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The Bodleian Library () is the main
research library A research library is a library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs o ...
of the
University of Oxford , mottoeng = The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (2019) , budget = £2.145 billion (2019–20) , chancellor = Chris Patten, The Lord Patten of Barnes , vice_chancellor = Louis ...
, and is one of the oldest libraries in
Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both and , and is bordered by the to the ...

Europe
. With over 13 million printed items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the
British Library The British Library is the national library A national library is a library A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provid ...

British Library
. Under the
Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (c 28) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which regulates the legal deposit of publications in the United Kingdom. The bill for this Act was a private member's bill. This Act wa ...
it is one of six
legal deposit Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The number of copies required varies from country to country. Typically, the national library is the primary reposito ...
libraries for works published in the United Kingdom, and under Irish law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Known to Oxford scholars as "Bodley" or "the Bod", it operates principally as a
reference library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provid ...
and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms. In 2000, a number of libraries within the University of Oxford were brought together for administrative purposes under the aegis of what was initially known as Oxford University Library Services (OULS), and since 2010 as the
Bodleian Libraries The Bodleian Libraries are a collection of 28 libraries that serve the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psalm 27, The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (as of 31 July 2019) , budget = ...
, of which the Bodleian Library is the largest component. All
colleges of the University of Oxford The University of Oxford , mottoeng = The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (2019) , budget = £2.145 billion (2019–20) , chancellor = Chris Patten, The Lord Patten of Barn ...
have their own libraries, which in a number of cases were established well before the foundation of the Bodleian, and all of which remain entirely independent of the Bodleian. They do, however, participate in SOLO ( Search Oxford Libraries Online), the Bodleian Libraries' online
union catalog A union catalog is a combined library catalog describing the collections of a number of library, libraries. Union catalogs have been created in a range of media, including book format, microform, Card catalog, cards and more recently, networked elec ...
ue. Much of the library's archives were digitized an
put online
for public access in 2015.


Sites and regulations

The Bodleian Library occupies a group of five buildings near
Broad StreetBroad Street may refer to: United Kingdom *Broad Street railway station (England), in London *Broad Street (ward), in London *Broad Street, Birmingham *Broad Street, Bristol *Broad Street, Oxford *Broad Street, Reading *Broad Street, Suffolk, hamle ...

Broad Street
: the 15th-century
Duke Humfrey's Library Duke Humfrey's Library is the oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects.(Young ...

Duke Humfrey's Library
, the 17th-century Schools Quadrangle, the 18th-century
Clarendon Building The Clarendon Building is an early 18th-century neoclassical building of the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psalm 27, The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (as of 31 July 2019) , b ...
and
Radcliffe Camera The Radcliffe Camera (colloquially known as the "Rad Cam" or "The Camera"; from Latin , meaning 'room') is a building of Oxford University, England, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737–49 to house the Radcliffe Scie ...

Radcliffe Camera
, and the 20th- and 21st-century
Weston Library The Weston Library is part of the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects.(Young, 1983; p. 188) A r ...
. Since the 19th century a number of underground stores have been built, while the principal off-site storage area is located at
South Marston South Marston is a village and Civil parishes in England, civil parish in the Borough of Swindon, Wiltshire, England. The village is about north-east of Swindon town, where many of its inhabitants work or attend school. History The earliest do ...
on the edge of
Swindon Swindon () is a large town in Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South West England with an area of . It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Glouceste ...
.


Admission

Before being granted access to the library, new readers are required to agree to a formal declaration. This declaration was traditionally an oral oath, but is now usually made by signing a letter to a similar effect. Ceremonies in which readers recite the declaration are still performed for those who wish to take them; these occur primarily at the start of the University's
Michaelmas term Michaelmas term is the first academic term of the academic year in a number of English-speaking universities and schools in the northern hemisphere, especially in the United Kingdom. Michaelmas term derives its name from the Feast of St Michael ...
. External readers (those not attached to the University) are still required to recite the declaration orally prior to admission. The Bodleian Admissions Office has amassed a large collection of translations of the declaration – covering over one hundred different languages as of spring 2017 – allowing those who are not native English speakers to recite it in their first language. The English text of the declaration is as follows: This is a translation of the traditional Latin oath (the original version of which did not forbid tobacco smoking, though libraries were then unheated because fires were so hazardous)


History


14th and 15th centuries

Whilst the Bodleian Library, in its current incarnation, has a continuous history dating back to 1602, its roots date back even further. The first purpose-built library known to have existed in Oxford was founded in the 14th century under the will of Thomas Cobham,
Bishop of Worcester The Bishop of Worcester is the Ordinary (officer), head of the Church of England Anglican Diocese of Worcester, Diocese of Worcester in the Province of Canterbury, England. The title can be traced back to the foundation of the diocese in the ...
(d. 1327). This small collection of chained books was situated above the north side of the
University Church of St Mary the Virgin The University Church of St Mary the Virgin (St Mary's or SMV for short) is an Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of Lo ...

