Lead Librarian for Non Clinical Medicine and Life Sciences
Radcliffe Science Library, part of the Bodleian Library
Tell us a bit About your role
My role is very focussed on user support. The wealth of resources at Oxford is extraordinary and the range of services is vast. I facilitate access by helping users navigate through catalogues, websites, specialised databases, and approach the right service. I deliver workshops so that students can develop their information skills and offer one-to-one consultations for customised support.
I assist any users, students and academic staff of the Medical Sciences in their information seeking behaviours. Much of my time is spent on answering individual requests. It may be locating a paper not easily found in online resources to check references and data in it, identifying books on a specific topic, advising on how to develop an effective search strategy for completing a piece of research for a course or for publishing a systematic review, finding data to assess a research output, creating online reading list contents.
Parallel to information seeking support, I maintain the medical collection with new online and on-site relevant library materials for supporting teaching and research. It involves comparing suppliers with contents, user licences, costs, and obtaining materials users want. I maintain communication with departments of the division informally and formally through regular committees. I contribute to the day to day running of the site library and the Bodleian libraries objectives.
The mission of the Bodleian library with its unique collection of resources and services is to support the learning, teaching and research objectives of the University. I’m the Librarian point of contact for the MSD community to connect with it.
I wasn’t encouraged to learn science, in my school years, science was for boys. Paradoxically, I got to science with an academic background in literature and language. I always like the library space and atmosphere from my school library to my public and university libraries. I studied English at the Universite de Tours, France, and then worked as a language assistant in a secondary school in London thanks to the Erasmus programme. I enjoyed working in a learning environment and helping. I did voluntary work in public libraries. My experience in teaching and in library voluntary work, my fluency in oral and written English, and passing the typing test got me my first job in the Radcliffe Science Library. It was prior the burst of electronic journals when we still had to process daily print article requests to the British Library, and my typing skills using all my fingers on the keyboard while looking at the screen was not unnoticed. Never underestimate clerical skills! Next, while working, I got my library professional qualification, I built up knowledge of the division through my different roles within the Bodleian Libraries, while interacting with users, assisting them with their information needs, and developing connections with members in departments.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
My work is rewarding when I have helped users achieve their objectives in finding the best information for them or meeting their information needs as best as I could.
Can you tell us about something you’ve done, contributed to that you’re most proud of?
I had the chance to initiate a project on the history of psychology at Oxford with Professor Larry Weiskrantz. The idea came out of a morning chat at the time of the release of a Psychologist issue celebrating 100 years of psychology. It involved researching the Oxford archives, digging into psychology history books, liaising with departmental staff, and interviewing Larry. Together with another member of the department, Anita Butterworth, we produced a chronological poster and put together a launch event with a talk led by Larry. I’m proud of it because I never had done such a project before, and I was trusted.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
I would like to see:
- Gender and equality established and the future generations will see it as a fight won;
- Girls regardless of their advantaged or disadvantaged background get access to quality science teaching in their school so that science becomes a discipline for the many women not for a few to be part of the University of Oxford;
- To give the same chance as men to get into senior roles, and have their efforts recognised for the advance of science.