Hello! I am Anna, and I am the Graduate Trainee at the Sainsbury Library.
The Sainsbury Library is the University’s Business and Management Library and is based on the first and second floor of Saïd Business School, Park End Street. Saïd Business School is the large building next to the train station, with a green ziggurat acting like a look-out tower. We are small, compared to some libraries, with a general purpose lower reading room, a cosy annexe, and a bright, airy upper reading room for silent study. My main duties so far have been to process new journals and books, repairing a book, helping out at the desk and with circulation, assisting with the Executive Education team and their reading lists (which is a whole other blog post!), and assisting with a variety of exciting projects. For instance, I put together a ‘Welcome to the World of AI’ book display (please visit or check out online). I am looking forward to other projects like an ongoing assessment of the sources used by students and making some new Libguides (guides for library users). I have also been learning about the subject of Business Information, in particular, the Business Information Ecosystem and the 60 business-related databases. Unsurprisingly, I still have a lot to learn and lots of database training to do!
The Library has another location at Egrove Park, in Kennington, where Saïd Business schoolhosts Executive Education courses. I am based at Park End Street but am looking forward to making a visit to Egrove. I have heard it is beautiful location as it is situated in 37 acres of wooded parkland with wildflower meadows. A colleague even spotted some deer waltzing around! However, apparently, the brutalist architecture is not for everyone but I reserve my judgment until I visit.
Whilst I am doing my traineeship in the Business Library, my background is nothing to do with the subject. I did my undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Aberdeen and then an MLitt in Philosophy at SASP (St Andrews and Stirling Graduate programme in Philosophy). Aberdeen’s university library was a wonderful place to study, and the library is famous for looking like a massive ice cube and being inside of it certainly gives a similar impression, with all the outside facing walls being windows of glass. This allows you to see the city, from any point of the library and enjoy the coastline whilst freaking out about exams (hopefully it is calming and not stormy)! I continued working within various universities as a non-medical helper, primarily as Specialist Note-taker (if you need some fast typing let me know). This role meant I got to sit-in on lectures, take notes, and assist students who were studying a whole variety of subjects including Computing, History of Art, Childhood studies and even PGCE teacher training. It was lovely working with students to help achieve their goals and I knew I wanted to continue to assist others in any role I did in the future.
I have always enjoyed libraries since childhood and in Sixth Form had one week of work experience at my local public library. I also worked at Bookends, a student-run bookshop on Aberdeen’s campus where I got a little snippet of shelving, auditing and processing books into our system (much simpler than Alma!). I am interested in librarianship because I believe in the key principle of libraries as preservers of past knowledge for future generations whilst providing access to information and resources to people now. For one of my dissertations, I did a lot of research about the philosophy of democracy. A key pillar of democracy (ideally) is to have a citizenship with a right to access a wide range of ideas and information. This broadens our horizons, helping us to make informed choices and judgements, whilst also holding fellow citizens in roles of responsibility accountable. Every right we have has a corresponding duty/obligation that we have to each other to make sure everyone’s rights are fulfilled. Libraries act as a physical manifestation to fulfil important rights plus they act as great spaces to study and get lost in a book! I think it would be great to work in a field that has this grand role for society, but that achieves these abstract ends in very practical, everyday means by helping readers and preserving our collections. The combination of person-focused support and technical systems means that there is lots of variety in the field, on top of the variety brought by all the different subjects and I think this makes it quite an exciting career choice. I do not yet know if I want to focus on the readers services or the cataloguing/ technical side because, as perhaps shown my joint degree, I am bad at choosing between two things I enjoy!
I hope to be an asset to the team at the Sainsbury Library, not just because they are fun and fantastic, but because they have been without a full-time graduate trainee for several years and they are very happy to finally be fully staffed! I am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to work within such an esteemed institution as the Bodleian Libraries. Also, participating in their great training sessions on different aspects of librarianships, has so far, and I’m sure will continue, to be great!
Although our traineeships are based at the Bodleian Law Library, we also get to spend a day each per week at the Sainsbury Library, part of the Saïd Business School. Since it’s been a couple of years since the Sainsbury team had a trainee of their own, we thought this would be a good opportunity to share what business library life is looking like these days.
Jess: I turn on my computer and leave it slowly loading in order to do some shelving to start the day. I clear my emails, reading updates on SBS, flagging any ORLO reviews for my time at the Law Library, and making sure I’m up to date with all new info on Slack.
Josie: My Sainsbury day is a Thursday, so while I’m waiting for my computer to wake up enough to catch up on emails and Slack messages, I check my desk for any sticky notes bearing updates on ongoing projects or unfinished bits and pieces from earlier in the week. Sometimes there’s a bit of book processing to do – this is always a bit of a novelty for me, since I’m not very involved with that side of things at Law.
Jess: I’m on desk for the morning shift today. In between answering reader enquiries, I get to work on the Sainsbury Library’s benchmarking spreadsheet. We search other university library holdings for a long list of business databases, which lets the SBS see if it has a competitive number of databases for its students and to identify any gaps our holdings might have. Today I’m starting a new column and working my way through LSE’s catalogue.
Josie: Once I’m up to date on everything, I check in with one of my colleagues to see if there’s anything in particular they’d like me to do today. Quite often, this just means working on the Futures Library- crates of books, papers, and assorted Stuff from the collections of significant figures in scenario planning. Formerly based at the Egrove Park campus, it is now being transferred to offsite storage, so one of my jobs has been boxing up the non-monograph collections. This is always a bit of a mystery dip – it turns out “non-monograph” can mean anything from journal issues and presentation notes to projector slides, diaries, and pretty much anything else that can be put on a shelf. Rather than cataloguing each individual item, we fill numbered archive boxes according to a master spreadsheet, keeping track of which items end up in which box, and then create an ALEPH record for each completed box. I quickly discovered that the boxes fill up much faster than the BSF vans will collect them – the office has been in an increasingly precarious state since mid-November.
Jess: Break time! I head into the office for a bit of reading time, before returning to the desk at about twenty past. On today’s menu: Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.
