David Phillips, Bodleian Social Science Library

Hi, I’m David and this is my overdue introduction.

I am one of two trainees at the Bodleian Social Science library (SSL). The SSL occupies the first storey of the Manor Road Building (pictured below) and opened in 2004, unifying a collection of smaller social science subject libraries around Oxford. It is a modern, accessible, Green Impact Award winning lending library. It may not have splendorous architecture draped in 16th Century tapestries or keep maps of Middle-earth, but it does boast the largest refugee studies collection in the world and is the main research centre for social scientists.

Bodleian Social Science Library
An Autumnal Shot of Manor Road Building
Comfy Seating Area
Comfortable Seating (& Penguins) at the SSL

My role at the SSL covers a catalogue of “technical services” tasks such as book processing, assessment and repair, “reader services” tasks like mailbox monitoring,  post filtering and contributing social media content  (check out our twitter feed) and serial Issue Desk duty. I also had the opportunity to lead library induction tours during 0th Week.

 

Book Repairs at the SSL
Book Repairs at the SSL

My time at the SSL is supplemented by awe-inspiring tours and informative training courses on everything from conservation to cataloguing to customer care, during which I have the opportunity to meet up with my fellow trainees.

A bit about me. I graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws in International Criminal Justice. After a brief sojourn as a legal assistant in local government, I fell into IT for a few years in Information and Knowledge Management. I could not envisage being confined to a long-term career in IT and wanted to apply my experience in Knowledge Management to an academic/learning environment with the possible aim of becoming a legal librarian – hence the library traineeship. Plus both my parents were librarians so it’s probably ingrained in my blood!

The traineeship has so far served as a novel insight into librarianship (and potentially a platform for a library related career) for which I feel privileged to have been selected. I look forward to what the next chapter holds.

Rebecca Wray, Social Science Library

Hello my name is Rebecca and I’m one of the new trainees at the Social Science Library (SSL). This is only my third week on the job as I joined the scheme a bit later than everyone else because sadly, another trainee had to leave the scheme. I’m from Bath originally and I graduated from Oxford Brookes University in Psychology in June. Before starting at the SSL I had been working in the Oxford Brookes libraries as a Communication Intern.

Bodleian Social Science Library

The Bodleian Social Science Library

You could say that choosing librarianship has a genetic factor in my case. My Mum is a Librarian and her parents met at library school in Birmingham.  But I didn’t seriously consider the career until the realisation at university that I had become the go-to person in my circle of friends for finding obscure journal articles and referencing questions. Through various jobs at university I’d always liked helping people so working in libraries seemed like a good choice (much to the delight/horror of my Mum!).

My first two weeks in the SSL have been quite intense, with lots of training to catch up on.  The SSL is a very busy library that offers a lot of services to readers so most of the training so far has been getting me set up to work on the issue desk. Thankfully as its the vacation period at the moment my first few stints have been fairly gentle!

Other than working on the Issue Desk myself and the other lovely SSL trainee Ceri deal with other Reader Services (front of house) type tasks like answering emails, dealing with books that have been returned to the wrong library, looking after the library’s social media accounts and hunting down missing books. After Christmas I’ll be trained on the Technical Services side of things, like repairing and processing books.

Last week we also had the added challenge of putting Christmas decorations up in and around the library.  The garland mysteriously got quite a lot of attention on Twitter!

The (slightly wonky) SSL Christmas garland

So far it’s been a little bit overwhelming as there are lots of new things to learn but I’m really enjoying it. I am looking forward to things getting more familiar though, so I don’t have to bombard Ceri with so many questions!