Join us to celebrate 700 years of libraries in Oxford

2020 marks the 700th anniversary of the decision to build the first purpose-built central library for the University of Oxford. 

Join us and speakers from across the globe to reflect on the past 700 years and the importance of libraries in the modern-day. 

The conference will consider the past, present and future of libraries in this broad context and will gather academics from relevant disciplines, leading practitioners from the world of libraries and archives, and specialists from the world of media, science, and communication to discuss and debate the place of libraries.

Hear from a wide-ranging panel of speakers including Sandra Collins, National Librarian of Ireland, Mark Thompson, former CEO of New York Times, former Director General of the BBC and Buhle Mbambo-Thata, University Librarian, National Library of Lesotho plus many more. 

The 700th anniversary gives an opportunity to reflect on the role that libraries have played and continue to play in society.

Keynote topics will include, 'Protests, pavements and libraries: the appearance, disappearance and survival of makeshift libraries in a time of global unrest' and 'A library could be…' considers the potential role of libraries in the future of society, a future where the challenge of the digital will threaten, but also provide opportunities.

Richard Ovenden, Bodley's Librarian said:

In 1320 the first steps in creating a central university library were made by Thomas de Cobham, with a donation of books and money to support students in Oxford. Although it took almost a century to be completed, the new library in the University Church started an institution that continues to preserve knowledge and support learning and researchers seven hundred years later. Thanks to Humfrey Duke of Gloucester, Thomas Bodley, and countless other supporters we have been able to build vital collections, create innovative services, and support students, scholars and the broader public – a tradition we are immensely proud of today at the Bodleian and will continue long into the future.