Opened in 1602 at the heart of Oxford’s historic University, the Bodleian Library is one of the worlds oldest libraries and has been used as a working library belonging to the University of Oxford for over 400 years. It incorporated an earlier library built by the University in the 15th century to house books donated by Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester.
The Bodleian Library is the second largest library in Britain (second in size only to the British Library). It is spread across several buildings comprising Clarendon Building, Old Library, Weston Library, Radcliffe Camera, Gladstone Link and Central Bodleian site. Known to many Oxford scholars simply as ‘the Bod’, these buildings are still used by students and scholars from all over the world, and they attract an ever-increasing number of visitors.
The Bodleian Library is the principal library in the the Bodleian Libraries group which consists of 28 other libraries across Oxford including major research libraries as well as faculty, department and institute libraries. The library is named after Sir Thomas Bodley (1545–1613), a Fellow of Merton College and a diplomat in Queen Elizabeth I’s court.
Within the Old Library is Divinity School (the university’s oldest teaching and examination room, dating from the 1500s); Convocation House (a 17th-century building, constructed as a meeting place for the University’s supreme legislative body); and Chancellor’s Court (the University’s former courtroom). These beautiful rooms are available for weddings, celebrations and corporate events.