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Bodleian Library

The  Bodleian Library is not one library but many, housed in buildings spread all  over the city of Oxford. The historic core of the Bodleian is located around  Radcliffe Square, however, with the oldest parts being the magnificent Duke  Humphrey's Library (1488), and the Divinity School.

The  Bodleian buildings began in 1613, at the bequest of former Oxford student Thomas  Bodley. It is now the second largest library in the UK (after the British  Library in London). The Bodleian receives a copy of every new book printed in  Britain, a practice that began in 1610, so that the library contains an  unrivaled 400 year record of British literature.

The  Bodleian is unique in that it is not a lending library - no books can be  borrowed, only read on the premises. The Bodleian takes this restriction  seriously; in a famous case, King Charles I was refused permission to borrow a  book.

The  general public cannot enter the reading rooms; that right is reserved for  members. Other parts of the library can be seen on one of the frequent guided  tours. One of the highlights of these tours is the Divinity School, which  possesses a remarkable vaulted ceiling. It is rightly regarded as a masterpiece  of English Gothic architecture.

Divinity School
Open weekdays 0900-1700, Saturdays  0900-1230

Bodleian Library
Tours 1030, 1130, 1400, 1500 daily,  Saturday 1030 & 1130

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