Known informally as “The Bod”, the Bodleian was opened in 1602 by Thomas Bodley with a collection of 2,000 books. In 1610, Bodley made an agreement with the Stationers’ Company in London to put a copy of every book registered with them in the library (nowadays, each book copyrighted must be deposited). Today, there are 9 million items on 176 kilometres of shelving, and the library can accommodate 2,500 readers. Books may not be taken off the premises. The Divinity School and exhibition room are open to the public.
The Bodleian Library is a working library which forms part of the University of Oxford. It is housed in a remarkable group of buildings which form the historic heart of the University, and you can explore the quadrangles of these magnificent structures at no charge. Different ticket options allow you to visit the interior of some of the buildings, such as the University’s oldest teaching and examination room, The Divinity School (built 1427-88). Here you will discover more of the University’s fascinating history. Guided tours go behind the scenes in the Library, including its oldest research library, The Bodleian, dating from 1602-20.