British Studies 2014

kimiekelly's Having Fun Abroad album on Photobucket

Bodleian Library - Monday - June 30th

Today we traveled via charter coach to Oxford.  There we visited The Bodleain Library.  This was our first official library visit.  We were taken in and divided into two groups.   We were led into the Divinity School.  The Divinity School is directly attached to the Bodleian Library.  Built in 1488 it was originally used for theological lectures.  Now, it is famous for being used for scenes in a Harry Potter film. 

Divinity School in Harry Potter film.  Photos courtesy of
Warner Bro. Studios

We had to put all of our belongings into bins and were only allowed a pencil, notebook and a camera (no flash please).   Each of us was given a headset so that the librarian could give us a tour while speaking quietly.  However, these headsets did not function properly and were more troublesome than helpful.  As we had to be quiet, and there were so many of us, it was difficult to hear the speaker from the distance I was at. 

The Bodleain is one of the oldest libraries in the United Kingdom.  Completed in 1488, it is the main library for The University of Oxford.  It is much admired for its rich history and the age.  Some Oxford University buildings have been in use since the Middle Ages.  Oxford University has contained a library since 1320. 
Photo courtesy of

We were only taken to the welcome desk of the Bodleain and not allowed into the stacks. I since have found a nice little virtual tour of the Bodleain Library to make up for not being able to view the stacks.  Our guide spoke in such hushed tones it was very hard to hear over sounds of library visitors, welcome desk phones and other tour guides.  Plus, we were now burdened with carrying around unusable headsets.  It became cumbersome and made it difficult for me to take notes or pictures.  I did not mind leaving my bag behind but now I had many items to carry in my hand.  I did not have pockets so I had to carry the headset in my hand.  For this reason I did not get any clear pictures of the library.  It just was not my day.  

Towards the end of our tour we were led into a room originally used for debates.  However, as soon as we sat down and our guide began to discuss the history of the room, another guide with a different group came in.  This new guide informed our guide that our group must leave, as her group was coming in for their portion of the tour.  With that we were escorted back to the Divinity School lobby and pointed in the direction of the gift shop.   I could not help but feel slighted.  I can only assume that the group who preempted our tour must have been deemed more worthy of their time.

I did however follow the masses into the Bodleian gift shop.  Many students purchased a canvas bag with the Bodleian Readers Oath on it.  The Oath is as follows: 

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 enjoy the oath but, I found the bag too pricey for my first day out.  All readers are to recite the oath before entering the library.  I do not recall reciting the oath.  Perhaps we were exempt because we were only touring and not actually allowed to touch or go near any of the books.     

We had a second visit scheduled for the day at Christ Church Library and Archives.  However, we were unable to make the tour as a fellow classmate became injured during our first tour.  As I write this journal entry I am aware that she is doing better and her ankle is only bruised not broken.  I am very glad to hear this.