Friday, July 24, 2009

ACADEMIC - Bodleian Library

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On Thursday we traveled to Oxford and took a tour of the Bodleian Library. Our tour guide was so quiet and short and REALLY GREAT. He taught us that the library was founded in 1602 through the generous funds of Sir Thomas Bodley. However, Oxford has had a library since the 1300s and some of those collections, like the collection of Duke Humfrey, is housed at the Bodlian. He showed us the procedure for calling an end to the reading day which is a long standing tradition there. Basically a librarian has to ring a bell to signal it's the end of the day for the readers. Another interesting tidbit I learned is that before the author or title was displayed on the book's binding the library wrote numbers on the outside of the pages instead. So the books on the shelves faced the other way. The Bodleian is another copyright library so every book published in the UK sends a copy to the Bodleian. This is just one of the reasons the Bodleian is the ultimate example of an academic library. Our tour guide also said that the Bodleian used to use a form of Colon Classification and is in a transition to using Library of Congress eventually. I was surprised. I'm getting used to the fact that most of these institutions just have thier own in-house classification system. The library houses 11 million volumes and provides more access to online databases than any other university library in the UK.

In the Divinity Hall there are carvings of in honor of the big donors during the building of Oxford. Christoper Wren's was the nicest. He designed one of the buildings there. The Divinity Hall was also where the infirmary scenes in Harry Potter take place. Yeah, I've been to a lot of Harry Potter sites now which is cool but I didn't take any pictures because I wasn't feeling that great that day.

I actually left Oxford pretty early, which was sad. Also, I got on the wrong train on the way back costing me some lost time and about 8£. Boo. For more information on the Bodlian Library, click here.

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