronically, though they are classified.  The outcomes were:

  1. A spreadsheet document listing the books with information such as publication details, provenance and interesting annotations.  This can, I hope, be used by HFL staff and Bodleian Special Collections staff, who are ultimately responsible for all the Special Collections material in the Bodleian Libraries, in making informed decisions about the future of the collection.
  2. An HFL Rare Books blog with a post for each title in the collection, which is intended for use by readers.  It can be reached from the HFL’s website.

I was very pleased to be able to work with antiquarian books, as it is an aspect of librarianship I was interested in finding out more about (I still am, though I’m not sure I would want to work with them all the time).  I wasn’t expecting to do so much with computers and Web 2.0, but I am glad that it turned out that way, as it gave me the chance to consider aspects of library marketing and outreach, and also to think about describing books using tags and categories.

The presentation includes photos of some highlights of the collection, which are listed below.

The images of individual books are:

  1. Hickes, George: Linguarum vett. septentrionalium thesaurus / Antiquæ literaturæ septentrionalis libri duo, Vol. 1 (a book interesting for its content alone)
  2. Henrici de Bracton de legibus & consuetudinibus Angliæ libri quinq[ue] (the oldest book in the HFL, unless it’s an elaborate hoax)
  3. Prynne, William: The history of King John, King Henry III. and the most illustrious King Edward the I (probably the oldest annotations in the HFL – can anyone read the words next to the price and date?)
  4. Jolliffe, J. E. A.: The constitutional history of medieval England from the English settlement to 1485, Vol. 2 (the other end of the age-range: 20th-century author’s working copy, rebound with notes for 2nd edition)
  5. Ellis, Henry, Sir, ed.: Registrum vulgariter nuncupatum “The record of Caernarvon” (annotations showing reader – probably Edgar Bennett – engaging with text.  A recurring feature is transcription of Old Welsh place/personal names into Modern Welsh orthography)
  6. Madox, Thomas: Formulare anglicanum (belonged  to the Greenfield Doggett family, who seem to have found an ancestor in the text)
  7. Thurloe, John: A collection of the state papers of John Thurloe, Esq., Vol. 3 (contains rubbing and fragment of a previous spine)
  8. Scotland statutes: The acts of the parliaments of Scotland, Vol. 11 (found with large patch of mould extending inwards from front cover.  Now treated by conservators and safe)

Library Day in the Life – Bodleian Social Science Library

I had intended to blog about a week for the Library day in the Life project, but failed to note down anything past Tuesday morning. In any case, I think Monday was quite an accurate representation of an average term-time day as a Graduate Trainee at the Social Science Library.

 

Monday 24th January, 2011

8.40 – I arrived early, my usual start time is 9am, to open up. As there are three of us opening up, it gets done pretty quickly. I log onto the issue desk PCs, but as they take a while to get going, I open up the different rooms; Large and Small discussion rooms, IT training room, and the lesser used media room. I also switch on the Sunray computers, which are open access straight to the online catalogue and internet, and make sure the photocopiers are full of paper.

9.00 – I check my post tray, which has a room booking slip from the evening staff, which they didn’t have time to complete. As it’s a booking for this afternoon, I turn on my computer and can check the library emails first.

9.10 – I open up Microsoft Outlook and have a quick scan of my own emails… I’ve been offered an interview for UCL! And there’s no one in the workroom to tell (Lauren doesn’t get in til 9.45)! I open up the main library email account. Mostly it’s emails that can be moved straight into a folder, or simply forwarded on, but there are also a few cancellations for the Graduate Search Clinics. This can be quite frustrating, as we had a lot of trouble with more bookings than spaces. There are also two messages about reader’s accounts that are blocked due to invoiced books that were actually returned. I clear up their accounts, and explain the mistake and apologise.

9.30 – I do the room booking from my post tray and a couple of others from the emails, and print out the posters.

9.45 – Lauren arrives, and checks the printer for invoices. There aren’t any today, so I clear my desk a little. I have accumulated a pile of books for the beginnings of our trainee project. We will be creating an online guide to good academic writing, using LibGuide software. I add the details of these books to our growing bibliography, and put them out on the shelving trolleys behind the issue desk. Meanwhile, Lauren has started on the claimed returns. The SSL is a very busy lending library, and as such it’s often easy to miss a book here or there when scanning in. It is the trainee’s job to search for these twice, email the reader to check at home and any other libraries they use, and then make the book missing if it isn’t found.

