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Luke Thompson
Luke Thompson

Bodleian Library Oxford Number Of Books


In 1934 Sir Giles Gilbert Scott began work on designs for a substantial new library building opposite the Old Bodleian Library site in Broad Street, Oxford in order to provide much-needed space for the growing numbers of books housed in the library and the number of readers using them. Opened in 1946 (having been delayed by the Second World War), for seventy years the New Bodleian served the academic community and readers visiting Oxford, housing 3.5 million items. Scott's innovative designs meant that the New Bodleian became a Grade II-listed building in 2003. In 2009, thanks to a generous bequest from the Garfield Weston Foundation, plans got underway for a complete refurbishment of the building to meet the needs of twenty-first-century research and the Bodleian's expanding collections. WilkinsonEyre was appointed to develop the project adapting the Grade II listed building for its new use as a special collections library while keeping the façade intact.




bodleian library oxford number of books


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He solicited donations from his network of fellow statesmen and diplomats, and his friends gave liberally, among them Sir Walter Raleigh, who would soon be languishing in the Tower of London, and Robert Sidney, the Earl of Leicester. The Earl of Essex gave books instead of money, as he had recently acquired 252 volumes from the library of a bishop in Faro, Portugal, that he had plundered on his return from naval engagement against the Spanish crown. Bodley contributed most of the funds from his own deep pockets, padded by the fortunes of a wealthy Devon widow who had succumbed to his charms some years earlier.


This was a widely shared view. As we have seen in the last chapter, professors were part of a new book-buying elite and enjoyed building their own substantial libraries: in many towns the libraries of professors would be much larger than the library of the university. The rise of a lively auction market ensured that many collectors sold their libraries, rather than donating the books to their local institution. Yet even when they did bequeath their books, it was never guaranteed that any would be consulted by future readers. Changing university curricula and new models of thought were as great a threat to the success of a library as was destruction by fire or sword. How universities chose to navigate these issues would have a lasting influence on the future of the institutional library.


Thomas Bodley was without doubt a visionary. A child of exile during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary, he had seen many scholars scattered to the winds, their libraries confiscated or abandoned in their haste to depart. He enjoyed a superb education in Geneva and Oxford that had instilled in him the value of books, but he also understood that libraries could not survive if one did not plan for their future, so that the initial enthusiasm did not die with its founder. Bodley, it seemed, had learned the lessons from the failures of earlier collectors: he ensured that his library would be provided with a substantial endowment, of land and property rents, to acquire books. This was key if the library was to remain supplied with the latest scholarly publications; he was rightly convinced that it was the absence of this provision that had caused so many ambitious library projects to atrophy.


1931: As both the books and the number of visitors increased, the pressure on space became critical. Therefore, it was decided that a new library would be built on Broad Street. The New Bodleian, as it was first known, was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (1880 - 1960) and provided enough space for five million books, library departments and reading rooms. After nine years of development, it finished construction in 1940.


However you cut it, the library plays an integral role in the University, with thousands of students and scholars across the world using the extensive catalogues daily to support their work and studies. Not to mention the sheer number of tourists who flock to see the many different parts of the dramatic Bodleian Library buildings.


What we consider the Bodleian Library today was first opened in 1602, incorporating an older library that was built in the 15th century to keep books that were donated by Humfrey, the Duke of Gloucester.


The Bodleian is unique in that it is not a lending library - no books can be borrowed, only read on the premises. The Bodleian takes this restriction seriously; in two famous cases, King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell was refused permission to borrow a book.


The Bodleian Library is one of several copyright deposit libraries, which means that it automatically receives a free copy of all books and periodicals published in Britain. (The library purchases tens of thousands of foreign publications each year to supplement this collection.) The library currently holds over seven million volumes, which occupy 110 miles (180km) of shelving.


First opened to scholars in 1602, it incorporates an earlier library erected by the University in the fifteenth century to house books donated by Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester. Since 1602 it has expanded, slowly at first but with increasing momentum over the last 150 years, to keep pace with the ever-growing accumulation of books and papers, but the core of the old buildings has remained intact.


The Library of Congress in Washington DC is essentially both the national library of the U.S. and the country's oldest federal cultural institution. Though it consists of only three buildings, it is the largest library in the world for shelf space and number of volumes. While open to the public for on-site research and as a tourist attraction, as the research institution of Congress, only members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and other specified government officials can check out books. The library is formally known as the "library of last resort" in the U.S., charged with making certain items available to other national libraries if all other means have been exhausted. The library's holdings are vast, including more than 32 million books, more than 61 million manuscripts, a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, one of only four perfect vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible in the world, over one million newspapers from the last three centuries, over five million maps, six million pieces of sheet music, and more than 14 millions photos and prints.


The Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds the distinction of being the largest building in the world that serves the express purpose of preserving rare books and manuscripts, which alone undoubtedly makes it one of the best libraries in the world. The library's impressive holdings celebrate significant authors like Rudyard Kipling, D.H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis, and Joseph Conrad through its special collections. Beinecke's central shelving area includes glass walls and soft lighting to protect the works from direct light. Accessible to the public as a tourist attraction, the library's exhibition hall displays many of the library's rare works, including one of only 48 copies in existence of a treasured Gutenberg Bible.


The Vatican Library, under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, is one of the oldest libraries in the world. Though it was formally established in 1475, its existence in early forms dates back to the origins of the Catholic Church. For nearly 600 years, the library has added to its collection through historic acquisitions, generous bequests, and gracious gifts. The Vatican Library currently holds mor than 1.1 million books, 75,000 manuscripts, and over 8,500 incunabula. Fittingly, the library owns the oldest complete manuscript of the Bible, as well as many other significant works from medieval times.


Fittingly housed in a Renaissance building in Venice, the National Library of St. Mark's contains one of the most important collections of classical texts in the world. Though its lengthy construction period would not begin until 1537, collecting for the library began as early as 1468 with a gift from Cardinal Bessarion of 250 manuscripts and 750 codices. As of 1603, a law was enacted that required one copy of all books printed in Venice to be housed at the National Library. Today, the collection encompasses more than a million books, over 13,000 manuscripts, 2,883 incunabula, and more than 24,000 16th-century works.


Affiliated with the University of Toronto, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library houses more rare books than any other collection in Canada. The collection includes unique artifacts like Newton's Principia (1687), Shakespeare's First Folio, the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), and a Babylonian cuneiform tablet dating to 1789 BC. Robert S. Kenny, a Communist Party of Canada member, also donated a large part of the collection. In all, the rare book library includes more than 25,000 items with a special focus in labor movements worldwide, though with a particular emphasis on Canada and its history.


Unmistakably modern in a beautiful glass and steel design created by architects Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus, the Seattle Central Library opened in Washington's largest city in 2004. With their contemporary design, the architects aimed to create an inviting open and airy space, challenging the popular perception of libraries as dark and stuffy. The library was built with the capacity to accommodate more than 1.45 million books and mixed media materials. By 2008, the library had finally completed a ten-year "Libraries for All" initiative, which was aimed at expanding library access to a broader range of Washingtonians. It was the most expensive renovation of its kind in history, eventually totaling more than $290 million for the project.


The Abbey Library of Saint Gall is the oldest library in Switzerland. The library's founder, Saint Othmar, is also credited with establishing an abbey of the same name in 719, known as one of the oldest monastery libraries in the world. Saint Gall is home to roughly 160,000 volumes, including manuscripts dating back to the 8th century. In 1983, the United Nations' Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization named the library a World Heritage site, calling it a "a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery". The library offers online access to many of its holdings through an electronic database though, as a general rule, pre-1900 books can only be read on-site. 350c69d7ab


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