Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library, the University Library at Oxford. The original nucleus was chiefly the books of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, which were placed in the room over the Divinity school in 1480. These, however, were dispersed (partly by the Puritans of Edward VI.'s time), and the library was restored by Sir Thomas Bodley (q.v.), who, while employed in diplomatic missions on the Continent, in Queen Elizabeth's reign, had collected a valuable library, which he presented to the university in 1598. The building was opened in 1603 with about 2,000 volumes, and soon required enlargement. Much of the present, edifice dates from 1634-1638. Archbishop Laud, Sir Kenelm Digby, John Selden, the jurist and antiquary, and Burton, the author of the Anatomy of Melancholy, were among its earlier benefactors. Malone's books on Shakespeare, and valuable collections of coins and prints, partly formed by Francis Douce, are among its greatest treasures. It has extremely valuable Hebrew, Rabbinical and Oriental, as well as classical and other MSS., and is rich in autograph letters. It opens at 9 a.m. daily, and closes during the three winter months at 3, in February, March, August, September, and October at 4, and in the summer at 5 p.m. It is, however, closed on certain Church festivals, the first week in October, and the last week of the year. It may be used by all Masters of Arts of the university, and other persons can easily obtain admission as readers. Parts are open to the general public. The Radcliffe Library, or Camera Bodleiana, has since 1861 been used as a reading-room in connection with it, and portions of the Sheldonian theatre and the "Old Schools" have recently been acquired to meet its growing needs. Books are lent out under special and very restricted conditions. A librarian and two sub-librarians manage the library, with a considerable but hardly adequate staff. The library, with those of the University of Cambridge, and of the British Museum, is entitled by law to a copy of every book published in the United Kingdom - a right originally secured to it by the founder, by grant from the Stationers' Company in 1610. It possesses upwards of 400,000 printed volumes, and about 30,000 in MS.