13 February 2014
The University of Oxford is pleased to announce that Richard Ovenden has been appointed as Bodley’s Librarian, succeeding Dr Sarah Thomas. He will be a Fellow of Balliol College.
Following earlier appointments at the library of the House of Lords, the National Library of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh, Mr Ovenden has worked at the Bodleian since 2003 and has held the position of Interim Bodley’s Librarian since August. He will assume his new role immediately. As executive head of the Bodleian Libraries, he will take on the stewardship of combined collections numbering more than 11 million printed items, in addition to 50,000 e-journals and a vast quantity of other materials.
Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: ‘We are delighted that Richard Ovenden has been appointed to the historic post of Bodley’s Librarian. The Bodleian Libraries have taken huge strides in recent years, under the dynamic leadership of Dr Sarah Thomas, to ensure that their services continue to meet the needs of all their readers. Richard’s experience, both in major libraries elsewhere and more recently as a leading member of Dr Thomas’ team, makes him ideally placed to take forward the next phase of these developments.’
Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Services and University Collections), added: ‘I am greatly looking forward to working with Richard as he takes forward the strategy of the Bodleian Libraries for meeting the needs of present and future generations of scholars. I have already witnessed at first hand his inspirational leadership of the Weston Library project, his close involvement in the development of digital services and his deep knowledge of the special collections.’
Mr Ovenden was educated at Durham University and University College London, and has worked as a professional librarian since 1985. He has served on the staff of Durham University Library, the House of Lords Library, the National Library of Scotland (as Deputy Head of the Rare Books Section), the University of Edinburgh (as Director of Collections), and since 2003 at the Bodleian Libraries (first as Keeper of Special Collections and from 2011 as Deputy Librarian, the Bodleian Libraries).
Responding to his appointment, Mr Ovenden said: ‘To lead the Bodleian Libraries as the 25th Bodley’s Librarian is a profound honour and privilege, as we seek to develop our services, build our collections and support our staff through the rapidly changing environment of scholarship and information provision. Over the past ten years I have loved every minute of working with the library’s outstanding collections and its dedicated and talented staff. The Bodleian stands at the heart of the University, working in partnership with all of the academic disciplines and supporting the international community of scholars as well as the citizens of Oxford and worldwide who access the Bodleian digitally or visit our exhibitions.’