The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford form the largest university library system in the United Kingdom. They include the principal University library—the Bodleian Library—which has been a library of legal deposit for 400 years; major research libraries; and libraries attached to faculties, departments and other institutions of the University. The combined library collections number more than 11 million printed items, in addition to 30,000 e-journals and vast quantities of materials in other formats.
This library has Designated Collections of national importance.
The Special Collections at the Bodleian Library: Rare books, Manuscripts and Archives, Maps, Music, and Oxford University Archives are Designated Collections of national importance.
These collections include many rare and important items. Highlights amongst them are the only Shakespeare First Folio still in its original home, Handel’s conducting score of 'Messiah', the Gutenberg Bible, Mary Shelley's manauscript of 'Frankenstein', Holst’s autograph of 'The Planets' to name just a few.
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Marks of Genius: Masterpieces from the Collections of the Bodleian Libraries
- 21 March — 20 September 2015 *on now
In over four centuries the Bodleian Libraries have assembled, through gift and purchase, an unparalleled collection of books and manuscripts that can be called works of genius.
From Shakespeare's First Folio to the Kennicott Bible, this show-stopping exhibition considers how common attitudes towards genius are manifested in the physical form of a number of remarkable books, maps and manuscripts held in the Libraries' collections, and explores ways in which the works of genius found in a university library can be acquired, collected and read.