Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Bodleian Library, Oxford
We visited the Bodleian Library at Oxford which took us about an hour to get to from London. It is a depository library, and so includes materials on pretty much every possible subject in every possible language. Many of the buildings are very beautiful and have been in continual use since the Middle Ages. The Old Bodleian is the oldest section of the library. Scholars can come and use the very old books on site, but they cannot take them with them. It first opened for use in 1602. It incorporates an older library donated by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Oxford had financial problems, and some of his donations were sold while some were unfortunately burned by reformers. Sir Thomas Bodley rescued the library during these turbulent times. He married a very wealthy widow, was able to purchase a large amount of books for the library, and fund the creation of the first catalog for the library in 1605.
The library continued to grow, and is now very modern and extensive including a vast collection of e-resources. Many visitors like to view the beautiful buildings and many scholars need to use the resources at the library, and they come from all over the world.