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.
Archive, Library, Gallery, Heritage site
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
Creative Greats: Exeter College at 700
- 7 November — 23 December 2014 *on now
From William Morris' beautiful illuminated manuscripts to the rough drafts and private letters of some of the most acclaimed artistic, scientific and literary minds of the twentieth century, this display marks the 700th anniversary of the foundation of Exeter College and celebrates the remarkable achievements of Exonians throughout its illustrious history.
Remembering Radcliffe: 300 years of science and philanthropy
- 28 November 2014 — 20 March 2015
The Libraries' winter exhibition celebrates the life and legacy of John Radcliffe, a physician and philanthropist who left a lasting mark on the University and city of Oxford. Radcliffe had an uncanny ability to accurately diagnose and successfully treat many of his patients, including Queen Anne, and on his death left the bulk of his fortune to charitable causes.
The exhibition considers his legacy to Oxford, and the three buildings in the city which bear his name: the Radcliffe Infirmary, the Radcliffe Observatory, and the Radcliffe Camera: the first circular library in Britain, and one of the country’s most distinctive and recognisable buildings. The exhibition will also look at Radcliffe's ongoing legacy in the work of the Radcliffe Trust as it marks the 300th anniversary of his death.