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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

409 years serving the 'Republic of the Learned': Bodleian celebrates anniversary

409 years serving the ‘Republic of the Learned’: Bodleian celebrates anniversaryOn 8 November 1602, the University Library we know as the Bodleian Library officially re-opened its doors. The re-institution of the Public Library of the University of Oxford by Thomas Bodley (1545-1613) at the beginning of the 17th century represents a milestone in the provision of library services in England and worldwide. The first University Library in Oxford had in the mid 14th century been housed in a room adjoining the church of St Mary the Virgin, on High Street. The gift of 279 manuscripts to the University by Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester, between 1439 and 1444 prompted the building of a purpose-built library room above the Divinity school. Completed in 1488, this, the University's second library, flourished for about sixty years. When Thomas Bodley came to Magdalen College in 1560, however, the library room was empty and derelict. Throughout his Oxford career the only libraries available to students at the University were in their colleges

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