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Friday, 16 July 2010


Went to Oxford today by train, starting from Paddington station. Walked around for awhile before taking a tour of the oxford university reading library, both new and old. This image shows the original reading room which we walked through. We looked at an example of the original way books were stored, i.e. chained to the books. The way the books had to be clamped with the chain meant that in order to save space when shelving the books had to be faced with the binding facing towards the bookshelf wall, therefore numbers were written along the pages facing outward, probably easier visualized than explained, but it was interesting nonetheless. We went through a tunnel that connected the old and new library and saw the large conveyor belt that runs all through the underground of the oxford library allowing books to run from one section to the other to fulfill requests. The library does not allow users to take books out and this tradition extends far back. Charles I had an early experience with the limits of monarch power when even he was refused by the librarian to take a book out of the library. He was given some concessions and there remains two cubical walls that run along what are usually open benches where the King could read his books.

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