Josie: At some point the person on desk will take their break, so I’ll step out and cover for them. This is a good opportunity to sign into the desk computer, getting all the slow loading out of the way ahead of my afternoon desk shift, before going back to the morning’s tasks.
Jess: I’m also keeping an eye on the library inbox for the second half of my desk shift. Whilst more complex enquiries still have me poking my head into the office to ask someone for help, I’m getting the hang of doing database account requests. There’s also a new project in tow to make sure each of the data tags in our books are up-to-date. I gather up a trolley of books, removing old tags as gently as possible, and reprogramming new ones.
Josie: I take my lunch break at twelve, so I can be ready to take over on desk at one. I’m pretty sure that the SBS building was entirely designed for networking – I could find a new spot to sit and eat my lunch every week for the rest of the year.
Jess: Time for lunch! When the weather allows, I love wandering to the amphitheatre-like seating in one of the SBS’s quads and enjoying my lunch there. I crack open my book to read for the rest of my break.
Josie: I settle down at the enquiry desk for the rest of the day. I keep an eye on the library email inbox, responding to those I can and forwarding others on to better-informed colleagues. The library itself is usually pretty quiet, but I’m getting familiar enough with the usual questions about printing, toilet locations, and (occasionally) finding a book. I have yet to be asked about the Bloomberg terminals and their alarmingly colour-coded keyboards, and I’m hoping it stays that way – although help is always only a frantic Slack message away.
Jess: The Sainsbury Library Annexe is currently closed to readers as material from the SBS’s Egrove Park library is relocated across the Bodleian. Today, I’m looking at print journals! At the SBS, we keep print journals for a limited amount of time before they are withdrawn from the library collection to keep current issues on the shelves. Issues are distributed to fill gaps in other library holdings or taken out of the Bodleian’s collection entirely. My first task is to make individual piles of each of the 14 journals for checking with over 300 individual issues. There are several large crates for the Futures Library project – which Josie has told you about above – so I feel like I’m dodging my way around a jungle gym as I fire up a philosophy podcast on my headphones.
Josie: The Sainsbury is a lending library, which means I occasionally get to do a bit of circulation – another novelty! However, students prefer to use the self-checkout machine beside the desk, so circulation enquiries mostly tend to be of the “something isn’t working” variety- it’s usually the RFID tags (see Jess’s explanation above). Another quirk of the SBS is that some courses run intermittently throughout the year, and these students will often only be in Oxford for a few days at a time. It’s a little jarring to go from the strictly reference-only Law Library to lending several books to a reader who then tells you they’re about to fly back to Chicago for the next month!
Jess: Nine large bags, two boxes, two-and-a-half podcast episodes, and one exceptionally well-hidden box later, I have all my journal issues sorted. I start with The Economist, as it’s teetering dangerously, beginning to sort issues for checking. I have a spreadsheet that tells me the earliest and latest issues I should have, alongside a list of ones marked as missing. Each journal is out of order, so I work on putting each pile into publication order and noting any missing issues as I go.
Josie: When I’m not dealing with readers, I work on one of my LibGuide assignments. At the start of the year, Jess and I were each given a set of LibGuides to work on- checking links, updating the date range on pre-set searches, and finding new resources to add. Before Christmas I was working on adding recent reports to a guide on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; now I’m looking at a guide on South America, part of a series on “Doing Business” around the world.
Jess: I retreat to the office for my final Dostoyevsky fix of the day, accompanied by some dried pineapple for a sugar boost to my afternoon.
Josie: If we’re expecting a delivery of Bod books from the offsite storage facility, I’ll head down to the secret cupboard in the car park to drop off any returns, retrieve the new delivery, and process them back at the desk. Unlike most Bodleian libraries, readers need a separate SBS card in order to get into the building, so I double-check the requestors’ permissions on ALEPH in case there might be any issues with that – people do occasionally click the wrong library in the drop-down menu. Around this time, I’ll also take my break from desk, popping down to the cafeteria to take advantage of the daily free tea or coffee we’re allowed as SBS staff.
Jess: Back into the Annexe I go! Whilst I’m continuing with serials today, there’s another ongoing project to withdraw from the library’s collection any book that hasn’t been borrowed for 10 years or more, starting with the stack (as regularly borrowed titles on reading lists are kept on the ground floor). I check each book to ensure it has the matching shelfmark and barcode, usually taking three large stacks down to the office. Opening up our library cataloguing system, known as ALEPH, as well as using Oxford’s online catalogue SOLO, I make sure each book is held somewhere else in the central Bodleian libraries where it’s available to all students (sorry colleges). If it’s the only copy, I place it on a new pile to go back up to the stack. If not, weed away!
First, we delete the item record – this is a record that is specific to a particular book, versus all books with the same title, author, etc. The next step is to delete the holding record, if the library has no other copies of that particular book at that location – for example, in the SBS, there are separate holding records so the catalogue will tell a reader if a book is in the stack, the annexe, or the main reading room! Each of these books goes through a special secret process to stop it from beeping at the gate, and then gets a nice red ‘WITHDRAWN’ stamp on the inside. They’re then boxed up (with a very fun roller of packing tape) and go on to a second-hand book provider so they can be read and loved.
Josie: At some point I’ll try to have a quick chat with Hal, the Business Librarian – I have some questions about the guide I’m currently working on, and I also want to talk about potential topics for building my own LibGuide from scratch. Current options include banking, financial technology, or another piece for the “Doing Business” series – all a bit daunting, considering I had very little idea of what a business degree involved before starting here. However, I’m finding that the LibGuides, along with all the other day-to-day library tasks, are providing ample introduction, and things are finally beginning to make sense.
Jess: Home time! I’ll often quickly nab a book I’ve spotted the previous week to enjoy over the weekend.
Josie: The library follows the same opening hours as the main SBS building, so there’s not much in the way of opening/closing routines. Since it’ll be a week before I’m back, I make a note of any LibGuide progress for my future self, say goodbye on Slack, and then hand over the desk to the person taking the evening duty.
