The Bodleian Library finished its large-scale book relocation programme over the Christmas vacation, with the seven millionth book being shelved at its new Swindon facility.
The project has created space on Broad Street for a refurbished library that will showcase some of its finest collections.
With a building cost of £26 million and with 153 miles of shelving, the warehouse in Swindon now houses more than half of the Bod’s 11 million items.
The collection of items comprises low-usage items, but being situated only 28 miles from Oxford and with the promise of same-day delivery of any of its items if ordered before 10am, items housed there will remain easily accessible to students.
Bod Librarian Sarah Thomas explained the extent of the success, saying: “This has been an important year in the history of the Bodleian, and it has been an extraordinary success.
“We have tagged and moved all our books, relocated our staff, prepared the New Bodleian building for its redevelopment, opened new facilities for readers in the heart of Oxford and refreshed and developed our IT capabilities […] thanks to a superb team of dedicated staff we have accomplished [this] all simultaneously without any major interruption to our day-to-day services to readers either in the university or further afield.”
“Readers can look forward to significant enhancements to our services in 2012 and beyond.”
The move follows the closing of the New Bodleian on Broad Street in September 2010, which will now be fully refurbished according to plans which will see it re-open as the Weston Library in 2015.
The idea behind the plans stems from a need for extra space in addition to an effort to make certain items more accessible.
The Bod’s Special Collections, which include the works of Oscar Wilde and John Locke amongst others, will be displayed in the Weston Library upon its completion. In addition to exhibition rooms for the Special Collections, the refurbished building will be home to a café, and will be given a new glass front on Broad Street.
A second-year English student said: “I’ve always thought it was a bit of a tragedy that all those sexy old books the Bod has aren’t on display somewhere. Plus it can actually be pretty helpful academically especially for some of the older texts to see the original.”