8 July 2011
The Gladstone Link opened to readers at 12 noon on Tuesday 5 July 2011. It connects the Radcliffe Camera with the Old Bodleian Library via the tunnel, formerly used for book deliveries, which has been refurbished and is now accessible to readers.
The Gladstone Link is a new area of the Bodleian Library for open shelf library material accessible by readers – the first in these buildings since 1912.There is shelf space for an additional 270,000 items of library material, roughly doubling the open shelf provision in the Bodleian Library to around 500,000. We have also taken the opportunity to link the Old Bodleian Library and the Radcliffe Camera, connecting the reading rooms for the first time, and to create 120 extra reader spaces, as well as facilities such as reader terminals and photocopiers.
The entrance to the Gladstone Link is via the North Staircase of the Old Bodleian or via the Lower Camera Reading Room in the Radcliffe Camera. In the Gladstone Link, readers can orientate themselves by remembering that the Blue wall represents ‘B’ for Bodleian and the Red wall represents ‘R’ for Radcliffe Camera.
Floors of open stack library space
Redevelopment of the Underground Bookstore into the Gladstone Link has been made possible by the decision to remove low-usage books to the Book Storage Facility, Swindon. This has freed up space for more open shelf material in our Libraries and given us an additional 1,674 square metres of space in what was previously the old Underground Bookstore. The Libraries have analysed bookstack requests and other data to ensure that the most requested items that have been fetched for readers by staff are moved to open shelves. The Underground Bookstore was built between 1909 and 1912 as an overflow book storage facility on two floors. The refurbishment has been designed to respect the industrial heritage of the space, providing a mixture of fixed and mobile shelving capable of housing 240,000 books and offering informal study areas for readers. The plan preserves as a historic display a proportion of the Gladstone bookshelves which were originally manufactured at the local Eagle Ironworks in Jericho and used on the main level of the bookstore. These shelves, which are designed to hang on rollers from the beams or the roof frame, were so called because they were suggested by WE Gladstone, Victorian Liberal Prime Minister and Oxford graduate. The refurbished area and the tunnel will be known collectively as the Gladstone Link in his honour.