Tag Archives: Welcome13

Madeleine Lawson, Law Library

A belated and festive hello from the Bodleian Law Library!

Image courtesy of the Bodleian Libraries

Image courtesy of the Bodleian Libraries

I’m Maddy, one of two trainees here at the Law Bod. (My partner in crime – or rather in fighting it, considering our working environment – is Ben, who I am sure will also introduce himself soon.) I graduated from the University of Warwick in 2010 with a first class degree in History of Art, followed that with a Postgraduate Diploma in the same subject at Edinburgh University, and then went on to spend two years working in a variety of cultural institutions including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and Oxford’s own Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology.

With the world of galleries and museums being an extremely competitive field, around this time last year I started to consider whether there might be any other careers I could be interested in pursuing and began a daily ritual of scouring online job listings for inspiration. For quite a while there was nothing that grabbed my attention, but then one afternoon in December – just as I was beginning to resign myself to the idea that working in a museum was the only thing I could ever see myself doing and that my life was therefore destined to become one long string of unpaid internships – I came across the advertisement for the Bodleian Libraries Graduate Traineeship Scheme. Remembering how much I had enjoyed the processes of studying and learning during my time at university, and combining that with my love of the printed word, I decided that it was an opportunity that would definitely be worth exploring.

When I first found out I had been selected for the Law Library, my excitement was mixed with slight trepidation as – apart from stories I had been told by my Grandfather of his adventures as a policeman in South Wales in the fifties – my legal knowledge was basic, to say the least. Term began in a flurry of jargon and loose-leaf filing, as Ben & I muddled along trying our best to hide the fact that we didn’t even know what ‘jurisprudence’ was, let alone where in the library you might find books on the subject. (Oh, and what on earth is tattle-tape?!)

Now, three and a half months into the traineeship, I might not be able to give you the exact definition of jurisprudence but I definitely feel much more confident in my understanding of legal and library terminology. Our colleagues here at the Law Bod have been so helpful and encouraging, and I’m pretty sure I now know where most things are! While Ben is based in the Academic Services department and deals mainly with readers, I work in Technical Services and spend more time with the books. Alongside regular desk duties, I have settled into my routine of receiving the Law Library’s share of the Bodleian’s legal deposit items, processing them (which involves using the mysterious tattle-tape), sending them for cataloguing, labelling them, and passing them all on to Ben for shelving. (I’m sure he’ll tell you himself how much he loves it when I come and clutter up his shelves…) I help Lindsay, our Acquisitions Librarian, with recording orders and invoices, and I’m also responsible for the weekly display of new journals as well as a termly ‘Oxford Authors’ display. More recently, I have taken on the task of creating a list of a collection of constitutions held by the library and coming up with a new shelving arrangement in order to make them more accessible for readers. In the new year, I will also be starting to help with the ‘Bodleian Law Library Institutional Memory Project’ – an initiative aimed at celebrating the library’s 50th anniversary.

All in all, I’m thoroughly enjoying library life and am very much looking forward to learning more about it throughout the rest of the year. For now, however, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a great start to 2014!

Niamh Delaney, Nuffield College Library

Hi, I’m Niamh, the trainee at Nuffield College Library.  I studied for an M.A. in Philosophy and Theatre at the University of Glasgow, and then an M.Litt in Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews. Shortly after finishing at St. Andrews I decided to take the plunge and find out whether or not I enjoyed working in libraries as much as I suspected I might. I accepted the first job I was offered – which happened to be at the University Library, in Cambridge. Consequently, I found myself on a series of trains, accompanied by as many of my worldly possessions as I could carry, travelling pretty much the length of the country, one snowy weekend back in January.

Thankfully, the move paid off, and I spent a happy six months at the UL. In my short time at Nuffield I have already been able to build substantially on my previous experience. I’ve very much enjoyed getting to grips with the wide variety of the duties required of the trainee at Nuffield (from leading tours of the library to ordering and processing a constant stream of new books). The skills and knowledge I’ve gained at work so far have been complimented excellently by the training provided on the graduate scheme itself – which often offers the opportunity to explore aspects of my day-to-day work in greater detail (and in a risk-free environment!).

