The Bodleian

“The Bod” is the one of the oldest libraries in Europe and was founded in 1602, although there has been a library in the area since the 14th century.  It has 117 miles of shelving and has run out of space, using book depositories outside of the city.   It is a reference library only, and even the queen cannot check out a book.

In order to use their resources, one must submit an application and say this pledge:

“I hereby undertake not to remove from the Library, nor 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 Library.” I must confess saying this was rather thrilling and a little nerve wracking (Hugo did not look like one to be messed with).

And, now, I am a proud owner of a readers card, so I can go and request books/journals, when my office at Starbucks is insufficient.

And for those who knew me in my dissertation-writing life (my dissertation is entitled “Understanding Absence as Presence: A Rhetoric of Silence”) you will understand why I HAD to have this little gem from the shop.

And finally, in this week where I was in the two largest libraries in the UK, and ode to books by Emily Dickinson.  (Bill’s been reading poetry to the girls as I type, so I couldn’t resist.)

There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toll;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!


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