The Bodleian Libraries are the world-renowned group of research libraries of the University of Oxford encompassing faculties, colleges and research libraries. At the heart of these is the principal University library, 'the Bodleian Library', which has been a library of legal deposit for 400 years.
An essential resource for teaching and research, the Bodleian is also known worldwide for its unique collections. These include the papers of six British Prime Ministers; a Gutenberg Bible; the earliest surviving book written wholly in English; a quarter of the world's original copies of the Magna Carta; and almost 10,000 western medieval and renaissance manuscripts. These intellectual and historical riches are not reserved only for the students and academics of the University; Libraries' doors open to thousands of visitors, readers and researchers every year. At the Weston Library, a year-round programme of acclaimed exhibitions and cultural events provide public access to the Libraries' treasures. By digitising and sharing collections online, the Library can offer its treasures to anyone, anywhere - at any time.
All donations help to support the Bodleian Library's key goals: to provide access to and care of the Bodleian Libraries collections, and to make them accessible to a global audience through exhibitions, education and digitization activities. Bodleian donors give in many different ways, and a selection of these are outlined below:
The Bodleian Endowment Fund
Donations to the Libraries' endowment fund ensure that that the core activities of the Library can continue for generations to come. The endowment provides the Libraries with an income year on year. Recently, donors have given funds to endow key curatorial posts in perpetuity, such as the Alfred Brendel Curator of Music.
Preserving and digitising our collections
Support from individuals and organisations across the world has helped the Bodleian Libraries to conserve and to digitise collections. Through these activities, fragile materials are preserved and photographed so that they can be viewed by a wide audience without damaging the originals. Recent successful digitization projects include Shakespeare's First Folio, and the Shelley Poetical Essay pamphlet. By giving to conservation and digitization, our donors ensure that our books and manuscripts are preserved in the best possible condition for generations to come.
Exhibitions and outreach
We are passionate about showcasing and interpreting our fascinating collections for the public. Since the opening of the newly redeveloped Weston Library and its public galleries, the Bodleian's critically-acclaimed exhibitions have attracted more than 10,000 visitors a week. Free, public talks and events around library collections are offered weekly by academics and expert curators; see our full programme of public events for more details. We seek donors and corporate partnerships to help fund these exhibitions.
Building our collectionsIt is the Bodleian's mission to collect and preserve a written legacy of our cultural and academic history; with your help, our scholars and readers can benefit from everything from cutting-edge journals to extremely rare books and manuscripts, both now and in the future.
Donations towards acquisitions enable the Bodleian to buy important texts and manuscripts and to preserve them for future generations. Thanks to a generous donor, in 2015 the Bodleian acquired its 12 millionth printed book; a rare pamphlet with a polemic poem by the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, thought to be the only copy in existence. This is now secured for the UK, and will form part of the largest archive of Shelley materials in the world.
Image: Donations enabled the Bodleian Libraries to acquire Erismena, the earliest surviving score of an opera in the English language.