February 13th 2016
Today as part of our Valentines weekend in Oxford, Alice and I went on a tour of the Bodleian Library. It was great. We got to see books that are 400 years old, re-bound, supported, categorised, alarmed and looked after to the highest degree of security.
Part of the Bodleian library is its unseen, underground Labyrinthian storage facility. In 1620 Thomas Bodley, after whom the library is named, commissioned a deal with the national Stationers company that ensured that moment forward a copy of every single piece of literature that was published within the British Isles would be sent to the Bodleian library.
From then on, when anything was published, and I mean anything, books, newspapers, ordanance survey maps, train timetables, one copy is sent to the Bodleian library for storage. I think the idea is that firstly, the collection is complete, there are 12 million individual pieces of literature in the Library’s collection (obviously these aren’t all stacked on the shelves of bookcases in one individual Tardisian building, they’re spread upon storage facilities in, and below Oxford and its surrounding areas, including in Swindon) and that secondly, they’re all protected and guarded in Vatican Archivesesque thermally controlled glass cases (the important ones, at least)
What’s cool is that my name is in there somewhere. During an internship at a magazine I wrote articles that contributed to two editions of a monthly magazine. My name is printed in these articles under ‘contributors’ and thus, as an effect of Thomas Bodley’s agreement, a copy of this magazine has been sent to the collection at the Bodleian library.
And I’m in there
And that’s really cool.
Until tomorrow, maybe I’ll be in there again one day.