University Church of St Mary the Virgin
on the High Street. This collection continued to grow steadily, but when
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester Humphrey of Lancaster, Duke of Gloucester (3 October 139023 February 1447) was an English prince, soldier, and literary Patronage, patron. He was (as he styled himself) "son, brother and uncle of kings", being the fourth and youngest son of Hen ...
(brother of
Henry V of England Henry V (16 September 1386 – 31 August 1422), also called Henry of Monmouth, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styl ...

Henry V of England
) donated a great collection of manuscripts between 1435 and 1437, the space was deemed insufficient and a larger building was required. A suitable room was finally built above the
Divinity School A seminary, school of theology, theological seminary, or divinity school is an educational institution for educating students (sometimes called ''seminarians'') in scripture, theology, generally to prepare them for ordination to serve as clergy, i ...

Divinity School
, and completed in 1488. This room continues to be known as
Duke Humfrey's Library Duke Humfrey's Library is the oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects.(Young ...

Duke Humfrey's Library
.''The Bodleian Library'' 1976. See also Bodleian history page at https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley/about-us/history After 1488, the university stopped spending money on the library's upkeep and acquisitions, and manuscripts began to go unreturned to the library.


Sir Thomas Bodley and the re-founding of the University Library

The library went through a period of decline in the late 16th century: the library's furniture was sold, and only three of the original books belonging to Duke Humphrey remained in the collection. During the reign of
Edward VI Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged fr ...

Edward VI
, there was a purge of "superstitious" (Catholic-related) manuscripts. It was not until 1598 that the library began to thrive once more,Philip, Ian (1983); p. 1 when
Thomas Bodley Sir Thomas Bodley (2 March 1545 – 28 January 1613) was an English diplomat and scholar A scholar is a person who pursues academic and intellectual activities, particularly those that develop expertise in an area of Studying, study. A schol ...

Thomas Bodley
(a former fellow of
Merton College Merton College (in full: The House or College of Scholars of Merton in the University of Oxford) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psalm 27, The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = ...
, who had recently married a wealthy widow) wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the University offering to support the development of the library: "where there hath bin hertofore a publike library in Oxford: which you know is apparent by the rome it self remayning, and by your statute records I will take the charge and cost upon me, to reduce it again to his former use." Six of the Oxford University dons were tasked with helping Bodley in refitting the library in March 1598. Duke Humfrey's Library was refitted, and Bodley donated a number of his own books to furnish it. The library was formally re-opened on 8 November 1602 under the name "Bodleian Library" (officially Bodley's Library). There were around two thousand books in the library at this time, with an ornate Benefactor's Register displayed prominently, to encourage donations. Early benefactors were motivated by the recent memory of the
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...

Reformation
to donate books in the hopes that they would be kept safe. Bodley's collecting interests were varied; according to the library's historian Ian Philip, as early as June 1603 he was attempting to source manuscripts from Turkey, and it was during "the same year that the first Chinese book was acquired", despite no-one at Oxford being able to understand them at that time. In 1605,
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General for England and Wales, Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of K ...

Francis Bacon
gave the library a copy of
The Advancement of Learning thumbnail, Title page ''The Advancement of Learning'' (full title: ''Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human'') is a 1605 book by Francis Bacon. It inspired the Figurative system of human knowledge, taxonomic structure of ...
and described the Bodleian as "an Ark to save learning from deluge". At this time, there were few books written in English held in the library, partially because academic work was not done in English.
Thomas James Thomas James (c. 1573 – August 1629) was an English librarian and Anglican clergyman, the first librarian of the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-d ...

