Thursday, June 4, 2009

UNC Oxford Seminar May 17-May 30

Mom and I on our last night in Oxford

So the seminar is over and I'm home from England. Hard to believe that the 3 weeks went so quickly. It was hard to leave a place that had became so familiar and saying goodbye to the new friends I made.
When I first heard about the UNC Oxford Seminar I was thrilled there was a program that would allow me to study at such a prestigious international school without leaving my family, friends and job for a semester or more. If you read my blog regularly than you know I'm an anglophile and Oxford represented the best of British education while allowing me to live in the English countryside like a local.
My overall impressions of the seminar are positive and I would not hesitate to recommend the experience to other librarians. My only disappointment was in the low number of participants (economy related I'm sure) and the inability to network with a diverse selection of US librarians as the majority of the participants were graduate students at UNC (and really some of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure to spend time with).
The organization once we arrived at Oxford was perfect from our check in to our accommodations to the meals, absolutely no complaints. The seminar included our room which was huge with an attached bath (equally huge) that had a lovely view over the rooftops to the Oxfordshire countryside. Meals were served 3 times a day in a dining room/atrium and the food was excellent. This was not cafeteria style eating but gourmet meals with options for dietary restrictions and a wonderful lunch buffet option. Desserts were decadent and after each meal tea was served in a common room with a small bar all centered around a private courtyard. Eating such fine food was a luxury but easily forgiven with the amount of walking we did every day.
Each of the sessions was excellently presented by a diverse selection of librarians not only from Oxford libraries but from other British Universities. Highlights included tours of the British Library and the Bodleian (as described in previous posts) and sessions on conservation and rare books. Everyone involved with the Seminar was professional, friendly and went out of their way to make the experience a wonderful one. I truly feel like I made friends for life.
For more information on the Seminar check out the website at:
I'm already planning on studying in Prague next year.

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