Farewell from the 2018-19 Trainees

As the 2018-19 trainee scheme draws to a close, we have listed our immediate plans for the future in this blog post. Hopefully this will be useful to anyone thinking of applying to the scheme, or for the next cohort of trainees to have some sense of where they might be heading in a year’s time. All the best to the new trainees starting in September, and good luck to any future applicants to the scheme.

 

Alex Plane, New College

I’m going to be doing the full-time Library and Information Studies MA at UCL, with a focus on manuscripts, palaeography and historical bibliography. I’ll also be working part-time at New College Library as Special Collections Curatorial Assistant.

 

Amy Douglas, St Hugh’s College

I’ve loved my trainee year at St Hugh’s – the work has been diverse and interesting, my colleagues (and the cats) are lovely, and the training sessions have been really useful. I’ll be staying on at St Hugh’s for another 2 years as a Library Assistant, while doing the long-distance Library and Information Services Management MA course at the University of Sheffield. After that, who knows? Might stay in Oxford, or might try and find a Librarian position back home in Scotland. I’ve enjoyed working in an academic library with a modern working collection, so I’ll probably look for roles in similar libraries (but won’t limit myself). The trainee scheme has taught me a lot, and has been an excellent gateway into the profession. Made some friends too – I’m sure we’ll help one another through the masters.

 

Flapjack the cat in a tree

Admiral Flapjack, one of the St Hugh’s College cats.

 

Ben Gable, Sackler Library

I’ll be staying on at the Sackler in a newly-created post.

 

Beth Morgan, Bodleian Reader Services

After a fantastic year in Oxford, I have decided to move to Sheffield to study an MA in Librarianship full-time. I hope to get a part-time job in an academic library alongside this.

 

Elizabeth Piper, Oxford Union Library

I’ll be at the Oxford Union Library as a graduate trainee for another year.

 

Emma Gregory, Sainsbury Library

I really enjoyed my time at the Sainsbury Library. My colleagues were all so welcoming and made me feel part of the team instantly. They were always happy to answer my questions and help me whenever I was stuck. The trainee scheme was a great way to meet other people as well. It was particularly helpful when moving to a new city as it’s great to have other people in the same boat to talk to. I finished my traineeship at the Sainsbury Library at the end of May and moved to St Hilda’s College where I am now the Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach Officer there. A bit of a change from libraries, but I’m really enjoying my new job and having new challenges.

I learnt a great a deal throughout the year, learnt new skills, and met some lovely people. One main tip, if you do apply, don’t be daunted by subject specialist libraries! The Sainsbury Library is a business library, and I’ve never studied Business or Economics and I really enjoyed my time there. If you’re interested in libraries, books, the University of Oxford, definitely apply for the graduate scheme! You never know where you’ll end up!

 

Emmy Ingle, Lady Margaret Hall

I’m planning to stay at LMH Library. I’m excited to keep working on our accessibility and start thinking about new exhibitions.

 

Hannah Thompsett, All Souls College

Next year I will be studying for the Sheffield University MA Library and Information Services Management, part time via distance learning. I will also be working mornings as a Library Assistant at University College, Oxford (commonly referred to as Univ), just over the road from where I am currently based, so I’m not moving far.

 

Harry Bark, St John’s College

I’m going to be taking up a position with a mental health charity in August.

 

Jenna Meek, Bodleian Law Library

After a brilliant year at the Bodleian Law Library, I will miss all my colleagues and fellow trainees in Oxford lots when I return back home to Glasgow to study for a MSc in Information and Library Studies at the University of Strathclyde. I am hoping to be able to get a part-time job in libraries while studying full-time for my masters, and I am very excited but also slightly apprehensive about what the future will bring – wish me luck!

 

Jennifer Garner, Bodleian Reader Services

I’m now working as a library assistant at a faculty library in Oxford, and studying the Sheffield library masters course via distance learning.

 

Katie Day, Taylor Institution

I finished the Taylor traineeship early, at the end of June, in order to start my new, permanent part-time position as Library Assistant across the Taylor, Sackler, and Oriental Institute Libraries, which I have been working in for a month already! Come September, I will be adding studying at UCL, as I take my MA (part-time) in Library and Information Studies. I’ve had a wonderful time as a trainee, and I’m so excited about where I’m going next!

 

Lauren Ward, Bodleian Social Science Library

I will be working as a Senior Library Assistant at St. Anne’s College Library, while completing my LIS MA part-time at UCL come September. Having been completely new to libraries when I started as a trainee, I would have never had the skills or confidence to go into my new role or further study without the traineeship, and am very grateful for the year I’ve had!