I’m one of two trainees based at the Bodleian Law Library this year, also spending one to two days a week at the Sainsbury Library in the Saïd Business School. Before arriving as a graduate trainee, I read for an MSt in Musicology at Worcester College and I can occasionally be spotted in the wild rowing on black and pink blades (or spending my entire paycheque in Blackwell’s).
I’ve been spending my first few weeks surrounded by large piles of books and large piles of stamps, getting to grips with law citations, and memorising exactly where each range of shelfmarks lives in the library. I’m very excited to dive into reclassifying the jurisprudence section, which gives me the opportunity to research my way through the terminology, and I’m sure will leave me with some legal French and German on the other side of the year. Whilst many of my responsibilities involve hiding in my office with red dots, sticky labels, and reading lists – which is where I like to be – I’m looking forwards to seeing how the library changes with the arrival of more readers and putting everything I’ve been trying to learn to new uses.
We are currently six months into our trainee year (where has the time gone?!). Every one of us is enjoying the experience so far and are even *gasp* starting to consider our careers after this year. When discussing how our work is going at our individual libraries, we have begun to realise that each library is different in its environment and history. Therefore, no two trainee experiences are going to be alike. To illustrate this best, we decided to collaborate together on a (longer than usual) post to showcase the most interesting finds or objects in our libraries. These range from interesting books to some quite unusual artefacts on display. So quickly grab your chosen beverage and get cosy as you go on the unseen tour of Oxford’s libraries!
Upon first glance, Arch.8°.F.1495 looks much like the rest of the rare books alongside which it sits at the Taylorian. Its green Moroccan binding is so dark it appears nearly black, lending its exterior a non-descript quality that reveals very little about its fascinating contents. Surprisingly, this unassuming volume contains two important incunables, Guielmi Castelli’s Due Elegie and Augustine of Hippo’s Confessiones.
I began exploring this volume’s history by researching its maker. A binder’s mark pasted over the vibrant orange endpaper in the upper right corner of the book’s inside front cover states it was bound by “J. Faulkner of 8 Queen Street, Little Tower Hill.” In a London street directory from August of 1817, I discovered a listing for a J. Faulkner at 8 Queen Street, while Johnstone’s London Commercial Guide from May of 1818 lists a “John Faulkner, bookbinder” at that same address. Thanks to an entry in the Glasgow Incunabla Project, I confirmed that Faulker’s bookbinding shop was in business from 1809 to 1833. It seems clear, then, that Arch.8°.F.1495 was bound during this period.
It is possible, though not certain, that the volume’s disparate works were brought together for the first time then in this 19th century context. The Confessions is the much better known of the two works it contains, not solely because of the controversy it caused in the 4th century when Augustine rejected paganism in favour of the rapidly spreading Christianity, but also because of his role in shaping Christian tenets of faith for centuries thereafter. During the Renaissance, amid a revival of interest in the classical “greats,” figures like Augustine were venerated and texts like the Confessions were spread throughout Europe with the aid of the newly invented printing press. The Elegies and its author are, by contrast, much less famous. Castelli, also known as Guillaume Castel, was a French poet and clergyman who lived and worked in Tours from 1458 to 1520, and his Latin text does not appear to be well known. I can only speculate about how two such different texts came to be bound together by Faulkner in London over 300 years later. It’s possible that they were joined when they were printed in the early Renaissance since they share a consistent gothic type, but a shift in the rubrication and the paper quality suggests that they were not previously bound as one. Perhaps Faulkner believed there was money to be made from a volume that combined Augustine and Castelli’s works, but more likely he had a patron who saw an educational value in combining them.
The first clue to the identity of this patron can be found, ironically, at the back of the book, in the form of a donation plate for the Fry Collection. In 1955, the daughters of Joseph Forrest Fry and Susanna Fry donated their family’s collection to numerous libraries across Oxford University. Arch.8°.F.1495 was among those that arrived at the Taylorian. Two family crests on the inside of the front cover of the volume offer further clues about the book’s provenance. The bookplate pasted in the centre of the inner cover identifies the book as having belonged to the personal library of William Horatio Crawford, a collection he would have inherited along with his family estate in the mid 19th century. After researching the Crawford family history, I ascertained that the book must have joined the collection prior to William’s death in 1888. An 1891 newspaper clipping which reads like an advertisement for those interested in purchasing incunables is attached a few pages into the book and is almost certainly a record of sorts for the sale of the Crawford collection. The second crest, that of the Inglis family, may have been attached at this point, indicating that they purchased the book in 1891. Alternatively, it may have been attached much earlier, in which case someone in the Inglis family may have been the patron at whose behest Faulkner bound the Elegies and Confessions together sometime between 1809 and 1833. Given that in 1788 a Dr. Charles Inglis founded my high school, King’s-Edgehill in Windsor, Nova Scotia, I was surprised to stumble across this possible (albeit tenuous) Canadian connection, and I plan to delve further into the relationship between Arch.8°.F.1495 and the Inglis family.
Battershall, Fletcher. Bookbinding for Bibliophiles: Being Notes on Some Technical Features of the Well Bound Book for the Connoisseurs. Greenwich: The Literary Collector Press, 1905.
Johnstone’s London Commercial Guide. London, 1818.
Hughes, Jill. “The Taylor Institution Library.” In David Paisey (ed.): German studies: British resources. Papers presented at a colloquium at the British Library 25-27 September 1985. London 1986, pp. 196-204.
Marks, P.J.M. The British Library Guide to Bookbinding: History and Techniques. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.
Pearson, David. English Bookbinding Styles 1450-1800. New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 2005.
Saint Augustine. Confessions. Translated by Henry Chadwick. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Sotheby’s: Six Centuries of Book Binding. London: Sotheby’s, 2002.
Street directory of London. London, 1817.
Washbourne, Henry. The Book of Family Crests. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, 1840.
Zaehnsdorf, Joseph William. The Art of Bookbinding: a practical treatise, with plates and diagrams. London: George Bell & Sons, 1890.