Thomas James
suggested that Bodley should ask the
Stationers' Company The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers (until 1937 the Worshipful Company of Stationers), usually known as the Stationers' Company, is one of the livery companies Coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, founded ...
to provide a copy of all books printed to the Bodleian and in 1610 Bodley made an agreement with the company to put a copy of every book registered with them in the library. The Bodleian collection grew so fast that the building was expanded between 1610–1612 (known as the Arts End), and again in 1634–1637. When
John Selden John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John (; ') is a common masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British Engli ...
died in 1654, he left the Bodleian his large collection of books and manuscripts. The later addition to Duke Humfrey's Library continues to be known as the "Selden End". By 1620, 16,000 items were in the Bodleian's collection. Anyone who wanted to use the Bodleian had to buy a copy of the 1620 library catalogue at a cost of 2 shillings and 8 pence.


Schools Quadrangle and Tower of the Five Orders

By the time of Bodley's death in 1613, his planned further expansion to the library was just starting. The Schools Quadrangle (sometimes referred to as the "Old Schools Quadrangle", or the "Old Library") was built between 1613 and 1619 by adding three wings to the Proscholium and Arts End. Its tower forms the main entrance to the library, and is known as the Tower of the Five Orders. The Tower is so named because it is ornamented, in ascending order, with the columns of each of the five orders of
classical architecture Classical architecture usually denotes architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de ...

classical architecture
:
Tuscan Tuscan may refer to: Places * A person from, or something of, from, or related to Tuscany, a region of Italy * Tuscan Archipelago Currency * Tuscan pound * Tuscan florin Linguistics * Etruscan language, an extinct language which gives its name t ...
,
DoricDoric may refer to: * Doric, of or relating to the Dorians of ancient Greece ** Doric Greek, the dialects of the Dorians * Doric order, a style of ancient Greek architecture * Doric mode, a synonym of Dorian mode * Doric dialect (Scotland) * Doric C ...
,
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...

Ionic
, Corinthian and
Composite Composite or compositing may refer to: Materials * Composite material, a material that is made from several different substances ** Metal matrix composite, composed of metal and other parts ** Cermet, a composite of ceramic and metallic materials * ...
. The three wings of the quadrangle have three floors: rooms on the ground and upper floors of the quadrangle (excluding
Duke Humfrey's Library Duke Humfrey's Library is the oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects.(Young ...

Duke Humfrey's Library
, above the
Divinity School A seminary, school of theology, theological seminary, or divinity school is an educational institution for educating students (sometimes called ''seminarians'') in scripture, theology, generally to prepare them for ordination to serve as clergy, i ...

Divinity School
) were originally used as lecture space and an art gallery. The lecture rooms are still indicated by the inscriptions over the doors (see illustration). As the library's collections expanded, these rooms were gradually taken over, the University lectures and examinations were moved into the newly created University Schools building. The art collection was transferred to the
Ashmolean The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology () on Beaumont Street Beaumont Street is a street in the centre of Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimat ...

Ashmolean
. One of the schools was used to host exhibitions of the library's treasures, now moved to the renovated Weston Library, whilst the others are used as offices and meeting rooms for the library administrators, a readers' common room, and a small gift shop. File:Radcliffe Camera, Oxford - Oct 2006.jpg, upright=1.0, left, The
Radcliffe Camera The Radcliffe Camera (colloquially known as the "Rad Cam" or "The Camera"; from Latin , meaning 'room') is a building of Oxford University, England, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737–49 to house the Radcliffe Scie ...

Radcliffe Camera
, viewed from the University Church


Later 17th and 18th centuries

The agreement with the Stationers' Company meant that the growth of stock was constant and there were also a number of large bequests and acquisitions for other reasons. Until the establishment of the British Museum in 1753 the Bodleian was effectively the national library of England. By then the Bodleian,
Cambridge University Library Cambridge University Library is the main research library of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge. , ...
and the Royal Library were the most extensive book collections in England and Wales. The astronomer
Thomas Hornsby Thomas Hornsby (1733 in Durham, England, Durham – 11 April 1810 in Oxford) was a United Kingdom, British astronomy, astronomer and mathematics, mathematician. Life Hornsby became a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford in 1760. He occupied t ...
observed the
transit of Venus A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own ...

transit of Venus
from the Tower of the Five Orders in 1769. A large collection of medieval Italian manuscripts was bought from Matteo Luigi Canonici in 1817. In 1829, the library bought the collection of Rabbi David Oppenheim, adding to its Hebrew collection.


