General Information

We believe you will have a wonderful year's experience at Oxford. With over 100 libraries, eleven million items and around 700 staff, you will be working within the largest academic library system in the UK, providing you with a truly unique experience.

The Graduate Trainee Programme at Oxford

Oxford University and College libraries are pleased to support the development of future professionals through these posts. These one-year traineeships operate under the SCONUL Code of Practice and provide the necessary experience required by departments of library and information studies.  Each library provides its trainee with experience in a wide range of library tasks, including enquiry work, cataloguing, shelving and general administration. 

The graduate trainee position is not just a training post, but integral to the smooth running of the library service. We are extremely proud of the opportunities we are able to give our graduate trainees and believe they leave Oxford with a solid grounding in library and information work and an excellent foundation for their future careers.

What training and support will be provided?

Each library will provide on the job training. Managers may also highlight other courses for their trainee to attend. The supervisors of trainees will usually meet fairly regularly with them to discuss progress.  In addition, trainees are expected to attend the training programme organised by the Staff Development Librarian (The Bodleian Libraries) who also meets regularly with the group to answer any queries and discuss concerns. 

The graduate trainees become a very close and supportive group, meeting regularly for training, as well as socially and also keep in touch through their own email discussion list.

Who can apply?

You will be a recent graduate or about to graduate in 2016, with a commitment to librarianship as a career. You do not have to be an Oxford graduate - our trainees come from all over the country. 

These posts are designed for those wishing to gain the required work experience before undertaking a professional qualification in Librarianship or Information Management. 

Please note, this scheme does not provide a qualification in itself, but is a pre qualification year of experience. It has been established to meet the needs of the UK qualification process and, therefore, may not be suitable for overseas applicants.

What is the SCONUL Code of Practice?

The Oxford programme meets the standards set by the SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) code of practice. This outlines best practice for trainee programmes in academic libraries and advises that schemes “give graduates systematically planned and supervised experience of library work, prior to possible attendance at departments of information and library studies.” 

The code lists the following aims for trainee programmes:

  • Participants formally undertake to provide the trainees with an overall view of the library system, including its relationship with other libraries, so that they can appreciate how different elements within the library are integrated;
  • To give the trainees work experience at a level commensurate with their abilities, in the day-to-day operation of a major area of activity;
  • To provide structured training either by giving work experience in several departments and/or by participating in a formal training programme.

Equal opportunities

The policy and practice of the University of Oxford require that entry into employment with the University and progression within employment will be determined only by personal merit and the application of criteria which are related to the duties of each particular post and the relevant salary structure. Subject to statutory provisions, no applicant or member of staff will be treated less favourably than another because of his or her sex, marital status, racial group, or disability.  In all cases, ability to perform the job will be the primary consideration.

Trainee Blog

The Trainee blog is run and maintained by the library trainees in Oxford as part of the training scheme.

The blog is designed for those thinking of a career in the information sector, as well as for current library trainees both in and out of Oxford. It aims to provide all the information you might need to make an informed decision as to whether this is the career for you, and how to start out if you think it is!   

Working for the University

At the University of Oxford, we are naturally very proud of our outstanding reputation for scholarship and research. But we are also proud to say that we are one of the region’s biggest and best established employers, with a real diversity of staff helping to sustain our success - from laboratory assistants, cleaners, technicians and secretaries, to IT, finance and administrative professionals. Join us, and you can expect to find yourself working in a friendly, open-minded atmosphere where your ideas will be welcomed and there are plenty of opportunities to learn new skills. 

There are a range of other benefits including training, childcare facilities, university shop discounts, access to libraries, museums and other university collections, the University sports complex and the new University Club (a sports and social club which has its own bar, café, and reading room).

If you come from outside the area, you may be interested to know that as well as the famous tourist attractions such as the ‘dreaming spires’ of all the lovely old buildings, the river, and a number of attractive parks and gardens. Oxford also has a busy shopping centre and a lively nightlife, particularly during term time.  Housing is relatively expensive within the city, but nearby areas such as Didcot or Bicester are more reasonably priced. 

Although car parking is difficult during the day, there are good train and bus services, including several ‘Park and Ride’ routes; and, of course, lots of cycle paths.  There are also excellent bus and train links to London for additional attractions.

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