Jaron Lanier, Who Owns The Future?: Tom Vickers (Sainsbury Business School Library)
Honestly – I picked this off the shelf for its cover. For such a provocative title (evoking the mega-corps of cyberpunk dystopias that lurk in every popular sci-fi rendering of what’s to come) it’s a calming, quite beautiful image. It even ends up being resonant to Lanier’s argument too – a graceful representation of a collective of individuals, and of iteration, algorithmic or otherwise. There’s two pieces of media calling themselves ‘All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace’. One is the original 1967 poem by counterculture grandee Richard Brautigan and the other is a 2011 documentary by another Richard, this time Curtis that bleakly shreds the utopian visions of the 60s. This book reminds me of both, and I suspect its author knows and thinks well of both as well. It also has the crucial quality of a book about the future of having been right so far – about fake news, the erosion of democracy, and a whole host of contemporary horrors. Somehow, while reading it, I’m not as depressed about that as I perhaps should be. Lanier has a wry sense of humour about reality which you get the feeling is as much a product of his perceptiveness as the book insights, insights which Lanier makes disarmingly often in a much wider variety of topics than the stated subject fields of technology and economics. He’s honest, personal, and explains things well, and so the book is and does these things too. I have a close friend I’ve known since university who has unnervingly high scores in an Economics & Economic History degree and a subsequent career advising governments on long-term investments, and talking points in here helped me start really picking up what he’s been putting down for years in half a dozen areas of conversation. I may well buy him a copy for his 30th.
Amelia B. Edwards: Erin McNulty (Sackler Library)
While researching for a book display that I was putting together to celebrate LGBT+ History Month at the Sackler Library, I came upon the work of Amelia B. Edwards. Edwards, born in 1831, was an English novelist, journal, and traveller, who contributed greatly to the field of Egyptology, co-founding the Egypt Exploration Fund in 1882. She was also the founder of the Edwards Chair of Egyptology at University College London. Edwards died in 1892 from influenza, and was buried alongside her partner, Ellen Drew Braysher. In 1877, she published a best-selling travelogue that she had written about her journeys in Egypt, titled A Thousand Miles up the Nile.
I discovered that an 1877 edition of this work was stored in the Sackler’s Rare Book Room, where we house some of our special collections. The book contains illustrations by Edwards of various sites that she visited during her time in Egypt, and its cover is beautifully decorated. The work even has a dedicatory message and signature from the author written inside! Some pictures of the book are included below:
Unfortunately, I was not able to display this older edition, but a newer edition was also available. However, anyone with a valid University or Bodleian card can view our Special Collections materials, such as the above work by Edwards, on request; just ask at the Issue Desk. Also, feel free to come along and have a look at our LGBT+ History Month display, or visit the Sackler blog for more details: http://blogs.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/sackler/ .
[NB the Sackler Library has now been renamed to the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library]
The Elizabethan Zoo: Emma Jambor (English Faculty Library)
One of my favourite books from the English Faculty Library is The Elizabethan Zoo (edited by M. St. Clare Byrne, published in 1926) from our Rare Book Room. The book describes a variety of normal and fantastical beasts, from the authentic rhino to the extraordinary Hydra and Mantichora. The sources for the text and illustrations come from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, Topsell’s The History of Four-footed Beasts (1607) and The History of Serpents (1608). I particularly love the fantastical and frightening illustrations.
Tiny Books!: Evie Brown (Bodleian Library)
My interesting find in the Bodleian collections was a very ordinary transit box…full of tiny children’s books! I love to collect early additions of children’s books – there is something about the illustrations which never fails to bring a smile to my face – so this was an exciting discovery for me. Many of the books in the collection are by Ernest Aris, an early 20th century author and illustrator with an impressive CV of 170 titles to his name.
Aris’ books are beautifully illustrated, with bright and personable characters and it definitely makes a change to the traditional dusty classics and theology books held in the Bodleian!
As well as Aris’ collection of books, the box also contains some re-written classics – The Arabian Nights, Robinson Crusoe and Alice in Wonderland to name but a few – by Kathleen Fitzgerald. These are interesting as they are bound in suede with gold lettering – beautiful but makes for some grubby fingers!
The final piece I wanted to share was a beautiful book, with a cardboard cover and no binding – the pages are simply held together with string. I love the illustrations, and the tiny matchbox sized box that the book came in. I have included a picture of the book next to my Bodleian reader card to give some perspective – it really is tiny! This book is definitely my favourite as it reminds me a little of the type of things I used to love to make when I was a child, and you can’t help but smile when you see it!
I hope you enjoyed my little interesting find; it’s definitely something a bit different!
Wonders of the Stereoscope – John Jones (London: Roxby Press Productions, 1976): Rhiannon Hartwell (Bodleian Library)
Can you ever be sure you’re seeing the same thing as someone else? How do you teach another person to see what you see?
In addition to providing ample entertainment to Reading Room staff at the Old Bod, Wonders of the Stereoscope has raised a lot of interesting questions about perception and vision!So, what is a stereoscope, exactly? Stereoscopy was developed in the mid-19th century; two images, called ‘stereographs’ are developed side-by-side, showing the left- and right-eye views of a single image. When viewed through a specially-designed stereoscope lens, at the right distance and with relaxed, unfocused vision, the near-identical images should overlap until one, three-dimensional image appears.
According to Brian May (yes, that Brian May, of the band Queen), who formed the London Stereoscopic Company in the early 2000s as a result of his lifelong experimentation with stereoscopy, such images can also be ‘free-viewed’ without the use of lenses – though success with this method has been limited at the Old Bod!
Wonders of the Stereoscope is my favourite item I’ve seen come through the Old Bodleian reading rooms because of the sheer joy it provokes in the reading room team, as everyone shares in the camaraderie of learning a bizarre and intriguing new skill. The images provided by Wonders of the Stereoscope certainly don’t hurt, either – from Charles Blondin perilously balanced on a tightrope across the Niagara Falls, to a walrus in trousers kissing a man on the lips, the often hilarious variety of images provided endless amusement even before they were seen in 3-D!
