The Bodleian Library

pictures, photos, facts and information on The Bodleian Library (Oxford)

The Bodleian Library ( 640x480 )
Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe as well as the main research library in Oxford University. It is the second largest library in the Great Britain (after the British Library). It has some 8 million items stored on 117 miles of shelves.

The roots of the Bodleian Library go back to year 1602 when Thomas Bodley donated many books to revive the Duke Humfrey’s Library. In 1610 Bodley made an arrangement with the Stationers’ Company that a copy of every book published should be given to the library. The library grew so quickly that new buildings were needed. Between 1613 and 1619 a new part was built, now referred to as the Old Library (on the picture), known also for its Tower of the Five Orders (each column of the tower was built in different style of classical architecture: Doric, Tuscan, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite). Rooms here originally served as lecture space. There are still inscriptions above the doors in the quadrangle. Later the library took over the rooms.

In 1860 Bodleian Library took over also the Radcliffe Camera building. By the 1920s, the Library needed further expansion space, and in 1937 construction of the New Bodleian building started, opposite the Clarendon Building on the corner of Broad Street. In 1975 the Clarendon Building also became part of the library.

The Old Bodleian Library is the main centre for research on Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern, and many Modern subjects. There are the catalogues, reading rooms for classical and Byzantine studies (Lower Reading Room), Patristic and Medieval Latin studies (Lower Reading Room), English Literature and History, including the major historical journals and bibliographical collections (Upper Reading Room).

In the past, readers of the Bodleian Library had to recite a formal declaration about accepting all the library’s rules. Now it is usually done by signing a letter but those who want to do this ceremony orally still can.
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