 

Leanne Grainger, Christ Church

I have really enjoyed my graduate trainee year at Christ Church Library and the experience really confirmed for me that I really do want to work in Library and Information Services. As such I applied for an MA in Library and Information Services Management at the University of Sheffield, which I will be starting this September. This will be through distance learning and I will be studying part-time over two years. I am also really fortunate to have the opportunity to continue working full-time at Christ Church Library as a Library Assistant for the next year. Both working full-time and studying part-time will be a challenge, but I am really glad I can be working in a library alongside my studies as I think it will keep me motivated and hopefully what I learn in one will help me in the other!

 

Rebecca Leeman, University Archives

I’m going to work on a project in Croatia, ‘Mapping and documentation of industrial heritage’, in Ivanic-Grad. It’s organised by Culture Hub Croatia, in partnership with Friends of Heritage and European Heritage Volunteers. They organise short placements around Europe for young heritage professionals. I suppose it’s a kind of chance to use archival skills in a setting where they are trying to develop a public profile of their heritage.

 

Rebecca presents at the trainee showcase

Rebecca delivering her presentation at the trainee showcase in July 2019.

 

Ross Jones, Bodleian History Faculty Library

I have really enjoyed the Bodleian Graduate Library Traineeship; everyone has been incredibly supportive and receptive, and I will miss my fellow trainees who are leaving Oxford to pursue opportunities elsewhere – I wish them luck!

During the traineeship, my nisus has been toward achieving a place on a library-related Masters programme, so I was pleased to learn earlier this year that I have been accepted to study Library and Information Services Management at Sheffield University. The course is a distance-learning programme taught on a part time basis, which means I can continue to live and work in Oxford. Having recently secured a permanent position here as a Library Assistant, I am a little apprehensive over the prospect of balancing professional and academic commitments, but after speaking to some of my colleagues, I realise I am not alone in this respect!

 

Sally Hamer, Wolfson College

I am going on to UCL to do my MA in Library and Information Studies full-time, for which I will be commuting from Oxford while continuing to look for library jobs.

 

Ross Jones, History Faculty Library

Hi! My name is Ross and I am this year’s graduate trainee at the History Faculty Library, though I’m not entirely new to the Bodleian Libraries experience. Last year, I returned from China to complete a part-time graduate programme in Historical Studies at the Department of Continuing Education here in Oxford. As I was quick to find out, the faculty library would be the first port of call for many of my research queries and most of the resources I’d need to complete my course.

The Radcliffe Camera and Gladstone Link

Situated in the Radcliffe Camera and parts of the Gladstone Link below, the History Faculty Library is an interesting example of an embedded library in the sense that it shares the space with another much larger library (the Old Bodleian Library) and is encompassed by a complex of historic buildings that make up the ‘central site‘. Occupying such a unique location means the ‘HFL’ enjoys an eclectic and beautifully eccentric mix of architectural features across its four floors, with stunning views over Radcliffe Square to boot.  Henry James’ quote about the peculiar air of Oxford really hit home when I walked inside; I immediately fell in love with the space and found myself wanting to spend as much time there as possible. So began a career with the Bodleian Libraries.

“the peculiar air of Oxford—the air of liberty to care for the things of the mind assured and secured by machinery which is in itself a satisfaction to sense.”          – Henry James, English Hours

Initially working as a shelving assistant, I eventually found myself involved with a veritable miscellany of library tasks. I processed incoming acquisitions, assisted with a book move at the Wellcome Unit, covered evening shifts and took an additional weekend job at the Sackler Library. It was through these experiences, and an increasingly large network of colleagues, that I became aware of the Graduate Trainee Scheme. I jumped at the opportunity. For me, the traineeship represented a chance to receive a more comprehensive grounding in a library-related profession, one that would hopefully contextualise my part-time experiences and provide a preliminary framework for studying an MA in Information and Library Studies.

Although it is still early days, I certainly feel that the traineeship is shaping up to be far more than just that. Less than a fortnight into our year-long programme, I along with my fellow trainees have been introduced to Oxford University’s discovery tools, library management systems, staff development programmes and support networks, whilst a varied workload with duties ranging from the routine to the bizarre (dissuading a tourist from flying a drone over the Camera!) has filled the time in-between.

But the icing on this splendid albeit busy cake has been the people I’ve met so far. Twenty one of us make up this year’s trainee cohort, college trainees included, and we have shared some of our introductory sessions with three foreign-placement students as well. A truly multi-national and friendly bunch, it has been fascinating hearing about past professional experiences and future plans from people who share my passion for libraries. As the year progresses, I am eager to learn how the operational and logistical challenges facing their libraries differ from my own.

Casting the net a little wider, I feel those colleagues I have come into contact with across the entirety of the Bodleian Libraries have also been very welcoming. Course Directors, Line-managers, Subject Librarians, Reader Services and Technical Services Staff have explained procedures, clarified any issues and gone to great lengths to ensure I’ve landed on my feet. I am grateful for their support and the opportunities afforded me by the Libraries.

 

References:
James, Henry, and Pennell, Joseph. English Hours. William Heinemann, 1905.