Thomas Hearne, Remarks and Collections: Harriet David (History Faculty Library)
Tucked down in the local history section in the Lower Gladstone Link (the lowest level of the Bodleian, so close to the water table that it has a pump lurking discreetly in one corner) are the eleven volumes of Thomas Hearne’s Remarks and Collections, published between 1885 and 1921 by the Oxford Historical Society.
Thomas Hearne (bap. 1678, d. 1735) was an antiquary, librarian, and indefatigable gatherer-up of old books, remarkable tales, and Oxford gossip – Hearne matriculated from St Edmund Hall in 1695, and rose rapidly through the academic ranks. His Remarks and Collections are one of the great eighteenth-century diaries, a daily record of Hearne’s life, scholarly discoveries, and political vituperations spanning the years from 1705 to 1735. During this time, Hearn rose to become Second Librarian of the Bodleian, in 1712, and by 1715 had been appointed to the splendidly-named University posts of Architypographer of the Press (responsible for maintaining the standards of the University Press, then lodged in the basement of the Sheldonian Theatre) and Superior Beadle of Civil Law. A glowing future within the Bodleian seemed assured.
Later that same year, however, Hearne was to be ousted from all these posts. So ‘inraged’ was John Hudson, then Bodley’s Librarian, that Hearne records ‘he had the Lock & Key of the Library Door altered on purpose to exclude me from going in and out when I pleased, my own Key being now perfectly useless’ (Remarks and Collections, vol. V, pp. 137-8). Hearne didn’t just get himself fired from the Bodleian – his boss literally changed the locks to keep him out.
This dramatic fall from grace was the result of awkward political and social affiliations. Hearne was a committed and vocal nonjuror (he refused – except on his initial entry to the University – to swear the required oath of loyalty to William and Mary) and Jacobite. Even in the distinctly conservative atmosphere of early eighteenth-century Oxford, his outspoken loyalty to the Stuarts was an embarrassment for the University, which took measures – however inelegant – to protect itself. Hearne’s account of his dismissal, which involves him taking care to read out John Hudson’s ‘false spellings’ (‘Upder Library Keeper’) verbatim, throwing the Vice-Chancellor into a ‘Passion’ (Remarks, vol. V, p. 181), does not show Enlightenment Oxford at its most dignified.
Hearne endured, however. Denied access to Bodleian manuscripts, and refusing – especially towards the end of his life – to spend so much as a single night away from Oxford, he nevertheless refashioned himself as an independent publisher, printing scholarly editions of pre-Reformation texts for a list of dedicated subscribers. And, all this time, he was making a daily entry in his Remarks. They record much valuable bibliographical information, several vigorous (if often one-sided) feuds, and many local curiosities: Hearne was evidently a collector of old people as well as old texts, and the volumes are peppered with his accounts of the remarkably aged, and with their accounts, as told to Hearne, of lost buildings, noted ancestors, and Oxford history. They also give a vivid sense of a stubborn, punctilious, and learned man, as ready to note down ‘Strange lights in the air […] in and ab[ou]t Oxford’ (Remarks, vol. V, p. 181), or a student riot occasioned by a bull-baiting at Headington (the students wished to tie a cat ‘to the Bulls Tayl’; locals objected. The fate of the cat is not recorded (Remarks, Vol. IX, p. 295)), as to chase down early editions of Leland or record the falling prices of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (once ‘a common-place for filchers’ of Burton’s learning, now ‘disregarded’; even Isaac Newton’s works, Hearne reflects, may ‘also in time be turned to wast paper’ (Remarks, Vol. XI, p. 298)).
Hearne died in his lodgings in St Edmund Hall in 1735. He kept his old set of keys to the Bodleian until his death.
If you may not know already, the Taylor Institution houses a vast array of collections on Modern Languages and Literatures. We also house some amazing special collections. Including a lock of Goethe’s hair! The hair is kept in a frame alongside a pressed violet and a portrait of Goethe, with the German paper slip and a little, ‘English’ envelope.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was considered to be the greatest German literary figure of the modern era. He died unexpectedly of heart failure, and left behind a vast legacy. Goethe had a profound impact on later literary movements, including Romanticism and expressionism. His lifetime spanned some of the most monumental disruptions in modern history, and is often referred to as the Goethezeit or Age of Goethe.
It is unclear how many people were able to obtain a lock of Goethe’s hair, but one person who did was German publisher and poet Johannes Falk. At the time, Goethe was recovering from a near fatal heart illness. It is possible that the lock of hair was cut, unbeknownst to Goethe, whilst he was enjoying a restorative sleep. According to the testimony of John Falk, the living descendant of Johannes Falk, he passed on the hair to a daughter, who then proceeded to pass it onto John’s great grandfather.
In 1953, John’s grandfather, Oswald, agreed to have the hair displayed at the Taylor. The librarian at the time, Donald Sutherland, promised Oswald that the hair would be kept in a show-case in one of the Reading Rooms. For nearly 70 years, the hair has been either on display or kept in the rare book room at the Library.
Personally, I find the hair absolutely fascinating. As creepy as it may seem to us in the 21st century, a lock of hair may have been comforting and also act as a sign of prestige. By the end of his life, Goethe was highly celebrated, and to be seen to possess a lock of hair from the head of the man himself, certainly conveyed privilege. Nick Hearn, French and Russian Subject Consultant at the Taylor, adds that in the lock of Goethe’s hair the comical and frivolous seem to combine with the eternal and the hagiographical. I quite agree, as the hair has never or rarely been separated from its accompanying items. I have written a longer piece, providing more details on the hair and its associated paraphernalia. I will post this soon!
February is LGBTQ+ month and I’ve been putting together a display to celebrate LGBTQ+ in business for the Sainsbury Library. As always happens when digging into it, the past has proven more lively, varied, and knit with the present than expected. The pace of change is remarkable even knowing to expect it, and over the three decades covered here it is also mostly positive change. I hope you find it inspires you a little as it does me.
The books are presented as a timeline from left to right.
