Yannis Choupas – Taylor Institution Library

Hi all, I am Yannis and I am one of the two Graduate Trainees at the Taylor Institution Library. You’d think that my desire to become a librarian is linked to my love of reading. However, you are gravely mistaken! My initial inspiration came from Terry Pratchet’s Discworld novels, which (among other things) chronicle an orang-utan librarian at the Unseen University. This librarian-cum-ape was formerly a wizard who decided that he actually quite liked being a primate librarian – with his opposable toes he could deftly climb the shelves to get to the more hard-to-reach books. Plus, readers had to give him a banana if they wanted access to any of the books in his library. (Personally, this seems like a quite a good idea, and something worth considering for the future of library services. Prospective readers, please note that I prefer biscuits or chocolate to bananas.)

The Unseen University’s Librarian (by P. Kidby – www.paulkidby.net)

When not reading Pratchett, I read all sorts of history books. In fact, I did my BA in History and Archaeology at the University of Crete and came to England for a Master’s in Medieval History at the University of Birmingham. Before withdrawing from Oxford’s DPhil in History, I spent many a procrastinating moment watching librarians in the Sackler go about their business and secretly fantasising about what it must be like to be in their shoes (these fantasies quickly subsided when I realised what you see is what you get). I landed my first library job at the Oxford public libraries (an experience that I value deeply), before I was employed by the Bodleian Libraries. Indeed, I am not a stranger to the Bodleian: I have already spent a year as a part-time employee at the Taylor and the Education Libraries.

The Taylor on St. Giles

The Taylor is an imposing building next to the Ashmolean, containing an infinite number of staircases (who said that librarianship is for the weak?) and a labyrinthine basement (it would come as no surprise if I was told that people have been forever lost in its dark recesses…). The Taylor also contains one of the prettiest reading rooms in all of Oxford. It is the place to go to if you are studying Western European Languages, Film Studies, or Linguistics. I am based on the ground floor at the Teaching Collection, which is the part of the Taylorian that caters mainly for undergraduates, as opposed to the Research Collection (about which you’ll hear more from my Taylor soulmate, Sarah). At the Teaching Collection, readers can also find a huge DVD Collection of international films and also a comfortable viewing room with a large screen and dim lights (unfortunately no pop-corn allowed). I am very excited about spending another year in this warm and friendly environment. Given my Greek background, I was also thrilled to hear that I am to spend a term gaining experience at the Taylor’s sister library – the Slavonic and Modern Greek Library.

Look forward to seeing you at the Taylorian – don’t forget the biscuits!



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