Bodleian revamp is worthy of a book

Editors Mike Heaney and Catriona Cannon with the new book

Work proceeding at the New Bodleian

First published in Oxford Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

WHAT more appropriate way to mark the redevelopment of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries than with a new book?

Over the past four years, the library has spent £29m on a new book storage facility in Swindon and is currently part of the way through a £75m redevelopment of the New Bodleian Library in Broad Street.

The new book – Transforming the Bodleian – chronicles the work which has been taking place at one of the world’s most famous libraries since 2008.

Catriona Cannon, associate director at the Bodleian Libraries and one of the two editors of the book, said: “This is the story of how the Bodleian transformed itself.

“Requiring strategic thinking, bold decisions, thorough planning, determination, hard work and vision, the Bodleian underwent dramatic transformations in record time.

“In Transforming the Bodleian, we also share the challenges, obstacles and difficulties we met along the way, as well as the lessons we learned.”

Consisting of 15 chapters, each written by a Bodleian member of staff who oversaw part of the project, the book tells the tale of how the library – home to more than 11 million printed items and 50,000 e-journals – has been transformed.

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The New Bodleian Library in Broad Street is being turned into the Weston Library where four of the surviving copies of Magna Carta, two Shakespeare First Folios, the original manuscript of Frankenstein, the papers of six British Prime Ministers and more than 10,000 medieval manuscripts will be stored.

The Weston Library will include a public exhibition area, where some of its treasures can be put on show, and a cafe, with a new entrance in Broad Street. It is due to be completed in 2015.

It is hoped the new book will provide an example for other libraries services on how to manage a growing collection with limited space while trying to maintain the same level of service and access to the collections.

The book, which the library admits is a niche publication, is now on sale – for £75

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