Top Row (1990s):
1991 – The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life – Kenneth J. Gergen. Social psychologist Kenneth J. Gergen is an example of academic ally-ship whose work at the start of the 1990s is as sophisticated as current ideas in its approach to LGBTQ+ issues. Although not an overtly queer work, The Saturated Self constructs a theory of modern identity that makes room for and obliges the legitimacy of LGBTQ+ identities. His work on The Social Construction and The Transformation of Identity Politics was also remarkably prescient in 1999 about where the discourse around these questions would go and how it would change in the subsequent two decades.
1994 – Ivan Massow’s Gay Finance Guide. In the UK during the 1990s Ivan Massow was able to use both a new, growing acceptance of homosexuals in public life and their continued stereotyping to his advantage. His London advisory firm completely changed the conversation around gay clients in the insurance industry, who during the AIDs epidemic were being shut out by discriminatory premiums. Off the back of this success he entered politics, shocking many of his left-leaning clientele by calling the Conservative party “the gayest party in Europe”, and was determined to change it from within. While he was briefly close to the Thatcher leadership, by the early 2000s his business was in danger of collapse and Massow agreed to become an agent for Zurich. The legal fall-out after Massow claimed Zurich refused to cover most of his clients almost bankrupted him.
1995 – The Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender – Martine Rothblatt. Rothblatt is the founder and chairwoman of the board of United Therapeutics, making her the highest earning CEO in the biopharmaceutical industry. Written the year after Rothblatt’s gender reassignment surgery and as a prelude to beginning her PhD in medical ethics with a specialisation in xenotransplantation, The Apartheid of Sex not only argued for a continuum of gender from both biological and sociological grounds before the idea gained public prominence but also laid the groundwork for Rothblatt’s current radical arguments for high levels of financial and social investment in transhumanism.
1997 – Homo Economics: Capitalism, Community, and Lesbian and Gay Life – Amy Gluckman and Betsy Reed. Gluckman and Reed’s Homo Economics was the first thorough account of the relationship between gay people and the market. Drawing on experts in journalism, activism, academia, the arts, and public policy, it fully contextualised the state of mixed progress contemporary LGBTQ+ groups find themselves in as well as highlighting its fragility, demonstrating how both the continuation of modern capitalism in its current form and the looming threats of reduced social investment frustrate the LGBTQ+ movement in different ways.
2000 – Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to the Market – Alexandrea Chasin.Selling Out is an accessible, personal, agitative work that blends the academic and vox pop elements of works like Homo Economics and charted what effect the “embrace” of consumerism and capital was having on the LGBTQ+ community. An associate professor of literary studies at The Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts, Chasin charts what had been gained and what had been lost in the mainstreaming of the LGBTQ+ movement, as well as what she feared and hoped might happen in the coming decade.
Middle Row (2000s):
2002 – The Pink Pages: The Gay and Lesbian Business and Services Directory. As with numerous previous marginalised groups, the LGBTQ+ community created guides to allow safe navigation through a world that was inherently hostile to them. As acceptance grew, a flurry of travel guides appeared in more public forms. Acting as the name suggests (a Yellow Pages for the queer community) The Pink Pages still operates as a list of ally tradespeople. Now replaced by pinkpagesonline and similar sites, this 2002 copy of the directory was the only print edition.
2005 – Business Not Politics: The Making of the Gay Market – Katherine Sender. In this work Katherine Sender, a professor in the Department of Communication and the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Cornell University, refutes two major pieces of conventional wisdom in this work. 1 – that the LGBTQ+ community exists independently of how it is marketed to, and 2 – that LGBTQ+ marketing exists independently of political action around that community. Sender shows how marketing as a form of media has helped construct the community as well as increased visibility for its members, while also inherently creating restrictions in its definition.
2006 – The G Quotient – Kirk Snyder. As inclusion and diversity of all kinds was gaining ground not just as a political and moral orientation but also as a strength of modern teams, Kirk Snyder followed up his 2003 Career Guide for the Gay Community with this work arguing that gay men were making the best managers precisely because their gay lives meant they understood inclusion and diversity best. Snyder’s work is focused around what the business community can learn from the LGBTQ+ community to change itself, rather than change them.
2008 – Queer Economics, A Reader – Joyce Jacobsen and Adam Zeller. Jacobsen and Zeller’s collection of academic works includes extracts from Homo Economics, recontextualised a decade later. Queer Economics presents the results of that intellectual provocation, and its movement into areas of demography, labour markets, consumer representation, political economy, and economic history.
2008 – Opportunities and Challenges of Workplace Diversity: Theory, Cases and Exercises – Kathryn A Cañas. Cañas began editing Opportunities and Challenges of Workplace Diversity in 2008 and new editions were produced until 2014. Cañas works as a member of the Management Department in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, where she has helped shape the department since 1999, incorporating changes in attitudes towards diversity including towards the LGBTQ+ community. Opportunities and Challenges has been a core-text internationally for courses in Diversity, Organizational Behavior, and Human Resource Management Diversity and the Workplace.
Lower Row (2010s):
2014 – The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good Business – John Browne. Browne was chief executive of BP between 1995 and 2007 and was known as the “sun king” by employees due to BP’s increased interest in renewables under his leadership. Having started his career as an apprentice with BP in 1966, his time as it’s CEO ended acrimoniously when allegations were printed in 2007 by the Mail on Sunday that he had mis-used company funds to support a partner during and after their relationship. Having fought injunctions to stop the allegations being published, Browne resigned. He described later that what “terrified” him was not the financial scandal or potential early retirement, but that his sexuality would become public knowledge. By the time he wrote The Glass Closet Browne was advocating for a wide-spread, top-down corporate policy of LGBTQ+ inclusiveness as proposed by Snyder in 2006.
2015 – Queer Business: Queering Organisation Sexualities – Nick Rumens.Queer Business took the thoroughly business-minded approach of seeing opportunity in problems. He identifies that, despite the developments over the past 25 years, there is a continued lack of association between business studies and LGBTQ+ issues when compared to other areas of scholarship, but argues that there are potential positives to this situation. Rumens describes management and organisational studies as a field in which queer theory may make new advances, and as an area where it “has yet to become exhausted and clichéd”.