Radcliffe Camera

By the late 19th century, further growth of the library demanded more expansion space. In 1860, the library was allowed to take over the adjacent building, the
Radcliffe Camera The Radcliffe Camera (colloquially known as the "Rad Cam" or "The Camera"; from Latin , meaning 'room') is a building of Oxford University, England, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737–49 to house the Radcliffe Scie ...

Radcliffe Camera
. In 1861, the library's medical and scientific collections were transferred to the
Radcliffe Science Library The Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) is the main teaching and research science library at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. Being officially part of the Bodleian Libraries, the library holds the Legal Deposit material for the sciences and ...
, which had been built farther north next to the
University Museum:''For museums named "university museum" see, University Museum (disambiguation)'' A university museum is a repository of collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable department * C ...

University Museum
.


Clarendon Building

The
Clarendon Building The Clarendon Building is an early 18th-century neoclassical building of the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psalm 27, The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (as of 31 July 2019) , b ...
was designed by
Nicholas Hawksmoor Nicholas Hawksmoor (probably 1661 – 25 March 1736) was an English architect. He was a leading figure of the English Baroque English Baroque is a term sometimes used to refer to modes of English architecture 's 'Gherkin' (2004) rises above ...
and built between 1711 and 1715, originally to house the printing presses of the
Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press A university press is an academic publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for fre ...

Oxford University Press
. It was vacated by the Press in the early 19th century, and used by the university for administrative purposes. In 1975 it was handed over to the Bodleian Library, and now provides office and meeting space for senior members of staff.


Twentieth century and after

In 1907 the then head librarian, Nicholson, had begun a project to revise the catalogue of printed books. In 1909, the Prime Minister of Nepal, , donated a large collection of
Sanskrit literature Sanskrit literature broadly comprises texts composed in the earliest attested descendant of the Proto-Indo-Aryan language Proto-Indo-Aryan (sometimes Proto-Indic) is the Linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Aryan ...

Sanskrit literature
to the library. In 1911, the Copyright Act (now superseded by the
Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (c 28) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which regulates the legal deposit of publications in the United Kingdom. The bill for this Act was a private member's bill. This Act wa ...
) continued the Stationers' agreement by making the Bodleian one of the six (at that time) libraries covering
legal deposit Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The number of copies required varies from country to country. Typically, the national library is the primary reposito ...
in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
where a copy of each book copyrighted must be deposited. Between 1909 and 1912, an underground was constructed beneath the
Radcliffe Camera The Radcliffe Camera (colloquially known as the "Rad Cam" or "The Camera"; from Latin , meaning 'room') is a building of Oxford University, England, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737–49 to house the Radcliffe Scie ...

Radcliffe Camera
and
Radcliffe Square Radcliffe Square is a square in central Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London London is the capital city, ...
, known since 2011 as the Gladstone Link.Oxford University Library Services
"A university library for the 21st century: an exhibition of proposals by the Oxford University Library Services (OULS)"
(University of Oxford, 2005), accessed 2 April 201
archived
In 1914, the total number of books in the library's collections breached the 1 million mark. By 1915, only one quarter of the revised catalogue had been completed, a task made more difficult by library staff going into the
war effort In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in ...
, either serving in the armed forces or by volunteering to serve in the hospitals. In July 1915 the most valuable books had been moved into a secret location due to a fear that Oxford would be bombed, and a volunteer fire brigade was trained and ready, but Oxford escaped the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
without being bombed. By the 1920s, the Library needed further expansion space, and in 1937 building work began on the New Bodleian building, opposite the
Clarendon Building The Clarendon Building is an early 18th-century neoclassical building of the University of Oxford , mottoeng = Psalm 27, The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (as of 31 July 2019) , b ...
on the northeast corner of Broad Street. The New Bodleian was designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Construction was completed in 1940. The building was of an innovative
ziggurat A ziggurat (; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the ...

ziggurat
design, with 60% of the bookstack below ground level. A tunnel under
Broad StreetBroad Street may refer to: United Kingdom *Broad Street railway station (England), in London *Broad Street (ward), in London *Broad Street, Birmingham *Broad Street, Bristol *Broad Street, Oxford *Broad Street, Reading *Broad Street, Suffolk, hamle ...

