On 12th May, following the success of the previous year’s trainee talk, CLG hosted its own ‘Varsity’ special: a selection of the Cambridge and Oxford library trainees had the opportunity to talk about the projects they've been focusing on this year. We'll let the trainees report back on their projects, in their own words!
Katherine Knight, Newnham College
“I spoke about my efforts to involve the library in both college and university-wide access projects – from being involved with the early stages of the Unlocking Libraries project, to reintroducing school group tours to our college library, and finally running critical reading workshops with groups of KS4 and 5 students (including them reading a scholarly article on Pokémon Go!) Whether it’s learning how to do Harvard referencing properly so I can tell over 100 students on Zoom, or working out how not to appear on a student’s TikTok, this project has often been a challenge but never unrewarding! I find that access and outreach is so important to ongoing information literacy, as it prepares students to make the most of library resources when they reach university, and I’d encourage all libraries to look at how they can build it into their routine work.
Cambridge Library Group have been such a fantastic resource for me in my traineeship: having started during Covid, they were a wonderful way of exploring different kinds of librarianship in lieu of the usual library trips, and I have very much enjoyed being on the committee this year. It was a pleasure to speak for the Cambridge Library Group again and I look forward to seeing how they continue to support library trainees in the future!”
Ellen Woolf, Anglia Ruskin University
“I am very grateful to CLG for inviting me to speak at the Cambridge and Oxford Graduate Trainee Talk, as it was a great opportunity to showcase the Graduate Traineeship and the benefits it can have for both trainees and libraries alike. The Graduate Trainee at ARU has quite a different experience to one at an Oxford or Cambridge college library, so it is really interesting to meet one another and have these discussions. While every traineeship is alike in structure, training, and visits, it seems that every trainee has a totally unique experience. This speaks to the diversity of different academic libraries and illustrates very well that there is no one way to run a successful library.
I discussed how the Graduate Trainee slots into the staffing structure at ARU, the different working groups and projects I’ve been able to participate in, and the experience of working on the Cambridge Graduate Trainee website, CaTaLOG. I reflected on what I’ve learned so far, and looked ahead to what’s next after the traineeship ends. Being a Graduate Trainee has been a truly wonderful opportunity to learn about library work, and it has given me an exciting and inspiring start to my career.”
Heather Barr, St Edmund’s Hall
“I was delighted to join the Cambridge Library Group as a speaker at their Graduate Trainee Talk. Joining forces from Oxford with the Cambridge trainees has been a real highlight of my year, and I hope it’s something that continues in the future! My talk focused on my Library sustainability project: Going Green Together. This aimed to reduce the St Edmund Hall Library’s impact on the environment, and to encourage sustainable practices across our readers and staff. From weighing the bins to work out the percentage of our waste which is recycled, to waving my hands at the bathroom lights’ motion sensors to work out how long they are staying on, I am sure I communicated just how… glamorous this project has been! It has certainly been very rewarding, however. For example, messaging and tips to reduce printing succeeded in reducing the amount of paper used over 90 days by over 1600 pages! Speaking at CLG was an excellent opportunity to learn about others’ trainee experiences, and what really stood out for me was the breadth of what librarianship can look like. Even though we all work in academic settings, providing a service to a similar demographic of students, hearing from Ellen, Katherine, and Georgie highlighted just how varied this work can be, and I’m greatly looking forward to continuing to share and learn from innovative ways of interacting with collections and readers.”
Georgina Moore, St John’s College
"How do you make a digital edition? For my Graduate Trainee project, I learnt to transcribe, edit, and encode a digital edition of one of St John’s College Library’s most popular Special Collections items: a collection of letters by Jane Austen. Even if you have no coding experience (I didn’t before I started), using the free and accessible 8 part training course created by Emma Huber at Oxford’s Taylor Institution Library, you really can make your own digital edition. In my talk I stressed that this project developed not only my digital but also my palaeographic skills, allowed me to get to know the collection better, and was a genuinely fun trial and error challenge! Also, Austen is hilarious in her correspondence, so I certainly got a few laughs out of her anger towards Walter Scott who “has no business to write novels, especially good ones. It is not fair.” If you would like to try it for yourself, start the training at https://editions.mml.ox.ac.uk/training/. "