A treasure shared

If you walk along Broad Street in Oxford at present you’ll come across an A-to-Z of the Bodleian’s treasures on the hoardings shrouding the New Bodleian while it undergoes its transformation. L is for Le Carré, whose characters deal in secret knowledge.

John Le Carré on the Bodleian hoardings
(Artwork Sophie Durand)

But knowledge is a funny thing. If I share my knowledge with you, it’s not that I end up with half the knowledge I previously had, and you have the other half. We both have it all. The Bodleian can be a forbidding place – even some of the students are scared to go in! – and it can be difficult for it to share the storehouses of knowledge within its walls. We aim to change all that when the Bodleian’s new Weston Library arises phoenix-like from the rubble of the New Bodleian in 2015. When the Bodleian opened in 1602 is was known as ‘the great publique library in Oxford’ and we intend to make it once more an accessible place for the public. Opening up scholarship is one of the key themes in the bid.  While the upper floors will be a specialist research library from the Humanities – probably, in the words of the lager advert, the best in the world – the ground floor will be given over to exhibition halls, an auditorium, a large public atrium for events, as well as attractive refreshment facilities and (inevitably!) a shop. And the roof terrace will be the must-go place to be!

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