Broad Street
connects the Old and New Bodleian buildings, and contains a pedestrian walkway, a mechanical book conveyor and a pneumatic Lamson tube system which was used for book orders until an electronic automated stack request system was introduced in 2002. The Lamson tube system continued to be used by readers requesting manuscripts to be delivered to Duke Humfrey's Library until it was turned off in July 2009. In 2010, it was announced that the conveyor, which had been transporting books under Broad Street since the 1940s, would be shut down and dismantled on 20 August 2010. The New Bodleian closed on 29 July 2011.


Present and future of the libraries

The New Bodleian building was rebuilt behind its original façade to provide improved storage facilities for rare and fragile material, as well as better facilities for readers and visitors. The new building concept was designed by and the MEP design was undertaken by engineering consultancy Hurley Palmer Flatt. It reopened to readers as the
Weston Library The Weston Library is part of the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects.(Young, 1983; p. 188) A r ...
on 21 March 2015. In March 2010 the group of libraries known collectively as "Oxford University Library Services" was renamed " The Bodleian Libraries", thus allowing those Oxford members outside the Bodleian to acquire the gloss of the Bodleian brand. The building was nominated for the 2016 Sterling Prize. In November 2015 its collections topped 12 million items with the acquisition of Shelley's "
Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things"Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things" is an essay by Percy Bysshe Shelley published in 1811. The work was lost since its first appearance until a copy was found in 2006 and made available by the Bodleian Library in 2015. The anti-war and a ...
". Thought lost from shortly after its publication in 1811 until a copy was rediscovered in a private collection in 2006, the Bodleian has digitised the 20-page pamphlet for online access. The controversial poem and accompanying essay are believed to have contributed to the poet being sent down from
Oxford University Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London, southeast of Birmingham, and northeast of Bristol. The city is home to the Unive ...

Oxford University
.


Copying and preservation of material

The library operates a strict policy on copying of material. Until fairly recently, personal photocopying of library material was not permitted, as there was concern that copying and excessive handling would result in damage. However individuals may now copy most material produced after 1900, and a staff-mediated service is provided for certain types of material dated between 1801 and 1900. Handheld scanners and digital cameras are also permitted for use on most post-1900 publications and digital cameras may also be used, with permission, with older material. The Library will supply digital scans of most pre-1801 material.
Microform Microforms are scaled-down reproductions of documents, typically either photographic film, films or paper, made for the purposes of transmission, storage, reading, and printing. Microform images are commonly reduced to about 4% or one twenty-fifth ...
copies have been made of many of the most fragile items in the library's collection, and these are substituted for the originals whenever possible. The library publishes digital images of objects in its collection through it
Digital Bodleian
service.


Treasures of the library


Manuscript collections

* The Ashmole Manuscripts (including the
Ashmole Bestiary The ''Ashmole Bestiary'' (Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects.(Young, 1983; p. 188) A research l ...
), collected by
Elias Ashmole Elias Ashmole (; 23 May 1617 – 18 May 1692) was an English antiquary, politician, officer of arms An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or Sovereign state, state with authority to perform one or more of the following funct ...

Elias Ashmole
* The Carte Manuscripts, collected by
Thomas CarteThomas or John Carte (16862 April 1754) was an English historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about t ...
(1686–1754) * The Douce Manuscripts, donated to the library by
Francis Douce Francis Douce ( ; 175730 March 1834) was a British antiquary and museum curator. Biography Douce was born in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United ...

Francis Douce
in 1834 * The Laud Manuscripts, donated to the library by between 1635 and 1640 * The letters of the poet
Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley ( ; 4 August 17928 July 1822) was one of the major English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England ...
.


Individual manuscripts

* The
Codex Bodley The Codex Bodley is an important pictographic manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriters became available, typewritten — as ...
* The Codex Ebnerianus * The
Codex Laudianus Codex Laudianus, designated by Ea or 08 (in the Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland numbering), α 1001 (Biblical manuscript#Von Soden, von Soden), called ''Laudianus'' after the former owner, Archbishop William Laud. It is a diglot ...
* The
Codex Laud The Codex Laud, or Laudianus, (catalogued as ''MS. Laud Misc. 678'', Bodleian Library in Oxford) is a sixteenth-century Mesoamerica, Mesoamerican codex named for William Laud, an English archbishop who was the former owner. It is from the Borgia Gr ...
* The
Codex Mendoza The founding of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan; first page of the Codex Mendoza, circa 1541 The Codex Mendoza is an Aztec codices, Aztec codex, believed to have been created around the year 1541. It contains a history of both the Aztec rulers and ...