2019 – Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level – Leander Kahney. Tim Cook is routinely cited as the most powerful LGBTQ+ leader in business. In 2014 he was the first Fortune 500 chief executive to come out as gay – a remarkable contrast to Browne’s experience just 7 years prior. While before coming out Cook was not overt in his support of the LGBTQ+ struggle, he has since admitted that in valuing his privacy he “was valuing it too far above what I could do for other people, so I wanted to tell everyone my truth” and ensure LGBTQ+ youth knew that he had relied on the work of people who had fought for their rights before him.
2019 – The Queering of Corporate America: How Big Business Went from LGBT Adversary to Ally – Carlos A. Ball. Covering street protests and boycotts during the 1970s, AIDS activism directed at pharmaceutical companies in the 1980s, and the push for corporate non-discrimination policies and domestic partnership benefits in the 1990s, Ball describes how LGBTQ+ activism has changed the business community’s understanding and treatment of the queer community. This is the current way the history of these two groups is being described and it’s vital to consider it in context of the works that have preceded it.
For more information about the month’s celebrations visit https://lgbtplushistorymonth.co.uk/
Hi everyone, my name’s Tom, I’m the trainee for the Sainsbury Library in the Saïd Business School.
I’ve done plenty of things prior to being a trainee in librarianship – work in hospitality and the arts – and I’ve been living in Oxford since 2012 when I came here to study my MSt in Creative Writing. I was lucky enough to meet an alum of the traineeship a few years back and got to see what their life was like and hear about what working in the discipline was like first-hand. It turns out that misconceptions about what librarians do cuts both ways – I’d not really considered the role before since I’ve always wanted to work with people and the role seemed an isolated one. This isn’t the case at all, as my first few weeks have definitively proved. The sessions at Osney One with my fellow trainees are getting us all up to speed on so many systems, and I’ve been expanding my horizons outside of training as well – having admitted to my supervisor this is the first time I’ve set foot in a business library I’ve been finding books on all kinds of subjects I wouldn’t expect while re-ordering the stacks. Good lesson for a librarian: never make assumptions about a subject, they all have their depths and surprises. Being at the business school is a great place to learn fast – the students are entirely unafraid to ask questions and have high expectations, and the school plays host to events on a regular basis. I’ll also be working on the Wayfinding project Madeline mentioned in her first post on here, and I’ll be travelling to London as the Sainsbury Library’s representative for a conference on website archiving at the start of next month. The team here wanted me to know from day one how important they think it is to support each other and I really feel able to say yes to all sorts of opportunities as they appear. They’re a tight-knit team here and they all work flat-out, but have still found time to make me feel really welcomed. Everyone connected to the traineeship has been friendly and supportive, and it feels like every time I turn a corner I meet another previous trainee who’s found a role with the university. The traineeship alum who started this all for me is still in Oxford and was able to introduce me to plenty of other’s who’ve chosen to stay – some of whom were there to greet this year’s intake at the welcome tour and drinks!
When I was considering a change of role back in late 2018 I wanted to find something that wouldn’t just be a job but a career for me – if there’s anywhere I’m going to find out what life as a librarian is like, I think it’s here.
Hi there! I’m Emma and I am the new trainee at the Sainsbury Library at the Saïd Business School.The Business School was opened in 2002, so the building and the library is one of the newest in Oxford. The Business School has two locations; Egrove Park and Park End, where I currently work.
The Business School offers a variety of courses in business, such as the MBA (Master of Business Administration), Law and Finance, Major Programme Management, and MFE (Master in Financial Economics), to name a few. The library is split into two levels; the upper floor for silent study, and the lower floor (where the main library desk is) for a mixture of quiet study areas and group work spaces.
The library offers many textbooks on all areas of business, as well as several journals and a daily Financial Times. We also have a large number of databases that students can access to research different companies and their financial and economic data. The newer members of staff, myself included, are currently undergoing training on these databases so that we can help students with their enquiries and research.
My days are really mixed and no two are the same! Here’s a quick overview of what I did yesterday:
8.45am – Arrive at work. Today, it’s my turn to set up the front desk for the day. I turn on the computer and the lights, check the photocopiers, re-shelve books that have been returned, and make sure the library is ready for our users.
9am – The day is split into two for the desk duty; the morning and afternoon shift. I usually work one of these a day. I’m working the morning shift today which is 9am to 1pm. The enquiry desk can be challenging at times, as I don’t always know the answers to the questions asked of me, but help is at hand! My colleagues are really patient and helpful, and I’m learning a lot from their answers and training. This morning I had enquiries about how to use the printing system, where to find particular books, and which databases were best to look at for researching different aspects of a certain company. We’ve recently finished welcoming this year’s under- and postgraduate students, so the library is pretty busy now.
1pm – Lunch time. The Saïd Business School has amazing facilities, lots of different options for lunch, and the students are well cared for by all the staff here. I have a free coffee every day too! Yum!
2pm – This afternoon, I received a new copy of the Economist and two other journals. As part of my role, it is my responsibility to prepare and process the journals so that they are ‘shelf – ready’. This involves registering the journals, attaching a bar code and preparing security labels for them. I then process the older copies and store them upstairs.
3pm – The Saïd Business School is going through some re-branding so I’m working my way through changing the signs around the library. This week I’m working on changing the labels on the journal holders upstairs. I’m also going through them and making sure they’re all in the correct order.
4.30pm – Throughout the day I make sure all the books are correctly re-shelved and the library is looking tidy and suitable for our users.
5pm – Home time (already!). The days here zoom by for me. I feel like I blink and it’s the end of the day!
I love working here at the Sainsbury Library. It’s really modern with lots of green spaces available for both staff and students. When the weather permits, I like to sit outside for lunch and my breaks.
I’m learning a lot about search techniques and understanding all the different databases that we have so that I can help the students the best way I can. The days are incredibly varied and I am encouraged and helped by my colleagues everyday. Everyone here has so much knowledge that they’re willing to pass on – I’m well looked after! I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year has in store for me!