The year has only just begun, however, and I for one am greatly look forward to seeing what challenges still await us!

Luke Jackson-Ross, Social Science Library

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Humble greetings from the SSL!

My name is Luke, and along with Anja I am one of the two trainees working at the Bodleian Social Science Library. I’ve been meaning to write a post on the blog for a while now, but life at the SSL is anything but quiet! To get things going I’ll follow the example of my fellow Trainees, and tell you a little about me.

This year I graduate from the University of Gloucestershire with a 1:1 in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (unlike some fancier Universities my ceremony isn’t until November!) and during my time at University I had several jobs. After deciding retail wasn’t for me, I made what I now realise to be quite an important decision. Having worked as a Student Temp for my campus Library, I was lucky enough to be promoted to the position of Library Advisor at Francis Close Hall. It was hard work at times but lots of fun; I really enjoyed working with a fantastic team of people, and I think that perhaps that was what inspired me to participate in this year’s Graduate Trainee Scheme. That and one of my colleagues at the time sent me a timely link to the advert on the Bodleian website! 

As I don’t live in Oxford I’ve found the biggest challenge so far has been getting to work. Buses aren’t my favourite thing, and it’s a bit expensive to drive all the time, but I think I’m getting the hang of my routine now. It’s been really fun meeting all of the Trainees, and I’m lucky to be able to work with Anja who (just about) manages to keep me on track most of the time.

In terms of the role itself, being a Graduate Trainee at the SSL really is an experience. Despite the title, Anja and I are responsible for a number of things. A truncated list would include managing the generic e-mail account, booking group study rooms, creating and managing invoices and overdue notices, looking after the processes surrounding missing, lost, and ‘claimed returned’ books, handling the post, and lots of other more usual Trainee things like shelving and sitting at the issue desk. Though it initially seemed like a lot of work, I think it’s fair to say that Anja and I are really enjoying ourselves.  

Because our role straddles the worlds of Reader Services (anything to do with helping readers – front of house stuff) and Technical Services (anything to do with managing the resources that the Library has – behind the scenes stuff), we’re getting a fantastic insight into the workings of a University Library, which even with a fair amount of experience I was still largely in the dark about in some cases. There have even been some opportunities to make original contributions to the Library – we’ve recently finished setting up the SSL twitter account at https://twitter.com/SSLBod!

The regular training supplied by the Graduate Trainee scheme has been incredibly helpful so far, and in conjunction with some of the courses offered by IT services at the University it is set to be more and more useful and informative. Everyone involved with the scheme (and especially everyone at the SSL) is really friendly, and I’m so glad I got to be a 2013/14 Graduate Trainee!

Hopefully I’ll be able to give you guys an update later in the year. Until then, ciao!

Lucy Taylor, Sackler Library

Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m the trainee at the Sackler (Classics) Library this year. I graduated in 2012 with a BA in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History from Oxford. I’ve spent the last 12 months working at a children’s bookshop in Cambridge and volunteering in a couple of Cambridge University Libraries to gain more experience of library work. Although volunteering in a Psychology Library and an Agricultural Archive was really interesting,  it feels nice to be returning to my subject area and a little odd to be returning to the library where I spent a great deal of my undergrad studying!

The Sackler library was opened in 2001 and houses the collections belonging to the old Ashmolean Museum. The building was designed with its classical subject areas in mind and the circular layout of the building is quite unusual too. This, along with a number of different classification systems taken from the old libraries, can sometimes make navigating the library quite confusing! 

The trainee scheme has been quite busy so far. It’s been great getting to know all the likeminded trainees who enjoy all things library related and to be getting to grips with library work. In the month since starting at the Sackler, I’ve mainly been based on the issue desk and in the technical services room, processing new books, all whilst trying not to look too lost when wandering round the identical circular floors!

