7 October 2010
Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford today unveiled its new £26-million Book Storage Facility (BSF), capable of holding 8.4 million volumes** on 153 miles of shelving.
The new book warehouse, in South Marston, near Swindon, will store lower-usage items from the Libraries’ collections that had overwhelmed the existing bookstacks and required additional temporary storage in various locations in and outside Oxford. These collections will now be brought together at the BSF, including books, maps, manuscripts, microfilms, periodicals and newspapers primarily from the 18th century onwards. Over the next year nearly 6 million books will be moved into the BSF in what will be the biggest book move in the Bodleian’s history.
The Bodleian Libraries receive 1,000 new books every working day through Legal Deposit, purchases, donations and archive bequests. Every year the Libraries require an additional 3 miles of shelving. The BSF has the initial capacity to support the Library’s projected collections’ growth over the next 20 years with space on the 13-acre site to build additional storage space.
Professor Andrew Hamilton, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said, ‘The importance of the Bodleian Libraries and their extraordinary collections cannot be overestimated. The completion of the Book Storage Facility ensures that the Libraries’ unparalleled collections are preserved and protected for future generations.’
Dr Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian, said, ‘The BSF will prove a long-awaited solution to the space problem that has long challenged the Bodleian. We have been running out of space since the 1970s and the situation has become increasingly desperate in the last few years. Now we can look to the future with confidence that we are preserving one of the world’s most complete records of the written word in state-of-the-art secure archival conditions. The BSF also allows us to reorganize our collections. We can redevelop important buildings within central Oxford from book fortresses into welcoming library spaces for readers and exhibition halls where we can share our treasures with a broader audience.’
The Book Storage Facility is the first major milestone in the 5-year transformational project of the Bodleian Libraries which include major improvements of the services offered to readers and several key building and renovation projects. The Libraries aim to provide: increased direct access to books on the shelves of Oxford's libraries, online access to the largest number of digital titles in the UK, and state-of-the-art storage for paper collections.
**The BSF has since been reconfigured, and as of 2015 it can hold 12-13 million items. In July 2017 it held over 10 million items.