Codex Mendoza
* The Codex Tischendorfianus III * The Codex Tischendorfianus IV * The Huntington MS 17, the oldest manuscript with complete text of the four Gospels in Bohairic (Coptic). *
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
(four copies) * ''
The Song of Roland ''The Song of Roland'' (french: La Chanson de Roland) is an 11th-century epic poem (chanson de geste) based on Roland and the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne. It is the oldest surviving major work of French lite ...
'' * The Vernon Manuscript (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. poet.a.1), the longest and most important surviving manuscript written in
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
.


Individual printed books

* A
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed ...

Gutenberg Bible
, c. 1455, one of only 21 surviving complete copies. * Shakespeare's
First folio ''Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies'' is a collection of plays by William Shakespeare, commonly referred to by modern scholars as the First Folio, published in 1623, about seven years after Shakespeare's death. It is cons ...

First folio
, 1623 *
Bay Psalm Book The ''Bay Psalm Book'' is a metrical psalter first printed in 1640 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the first book printed in British America, British North America. The Psalm, psalms in it are Metre (poetry), metric ...

Bay Psalm Book
, 1640. One of 11 known surviving copies of the first book printed in North America, and the only copy outside the United States. * The first book printed in
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
with
moveable type Movable type (US English; moveable type in British English) is the system and technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum of any ...
.


Other

* The
Gough Map The Gough Map or Bodleian Map is a Late Middle Ages, Late Medieval map of the island of Great Britain. Its precise dates of production and authorship are unknown. It is named after Richard Gough (antiquarian), Richard Gough, who bequeathed the map ...
*
Shikshapatri The Shikshapatri ( gu, શિક્ષાપત્રી, Devanagari: (शिक्षापत्री) is a religious text consisting of two hundred and twelve verses, written in Sanskrit by Lord Swaminarayan, Swaminarayan. The Shikhapatri is ...

Shikshapatri
*
Bakhshali Manuscript The Bakhshali manuscript is an ancient Indian mathematical text written on birch bark that was found in 1881 in the village of Bakhshali, Mardan (near Peshawar Peshawar ( ps, پېښور ''Pēx̌awar'' ; hnd, ; ; ur, ) is the capita ...

Bakhshali Manuscript


Bodley's Librarians

The head of the Bodleian Library is known as "Bodley's Librarian". The first librarian,
Thomas James Thomas James (c. 1573 – August 1629) was an English librarian and Anglican clergyman, the first librarian of the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-d ...

Thomas James
, was selected by Bodley in 1599, and the university confirmed James in his post in 1602. Bodley wanted his librarian to be "some one that is noted and known for a diligent Student, and in all his conversation to be trusty, active, and discreet, a graduate also and a Linguist, not encumbered with marriage, nor with a benefice of Cure", although James was able to persuade Bodley to let him get married and to become Rector of
St Aldate's Church St Aldate's is a Church of England parish church in the centre of Oxford, in the Deanery and Diocese of Oxford. The church is on the street named St Aldate's, Oxford, St Aldate's, opposite Christ Church, Oxford, Christ Church college and next door ...
, Oxford. James said of the Bodleian's collections, "The like Librarie is no where to be found." In all, 25 have served as Bodley's Librarian; their levels of diligence have varied over the years. Thomas Lockey (1660–1665) was regarded as not fit for the post, John Hudson (1701–1719) has been described as "negligent if not incapable", and John Price (1768–1813) was accused by a contemporary scholar of "a regular and constant neglect of his duty". Sarah Thomas, who served from 2007 to 2013, was the first woman to hold the position, and the second Librarian (after her predecessor, Reginald Carr (librarian), Reginald Carr) also to be Director of Oxford University Library Services (now Bodleian Libraries). Thomas, an American, was also the first foreign librarian to run the Bodleian. Her successor from January 2014 is Richard Ovenden, who was Deputy Librarian under Thomas.