As well as the work, there’s also been plenty of time for tea, cake and bumping into unsuspecting former tutors, who seem quite startled to see me back again behind the issue desk! I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and excited to make use of all the opportunities the trainee graduate scheme has to offer.

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Eóin Davies, Radcliffe Science Library

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Hello Everyone. I’m Eóin, the trainee at the Radcliffe Science Library. I graduated from UCL in 2010 with a degree in Theoretical Physics. Since then I have worked in a bookshop and completed an internship at a publishing house.

So far I have mainly been on the issue desk, learning and performing the basics of circulation as well as helping readers out with any printing or scanning issues but I’m also looking forward to spending some time with the subject librarians and collections team in the coming weeks.

When term starts I will be spending a day a week at two smaller libraries, the Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy and the Alexander Library of Ornithology. I’ll also have a short stint at the Health Care Libraries around Christmas. 

Anja Badock, Social Science Library

ImageHello, my name is Anja and I am one of the two trainees at the Social Science Library (SSL). I graduated three years ago from the University of Sheffield with a BA in History. Since then I have been working as a Learning Support Assistant in a couple of secondary schools. It was a hugely rewarding job which showed me that I really enjoy (and am quite good at) helping people in an educational setting. I was eager to challenge myself further and learn something new which is why I applied to the University of Oxford for this traineeship. I didn’t expect to be invited for an interview let alone be offered a job, yet here I am. So, if there is anyone out there considering whether it would be worth your while applying next year, my advice would be to just go for it. 

As you will have noticed from the picture, the SSL is certainly not one of the most traditional of libraries at the the University of Oxford. The lack of the history, however, is made up for by the sheer amount of great experience I am being offered (as well as the stupendously friendly staff). In just the few weeks that I have been working at the SSL I have learnt so much already. Luke (my fellow trainee) and I were given quite an extensive training programme in our first week and a half. At first for me this seemed like a vast mountain of information all of which I would never be able to remember. However, thankfully, it wasn’t quite as overwhelming as it first seemed. This is a relief since in a few weeks we will be inundated with new undergraduates who will look to me for guidance (poor souls). I am looking forward to the time when many of the tasks I am only just getting to grips with seem second nature. As the SSL is quite a large and busy subject library, we trainees have the chance to experience many different aspects of library work here. From supporting readers at the desk to all of the work that gets done behind the scenes, Luke and I get a taste of all of it which should give us a really firm foundation for the future. 

It has been a nerve-wracking experience moving away from my family and friends in Leicestershire, but the transition has been made really easy by the fact that Oxford is such a lovely city and I have met so many friendly and interesting people. I wish all of my fellow trainees a wonderful, enriching year and I look forward to getting to know you all better.

Emma Jones, Jesus College Library

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The Fellows’ Library

Hello! I’m Emma, this year’s trainee at Jesus College. I come from a background in Medieval Studies at Birmingham, where I got bitten by the rare books bug while studying manuscripts and early print. Volunteering on Nottingham Castle’s social media this year also got me enthused about making hidden collections accessible. This is my first library job, which is both daunting and exciting!

So far, I’ve been trying to familiarise myself with the Meyricke library. It’s mostly used by undergraduates, so the quiet period before term starts is the perfect time to do this. I’ve begun working through some books donated by a retired Fellow, which is giving me plenty of practice with SOLO. At the moment, we’re also giving tours of the Fellows’ Library (see image) to past Rhodes Scholars, It’s a good opportunity for me to learn a bit about the history of the library, and to see how visitors engage with the works which are chosen for display.

As well as this, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a presentation on parchment making by the Oxford Conservation Consortium, as well as a tour of the Museum of the History of Science’s library. It’s great to work in a city where there are so many people working with books who are willing to share their expertise. And so far I haven’t been disappointed by the librarian stereotype of indulging in tea and delicious cake! I’m looking forward to being able to deal with more readers when term starts and hearing about everyone’s experiences throughout the year.