Hi, I’m Hannah, and I’m the Graduate Trainee at the Sainsbury Library, part of the Saïd Business School. With its distinctive green ziggurat tower, the Business School is an interesting contemporary addition to Oxford’s classic skyline. The library provides study space and resources to support the School’s various programmes, including the MBA, MSc in Finance & Economics, MSc in Law & Finance, BA in Economics & Management and Executive Education courses.
The start of my traineeship was relatively quiet, as the lower reading room was closed to readers whilst refurbishment took place. During the replacement of the carpets, venturing out of the office was like entering a maze, as furniture kept shifting to different positions and you never knew where it was safe to walk! As well as a new carpet, reading room now has a new layout, power cubes on all the group tables and some smart red dividers to screen off group work areas from individual study desks.
Since then, the library has reopened and welcomed in a new cohort of students. I have now started working on the helpdesk, which has become increasingly busy, but this means that I am learning a lot about how the library works and getting to put it into practice straight away. My Sainsbury Library colleagues have been incredibly supportive in answering all my questions and helping me to settle in! Alongside desk shifts, I’ve been involved in library induction events (also known as the iChallenge – read a report I co-wrote about this here), processing new books, assembling welcome packs for faculty members, creating new signage, carrying out book repairs and updating the online research repository. All this alongside a range of full- and half-day training sessions with the other trainees, I can’t believe how much has fitted into just eight weeks!
Before moving to Oxford to start the traineeship, I worked for several years as a teaching assistant in a busy primary school and nursery, following a combined honours degree in Social Sciences at Durham University. As a TA, I had the privilege of helping children take their very first steps on their journey as readers, learning the basic skills that, once acquired, we often take for granted, but which open the door to a vast wealth of information about the world. This also involved the daily administration and care of the reading scheme, which I got to know extremely well (some texts off by heart!), and selecting the right books to meet individuals’ needs. My final project before I left was a grand tidy-up and reclassification of the entire reading book collection – a daunting but somewhat satisfying assignment! I think it was these combined experiences of working with books and helping readers which led me to apply for the trainee scheme. Now I just have to get used to readers who are a little taller, books which are a little weightier, and shelfmarks that say HD59.2 OXF 2012 instead of Purple Ladybird or Blue Star…
One quality that four-year-old school beginners and university students seem to have in common (at least, on a good day…) is a readiness to learn new things through all the channels available to them. This year I will endeavour to imitate this myself, and absorb as much knowledge as I can as the year progresses. I’m excited to see where it will take me!
Hello everyone! I’m Alan and I’m the new Graduate Library Trainee at the Sainsbury Library within the Saïd Business School.
So, a little bit more about me and how I ended up on this traineeship. I’m from Yorkshire (East that is, naturally the best) and studied at the University of Hull gaining both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Historical Research, focusing on maritime history, in particularly nineteenth century US piracy and privateering- after all, who doesn’t love swashbuckling adventurers! I deemed piracy too dangerous of a profession to pursue myself, so instead opted to work within the maritime academic sphere Hull had to offer, becoming a volunteer at Blaydes House Maritime Historical Studies Centre (which I highly recommend any visitors to Hull go check out!). I found myself in the attic of this eighteenth century house sorting and cataloguing a large donation consisting of technical drawings of ships, early sea-charts, as well as miscellaneous research materials – some of which even appropriately still smelt of the sea (a.k.a. fish)! It was my love of working with these materials that lead to me applying to get a place on the traineeship, and six months later here I am, working in one of the world’s leading academic libraries.
So far it’s been a fairly busy start in the library. We’re currently renovating the old stack room into a quiet study area. This has meant moving large quantities of books from the stacks to another floor; it’s been a bit arduous, but should hopefully be complete by October ready for the new students’ use. My other day-to-day duties include: processing new book and journal acquisitions, reclassifying old literature, and creating the welcome packs for new members of staff. I was also tasked with redesigning and updating a large collection of database guides for the new students who have just started, as well as general housekeeping to make sure the library is in ship-shape for the start of term. I’ve also started working on the enquiry desk on my own. Luckily for me I’ve mainly been dealing with returning students who have been patient and lovely as I’ve try to help them; fortunately, help has never been far away. In terms of visitors, though, it’s been relatively quiet, but I’m foreseeing that this peace won’t last long!
So that’s about it for my time here so far, all I have to do now is enjoy the rest of my year, explore Oxford, and I’ll keep you all posted!
So I’m halfway through week two here at the Sainsbury Library (based in the Saïd Business School) and so far so good. Currently I’m sat at the enquiry desk by myself for the first time, and with only one person using the library just now I think it’s safe to say it’s pretty quiet. So far (touch wood) there have been no enquiries, though I feel it’s only a matter of time…
Other duties of the Graduate Trainee at the Sainsbury Library (according to previous trainee Emily who left a very thorough handover including a list of places to eat and get drunk) include putting together welcome packs for new members of staff in the Business School, processing new books and journals, weeding old journals, sorting out overdue book records, mending books, reclassifying books, making shelfmark posters and sorting out a variety of emails. So far I’ve made three welcome packs and done a little book and journal processing, which was pretty fun. I think I’m looking forward to term starting but at the same time I’m pretty glad it’s a few weeks away yet.
I ended up exploring librarianship as a career somewhat unexpectedly after spending five years at Liverpool John Moores University doing an undergraduate and then postgraduate degree in Creative Writing. Plan A had always been to write for a living in whatever manner possible, which, after a brief stint as a freelance writer for a dodgy Hungarian internet start-up, led me to work which definitely did not involve writing, in a pub kitchen desperately trying to make ends meet and hating every second of it. Then I saw an advert for an internship at Gladstone’s Library, which was pretty much an excuse to escape from the kitchen and live in a humongous residential library for what turned out to be six of the best months of my life. This involved some awesome people, a really wide-ranging experience of typical (and non-typical) library work, free attendance at a load of fantastic lectures and events, an awful lot of gin, and two free two-course meals a day! After that experience applying for the post in Oxford seemed the obvious thing to do, so here I am.
The only thing to do now is enjoy the rest of the year, get to know Oxford a bit, and prepare for the next step (whatever exactly that may be…)