William Shire, Taylor Institution Library

Hello! I’m Will and I’m the second of the two trainees at the Taylorian this year. Before coming to Oxford, I studied German and Spanish at Durham and therefore working at the Taylorian – Europe’s biggest Modern Languages Library – is a really great experience! It means I can use my language skills on a day to day basis and (attempt at least) to learn the basics of new ones, especially as the Slavonic Library has now moved into the Taylorian as well.

As my fellow trainee Jessica mentioned in her post a few weeks ago, the two trainees at the Taylorian are split between the Issue Desk and the Enquiry Desk. For the first half of the year, I will be working on the Enquiry Desk and so I thought I should write a short post about my duties and the first few weeks at work here!

As I am on the Enquiry Desk, my work is completely different every day as we never know what a reader may want! Most days I have to help readers (especially freshers!) find books in our labyrinthine Research Collection, but I also have to answer queries from academics, process new books, and handle some donations.

The Enquiry Desk
The Enquiry Desk

Additionally, I am in charge of the daily delivery from the BSF in Swindon. As the Taylorian has around 500,000 books but only enough space for around 150,000, this means that a lot of readers order items from the Book Storage Facility! We get two deliveries every day (one at 9 and one at 2), and I collect these books, process them, and then put them ready for collection in the Main Reading Room – a beautiful room and easily my favourite in the library!

The Main Reading Room
The Main Reading Room

My first two months at the Taylorian have gone so quickly but I’ve really enjoyed them – I feel very lucky to be here. We’ve have had a lot of training, and then library inductions to give to the new cohort of freshers so I’ve always had a lot to do! I look forward to spending the rest of my year as a trainee here, and hope to post on the blog sometime in the future – especially as I might be helping to organise an exhibition next year!

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.

Connie Bettison, St John’s College Library

Hello, I’m Connie, and I’m the trainee for 2016-17 at St John’s College Library.

I’ve been working at St John’s since August. Back then, the library was closed to students for the summer vacation and I became introduced to the library through the annual stock check. This meant I very quickly familiarised myself with the layout of the library which was particularly helpful as one of my first projects was to create a guide to the library for new students, and once term started, I needed to be able to help users with their enquiries.

img_7063The entrance to the Laudian Library

In the run-up to term, the library received reading lists from various departments and some large donations of books from retiring fellows. One of my jobs was to check titles against SOLO and then process the new books, from classification (using the college’s unique, home-grown system) through to shelving via holdings, bookplates, stamps, stickers and plastic covers.

At St John’s I’ve also had the opportunity to work with the library’s special collections, such as preparing materials for exhibitions, writing about specific items for the Special Collections blog, and assisting the librarian in photographing some of the library’s most precious items for the website. The Special Collections at St John’s include

manuscripts….

ms61lion

A plate showing lions in MS61, York Bestiary (13th century)

early printed books …

chaucer11

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, William Caxton printing (c. 1483)

and notable individuals’ papers…

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A letter from Jane Austen to her niece, Anna. (1814)

It is currently a time of change in the library as an extension is under construction; the new Study Centre is set to open in the next academic year. Lots of aspects of the library are subject to change before the construction is finished and the related conversations surrounding the practicalities of the move are particularly interesting for someone new to the world of libraries.

I came into the traineeship almost immediately after graduating from Durham University where I studied English Literature. This was a quick turnaround from full-time study to full-time work, and my previous experience of working in a library was solely through volunteering opportunities: regularly volunteering at the Bill Bryson university library at Durham, and undertaking a brief spell of work experience at Leeds College of Music’s library.

As for the rest of the year, I’m looking forward to further training and visits to libraries with the other Oxford trainees as well as getting to know more about the collections here at St John’s.

Emma Quinlan – Kathleen Major Library, St. Hilda’s College

Hello all! I’m Emma and I am the new(ish!) Graduate Library Trainee at the Kathleen Major Library, better known as the St. Hilda’s College Library. I say newish as I started the post in April as the wonderful past trainee (Grace Brown) secured a full time job at the Bodleian through her second year at St. Hilda’s.

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St. Hilda’s Main Reading Room

So a little bit about me … I graduated in 2013 with a 1st class honours degree in Observational Astronomy from the University of Glamorgan. I specialised in solar system volcanology over my two dissertations; volcanism in the inner solar system and cryovolcanism in the outer solar system. I know it sounds star trekkie but no, there was no mention of Spock in my work! I spent most of my school life in the library – doing work, swotting up and most importantly reading Star Wars novels (I must have been the only person to do so as the librarian was shocked that I would request more books from the series …). I have fond memories of finding exciting novels to read as well as, you guessed it, finding lots of stuff on volcanoes and astronomy! A home from home, I learned that life could be exciting, knowledgeable and dare I say it, dangerous, without leaving the comfort of my chair.

My library experience (apart from being in one for the majority of my educational life) has been based on public libraries. I worked as a relief library assistant after graduating for a year and a bit before getting the post at St. Hilda’s. I fell in love with library work and interacting with the public and then everything slotted into place – librarians are awesome! I want to be awesome … I will become a librarian!
So far St. Hilda’s has been a joy. Starting at the beginning of Trinity term with lots of anxious students got me into the swing of things quite quickly. I have had the long summer to complete some small projects (yay!) and to look forward to finally meeting my fellow trainees (double yay!).

I can’t wait to get the trainee year properly underway, getting to know Hilda’s and all you trainees further and looking forward to all there is to experience in the Oxford library system.

Welcome to our new trainees 2015-16!

I met with our new trainees at their welcome session on 2nd September.  We have 15 trainees in total this year who are based in both the Bodleian and college libraries.  The welcome session was a chance for them to meet one another and introduce them to Oxford and its libraries and the trainee scheme.

Our trainees 2015-16
Our trainees 2015-16

The trainees will be introducing themselves on the blog and posting regularly about their experiences and progress over the coming year.  I hope they all have a great year with us!