Xanthe Malcolm, Radcliffe Camera

The Radcliffe Camera, a round building made of pale stone. It has columns round the edge and a dome on the top.
The Radcliffe Camera

Hello! I’m Xanthe, the Radcliffe Camera trainee this year. The Radcliffe Camera (or Rad Cam for short!) with its dome is one of the most iconic buildings in Oxford, and I’m delighted to report that it is even more stunning inside; I’m still feeling blown away to get to work in a space like this.

Despite the fact that the Rad Cam is home to the History Faculty Library, as well as various humanities books from the Bodleian collections, my background is in a completely different field. I did a degree in natural sciences, specialising in astrophysics, which was fascinating. I then taught physics in a secondary school for three years, and while there were aspects of teaching that I loved, I concluded that it wasn’t a sustainable career for me, so I started looking for other things. As a life-long lover of books and libraries, working in libraries had always been a vague dream of mine, but it wasn’t until this point that I started seriously looking into it and realised that it was genuinely something that could really suit me!

During the past few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the different collections around my library – there’s a major sense of achievement when you can look at the shelfmark on a book and know exactly where it goes – and gaining familiarity with my role, ready for a big upswing in busyness when the students arrive next week.

Looking ahead, I’m excited to learn as much as possible over the coming year about the different aspects of academic librarianship, and work out which direction I want to take as I move forward into a library career.


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