10.00 – We send out a Graduate Search Clinic reminder email, and invoice a reader who knows book is lost before the automated invoice is sent out. For this I check the price on Dawsons, add an administrative hold and a message block on the reader’s account, and send the letter to their college address.

10.20 – We set to work on our other project. This will be reclassifying the pamphlets into Library of Congress, and we need to write a poster to let readers know. While I’m doing this, I’m handed a phone message from the desk voicemail, and vaguely remember the person and why they were calling. It was an academic who has been in and out of the country recently, whose books have reached invoicing point. He had been confused about the process and wanted them renewed, so I had asked the Reader Services Librarian if we could make an exception.

11 – Tea break. There are chocolate muffins and banana cake.

11.20 – I have a look at the academic’s account and read through our previous correspondence to familiarise before I phone him back. I hate phoning people, so I try to write down the steps of what I will say! I also have a brief look through the minutes from last week’s Reader Services meeting, which I missed due to some training.

12-12.30 – I’m on desk duty, and as it’s a quiet moment, I phone the academic, and once I’ve hung up I put together a formal email with breakdown of account, which he requested since it was a confused situation.

12.30 – Lunch.

1.30-2.30 – I’m on the desk again for an hour. It’s mostly PCAS problems, deciphering what people actually want; “I’m looking for [title said really fast]. It’s here”. It turns out a lecturer had asked the library to keep some of his own books behind desk for his students to consult, but it can get confusing as we have offprints, core course (3hr loans), reservations, and stack requests behind the desk.

2.45 – The stack requests arrive from the Bodleian. We get two deliveries a day, but the trainees only have to process the afternoon delivery. We have a 3pm deadline, but they have been late getting to the library recently. We have to check the items are right, scan them on OLIS, and we are still putting in red ‘This book cannot be removed from the library’ slips when students start asking for them. A wrong item has also been sent to us; part of the shelf mark 220 is mistaken for 200 (this happens fairly often). I help on the desk a little, as it gets busy on the hour when students come out from lectures, and answer some PCAS queries (I turn it off and on again).

3.30 – I check the emails yet again! I also look up the phone number for H Floor of the Bodleian to get the right book sent.

4.00 – tea break

4.30 – I phone the stacks to send the correct book, and email the reader to let them know it’s delayed but on its way. Then it’s onto some shelving. The SSL has a standard of re-shelving books within two days, and confined (reference only) books and journals within one day, which means before shelving we need to check what’s next on the list and tick it off when we’re done. I shelve until the end of the day, and then it’s time to pile on my layers and fetching high-vis vest, and cycle home.

A project update

Progress has been a little bit slow on my project over the last few weeks. I came to a stand still over a few technique problems that I have been having. I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of them. Despite getting hold of a webcam fairly easily to record the video part of my project it has been much more difficult to begin the process of recording the footage. It was very easy to record a test with no sound and save it on my computer. However then came the realisation that in order to include it in my Captivate project I would have to change the file format from WMV to AVI! I am no technology wiz so this completely stumped me. However thanks to our wonderful resident IT expert who found a program that converts files from WMV to AVI  on the internet which is free to download I was able to convert the file into a format that Captivate could recognise. The site that we downloaded it from is www.freewarezoom.com/archives/free-wmv-avi-mpeg-converter .

So once I had a video file in the correct format my next challenge was to find out how to add it to the Captivate project. Once again I was rescued from going round in circles by our IT expert who explained that you have to add the video as an animation. I also discovered for myself that if you want to record just one video for the whole project, rather than a video for each slide, you just need to add the animation to your first slide and then choose the option for the animation to play for the whole project.

I was excited because I thought I could finally start to move forward with the project so I booked a room at the Said Business School ready to make my first attempt at recording the actual video. However I quickly realised that the sound from the external microphone I was using wasn’t being picked up and recorded as part of the webcam video. So here I am ground to a holt again but with our resident expert on the case it shouldn’t be too long before I can record the video with sound!! I am currently on the hunt for a good desktop microphone as using a headset microphone didn’t look very professional. I also found some very useful information from the links in Laura ’s post on her Law library trainee project blog relating to screen capturing (http://lawbodtraineeproject.wordpress.com/ ). Hopefully my next post will tell you how I have completed my first video guide.