In popular culture


Novels

The Bodleian is used as background scenery in Dorothy L. Sayers ''Gaudy Night'' (1935), features in Michael White (author), Michael White's ''Equinox'' (2006), and is one of the libraries consulted by Christine Greenaway (one of Bodley's librarians) in Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse novel ''The Wench Is Dead, The Wench is Dead'' (1989). The denouement of Michael Innes's ''Operation Pax'' (1951) is set in an imaginary version of the underground bookstack, reached at night by sliding down the "Mendip cleft", a chute concealed in
Radcliffe Square Radcliffe Square is a square in central Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London London is the capital city, ...
. Since J. R. R. Tolkien had studied philology at Oxford and eventually became a professor, he was very familiar with the Red Book of Hergest which is kept at the Bodleian on behalf of Jesus College, Oxford, Jesus College. Tolkien later created his own fictional ''Red Book of Westmarch'' telling the story of ''The Lord of the Rings''. Many of Tolkien's manuscripts are now at the library. Historian and novelist Deborah Harkness, set much of the early part of her 2011 novel, ''A Discovery of Witches'', in the Bodleian, particularly the Selden End. The novel also features one of the library's Ashmolean manuscripts, Ashmole manuscripts (Ashmole 782) as a central element of the book. Medieval historian Dominic Selwood set part of his 2013 crypto-thriller ''The Sword of Moses (novel), The Sword of Moses'' in Duke Humfrey's Library, Duke Humfrey's library, and the novel hinges on the library's copy of a magical medieval Hebrew manuscript known as "The Sword of Moses".


Location filming

The Library's architecture has made it a popular location for filmmakers, representing either Oxford University or other locations. It can be seen in the opening scene of ''The Golden Compass (film), The Golden Compass'' (2007), ''Brideshead Revisited (TV serial), Brideshead Revisited'' (1981 TV serial), ''Another Country (film), Another Country'' (1984), ''The Madness of King George III'' (1994), and the first two ''Harry Potter'' films, in which the
Divinity School A seminary, school of theology, theological seminary, or divinity school is an educational institution for educating students (sometimes called ''seminarians'') in scripture, theology, generally to prepare them for ordination to serve as clergy, i ...

Divinity School
doubles as the Hogwarts hospital wing and
Duke Humfrey's Library Duke Humfrey's Library is the oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library () is the main research library A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects.(Young ...

Duke Humfrey's Library
as the Hogwarts, Hogwarts library.Leonard, Bill, ''The Oxford of Inspector Morse'' Location Guides, Oxford (2004) p. 203 . In ''The New World (2005 film), The New World'' (2005), the library edifice is portrayed as the entrance to the Royal Court of the English monarchy. The Bodleian also featured in the Inspector Morse televised spin-off ''Lewis (TV series), Lewis'', in the episode "And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea", where a murder takes place in the basement. It also featured in the episode "Fugue" of the Inspector Morse televised spin off ''Endeavour (TV series), Endeavour'' as the answer to an anagrammatic clue left by a serial killer for the young Morse.


Quotation

The first few words of the Latin version of the reader's promise noted above (''Do fidem me nullum librum vel'') can be found on the linguist's hat in the 1996 miniseries ''Gulliver's Travels (TV miniseries), Gulliver's Travels''.Latin oath:- ''Do fidem me nullum librum vel instrumentum aliamve quam rem ad bibliothecam pertinentem, vel ibi custodiae causa depositam, aut e bibliotheca sublaturum esse, aut foedaturum deformaturum aliove quo modo laesurum; item neque ignem nec flammam in bibliothecam inlaturum vel in ea accensurum, neque fumo nicotiano aliove quovis ibi usurum; item promitto me omnes leges ad bibliothecam Bodleianam attinentes semper observaturum esse. (Leges bibliothecae bodleianae alta voce praelegendae custodis iussu)''. One early reader bequeathed a fur coat to the library to help future readers. It is also quoted in an inscription in the Phillips Exeter Academy Library.


See also

* Books in the United Kingdom * Codex Baroccianus * Convocation House * Digby Mythographer * European Library * Google Books * Michael Shen Fu-Tsung


References

Notes Further reading *Craster, H. H. E. (1952) ''History of the Bodleian Library''. London: O.U.P. *Macray, Rev. William Dunn (1868
''Annals of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, A.D. 1598–A.D. 1867''. London: Rivingtons
*Price, Henry Clarke (2007)
The Bod's Secret Underbelly
, ''Cherwell (newspaper), Cherwell''


External links


Bodleian Library
– official website
Digital Bodleian

Oxford Digital Library
*
360° Panorama at dusk in the Quadrangle
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Bodleian Library Bodleian Library, 1602 establishments in England Libraries established in 1602 Grade I listed buildings in Oxford Grade I listed library buildings Deposit libraries Libraries of the University of Oxford