Monday, July 19, 2010

Bodleian Library in Oxford--July 16, 2010

The Bodleian Library is the main library of the University of Oxford. The library at Oxford got its start with the donation of the library of Duke Humphrey in 1439. The university began construction of a building to house the collection, but it was not opened until 1488 due to a shortage of money. During the reformation, the books were removed from the library and were dismantled (in order to reuse the paper) or destroyed. Only 4 books from the original collection survive in the library's collection today.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user jimmyharris)
After the reformation, the library effectively ceased to exist until Sir Thomas Bodley made a significant donation of money and books in 1598. The new library opened (and the first librarian was hired) in 1602. The first printed catalog of the collection was published in 1605.

In 1610, Sir Bodley negotiated a copyright agreement on behalf of the library, ensuring that the library would receive a deposit of of all publications in England for free. Today, the Bodleian is still a deposit library, but it only receives items that it requests.

The library currently receives approximately 5,000 new items a week. The collection includes 11 million items and a large portion of these items are kept in offsite storage. Most of the collection is kept in closed stacks, but reference books and some items frequently used by undergraduates are kept in open stacks.

When Sir Bodley made his donation to the library, he stipulated that it be made available to all scholars. There are 50,000 valid reader's tickets on any given day.

Please note that all interior photos in this post are of the Divinity School, through which visitors enter the library. We were not allowed to take photos in the actual library.

No comments:

Post a Comment