Gabrielle Matthews, the Codrington Library, All Souls College

codrington library

Hello! I’m Gabrielle, the graduate trainee at the Codrington Library at All Souls College this year. I’m from the Seattle area, Washington State, USA. For the past few years I’ve been researching and writing about early modern English literature, focussing on depictions of swordswomen. Recently I’ve been working on an MLitt (Master’s by research) in the English Faculty here in Oxford — and working a few hours per week at the University College library. Before that I was on the English MA course at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and, what seems like ages ago, I did my BA in English at Smith College in Massachusetts. Unfortunately I’m commuting from Coventry this year, which is about an hour each way, so I can’t be as sociable as I’d like – but I’m looking forward to getting to know my fellow trainees as much as possible in the coming months!

I am absolutely delighted to be working at the Codrington Library, which I’ve found has impressive scope – from amazing illuminated medieval manuscripts to the latest law journals. I’m sure to be constantly learning new things this year, as the library staff wears many hats: from helping the various Fellows of All Souls locate research materials, welcoming readers from around the university (undergraduate and graduate), keeping the collections up to date, handling a steady stream of archive and research queries, and much more – all with three employees total!

We’ve been discussing when would be a good time to offer a tour – I hope everyone will be able to come by to see this beautiful and historic library!

(Photo courtesy of simononly via Creative Commons)

Emma Stanford, BDLSS

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One of our Gutenberg Bible images, CC BY-NC-SA Bodleian Libraries.

Hello! I’m Emma, and I’m the trainee in Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services. I’m from Washington State in the U.S., and I did my B.A. in literature at Middlebury College. During my degree I worked in our interlibrary loan department and studied for a year at Oxford, and after graduating I spent a year working in electronic reserves and copyright processing for a library in California.

My position is new this year, so it’s a bit undefined, but basically I’m working with the digitization department at BDLSS. We’re doing a partnership with the Vatican Library to digitize millions of objects starting this year, and we’ll be working on making these easily accessible to the public. A lot of what I’ll be doing once we get started is processing the images and assigning metadata (page numbers, content labels, etc.), but so far I’ve been working a bit on the project website and reading a LOT about metadata and digitization standards. Today I learned how to retrieve images from the archive. The images we’re using are very high quality, so they take up a lot of space, and they’re actually stored on tapes that get physically fetched by a robot every time we need to copy something from the archive. This happens much more quickly than I would have expected–it only takes a few minutes.

The people I’m working with are a lot more tech-savvy than I am, so I’m looking forward to learning more about the software and languages we’ll be using. I’m also excited to be dealing with such beautiful images, and to be involved in the effort to make them more accessible.

Joanne Hilliar, St John’s College Library

Hello, I’m Joanne and I’m the trainee in St John’s College Library. I graduated from Southampton University with a BA in English in July, and started my traineeship in August, so I’ve had a fairly quick transition from education to work. Arriving in Oxford a month before training began was a little daunting, but I soon settled into the library routine. One of my first tasks was to help with the annual stock take, meaning that I learnt the layout of the library much quicker than I had expected!

As well as scanning books, I spent a large part of my first month receiving training in some of the general activities involved in the day-to-day running of the library, such as working on the issue desk and processing new books. The Librarian has also given me some more specialised tasks such as copyediting the library’s manuscript catalogue (so it can ultimately be digitally accessible), and redesigning the library information guide and signage, so I’m really enjoying the variety of the work.

The library is a fascinating space historically – one of the artefacts on display is a chest which once belonged to Sir Thomas White, the founder of St John’s, and I’m looking forward to being able to share some of this history with the public at Oxford Open Doors this weekend. There is also a wide range of Special Collections, which I have a particular interest in after doing some voluntary work in an archive last year, and I’m hoping to have many opportunities to work with these manuscripts and early printed books throughout the year.