An Oath To Not Burn Down The Library: 7 Facts About Oxford Library
NEW DELHI: An important part of a University education is the time spent at the library. Shelby Foote, an American Historian and Novelist, said about universities and libraries, “A university is just a group of building gathered around a library.” At Oxford University, there are over 100 libraries and collections, including ancient ones and new ones. Among the 100 libraries, Bodleian library is the main research library of the University. From books that could fit in one chest in 1400’s, the Bodleian library has expanded over the centuries and currently is creating waves through Instagram.
Here are some curious and interesting facts about libraries at Oxford University:
1. For an avid reader, it would take at least 600 lifetimes to read all the books at the Bodleian library. For a more average reader, who read about 200 books in a lifetime, it could take about 59,999 lifetimes to finish reading all the books at the library.
2. Anyone who enters the Bodleian library as a reader has to take an oath in their native language not to burn the library down. The Thomas Bodley’s oath reads, “I hereby undertake not to remove from the Library, or to mark, deface, or injure in any way, any volume, document, or other object belonging to it or in its custody; not to bring into the Library or kindle therein any fire or flame, and not to smoke in the Library; and I promise to obey all rules of the Librray.” The oath has been translated in 100 different languages.
3. The Radcliffe Science Library has 3D scanning and printing services courtesy the Makerbot Replicator 2. It has been used to 3D print a full replica cast gallery of Classical sculptures in miniature and a whole range of other teaching aids and useful objects.
4. The ornamental Ascott Gate in the new Weston Library is inscribed with the phrase ‘Si bonus es inters, si nequam ne quaquam’ which means ‘If you are good, enter. If wicked, by no means.’
5. The Divinity School in the Bodleian Library is the oldest purpose-built part in any University around the world. The Building was built in the 1400s to accommodate house lectures, oral exams and theological discussions. The Divinity School is an example of fine architecture and has featured in films like Harry Potter series, X-Men, The Golden Compass, and The History Boys.
6. Former British Prime Minister William Gladstone had come up with the idea for the rolling shelves and hence was honored by naming the underground refurbished link as the Gladstone Link Library.
7. By 2014, the Bodleain library had 64,242 readers which is more than 250 times of the number of readers in 1602.