The Bodleian Library
) - known informally to centuries of Oxford scholars as "the Bod" - opened in 1602
with a collection of 2,000 books assembled by Thomas Bodley
(of Merton College
) to replace the library
that had been donated to the Divinity School by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
(and brother of Henry V of England
), but dispersed in the 16th century.
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. The Bodleian collection grew so fast that the first expansion of the building was required in 1610-1612, and another in 1634-1637. When John Selden died in 1654, he left the Bodleian his large collection of books and manuscripts.
In 1911 the Copyright Act continued the Stationers' agreement by making the Bodleian one of the five libraries in the United Kingdom where a copy of each book copyrighted must be deposited.
Today, the Bodleian includes several off-site storage areas as well as nine other libraries in Oxford:
- the Bodleian Japanese Library
- the Bodleian Law Library
- the Hooke Library
- the Indian Institute Library
- the Oriental Institute Library
- the Philosophy Library
- the Radcliffe Science Library
- the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House
- the Vere Harmsworth Library