Coming to the End

We all knew from the start that the traineeships were fixed term contracts, but fifteen months seemed such a long time. That was now fourteen and a half months ago. The time has absolutely flown by – as it tends to do when one is having fun – and I sometimes wonder what I did with it all. The answer would be quite a lot!

With four exhibitions, a major collections decant, the setting up of a pop-up museum and the studying for a postgraduate certificate, this year has certainly been a busy one. Add to that the general day-to-day running of the library, the delivery of tours, answering enquiries and running a social media presence, and it soon becomes clear just how much I have achieved as part of this traineeship.

I have been able to learn new skills – in volunteer management, in palaeography, in digital image editing, cataloguing, preventative conservation and public speaking – while keeping my existing abilities in Latin and research skills nice and sharp.

Then there have been the discoveries I have made and the institutional knowledge about the collection that I have been able to add to – whether through finding (perhaps) the first evidence of Hops being grown in England or discovering that some of our books were once owned by important Elizabethan courtiers! It’s been great to share these findings with a wider audience through the library blog, and I’m currently training up some volunteers to keep it running after I’ve gone – do keep up with it here: !


Deciphering obscure book provenances has proved to be very rewarding!

I’m due to start my new job as a Project Research Assistant at Guildford Museum in early November. I’m very excited to be starting my new role, and have no doubt that my traineeship will have prepared me very well for it. I will, however, thoroughly miss the library and its collection. That’s not even to mention the staff here and the volunteers! To everyone involved in the traineeship – I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what has been the most fascinating and illuminating period of my life so far!

Tom Hopkins