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6 August 2015

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Meet the team: Library and Archives

Our Library and Archives team provide excellent guidance and support to Fellows, students, staff and visitors to College. Want to know more about the friendly face of the Library and Archive? Read on, although the faces may surprise you!

Amanda IngramAmanda Ingram, Archivist

Where did you work before St Hugh’s? I have worked at my other College, Pembroke, for two years longer than St Hugh’s and immediately before that I did a six month archive project at the United Grand Lodge of England, Freemasons’ Hall, Central London.

How long have you been at St Hugh’s? I have been at St Hugh’s since April 2009.

Describe an average day in the Archives: My job involves both long and short term tasks, and I don’t really have an average day. Cataloguing and records management are ongoing core tasks and fit in around dealing with one-off jobs such as dealing with enquiries, exhibitions, digitisation and so on.

What are the highlights of your job? One highlight of my job is being able to provide a really good answer to an archive enquiry. I also enjoy bringing order to the chaos that exists in some collections of material that come in to the archive!

What’s your favourite item in the archive? I don’t really have a single favourite item but I do like personal correspondence and reminiscences as they often provide more detailed and intimate nuggets of information about College history than can be gleaned from the administrative papers.

Outside of work: My partner and I keep bees and I am also keen on family history research. Random fact – I once sang in the Albert Hall (not as a soloist I hasten to add!).

Book recommendation:  My favourite books are the ‘Outlander’ series by Diana Gabaldon – coincidentally recently purchased for the library! I also have a complete set of Terry Pratchett (though I definitely prefer his earlier books).

Nora KhayiNora Khayi, Librarian

Where did you work before St Hugh’s? I worked at the Taylor Institution Library, one of the Bodleian libraries which specialises in modern languages books.

How long have you been at St Hugh’s? I started at St Hugh’s in September 2009, almost six years ago!

Describe your main responsibilities in the Library: I am in charge of developing and managing the library collection and making sure that we provide an excellent service to all our students and Fellows.  

What’s your favourite item in the library? My favourite ‘item’ in the library would be the Fulford room and my favourite book is actually the first book given to the library: the Quran!

Outside of work: My hobbies are reading, hiking, travelling, cooking…

Book recommendation: Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Louise CowanLouise Cowan, Senior Library Assistant

Where did you work before St Hugh’s?  I trained as a primary school teacher and taught for four years before changing careers. In my last teaching role I taught a class of energetic 5-6 year olds!

How long have you been at St Hugh’s? I’ve been at St Hugh’s for just over three-and-a-half years.

Describe an average day in the Library: At the beginning and end of each day I empty the book bins, and tour the reading rooms to check library rules are being followed by students and visitors. The rest of the day is spent helping students with enquiries, updating social media or working on long term projects. Two projects I’m working on currently are the compiling of an inventory of items in our Rare Books Room and reclassification, which involves updating the labels on our books so that they are easier to find.

What are the highlights of your job? Being able to help students find the resources they need is definitely a highlight. I also love sharing information and photographs from the library and our special collections on social media.

What’s your favourite item in the library? There are lots of interesting things in our Rare Books Room but one of the most exciting items I’ve come across so far is a beautiful handwritten Italian manuscript dating back to 1765; it details a report on the Island of Elba by an Officer of the Royal Infantry Service, Tuscany.

Outside of work:  I’m interested in photography and enjoy reading, going to the cinema and knitting.

Book recommendation: My favourite books are ‘The Hunger Games’ series by Suzanne Collins though I also love ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by G.R.R. Martin and ‘Harry Potter’!

Library and Archives team unmasked! L-R Louise Cowan, Nora Khayi, Amanda Ingram
Library and Archives team unmasked! L-R Louise Cowan, Nora Khayi, Amanda Ingram

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